Why I Quit My Part-Time Bridesmaid Gig

 

I know the title of this sounds super harsh but hear me out. There are reasons why I quit being a professional bridesmaid well before getting married. That’s obvious, since I’m not married, and I sent my resignation letter in about 2-3 years ago. It wasn’t them it was me. Haha. I had to work on myself (and my bank account). Quite frankly, I needed a side hustle to support the demand of being in my friends’ weddings and I wasn’t about that life any more.

 

I have the most amazing friends that have had the most loving hearts to want to include me in their special day. I 100% view this as an honor and a compliment to our friendship. I love my girls and am their biggest fan on their day.

 

However, the reality is that I have MANY friends and the cost to be in someone’s wedding is a lot when you have the ’27 Dresses’ girl beat. No lie.

I was caught in between the place of having limits to what I can spend to afford to be in the wedding party or being ‘Debbie Downer’ when I couldn’t participate in all the activities because of budget.

 

So one day, I can’t remember if I sent a mass text or if I just posted a PSA on social media, but I communicated that I had participated in my last wedding as a bridesmaid. I will continue to support my friends by attendance if possible and definitely through giftings, but my days of standing by your side were concluding, effective immediately. Haters would say it’s because I was bitter, but my response would be “nah boo, I’m broke”. It’s different!

 

The last wedding I was in was local to me and I told myself I was going to stay on budget and still wound up spending around $2,000 between dress, hotel, gas to all of the activities, bridal shower, bachelorette festivities, hair, shoes, waxing, nails, and usually I include a gift but this time I couldn’t. I would literally go into debt if I added a gift so I said, my ministry of being present, will have to be my gift. Whew.

 

THAT WAS A LOCAL WEDDING!

 

Let’s not even get into weddings where you need to travel out of town or where the bachelorette festivities are out of town. OF COURSE, we all want to go all out for weddings, but when it’s frequent weddings and frequent “balling out” festivities, a self-reliant single person needs to become a bit more sober-minded about the amount of money they’re spending. Honestly, looking back, I think the only reason I was able to be in some of these weddings is because I had a roommate to split rent with and didn’t have to help out family. Once I decided to live on my own and inherited the responsibility to help family out financially, all these extra expenditures came under strict scrutiny quicker than the bride could say yes to the proposal. You hear me?

 

When I tallied up the number of weddings I’ve been in and to, and the costs associated with them – I’ve literally spent enough money to have paid for my own wedding. Tick tock tick tock future hubby – while your future wifey can still contribute! Ha!

 

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it can be awkward to decline an invitation to be in someone’s wedding because it is. I haven’t been able to successfully do it without feeling some sort of way but when I remember the costs that will be associated with it, it makes it easier. I love my girls dearly and if I’m really honest, I want to enjoy their day without the temptation to be annoyed because of how much it is costing me to be there. I realize that not everyone will understand but I’ve also made peace with that if we’re really friends – they will. Or at least respect the decision because

 

 

The disclaimer to all of this is that I’m never COMPLETELY out of the game. For example, when the time comes where my sister gets married, if she wants me to stand by her side, I will spend whatever I need to be there for her. However, balancing that discernment of when to be in a bridal party and when it’s okay to decline is what I really want to leave said in this post. And it IS okay, even if taboo, to decline.

 

Below are some helpful things that help me to determine if I should be part of a wedding party:

 

  • Location: Do I have to travel? If so, am I expected to travel multiple times for wedding party festivities? Do I need to book accommodations and will the cost be split?

 

  • Day of expenses: Do I have to pay for hair and makeup? Are the accessories being provided? Do I have to get my nails done? Waxing? Pre-wedding food? Shoes? Do I need to buy some spanx? Am I able to borrow any items from anyone I know?

 

  • Wedding Party Pre-Wedding Festivities: Are we traveling somewhere? What’s the length of time these festivities will occur – a few hours or a few days? Are we splitting costs? What are the bride/groom requests versus the amount of people splitting the costs?

 

  • Attitude: Is your heart in the right place? Will you remove any of the positive energy in this season for the bride/groom? Can you genuinely smile for your friend even when you may not want to?

 

Attitude is another thing that I think we don’t do a great job of paying attention to when accepting an invitation to be a bridesmaid. Now you may disagree with me but if you’re going to be stank through the whole process, do everyone a favor and please kindly decline and have a seat at the table number assigned to you. A lot of this post may sound as reasons why I, I, I can and cannot do XYZ but don’t be deceived into thinking that I’m not 100% clear that this day has NOTHING to do with me. I’m just a participant whether at the altar next to my friend or in my seat in the pew. My responsibility is to take an inventory of my life to see how best to participate.

I in no way want to encourage that people start flaking out on their friends during the most important time of their lives. If you are truly able to be a part of this special day in this special way, then by all means – DO IT! The memories of the festivities and the time leading up to the wedding are precious times that you may not get again. You get to witness up close the motions of moving from singlehood to covenant with God and a spouse. But for the single person, who has a lot on their plate and a single income that doesn’t stretch as far and wide as your friendships do, know that it’s okay to participate in this special moment in another way.

 

As long as your heart is in the right place when declining a bridal party request, it doesn’t mean you love your friend any less. It just means that you are prioritizing order and stewardship in your life. Go you!

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My Top 10 Christian Millennial Influencers

 

 

Disclaimer: All photos courtesy of Facebook

In today’s day and age, it’s so easy to get lost in the chaos of the world and its momentary changes. As soon as you’re dissatisfied with something, bail on it and move to the next. If you don’t like that the alphabet goes from A to Z, start a cause that will fight for it to go from Z to A and it’ll happen. No rules apply anymore and anyone can do anything and say anything as long as you don’t speak against those that are speaking louder. The lines are all blurry if not fully erased. We’re living in ‘anything goes’ days and then wonder how Donald Trump became president.

Contradictions in today’s society are many and being a person with a more conservative opinion on life matters is not popular. In fact, it takes courage to stick by your faith when your faith is constantly being challenged and chastised which in turn leads to you being constantly challenged and chastised.

There are some ladies, as my friend Damira of Hopeful Arms Foundation says, being “the hands and feet in these streets” that I follow on social media and wanted to shout out for being bold, loving and relentless with speaking their Truth. These ladies on any given day spread a message of hope, love and restoration much like the God we serve. They are from all walks of life, each facing their own challenges but still don’t hesitate in encouraging other millennials to keep enduring and run their race.

If you don’t know who these ladies are, you better ask somebody  😉 

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The Day My Ex Lost His Life

It’s natural to be in a reflective mode as each year comes to an end. I particularly like to reflect on where I was a year ago at this time and where I am now. This has been one of my most critical years in growth: spiritually, emotionally, economically – you name it.

For the past few days, my heart seemed to want to reflect on more than just 1 year ago. This morning I was taken back to this day, 10 years ago. I can hardly believe it’s been 10 years already. Ten years since someone I dated and truly cared for lost his life. That would’ve made him 22 yrs old and me 23. When I think about where I was then and where I am now, it seems like a completely different life. I’m thankful for where God has brought me from and although that soul tie has long been broken, I still care for the soul of my ex-boyfriend. Does it lie with Jesus? I pray so.

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Why I stopped listening to Curly Girl YouTubers

Curly Girl

If you’ve embarked on this curly girl journey, you’ve probably already realized that this natural hair life is no joke! This past year of transitioning from my love of bone straight hair to my natural curls has been nothing short of overwhelming. There’s a ton of information out on the web about how best to manage your curly hair and all of the information is different. Ahhhhh!! Initially, I spent entirely too much money on products just to see if my hair would like it. I wound up having over $1,000 in hair care products that I still cannot organize and convicts me every time I see them. I’ve since vowed not to buy another product until I’ve used all of these – and if my hair likes it or not, they will be used!

Starting the Journey

One day a light bulb went off in my head or I got completed frustrated. I don’t remember but I decided not to listen to the many curly hair methods on YouTube and/or Facebook/IG. I’m not a girl that has the patience for the long processes most of them were describing and I had to realize that most of them have an incentive for speaking about a particular product. They either received it free or they were being paid to speak about it. I, however, was foolishly spending all of my money with no results in my hair and no return deposit in the bank. 

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Prayer Over Performance

 

This weekend our church had a Single’s Summit that was filled with 1000+ single men and women seeking God’s will for them to be set free from any strongholds in our lives that are not allowing us to live the abundant life God has promised us.

There can be many reasons as to why singles, especially Christian singles, aren’t living as if they have all of the freedom in the world to do whatever they want without answering to anyone. However, the most common reason singles aren’t embracing this freedom, particularly females, is because we idolize that next season that many of us want: marriage. We allow the desire for marriage to fog our focus and we begin to live performance based lives as if that will guarantee us a ring and life-long commitment.

For the Christian females, it’s often the mentality of ‘if I serve in his ministry, be his yes girl and show him how much I love children, then he’ll want to marry me and make me the mother of his kids’. For nonbelievers, it’s often ‘if I am the baddest chick on the block, am his ride or die and give him whatever he wants in the bed, surely he’ll wife me up’.

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EMBRACE 2017

For the past couple of years, I’ve had a theme of sorts for each year. The theme is usually something I pray about and then see what it is that God wants me to really live out or focus on in the coming year. It’s usually something that if I take serious in seeking, becomes pretty evident  within a few weeks. Confirmations after confirmations come and I know without a doubt, what the theme for the coming year is. Sometimes it’s a single word or a phrase. Either way, it’s become something I like to seek out as each year comes to an end.

In 2015 and 2016, my theme ran overboard. Overboard in my mind but not God’s. It was “all things new”. At first glance, it was pretty exciting thinking about what that could mean and what new things would come my way. Having crawled out of 2016, I know that “all things new”, came with grand sacrifices that when I felt like I didn’t have any more to give – the year kept taking. I even developed a new definition of the word “sacrifice”. Automatically, I think of materialism. However, sacrifice is no longer just something I “have to give up” but something I willingly offer. I noticed in 2016, how unfamiliar that word truly was to me.

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Unashamedly Arlene

Through the years and seasons, I’ve seen styles come and go, feelings be ever present and feelings be ever faded, best friends become old friends and Mr. Right become Mr. what was I thinking? Being 32 now, and having lived in 4 major U.S. cities, I sometimes have to remind myself that I have been through experiences that not every person has been through and seen things that many won’t see in their whole lifetime. I’ve clichély loved and I’ve lost. I’ve seen life being birthed and life being jeopardized. I’ve partied til the sun has come up 3 times and I’ve also found Jesus and spent weekends reading, praying and serving. When I put it on paper, I have to pause and realize that despite my current feelings about where I am in life, I HAVE truly been fortunate to have gone where I’ve gone and done what I’ve done and still be here to tell you guys about it.

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