I Jane, (21/F), was one of Vanessa’s (21/F) three bridesmaids, and her wedding was held at a remote lodge venue up a mountain. When everyone got to the lodge, we did a dry run of the ceremony and surveyed the place. I assumed that the men would go to their cabin and the women would go to ours, and we’d relax before the wedding. Instead, the men immediately headed to the liquor store, and the groom and bride’s mothers began ordering the bridesmaids to move furniture into place.
That night the women did everything from dragging 250 chairs out of the shed and setting them up, to hauling furniture down two flights of stairs and positioning it in other places. Because I was the tallest and strongest person in the group, it was mostly on me to haul the larger pieces around and the mother and mother-in-law of the bride largely stood around talking about details with her. I asked repeatedly if the groom and groomsmen could be called to help, but was told that we “didn’t want to bother them” and that “they’re out unwinding before the big day.” The father of the bride has a heart condition and the father-in-law was much older and walking with a cane, so he couldn’t help out either. At the end of two very sweaty hours, I had splinters, blisters, and was covered in sweat, but everything was set up.
During the wedding I learned that the bride and groom were trying to avoid all of the setup and takedown fees from the venue. The groom’s mother condescendingly patted me on the arm and said that everything would be okay, because “Jane’s our workhorse.” After a bit more conversation I found out that the plan was for the bride and groom to leave, and then the bridesmaids and groomsmen to stick around doing everything from cleaning up trash to moving the furniture back where we’d gotten it.
Toward the end of the party almost everyone had left and I realized that two of the groomsmen were so drunk that they were going to be useless, and it would again be on the bridesmaids to clean up and put all the furniture back up the stairs. I went to tell the bride goodbye. Judging from her slightly panicked expression and “OH….you’re leaving? You’re leaving now?” questions, I realized that she definitely expected me to move the furniture back, but didn’t want to say anything while surrounded by people.
So I left, and my phone blew up as I was driving back down the mountain. The other bridesmaids were texting me and Vanessa’s mother left me an angry voicemail about how I was bailing on my duties as a bridesmaid. The next day, I woke up to a massive paragraph from Vanessa that said it was my fault that they had to pay the $500 cleanup fee, because they weren’t able to get everything put back in time. So for this, Am I A Jerk ?
What would you do in her situation? Here are a few comments on the story where it was originally posted: