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surviving the
ridal shower  
by Karri Peifer
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Despite the images promoted by blockbuster films and Must-See-TV, the life of a bridesmaid is an expensive, task-filled campaign wrought with enormous stress and responsibility. As any of us who've been in the role have already found, once the initial bliss from the honor of winning the bridesmaid title has subsided, the victor is left with a clutter of warped traditions and a bevy of catty women. With four weddings under my belt and at least five more on the front, I've learned that a bridesmaid can either sheepishly hand over her credit card to the other bridesmaids, or she can arm herself with an arsenal of tips and tricks to survive the events ahead. And one of the more arduous, and seemingly arbitrary events is The Bridal Shower.

the "history"
The bridal shower may seem like a harmless ritual. It is, in its simplest form, the gathering of people in a home. It ought to only require a small spread of hors-d'oeuvres and a chair positioned to honor the bride. In reality, however, the bridal shower becomes a fray -- a myriad of people looking to be entertained, fed, and processed out the other side, feeling confident that their time was worth the price of admission.

The bridal shower custom traditionally arose as a means to provide poor women with a dowry. Friends would gather with the hopeful bride and "shower" her with money and goods, thereby enabling the dowryless woman to marry. In the 21st century, however, the tradition has evolved somewhat from its original intentions. While it may seem that maxing out your credit card to supply the bride with a pizza stone and crotchless panties will not in any way affect her marital potential, this is simply not the point.

Though the casual observer may find (and I firmly believe this to be true) that there is little point to the shower other than the acquisition of additional gifts, it is, apparently, a necessary rite for most brides. And, as the bridesmaid, your role is to stand happily aside, occasionally offer well-wishes, and perpetuate the archaic rituals that the bride expects.

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