Wedding planning has just about pushed Grace Kim over the edge. Already she's bought an expensive dress, organized myriad events, scouted locations, mulled color schemes, agonized over tiny details and played referee between between warring factions of friends.
And she's not even the one getting married.
Of course a wedding is a bride and groom's special day. But you know who deserves a standing ovation after the first dance? Everyone else. The parents and siblings and bridesmaids and groomsmen and friends who let this blessed event take over their lives for a year, dominating every conversation, sapping precious vacation days and vacuuming up the last few pennies from their emergency fund.
"I'm exhausted," Kim said last week. "And it's only May!"
Kim, a 27-year-old marketing manager who grew up in Fairfax and now lives in New York City, attended her first wedding of the year in April. She has others in June and August, plus two in September. Along the way, she's accrued the horror stories only a four-time bridesmaid can tell — in one wedding, she'll be forced to wear a flapper dress; for another she'll have to show up five days early, per the bride's request.
And because Kim has experience in event planning, she's become the go-to strategist for her engaged friends, spending one to two hours a day consulting with the brides. Kim, who's in a relationship but not ready to get married, estimates that already this year she's spent $2,700 on other people's weddings and will probably spend around $6,000 by the end of 2012.
"When you become a bridesmaid or any part of the wedding, people think it's an honor — but you quickly realize that it's not," she says. "There's a lot of work involved that's not really divulged when you get into it."