If you have ever furiously scrolled past 27 Dresses while searching for something to stream out of fear that watching Katherine Heigl carry out bridesmaid duties for two hours could trigger your own bridal party-related trauma, I am here to confirm that your instincts were correct. I recently rewatched the 2008 romantic comedy, and am sorry to report that it was brutal. In fact, I actually can’t believe how easy this “perennial bridesmaid” had it.
When 27 Dresses first premiered, the entire point of the film was to tell the love story of a woman named Jane (Katherine Heigl) who was always a bridesmaid and never a bride… while also driving home the fact that this chick was up to her eyeballs in tacky tulle gowns. She’d been a bridesmaid a whopping 27 times, seven of which occurred in a single year. In 2008, these statistics were probably intended to come across as ridiculous without being full-on hyperbolic, but in 2021? I’m unimpressed. If a friend told me she was in seven weddings this year, sure, I’d buy her a glass of wine at happy hour and let her know my iMessages are always a welcome place for shit-talking voice memos. (Pro tip: The first rule of being a bridesmaid is you don’t talk shit about being a bridesmaid in a way that will leave incriminatory screenshots behind.) Would I be sympathetic? Yes. But would I be shocked? Not in the least. Once you hit the age of 26, your entire social life starts to revolve around weddings, and if you’re not in multiple bridal parties at once, you’ve at least tried to make plans with a friend of yours who is and doesn’t have time for you until winter 2023.
After watching 27 Dresses as a woman who has seen some shit (I’m talking customized bachelorette party one pieces, countless “same penis forever” banners, and bridal showers that rival some royal weddings), I’m convinced that even the laziest bridesmaid in your average bridal party has more on her plate than Jane, the type-A rom-com character whose toxic trait is her inability to say no. Before any die-hard fans of early aughts romantic comedies come at me, I’d like to clarify that I’m not saying that Jane didn’t do a lot of work. She did. But she was really more of a wedding planner than anything else, and truthfully, I don’t think she would have had the stamina to survive being a bridesmaid in today’s climate.
27 Dresses opens with Jane bouncing between two weddings in a single night, one in Manhattan and another in Brooklyn. For $300 (my Lyft history is shaking at that absolute steal of a rate), Jane hires a cab driver to take her between the venues all night long while she changes in the back seat. As viewers, we’re supposed to be impressed with Jane’s tireless efforts to flawlessly carry out bridesmaid duties in not one, but two weddings. But honestly? The math is simply not mathing. Logistically, there’s no way she’d be able to pull that off these days, when bridesmaids are lucky if they can snag a hair and makeup timeslot later than 6:30am. If Jane were to ever stroll into a 2021 wedding thinking she could leisurely dip out to make another ceremony in the same night, she’d be smacked with the harsh reality that she probably wouldn’t even have enough wiggle room in her schedule to keep a Snapchat streak going with the guy she’s dating who still tragically uses Snapchat.
Another major part of the movie that has me calling bullshit is the fact that Jane has an entire closet (in her Manhattan apartment, mind you), in which she stores all 27 of the heinous frocks brides have forced her to dress in under the guise of being able to shorten them and wear them again in the future. Honey, if you’re going to be in that many weddings, ample closet space simply won’t do the job. In 2021, Jane would need an entire storage unit just to hold all of the bullshit she’d acquire. Being the quintessential bridesmaid wouldn’t seem so cute and and quirky once she racks up a monthly fee to hold all of the custom wedding favor beer coozies, bachelorette party fanny packs, and boxes of random shit with her name on it that some overzealous bride with a Cricut made in an attempt to create an Instagrammable bridesmaid proposal box.
So what exactly would 27 Dresses look like in 2021? Open your eyes. On a Sunday morning, peek at Instagram to see how many girls from your sorority are now posting photos of themselves standing among eight other women in matching, ill-advised “bride tribe” tank tops. 27 Dresses is literally happening every single day all around us. So, check in on the bridesmaids you know. What little closet space they have is filled to the brim with flimsy straw beach bags from Etsy and customized drink tumblers. They have no PTO left. And worst of all, they’re burning through cash faster than The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in Christian Dior on a cast trip, and will probably never be able to own property because some girl named Kelsey from college made them spend that down payment on a weekend of bottle service and yacht excursions in Miami. To add insult to injury, I’m pretty sure people have stopped trying to pretend that you can shorten a bridesmaid gown and wear it again later. Only the luckiest among us will be able to resell that shit on Poshmark.