When the very sight of yet another letterpress invitation fills your once-wedding-loving heart with dread, you've got an 18-month-long-bride in your life. Remember those days when a friend getting married meant you picked up a mixing bowl at Crate & Barrel and a few months later had a nice chicken dish while the DJ played "At Last"? What with the infestation of events and the expansion of bridal parties lately—not to mention the showers thrown by the bridesmaid and the other bridesmaid and the maid of honor and the other maid of honor—weddings have become the friendship equivalent of Ironman triathlons. But you can skip the minibus-with-the-stripper-pole party without putting a damper on the bridal bliss. If you're on the hook for six gift-giving events, consider coordinating with five friends, so that you can all go in together (and, essentially, each just buy one gift). Also, being a bridesmaid is going to mean even more events and investments (those traveling stripper poles don't pay for themselves, you know), so you might just want to deal tell the bride that you love her dearly but would rather attend as a civilian. Make it up to her with a special brunch, just the two of you—at a place where they serve unlimited mimosas, if at all possible.
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