Author Eimear Lynch Spills Her Bridesmaid Secrets

It was after three wedding party stints that writer Eimear Lynch set out to chronicle the vast (and sometimes zany) array of bridesmaid experiences. In the resulting book, which just so happens to be our Book Club selection this month, Lynch tells the true, often uproarious stories of women—and a few gentlemen—who have stood by their brides. She opened up to us about what she learned—and why you should always carry double stick fashion tape.

What about the process of being a bridesmaid fascinated you?
I was a bridesmaid three times in one summer, and I realized that it was such an emotional, high stress, sometimes very sentimental time for more than the bride and groom. The story of the sad, bitter, drunk bridesmaid has been told so many times in every rom-com, so I wanted to see what other experiences were out there.

Why do you think that bridesmaids have become so visible in pop culture lately?
A wedding is such a marker point for everyone involved. Often the bridesmaids take that moment to think, I’ve been on the same path as my friend for our entire lives, and now look where she is and where am I. Where am I going next? How has our friendship changed? All of that is ripe for storytelling.

How did you find your subjects for the book?
I knew I didn’t want people from exactly my perspective, so I made a sample table of contents and then I just sought out the bridesmaids I knew I wanted using wedding officiates, planners, caterers, and obviously my extended network.

What story surprised you the most?
I’ll never forget interviewing the Burning Man bridesmaid. That was probably the most surprising, and it was such a great story. As with every bridesmaid that I interviewed, no matter how wild their tales were, each one was really thoughtful and sparked a lot of introspection in me—and hopefully the reader, too.

If you were to be a chapter in the book, what would your title be?
I was a travel editor, so maybe I would be “The Travel Agent.” I’m always organizing the groups, getting everyone together, and planning fun things to do.

Are there any ground rules that you picked up while writing this book?
It’s all about proper communication and being really direct. When people get into trouble, it’s over text message or reading between the lines.

What should a bridesmaid should pack on the day of the wedding?
If there’s one thing that you always wear—whether it’s a lipstick or blush—I would bring that. Another thing is double stick fashion tape. Certainly safety pins are really good; often bridesmaids have problems with their dresses and have to be pinned in because they’re too big or too small. Hairspray always helps!

What have been some of your favorite responses?
People are surprised by how sentimental it is, which is something I’m really happy about. I think that sweet relationship between a bride and [her] bridesmaids is often lost—I’m really glad that I could call attention to that.

Why are you excited to share your book with Birchbox?
I’m imagining that a lot of Birchbox subscribers have been bridesmaids maybe once, twice, or more times than they’d like to admit. I’m hoping that they can identify with some of the stories in the book, and that they emerge from reading it with a different perspective that will help them treat it differently the next time.

You write in the book’s intro that you plan not to have bridesmaids at your future wedding. How did your family and friends react to that?
My mom was very upset about it. I am a people pleaser and having bridesmaids is the worst idea for someone like that because there’s no way that you’re gonna keep everyone happy. [Bridesmaids] certainly make a wedding bigger and more traditional, and my future wedding will probably be pretty low key.

It’s officially wedding season—are you super-booked this year?
I’m actually not—I feel like I’ll probably never be a bridesmaid again because I wrote a book about it, so everyone is too scared to ask me. I think my next wave is maybe a year or two off; it’s so nice to see friends that you otherwise wouldn’t see, especially now that everyone lives all over the world.

Share your best (and worst) bridesmaid stories in the comments below. And find out how to get a copy of the book as a free gift with purchase here.

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