Fake trend watch: Bridesmaid pre-nuptial agreements

Raymond Chen

My wanderings through the online world of bridesmaid craziness began with the article Brides taking their bridesmaids for Botox treatments or maybe a boob job. I blame the wedding-industrial complex, which constantly pushes weddings as the bride’s “perfect day”, “the best day of your life”, a “fairy tale come true” where you can be “a princess for a day.” (Folk tales which end in big lavish weddings are told from the female point of view; there aren’t many folk tales about the young boy who grows up to marry a beautiful princess.)

And I love Elizabeth A.’s comment called out in the sidebar to the New York Times article.

Back to that article: Is the Botox girl’s night out a real trend or a fake trend? In Pre-nups for bridesmaids. Gain weight and you’re out, the author claims that “one in five women actually ask their bridesmaids to sign a pre-nup.” On that, I call fake trend.

First of all, I could find only one actual documented case of a bride who made her bridesmaids sign contracts agreeing not to gain weight before the wedding. And it was a prank.

Okay, so if it happened only once, where did this “one in five” come from? I followed the citation to the source article in The Daily Mail, which merely says that one in five would ask their bridesmaids to sign such an agreement, not that one in five actually did it.

But wait, there’s more. I followed the citation from that Daily Mail article to the the original survey from You & Your Wedding magazine, and found that it was even weaker than The Daily Mail described it: The actual result was that one in five would consider a bridesmaid contract in general. So we’re double-counterfactual now. And the survey was not scientific; it was just an online survey.

Okay, so let’s tally up the numbers. The claim that one in five brides ask their bridesmaids to sign a pre-nuptial agreement which includes a clause regarding weight would be true if…

  • The online survey results were representative of brides as a whole (and the people who answered the survey were answering seriously), and
  • Everyone who would consider having a bridesmaid pre-nup actually did consider it, and
  • Everyone who considered it followed through and did it, and
  • Every one of those pre-nups contained a clause regarding weight.

I call fake trend.

Bonus link: Extreme wedding planning. Warning: Contains bad dancing.


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