Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Have You Hugged a Bridezilla Today?

Opinions on weddings are like dead salesmen under the staircase: everyone has a lot of them.

Or is that just me?

Anyway, the moment you say you're engaged, you will absorb opinions from virtually every corner of the Known Universe. Weddings are too stuffy nowadays. They've become tacky and gauche. Registries are a courtesy to your guests! Registries are gauche! Dollar dances are fun! Dollar dances are gauche! (Note: I hadn't even heard of the 'dollar dance' until recently, and let me just say I am not combining an open bar with people safety-pinning money to my dress. It sounds like a great way to get stabbed.) And the saddest, most common opinion of them all: weddings are stupid and lame and expensive and everyone should just elope.

Killjoy, party of one!

I want a wedding. I love to throw a good party. I just don't want to throw a good party that is filled with people I don't know or care about, that adds up to years of debt.

But I'm just a few weeks in, and I can see why some brides lose their headpieces altogether. There are very strong, and often conflicting, expectations on How Weddings Are Done. And you feel like virtually anyone will hurl the word "bridezilla" at you for virtually anything, from demanding your bridesmaids get matching haircuts (yes, 'zilla) to not wanting their single guests to bring a random date because it will shoot the budget to hell (no, not 'zilla).

One bride on the wedding forum I frequent (shut up) asked the group if what she was doing was bizarre and unheard of or totally inappropriate.

At this point, I thought she was going to enter the reception on a carousel horse that had been mounted on a giant Pogo stick, to the strains of "Babalu." And I was ready to applaud her unique vision.

No. The poor lady just wanted to have a dessert buffet with cannolis and tiramasu, instead of a standard cake. And for this, she fully expected to be shamed and hassled. And, honestly, I am sure some nosy, badly-in-need-of-a-life old biddy relative will lay on the guilt because she expected to see a flavorless mass of white fondant.

Ultimately, I don't agree with the people who say, "It's your day! Do what you want!" Because if that were the case, wouldn't we just do away with guests altogether? But it's a feat of tact and class to balance what you want and what your intended wants, all while making sure your guests will be pleased and the expenses won't haunt you for years to come.

Now, this post isn't me complaining. I have a long and storied history of not giving a damn about what people think of me. But if you have an engaged friend who left her better senses somewhere in a pile of tulle, cut her some slack. She's probably just stressed and doing the best she can.

In the comments, tell me the fine line between bride and bridezilla.


Brando said...

The real fine line is the same difference between "focused" and "psycho" or between "assertive" and "obnoxious". It's all a question of degree, and an ability to know what you want without being rigidly nasty about it. A bridezilla simply makes everything unpleasant for everyone, including herself, while a bride simply wants things to go a certain way and can accept when such things aren't feasible.

Dagny Taggart said...

I would add to Brando's description that a bridezilla generally feels entitled to excessive deference, as though they were titled members of an aristocracy, albeit temporarily.

Shannon said...

Brando - Fair enough.

Dagny - I've heard it described as "a bride wants a wedding, a bridezilla wants a coronation." Is that about right?

Dagny Taggart said...

That is, I think, very nearly exactly it. Excellent phrase!

kate.d. said...

funny that you mention the +1 conundrum, as i just read this interesting defense of +1s in slate yesterday. he makes some good points, i think...but then again i eloped to vegas, so i honestly can't speak much to it!

Shannon said...

Dagny - Indeed!

Kate.d - I saw that article as well, and it honestly just sounded like the author had an ax to grind because his friends and family obviously didn't think much of his girlfriend. Otherwise, they probably would have invited her to weddings!

My view on the plus one thing is that if you have a steady, I am happy to include them. I just can't afford/have room for everyone who wants to bring a date for the sake of bringing one. (Also, the very idea of getting married in front of random strangers gives me stage fright!)

One Blonde Girl said...

Huh. Back in the mountains, the Dollar Dance involved waiting in a long line to shove $1 bills into the newlyweds' clothing and then dance with them for about 15 seconds.

I knew a bride who had her life so orchestrated that she was able to be exactly 3 months pregnant at her wedding just so she could announce at the end of the couple's slide show that she was preggers 'cause she thought it would be so adorable. She was FURIOUS when she learned before the wedding that her sister was pregnant too because she thought sister dear would steal her thunder.

Lemon Gloria said...

I think you and Dagny have the line pretty well defined.

I am very much in the "it's your day, do what you want" camp - with the recognition that you have to be delicate with other people's feelings as well, because so many family and friends get so invested in YOUR wedding. I think wear what you want, get the food you want, get the cake or no cake you want, serve whatever alcohol (or, yikes, none if it's your preference (not YOU YOUR - I know you that well), although that just seems cruel) etc etc.

I think the hardest thing for me was not being a tremendous bitch to my in-laws-to-be who were pissing me off left and right.

Shannon said...

Foggy - Thanks! Which is why I've appointed you the Complaint Bouncer - you are officially allowed to bounce anyone who complains about something stupid. Such as the rail liquor. Hrm. OK, maybe that won't be my best idea.

OBG - It's less the dollar dance and the announcement of the pregnancy (or the thunder stealing)...but the SLIDE SHOW? Man, I am just not a fan of those!

LG - The in-laws-to-be have been a dream, and, honestly, so far I haven't gotten all that much blowback. Maybe a riot will break out when I refuse to have a bouquet toss, and I'll feel vindicated?

FoggyDew said...

What we should start doing is saving the bottles from the good booze we drink...then refill them with rail liquor. It's not like anyone could actually tell the difference anyway.

lacochran's evil twin said...

I just heard on the radio that people are now getting married in retail stores. We're talking TJ Maxx. I'm not kidding.

Apparently the stores provide the space for free because they love the publicity.

To which I say: It's a TJ MAXX! *shudder*

Gooseberried said...

I don't know. I generally think that one is slipping into the bridezilla category when she starts demanding unreasonable things from anyone that may be involved in the wedding. And that's not just bridesmaids. Parents, in-laws, planners, florists, etc.

Also, I see a bridezilla when a woman has an emotional breakdown in front of a crowd of people. I'm the type of person who think that no matter how pent up and strong your emotions might be, there's always time to retreat to the bathroom to have your meltdown and then return to the crowd once it has passed.

Shannon said...

Foggy - You can't really tell the difference until you're over 30. Then you can tell the difference via the hangover.

Lacochran - But what if I got married in a Kohl's? Eh, to hell with that, there aren't any Metro-accessible ones.

Gooseberried - Oh, I feel you on public meltdowns! Emotions do run high, but it's better to step away and collect yourself instead of unfurling a big mess of angry raging fondant fury on everyone.

Carla @ I Run, You Run said...

I was seeing an episode of "bridezilla" (which annoys me to no end, most of those girls are crazy), and as the bride is about to walk to the aisle, her sister steps on her dress and rips it. The bride freaks out and cries. The bridesmaids safety pin it back so it's not as noticeable, while her sister mutters "bridezilla!" -- is it me, or is this perfectly acceptable behavior? You rip my dress, the most expensive item of clothing that I will ever own, right as I'm about to get married and I'm the bridezilla?

By the way, which wedding forum? I found that the knot = really rude opinionated people, while = really nice people, but with good tips.

Mr. J said...

Brides roll with the punches, as well they have to. Bridezillas will focus on the small, inconsequential details that don't go right that no one else remembers and perseverate on them ad infinitum. To avoid becoming the latter, remember that you're a bride for a day, but you'll be a wife (hopefully) for a lifetime.

Shannon said...

Carla - Wow. It's not even that the sister stepped on her dress (some wedding gowns have trains that could take you down the Eastern Seaboard) it's that the sister chose to snipe at the bride, instead of comfort her. I'd probably be pretty upset if someone damaged an outfit I'd spent money and months of searching on, too.

Mr. J - Are you implying that alphabetizing my flowers won't be immediately obvious? Let me tell you, if the daisies come BEFORE the peonies, I will lose my mind.

Shannon said...

Oh - Carla - I like Wedding Wire. The spelling is bad, but the advice is good.