Uma took this photo.
Once I heard an urban legend about a bride, supposedly a friend-of-a-friend, who made her bridesmaids lose weight for her wedding.
I was amazed that she (a) cared; and (b) had the fearlessness to look a friend in the eye, ask her for a hugely expensive favor, criticize her looks, and then ask her to change for the sake of wedding pictures.
Mostly (a), but … who are these people and how do they get that kind of hubris? I have trouble asking friends for money when they owe me.
I’ve never actually met a bridezilla. Do they really exist?
Some of my friends have jokingly described themselves as such, like when one wanted a difficult-to-find dress, and another wanted to use locally-grown pears to decorate the tables and asked her friends to polish them.
But in these cases, being bridezilla just meant, “a woman with an opinion about how her wedding should go,” and not “a raving lunatic.”
By these standards, I was not a bridezilla. And I do not say this to humblebrag, though I can imagine it sounds a lot like when, in my 20s, I’d hear women say things like, “I could never have a one-night stand, not even if I tried.”
(The implication, of course, was that they were too wholesome and had too many options to stoop so low.)
I assure you, I’m not cool and easy-going—more like overcome with paralysis and overwhelmed by choices. As I’ve learned, there are many ways to be a pain in the ass to people who love you; there are a million ways to be bridezilla. As my sister Coco once said to me: “It’s like you’re trying so hard not to be Bridezilla, that you’re ironically being Bridezilla.”
Some choose fight, I chose flight.
Here’s something else I’ve learned: if you’re the bride, the world still believes it’s your Day. Regardless of where you stand on gender roles, and the wedding-industrio-complex, the world has a point, because—if you choose to go down the traditional-route—you have a starring role in the family pageant that is a wedding.
The simplest way you can help the people you love in the months leading up to the Day is to have a vision for how they can help you. Manage them, if you want to be crass about it. Basically, be a bridezilla.
No one wants to be that jackass relative who ruins your day. Family members expect to be told what tie to wear or what color dress to buy. (Tip: saying, “I really don’t care,” makes it sound like you don’t care about them or their question, not that you low-key and chill.)
If you are clear about what you want, everyone is happy. And if you are not, you are like a drunk ship captain scaring away the sailors with your incoherence — people are coming to you with questions and concerns, but leaving more afraid for the future.
(Of course, you should be flexible and not be a dictator about it, but that’s obvious, right?)
What was going on my head is that party planning is not my strong suit, and it became easier to do nothing than to investigate the millions of options and make a plan. Wedding sites were not helpful friends, they freaked me out with the DIY hand-carved hangers, and customized programs. When The Knot started sending me emil countdowns to my big day, I unsubscribed.
Also, over the years, I’d absorbed enough disdain for the wedding industrio-complex, and so fully embraced the mantra “it’s not about the party, it’s about the marriage,” that I ignored the fact that party is special, too. At least it is if you invite people you love and want them to have fun.
Thankfully my sister and my mom helped with everything from picking flowers to menu options to helping me choose a dress. And Joanna kicked in with everything else. (In fact, I’m worried that if any of them see this, they will be like, “Kerry you did not plan a thing, you fool.”)
But my point is that I could have made everyone’s lives easier in the months leading up to it if, CEO-style, I’d started with a clear mission statement, like, “we really want to live out our vision of a 1980s high school prom and have mermaids and lobster decor!”
Or whatever. Help them help you.
And so, my unsolicited advice to everyone planning a wedding is: Don’t be afraid to be bridezilla. It’s the kind thing to do.
And once you’re done with that, we can work on having stricter definitions of “bridezilla” and delve into gender roles and the wedding-industrial-complex and all that.