An acquaintance recently shared what she characterized as a nightmarish experience as a bridesmaid for one of her best friends. In her words, the bride’s expectations, which included five shopping and fitting expeditions, were unreasonable — both on her time, her pocketbook and her self-esteem (she says she’s never felt so humiliated being “on display” in bridal shops filled with tiny dresses designed for tiny women). She says she’d come home and burst into tears but would not tell her friend for fear of hurting her feelings and drawing attention away from her “special day”. She felt stuck and depressed — knowing at some point she’d have to set some boundaries here but she vowed she would never agree to be a bridesmaid again.
While I have only rarely met couples and more specifically brides, in my work that have thrown tantrums and/or made unreasonable demands on people’s time and energy, stories abound with so-called “bridezillas” in wedding ceremony and planning circles. I have met many women who told me that far from being the best day of their life (as the wedding magazines suggest), they remember their wedding day as one of the worst days or at least the most stressful — often filled with seething resentments. Instead of demonizing these brides however (women get enough of that!), I prefer to think about the ways in which women are pressured to have that so-called “perfect wedding” and the kind of stress and anxiety those pressure create.
First, let’s be clear. There’s no such thing as a “perfect” wedding.
That said, if you have to make choices, this article by matchmaker Sophie Papamarko (the article is posted below as well) might help struggling brides put things into perspective. There is only so much a bride can expect from others. If you’re struggling to do what’s best, it might be helpful from a values and goals perspective to think, “What do I want to remember the most from this? And, what do I want my guests to remember?” A hint: They won’t remember your flowers or cake and neither will you. They will remember horrible feelings or joyful and loving feelings your wedding evoked – both on the day during the ceremony, and in the days and months leading up to the wedding. Those kind of memories last forever and can make or break relationships with family and friends. This I have seen many times before.
Another good reminder? If you, the bride, are feeling overwhelmed and unable to reign yourself in (a good marker is to simply reflect on how good or bad this process is making you feel — this includes thinking about how many fights are had and tears are shed), it might be time to speak with someone you trust – a loving friend, family member or counsellor/therapist — someone who can help you manage the emotional rollercoaster and perhaps change course. It is not a sign of failure. It is great practice for the inevitable bumps that come with marriage, and life in general.
Here is the Article: Banish Your Inner Bridezilla
Weddings are wonderful, magical and incredibly stressful occasions.
Some brides-to-be do not handle the stress well and are prone to transforming into self-involved, greedy, spoiled, childish, petty, entitled, pouty jerks (see: the entire series run of Bridezilla). Don’t be a nightmare bride.
We have some pointers on how to plan the wedding of your dreams without alienating your friends and family.
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Don’t be passive-aggressive
Remember the bride who charged a no-show with a child care dilemma the per-plate costs of their herb-crusted walleye? Don’t be like that bride. She only succeeded in making family reunions awkward forever. And I bet the walleye wasn’t even that good.
Delegate (but not too much)
What I am about to tell you may come as a shock: your wedding isn’t the No. 1 most important thing in the lives of your friends and family. Hard to believe, I know. Everyone is happy for you and looking forward to the big day, but the lion’s share of planning, preparations and Pinteresting is the couple’s domain.
There’s a limit to what you can and should ask of others. Endless crafternoons, invitation sealing and stamping sessions, national bridal shows, dress shopping, more dress shopping, DJ interviewing, high-tea planning, hair and makeup trial runs … it never ends!
Don’t implicate others in every aspect of the pre-wedding madness: it’s supposed to be your special day, not your special full calendar year.
People who love you will be happy to lend a hand if you’re feeling overwhelmed, but respect that other people’s lives do not revolve around you or your wedding.
They may prefer to spend the weekend with their children or a good book instead of hunting down crystal centrepieces at suburban outlet malls.
Your bridesmaids are not Warren Buffetts
They are also not pals with Richard Branson, Oprah, Bill Gates or Donald Trump (thank goodness).
All that is to say: your friends don’t have unlimited funds to spend on your nuptials. Between the dress, the shoes, the bridal shower, the stag and doe, the bachelorette party and the wedding gift, your bridal party is going to be pretty financially tapped out.
Try to keep their expenses reasonable by not demanding their dress be made out of furs and charmeuse, their shoes be Louboutins and that they simply must hop on a plane to Maui for one last single girls’ hurrah. Real talk: the only person who should sink into debt for your special day is you.
Don’t expect gifts
Wedding gifts are a nice thing that people give if they are willing and able. Wedding gifts are not a thing you are owed. A wedding is a celebration of love. It is not a cash (or china or linen or small appliance) grab.
We do not live in a magical fantasy world, so it’s fair to say that stuff will happen on your wedding day. Bad stuff. Stuff that you did not plan for at all. The caterer could be running late. The DJ might be high. Drops of water may fall from the sky.
Your hard-of-hearing grandmother might take full advantage of the open bar and give an impromptu speech about how she was sure you’d be alone forever, so she’s thrilled to see you marrying someone, even though he’s bald.
Your wedding day is supposed to be special, but it’s probably not going to be perfect.
It’s about celebrating your love in the presence of those who love you the most. Don’t throw a tantrum if things don’t go exactly according to plan.
If you can’t gracefully handle imperfect moments at your wedding, how do you suppose you’re going to handle a marriage?
Sofi Papamarko is a writer and matchmaker. Reach her at facebook.com/sofipapamarko.