Yes, we've all heard it. Now part of the modern lexicon, Urban Dictionary defines bridezilla as: "One ridiculous spoiled #%!*@ that thinks she is the center of the universe, just because her "show" (the wedding) is 18 months from now. Everyone else in the world has to drop everything and come running in this prima-donna's mind. The marriage will not last more than a couple of years, if the groom to be is lucky."
I confess, I've never seen WE's reality show 'Bridezillas.' But as a soon-to-be bride myself, I have some relevant first-hand experience. And I have to say, of all the aspects of wedding planning (financial, emotional, logistical, etc.), the most challenging element has been dealing with what other people think of me.
The concept of the "Bridezilla" is so common now that unless you're "totally cas" (see Urban Dictionary #3 on this one) about everything, you have the dreaded scent of a bridezilla. Font size isn't right on the invitation? Bridezilla. Didn't get the room you specifically reserved? Bridezilla. Caterer isn't following up when they said they would? Bridezilla.
I've found myself apologizing for caring about these issues, trying in some way to compensate for a new, culturally dominant narrative. "Yeah, I mean, I care, but I'm not like a bridezilla or anything!" (I know this will sound familiar to other brides.) But think about this: invitations often cost several hundred dollars, plus postage. A room at a New England inn? Try $150 a night. And wedding food? $5000, easy.
CNN reports that in the US, the average cost of a wedding in 2012 was $28,400. Even if you have enough time do everything you possibly can yourself, a "budget wedding" is still easily $10,000. To be clear, I'm not debating how privileged we are to spend so much money on one day when so many people don't have enough to eat, and I'm certainly not a proponent of what's becoming the "wedding industrial complex." I bring it up simply because it is the way it is in our country at the moment.
Imagine this: Let's say you decide to do a home renovation. Sure, you don't need to do it, but it'd be really nice. So you dig deep into your savings account but then your parents (and your in-laws) give you a bunch of money, too. Awesome, right? But now, of course, you've got to take their wishes into consideration...like that guest room with an en suite jacuzzi tub.
And guess what! You'll be the foreman on this job, even though you know nothing about construction and you'll probably never do anything like this again. So you hire a crew of professionals but they all have their own schedules and ideas so it's a bit like herding cats. Plus you and your partner are still working on the blueprints so you've got to negotiate all that at the same time.
Don't forget, your friends and family will want to come over regularly to check out the progress! They'll be full of opinions, too...reminding you to consider so and so and pointing out such and such. You'll be navigating traditions and expectations galore. Oh, I forgot to say you'll be working full time as well. And did I mention you'll be kind of emotional because this project and all that's going into it feels like really big deal???
Okay, so I can see I'm getting close to a rant here. Let me come back to my main point which is: BE NICE TO BRIDES. Before you cast the first bridezilla stone, put yourself in their (fancy, uncomfortable) shoes. Remember how significant getting married is. Imagine how much is on their plate right now. And when they tell you how hard planning a wedding is and how sometimes they wish they'd just eloped, try smiling and telling them you understand.
* On a personal note...I have wonderful, undemanding parents and soon-to-be in-laws, and our wedding will coast far below the national average!
Poetry and Musings of an Interfaith Minister on the Journey of a Lifetime.