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Wedding Woes: Don’t Become a Bridezilla

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“I’m marrying you, Carrie. Not 300 people,” said Carrie Bradshaw’s love, Mr. Big, as he tried to convince her to tone down their wedding in the Sex in the City movie.

When I heard Big say this, I felt validated. It was as if all my thoughts about weddings and marriages had been vocalized in a couple of short sentences in a blockbuster movie. I usually find myself in the minority of the female population, because I can’t understand the validity of a big wedding and the transformation of a bride into a "bridezilla."

My understanding of a wedding is that it is merely a symbolic ceremony of two people’s love for each other. It’s not an effort to prove this love. Instead, it’s a ceremony meant to be shared with those who, like your fiancé, also have a piece of your heart. No matter what the religion, or even if it’s not a religious ceremony at all, it’s still sentimental enough that it does not require fluff to pad the love of the person you’ll be spending the rest of your life with.

The idea that a wedding should more of a production than a sincere ceremony between two people has somehow spun out of control, with TV shows documenting the weddings of bridezillas, professionals in the wedding planning industry making millions per wedding, and the wedding party becoming an exclusive VIP group.

This essentially 21st century fantasy of a fairy tale wedding has hit a frivolous, over-dramatic peak that seems to have affected the whole country. This trend isn’t present in just one type of bride, or even one religion. It’s found in most all religions – Catholic, Jewish, Protestant – and even non-denominational weddings, proving that it’s not a question of morals or traditions but simply a function of a modern Western society that has planted unrealistic ideas in the minds of all brides.

From girls’ youngest and most impressionable ages, we've been taught that a wedding is our time to be a princess. We’re informed through movies, books, and culture in general that we’ll have our Prince Charming, a thousand-dollar venue, table linens, and a killer body for our killer dress.

Although not married, I think it’s pretty safe to say that the “Prince Charming” will probably have some flaws (which you’ll learn to love of course).  Table linen or flower budgets might have to be cut in order to get your dream venue. And the dream dress might not be on the ideal wedding-weight body when it comes down to the big day.

Sure, Carrie Bradshaw had her size-zero body ripped and toned and an unbelievably gorgeous Vivienne Westwood wedding dress. Her bridesmaids were fashionably chic. And perhaps most perfect of all, and a telltale sign that Carrie had become a bridezilla, was that her wedding took place in the mammoth, over-the-top New York Public Library. This tipped the wedding over the edge and into a bridezilla downfall.

It’s not that you can’t have too many perfect things in one life. Rather, it's that at too many weddings there comes a point when the particular place and angle that the groom is standing becomes more important than what the man standing there has to offer and how much he loves you.

These imperfect things are what ultimately drive bridezillas to their insanity. From watching just a couple of episodes of the TV show Bridezillas (it’s hard to watch for longer than 20 minutes in one sitting) I’ve seen that the tiniest obscurity, like a bridesmaid not wanting to get a French tip manicure, can “ruin” a wedding for one of these bridezillas.

Whether it’s a manicure problem, a late limo driver, a misplaced flower, or an incompetent mother-in-law, a bride should resist turning into a giant scary monster before marrying the man she’ll be with for the rest of her life, because that could be a deal-breaker.  Her priorities have become twisted beyond recognition.

Number one, and most essential, is to go into the wedding day without crazy expectations and an unrealistic mindset. This means it’s OK to want the flower arrangements to be at all the tables and your rings to be with the ring bearer, but not OK to want all your bridesmaids to have the same hair color and expect the wedding party and guests to all be exactly on time.  Simply looking at your wedding day more as a celebration than as a production can make relieve the tension of any number of small problems.

Second, even if you want to have a smaller wedding with less hype and drama, it’s possible you'll get a different kind of drama from friends and relatives who think it’s necessary to have a colossal wedding because you only have a wedding once. Don’t let others influence your own day, because that in itself is adding excess drama and moving away from the reason behind the wedding in the first place.

The fact of the matter is, everyone is affected by a bridezilla. Not just your husband, your mom or your maid of honor. It’s you who are ultimately affected when you’ve upset the people who mean the most to you by concerning yourself too much with those who don’t.

Letting materialistic wants and needs consume you can hurt any relationship, not just an approaching marriage. Your parents wanting an elaborate wedding can put stress on your lifelong relationship. A ridiculous demand from your maid of honor the minute before you walk down the aisle can foster bitterness for years to come. The desire for a sparkly engagement ring can tear a relationship apart before you get a chance to say “I do.” And wanting to make a new relationship "permanent" and official can end it before it even begins.

“I let the wedding get bigger than Big,” Carrie Bradshaw said in a moment of clarity, reflecting upon what went wrong.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a wedding, a relationship, a job, or money, the point is still the same and easy to change: don’t let the distractions around you take over the core of the matter.

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About Autumn Huffman