Weddings come in many shapes and sizes. Big and small, indoor and outdoor, lavish and simple, church and Vegas strip chapel. Some are a one-and-done kind of deal, others are filmed for ratings and expire as soon as the season premieres.
It is, accordingly, quite easy to isolate the few constants in the wedding circuit. Weddings require a bride and a groom, and in some places there's a groom and a groom or a bride and a bride. Unfortunately, perhaps the only other thing you can reliably find, at more weddings than not, is a bride whose brain squeezed out her ears as the groom was squeezing a diamond over her knuckle.
A reader has remarked on this phenomenon, and asked me to opine. Not surprisingly, I have an opinion to give.
Say the word "Bridezilla" to anyone who has a basic comprehension of the English language, and they'll immediately know what you are talking about. Maybe they're a big fan of "Say Yes to The Dress" or the show simply called "Bridezilla." Maybe they were once a bridesmaid in a wedding where the bride threatened to rip out the uterus of any member of the bridal party who didn't dye her kitten heels chartreuse and tattoo an image of Hello Kitty to her instep (since Hello Kitty had, after all, gotten the bride through that rough time in college and if you couldn't pay tribute to that, then who were you to call yourself a friend, anyway?). Or maybe they just had really messed up toys as a kid.
Whatever the reason, everyone -- from my 98-year-old aunt to my 4-year-old daughter -- knows what a Bridezilla is. And they're all scared of her. Including the women who will one day become a Bridezilla.
The slightly comforting news here, and it must be acknowledged, is that some brides only dip a toe into the Bridezilla waters. They're the brides who really care about incorporating their grandmother's veil into her own wedding attire, or think a champagne fountain would be fun, or cry a little bit when they first hear that the wedding budget isn't as much as she'd hoped. These are the brides who exhibit just the right amount of perfection paranoia. Who we all refer to as darling or lovely or composed. Who we all want to keep interacting with after The Big Day.
Then there are the other ones, who just dive in headfirst and drown in a sea of "this really doesn't matter" and "you need to get a grip." The ones who can say "it's MY day!" in several languages and without even having to move her lips. The ones who have everyone in tears as they march down the aisle, not because they're overwhelmed with sentimentality but because they're terrified about what the bride is going to make them do next.
Now, I'm all for a good dose of selfishness when it comes to your wedding. It is, kind of, "your" day, and everyone gets one if they want one. But when I think of the deserved selfishness, it's usually along the lines of "nothing should get in the way of you enjoying your wedding day." If your mother is in a snit or your uncle can't find a place to park or your niece is pissed her basket is full of flower petals and not Skittles, you have every right to simply IGNORE and fluff your veil. It's "your" day because no one should get to rain on "your" parade.
But a day, lest it be forgotten, is 24 hours long.
I have no idea where that got translated into a bride's authority to dominate every minute and every detail of the weeks and months leading up to that DAY. Or why enjoying said day hinges on whether the bridal shower involves acrobatic elephants or the groomsmen learn to sing "The Power of Love" in harmony or the wedding cake is studded with Tiffany diamonds.
To me, obsession over -- and exaggeration of -- every. single. detail. is a waste of time and completely defeats the point. When all is said and done, wedding guests are going to evaluate the event based on the imprecise scale of "did I just have a good time?" Then they internally answer that with a simple yes or no. Whether or not the table linens were of an adequate thread count is not going to factor into that verdict. Whether or not the bride spent the entire reception in tears because the waiters served from the right and someone forgot to put the dove decals on the wine bottles most certainly will.
Which leads to the bigger point. The great thing about the wedding day being "your" day is that, as insinuated above, it should be the one day where the bride -- and hopefully the groom -- is/are deliriously, unabashedly, happy. No one can hate you for the grin you have plastered across your face, the tears you have brimming in your eyes, and the constant ooohhhing and aaahhhing and cooing you let fly. Because we're doing it too. For you. You do look beautiful and you are rightfully joyous and this is a wonderful day and we do want to celebrate you. And him. Enjoy THAT. Make THAT the focus of "your" day.
Look at the faces of all the most important people in your life, not the officiant who wore glasses instead of contacts. Feel the silk of the most beautiful dress you'll ever wear for mere hours, not the sweat you lather yourself into because people aren't paying close enough attention to the documentary of your love story that you're playing before allowing cocktail hour to begin. Listen to the words your fiance says as he becomes your husband, not the clicking of the 7 photographers you hired to paparazzi the affair. Smell the air as you walk down the aisle, not the trouble brewing in the music pit as the trumpeters try to make room for both a bagpipe and an accordion. Taste your first meal as a newlywed, not the inside of your cheek as you try to restrain yourself from telling the band to lay off the trombones.
They say "the devil is in the details" because if you focus too much on the details, you become the devil.
So, brides and brides-to-be, when it comes to "your" day, just let go. You'll have a much better time. And so will we.
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