Friday, March 20, 2015

Planning A Wedding: On Bridezillas

Photo: Amelia Johnson, source

Any person that dedicates 14 months to planning a giant party, shells out unthinkable amounts of money for (what will usually be) a mediocre catered dinner and pieces of tulle, is liable to go a bit crazy. 14 months of planning anything (be it a conference, work event, celebration) causes a bit of a perspective warp. Nothing else seems to hold quite the level of significance as that one giant looming day in the future for a bride. This could also explain why there are post-wedding blues that are said to be quite a doozy.

However, people attending a wedding usually spend about 15 minutes planning for their arrival, gift, and outfit. It is not this giant, looming, insanely expensive, madly planned day for guests, family, and friends. Even your bridesmaids and groomsmen view it as one day that someone else planned that they are (hopefully) excited to attend. 

Photo: Anastasiya Belik, source

During the first few months of our engagement, I struggled with a few things that blew out of proportion due to their association with this one big day. My maid of honor and I didn't communicate properly and between confused expectations, some of my resentment, and the error of not picking up a phone to hash it out, we had a bit of a multi-month struggle. At times I felt rather ignored by my future in-laws (no engagement party? not attending our shower?) and built up some animosity toward their treatment of our future one big day.

Perhaps the most important, sane and ultimately revelatory things I read online said something to the effect of: just because you're getting married, doesn't mean the people involved in the wedding (your family, friends, bridal party) change who they are. If your mother-in-law is always late, she's not going to modify her behavior because you got engaged. If your maid of honor is not a planner, she's not going to become a planner extraordinaire for your wedding. 

That information seems extremely obvious, but bogged down in a sea of "what appetizers" and "which color of pale pink?!!" for hours a day, over the course of a year, you lose sight of the common-sense part of planning. So yes, this one big event was taking up about 250% of my mom and my waking and sleeping hours, but it wasn't that all-consuming for everyone else involved (and understandably so). I had to sit back and recognize that I picked my maid of honor because she was my best friend, not because she was amazing with deadlines and arranging events. I had to remember that my in-laws are who they are - they're not big on planning and they prefer to go through life at their own pace. Ben and I getting married was not, will not, and will never be a catalyst to change them at their core. And that's 100% okay. 

Photo: Jose Villa, source

It's disturbingly easy to start bridezilla-ing. You're caught up in something that means a great deal to you - you're anxious, happy, excited, nervous, paranoid, overwhelmed, and tired. All the sudden the tiniest details (she bought brown shoes instead of the gold shoes I recommended!??!?) seem to be these giant slights. I spent yesterday at work crying in the hall because of some wedding-related snafu (I do not normally cry in the halls). If that doesn't suggest the emotional investment into this whole affair, then I'm not sure what does. 

My advice to any and every soon-to-be-bride is to abandon your expectation that this fairytale for you is a fairytale for anyone else (except maybe your mom). The people that are involved in your wedding, be they guests, family, or members of your party, are their own people with their own important lives and events, and the entire world does not stop around your desire for someone to wear their hair down or up at 1 p.m. on one Saturday. Everyone involved in your nuptials loves you (they do, I promise!) and, in whatever way they can be, are there for you through the process. 

Looking back, I think it's rather funny that I went through all of this drama with my maid of honor. After we picked up the phone and resolved our issues, it has been smooth sailing. She threw the most lovely shower, has gone through a bunch of hoops to officiate our ceremony, and has been insanely supportive. And best of all? She has been herself through the entire process. 

This will be my last wedding post before the wedding next weekend. If you'd like, follow along with the Instagram hashtag #benandkelseywed, or just follow me on Instagram. And in the meantime, here's a look back at the planning posts from this last year: 


  1. Nice perspective! And have a wonderful wedding!

  2. I will be unabashed about checking that hashtag. Wishing you the best, I know it will be full of memories and really fly by it's surreal! I hope you enjoy everything during your wedding week and don't come back to your computer/blog until it's all over!

  3. This is such a good perspective! One other piece of advice I'd have for brides and brides-to-be is that it is GUARANTEED that not everything will go perfectly. It rained on my outdoor wedding; my sister spilled red wine on her gown the night before hers. Yes, we remember the speed bumps, but they become stories we retell and—yes—laugh about later. The only important thing about the Big Day is that the two loved ones get married. If that happens, then it was a success!

  4. I second everything that Catherine said. Your post brings back so many memories of when my husband and I got married 5.5 years ago. (My how time flies!) My best advice is to expect that something or -things will go "wrong" on your wedding day, but just try to relax and enjoy the day with your loved ones and your new husband as much as you can. Don't stress about the details. Trust that anything that happens will add to your story. I am excited for you and can't wait to see pictures! You will make a lovely bride!

  5. Love this! I think your perspective on the big day will really help you enjoy it more. I'm glad your and your MOH made up :)

  6. This is such a wonderful and helpful perspective. I'm newly engaged and have jumped head first in to planning only to find that it's much more political than the fairytale I had been picturing. Crying has definitely happened through no one's fault but my own. I think that biggest learning from your experience that rings true for me is that people aren't going to change who they are because I'm engaged now. SUCH a great statement and one that I will keep with me as my year of planning continues.

    Congratulations on your big day!

    xx Katie
    lovely letters

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