Let’s challenge online bridal drama with “Operation: This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things!”

Guest post by Rachel Wilkerson
Bride and Bridesninjas' Fighting Skills

By now, I'm sure a lot of you have read the awful email from a bride to her future bridesmaids that has been going around the internet. Read and cringed. And while I definitely cringed while reading the email, I just wanted to go back to bed whenever I started reading the comments. Every discussion was a nasty, snarky, free-for-all where, hidden behind their anonymity, commenters felt free to not stop at calling the bride the “c” word, but also went on to share horror stories of brides they knew, declare “NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOUR WEDDING,” and trash anything and everything related to weddings.

To the bride who wrote that viral email: This is why we can't have nice things.

It's not hard to find wedding snark on the web. And I don't disagree with the fact that there is a lot to dislike about the wedding planning and about how it makes some people behave. That said, I find it very hard to believe that most brides (and, coincidentally, no grooms, parents, or friends) behave badly when it comes to their weddings.

Maybe I just hang out with good people, both online and off, but in my experience, most brides genuinely are happy anyone wants to be a part of their wedding and would never want to take advantage of those people. But I know that defending brides, especially when you are one, is often futile. Much like being called “crazy,” being called “bridezilla” is hard to fight without giving the person insulting you more ammo. But the few, the loud, the ones featured on reality TV are making us all look bad!

Offbeat Bride is a community of well-behaved brides and grooms, so I know I'm preaching to the choir here. But I'm starting to wonder if we can do something about all the negative wedding talk…

Sometimes I worry that by only hanging out with good people, and avoiding any bride, or blog, or wedding forum who appears to be promoting negativity, I'm actually not helping. I mean, if all the conscientious, kind, non-judgmental brides flee, who will be there to offer a voice of reason when someone starts acting like a dick toward her bridesmaids? Hanging out on Offbeat Bride makes it easy to think that brides and grooms are generally thoughtful people and to genuinely feel surprised when people hate on weddings. But maybe that's just because we're tuning out the selfish, wasteful behavior that so many people see as a defining characteristic of weddings.

So perhaps we need to take a deep breath and wade back into the areas of the web that are part of the problem so that we can be part of the solution…

Maybe we — other brides who totally understand wedding stress and yet are somehow managing to get down the aisle without behaving like total menstrual cramps to our nearest and dearest — could intervene before some bride hits “send” on another email like this.

Rather than letting bridesmaids bitch passive-aggressively on yet another anti-wedding blog post on a women's publication, perhaps we could speak politely but directly to other brides about why this kind of behavior is unacceptable before it goes viral.

Clearly, the Wedding Industrial Complex, snarky internet, and population at large isn't doing much to help (because really, when did calling someone a cunt behind her back ever lead to massive change?). So I'd like to challenge Offbeat Bride readers to lead the way in Operation: This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things.

Comments on Let’s challenge online bridal drama with “Operation: This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things!”

  1. This is not related to this topic at all but I just want to say that one of the reasons I read the Offbeat Empire is the quality of the writing. Thank you to the staff, and the majority of the commenters, both for being thoughtful writers and for proofreading. Just wanted to give some snaps in the name of positivity.

  2. I read that letter a few days ago, and I felt kind of ashamed to click on it, because I was giving it more traffic and thereby playing into the hands of those capitalizing on the negativity.

    I imagined that if I had received the letter, I would just be glad to know about that stuff up front so I could bow out. What if the responses came back from all her potential bridesmaids that they were unable to make that kind of financial commitment, or be sure months in advance that they could make it to every party? Maybe she’d scale back her expectations a bit. I’m assuming it’s not as though she’s planned a wedding before, so she might not have an accurate sense of what people can manage. I’m hoping her friends would gently point this out to her rather than call her a bitch. (Although if the letter is genuine, that means one of her “friends” posted it to the internet to shame the bride, and who’s the bitchy one then?)

  3. I just read it for the first time. I’m very thankful to not have friends like that 🙂 Truthfully, I couldn’t make it through her entire email because of the grammar.

    That aside, I totally agree with KahlanAmnell and others; yes, we Tribesmaids are awesome, but other people don’t really want to know our awesomeness. They enjoy living in the WIC and smirking at “offbeat wedding trends” like women proposing to men. People will always want to silently judge us, and this is why if we got that email, we would have responded “Oh, thank you, but no. I have to decline the honor of being a bridesmaid,” or something like that. We are not made for this.

  4. I definitely have a problem with that email [if it’s real!]. Getting married is no excuse to be a horrible human being. One of my bridesmaids lives in a different state and has a 1 year old baby – so yes, of course I invited her to the engagement party, but I did not demand it of her. And I totally understood when she couldn’t make it. All I ask is that she shows up at the wedding, and I will be delighted to have her there.

    I guess I just think you should ask someone to be your bridesmaid because you care about each other and want to share your special day with that person. Not to be your slave.

  5. Ok here’s a challenge: I don’t believe the email is real. What are its credentials? Oh right — it was forwarded by a “tipster”.

    The people lashing out are using the email as an excuse to grind their own axes. Maybe it’s temporary insanity or maybe they’ve been hating women since their mothers forcibly evicted them from the womb. Whatever the case it’s coincidence that the bridal community was in the crosshairs this time. I’m sure even as I type this they’ve moved on to flaming those “bitches on The View”.

    This is all to say that today, right now… my panic light has burnt out. I don’t have any cringing left over for inflammatory fake emails. I can’t muster any outrage over bullshit comments made by a handful of idiots who were, I think, intentionally goaded.

    Does anybody else feel this way?

  6. This is why weddings make me cynical. This is why I have a love/hate relationship with the idea of weddings (from the perspective of being a bride). Some days I think it’s fun, entertaining, a venue for being stylish, yourself and of course, declaring your love for your partner… but other days everything seems so artificial, superficial, patriarchal, and looks-based… I mean there must be a reason why weddings make some brides turn into people they are not, (family members included) demanding artificiality from the people they love. Acting out. Feeling pressure. Trying to uphold something that is artificial and manmade…. whatever happened to the whole point – honouring a commitment to your partner?

    I see how this is contradictory considering how addicted I am to this website… I’m an artist, I love the visual, I love the show. Love/hate.

  7. I mostly feel sad for that bride, because I feel like she’s missing the point. My first wedding, when I was very young, was big and traditional, and I was huge pain in the butt to everyone. After it was over, I was sad, because I realized how much time and energy and stress I’d but into things that ultimately didnt matter. Not shockingly, that marriage ended pretty quickly.

    When the time came to marry my current and forever husband, I remembered what a bitchtress I’d been the first time and completely chilled out. The second wedding was just about marrying the person I loved, screw everything else. As a consequence, the wedding was exactly what I wanted, and I have nothing but warm memories from the day. If I could talk to this bride, thats what I’d tell her.

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