No, really, you DON'T have to be a happy bride all the time

January 26 2017 | bijouxandbits
No, really, you don't have to be a happy bride all the time
Bridezilla Card by GoJetGoDesign

Bride Courtney had a killer Downtown LA wedding that we loved (go see it!), but there was a bit of advice that really caught our attention. She works in mental health and was especially sensitive to how heavy the pressure can be to avoid being called a "bridezilla" (hello, sexism!).

It's as if you have to be falsely cheerful and laid-back at all times during wedding planning or everyone will pounce on your moment of melancholy and say you're like that all the time. It's a tough trope to avoid when you're spending months to years planning a big event with lots of money and emotions involved. Sometimes you'll be pissed or sad or whatever emotion, and THAT'S TOTALLY OKAY.

She also gave some advice on how to deal with gender-based conversations while wedding planning. It's real talk and something you'll likely encounter during planning. Here's what Courtney had to say about the pressure to always be a happy bride…

Jesse and I have never been or looked like a traditional couple, so in many ways we felt freed from the pressure of our wedding needing to look a certain way. That being said, I think there can be a HUGE amount of pressure for brides to be happy 100% of the time. If they're not, they're called bridezillas. Working in mental health, this expectation that I needed to feel a certain way 100% of the time immediately ground my gears. I really just tried to not let it get to me, to meet myself where I was at every day, and to make all kinds of time for self-care.

I also found it rather annoying that people would ask me about me primarily about how wedding planning was going and ask primarily Jesse how his job was going. Jesse and I both work full-time, put equal weight on our careers, and both planned the wedding equally. Hearing this constantly made us both feel thrust into very traditional gender roles. We learned how to shift these conversations so they felt more equal, and just tried to communicate the whole time we were engaged about how we were feeling, how we could relieve each other with wedding tasks, and how to best support each other.

More than anything, we constantly sought ways to just stay present and soak up all of the magic of this fleeting period in our life that we could.

Is anyone else dealing with forced cheerfulness just to keep he "bridezilla" moniker from hitting your doorstep? How are you dealing?

More "happy bride" advice:

  1. I may have gone on a small rant to a colleague about the absurdly gendered nature of wedding planning. My fiancé is great at helping plan, making decisions, crafting….but no one asks him! I just try to steer conversation back to what WE are doing and get away from wedding talk as quickly as I can.

    4 agree
    • For the things my fiance is responsible for (catering, tuxes, venue), the first instant the vendor tried to look at me, I instantly said, "This is all him" and pointed to my fiance. And then just stood by and let my fiance flounder a bit. I would help if he asked questions, but I refused to jump in and take over. It was a bit painful at the beginning, but now none of those vendors bother me, and that makes me way happier in the long run.

  2. I appreciate this, although what I've been caught in is slightly different: If I don't appear to have ALL my wedding planning shit together, people assume everything is falling apart and/or I'm incompetent. And as with trying to maintain false cheer/laid back, it's stressing me out beyond belief. Unfortunately, my partner doesn't want to take on any of the responsibility of planning anything (wedding or honeymoon), so not only do people assume that I'm the one who will have everything planned out because I'm the one with the vagina, I don't get to shame them by pointing them toward an involved fiance. :/

  3. I think delegating on the big day helps. I tell brides all the time that I'll be the bad guy for them, if needed. (Example: mother of the groom wanted to a surprise the bride with a live belly dancer during dinner…except that it was a rustic barn wedding. When the mom asked me to play the belly dancer's music and gave it to me on a USB drive, I secretly told the bride who vetoed it. So I pretended to the mom that I couldn't get the music to play…no feelings hurt.) It's your wedding & you can cry–or gripe–if you want to!

    1 agrees
  4. I've been tracking all our to dos – I've even RAG statused them, because hey, why not get some use out of that project management training? – and I've been assigning them to either of us. If it starts skewing too far one way or the other, it's time to tag J in. So far he's wracked up over 20 calls to the registrar (including 2 where they actually answered the phone!) and sorted his side of the paperwork.

    There's an emotional labour element I know I'm taking on, and that doing so is a gendered role in itself. I've accepted that, because I've had a lifetime of being told what to expect when it comes to wedding planning and J hasn't. I know that wedding blogs exist, that there's a community out there just waiting to support me, that I'm not swimming against the stream of expectations – it makes life that little bit smoother. Also, I'm the anxious one, and if I can't see exactly what's happening and when, I get very tense.

    I'm okay with not being a chill bride. I'm not a chill person. However, it'll be interesting once we get to things like dress shopping how my bridesmaids take it. They haven't seen this side of me before!

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