Of Brides and Zillas #Philosophizing#bridezilla#family#family drama#feminism#reality check Updated Mar 15 2021 (Posted Jan 19 2010) Guest post by channamasala Thanks to Hibryd for submitting this shot to the Offbeat Bride pool! Related Post Your wedding is tacky I am officially decreeing myself done with the word "tacky." It's a word thrown around a lot in the wedding world — even the non-traditional... Read more A while back Offbeat Bride featured an article on why your wedding is tacky…and how that's really OK. A lot of us took that idea to heart, to the point where "don't worry about it, no matter what you do, someone is going to think it's tacky" bandied about on Offbeat Bride Tribe forum. I think that acted as not only a shake to the shoulders to a lot of us ("someone will find it tacky!") but also as a salve ("…so don't worry about it.") It hit a nerve in this community of people who are doing things differently, and so are more likely to be judged as 'tacky' for it. I'm starting to feel the same way about the term "bridezilla". It's overused – it is its own cliche at this point – and yet hasn't hit that saturation point where it's acknowledged as being overused (see: Just Not That Into You, He's). How many TV shows, websites, videos, articles, Internet comments (always a bastion of intellectual thought and sensitivity, those are) march out the term "tacky" in a snobbish, "I am so much better than that" way that is just…tacky? Well, "Bridezilla" is the new tacky. I began to feel this way months ago, when I was home to visit family, something I get to do only once per year at most. I was in the car with my mother, and we were talking about the general mood and theme for my wedding. She mentioned something I "had" to do – get a professional photographer and make a big thing out of cutting the cake – and some people I "had" to invite. I replied that I wasn't down with that and was going to have a more active role in planning despite geographic distance, and that my fiance and I would have final say over things like this. "Whatever, Bridezilla," she shoots back. Related Post The art of the Low-Drama No: developing your bridal boundaries How can you make your needs clear without steamrolling other people's concerns and comfort levels? How can you say no without stomping a high-rise? Whatever? I saw it as drawing clear, reasonable boundaries and taking a leadership role in something that is ours to lead. She saw a dissonance in my attitude about what she felt we "must" do to be an indicator of a dyspeptic control freak. Basically, you're a Bridezilla no matter what the hell you do. And this is only true for brides – few would rag on a groom no matter how much of the decision-making is his doing. If you want a big wedding with all of your family and friends there, and want to be inclusive rather than exclusive, you're a Bridezilla because "you want a huge, overblown wedding" to, I dunno, get presents and show off how much money you spent. If you want a small, intimate wedding with only closest confidantes and immediate family, you're a Bridezilla because you "didn't invite Aunt Clytemnestra who sold your great great uncle a goat in 1923" and you are so stuffy, snobby and exclusive that you'd shun your loved ones. If you spend a lot of money, you're foolish and immature to want to throw it away on a party that encompasses just one day. Don't you know that you should spend that on a down payment for a house? That's what we grown-ups do, you Bridezilla! If you don't spend a lot of money, whatever you do is…here's that word again: tacky. Are your parents paying? Daddy's Girl Bridezilla! Paying for it yourselves? Too immature to know that there are better uses for that money! If you want a white dress, you're a Bridezilla who caves to the Wedding Industrial Complex, who "needs" to be married in an overpriced cream satin monstrosity, who is blindly tethered to a false tradition. If you don't want a white dress, you're 'tacky' and you 'have no taste' and 'no sense of tradition'. If you dare to enter a second marriage in a white dress…o, get me my fainting couch and smelling salts! If you find that dress and it's a bargain, you're "cheap" and therefore a tacky Bridezilla. If your dream dress is expensive, you're a snobby, spoiled Bridezilla. If you don't get a custom dress, you lack originality, but if you do, you're obsessive and demanding. If you don't care about the dress you're "bitter" but if you do, you're shallow. What about ceremonies and receptions? If you have a traditional-style setup, you aren't creative. If you do something funky (say, bowling instead of a catered dinner) you're forcing people to partake in activities you like and demanding that they go along. Let's say you do something outlandish, like a skydiving ceremony. Even if that means a lot to you, you're "just doing it to get attention…or even get on TV". Of course, if your ceremony is religious you're a brainwashed drone, but if it's secular or self-written you're a heathen whose ceremony "is weird and makes no sense" (that's a quote from a family member). Having a big day to make the most of your milestone? Spendy Bridezilla. Eloping? Bridezilla who feels she needs to go out of town and "get away" from her family, a family that she is hurting so much because they aren't allowed to be there. It's everywhere, too. My personal pet peeve are comments, mostly online, that rant a bit about this or that Bridezilla thing they hate, and then go on to give "advice" in the form of imperative statements: "Keep it small." "Don't spend so much on details." "Use traditional vows." "Don't try to make it so unique." "Don't give in to X, Y or Z." I don't know what it is about the Internet that allows people to issue orders to the world at large, directed at people they have never met. Related Post Why reality tv is missing the boat with non-traditional weddings Television wants Offbeat Brides. They know you're out there, all gorgeous and colorful and smelling yummy. They covet you and see you as deliciously untouched... Read more Let's not forget that there's an entire TV show that not only uses the Bridezilla as their entire marketing campaign, but even appropriates it as the show's title? And then, in making fun of those brides, twists it around into some kind of dystopian, Orwellian horror where if you want to watch women – always women – acting that way, you are one of those women? Only Bridezillas watch "Bridezillas", right? Of course. And that's so tacky. In the end, however, it's all false. The Bridezilla was invented by our collective subconscious – sit down, shut up, behave, or this is what you are. I've seen a similar attitude pop up around the idea of a "nag" and again of a "bitch" – and more recently, even more sadly, "feminist": a word that should never, ever be derogatory. The very special (Mircea Eliade would call it "sacred", I think) period of betrothal adds "Bridezilla" to that arsenal of threatening words and serves mostly as a backlash against assertive women. You have to care about your day – the day you tie yourself to a man – but not too much. Related Post Wedding planning backlash and being accountable for your choices Wedding planning is all about making a crapload of choices. Even those couples who do their utmost to avoid making every single decision still have... Read more None of the above makes you a Bridezilla: arguably the only thing that can get you into that territory is your attitude while planning and executing it. How many people you invite, what kind of dress you wear, whether or not you care about that dress, how you are structuring the day, which vendors you splurge on and what you DIY, where you have it or how you have it – none of that is even remotely Bridezilla material, and yet we as a society like to think that it is. At its worst it's sexism in an insidious form, the catty women-against-women incarnation. In real life, how many Bridezillas do you know? I don't know any. People say that Bridezillas are everywhere, but when pressed, few of them can name a personal acquaintance who actually acts like the crazed harpies – and not all of them are crazed or harpies – on Bridezillas, which is, honestly, a compilation of wannabe-actresses and fame seekers participating in a compendium of short fiction. Under the veneer of Bridezilla, we may find a truly rotten person, but if we really seek the truth, and do so not just to validate our own preconceptions and judgements, we are more likely to find women who are simply trying to plan a big day which society has told them is both very, very important, but at the same time shouldn't be important at all, dealing with the expectations piled on women as well as the expectations of other women on them, their own expectations and those of their families. It's stressful, but behind that stress, even behind that meltdown or temper tantrum, you are likely to find kind, decent, reasonable women who just want people to stop judging. The point of all this is that there are a few lessons we can take away from the Bridezilla phenomenon. Unless your attitude is truly heinous, you are not a Bridezilla. If you are clear about what you want, budget what you feel comfortable with and can afford, and own your decisions, none of those decisions can possibly put you into Bridezilla territory – regardless of whether your dress is white or red, you toast with champagne or don't toast at all, or whether your attendants match, don't match, or don't exist. The only thing that can make you a Bridezilla is how you treat others. So own your decisions and don't be afraid to tell those "Bridezilla" whisperers to cut it out. Like those things – that is, everything – that some people will inevitably find "tacky", it doesn't matter what you do. Someone will snicker. Feel free to do it anyway. A good phrase to use: "I don't see how [doing X] makes me a Bridezilla." You are not a master diplomat, nor are you a politician, and that's OK Related Post What's the opposite of Bridezilla? 4 ways wedding planning made me a better person I did not expect to learn so much about self-confidence when I started this whole wedding thing. (Even though I needed SOME self-confidence to even... Read more You are probably going to crack at some point. You will snap at your mother or piss off an Aunt. You'll annoy your colleagues. People you thought of as friendly acquaintances or close family members will probably whisper "Bridezilla" at least once. You are bound to lose your temper at least once. Unless you have the diplomatic skills of an ambassador to a particularly problem-plagued nation or the smiling veneer of a Senator, it will happen. For whatever reason, humanity (not America, because this is a worldwide phenomenon) has decided that women need to smile and maintain their composure no matter what stresses are piled on them – if you crack and throw a hissy, you're a bitch or a baby. Except you're not. You're human. It's time women forcefully threw off that expectation of perfection, that societal mandate of a fake smile hiding real unhappiness. If you do completely lose it and people start in with the "…such a Bridezilla" talk, you can counter with "No, I am under a lot of stress and I am not perfect. I admit that I lost my temper and I regret it, but weddings are difficult and I am only human. Please don't call me names." "You're a Bridezilla" = "You are not submitting enough to what I deem you need to do for your wedding" Honestly, I've come to see this whole thing as yet another arena where women are pushed into a corner. Smile and submit. If you don't, you're a lizardlike gargantuan monster. The solution is simple: don't. Own your decisions. If people continue to push even after seeing where your line is drawn, don't be afraid to call them on it. "Why are you demanding that I do this?" and "Why is it that all of these demands are piled on me? Please explain why my fiance is not under similar pressure." Draw your boundaries and don't be afraid to defend them. Every advice columnist will tell you likewise. You'll get called a Bridezilla. Don't cave. In fact, push back. "Knowing what I want, being clear about it and sticking to a reasonable decision does not make me a Bridezilla. It makes me mature and capable. Please stop calling me names." This has become my favorite mantra. It works. Being assertive, clear and reasonable doesn't mean you shouldn't listen Hearing out your loved ones' suggestions and incorporating them wherever you feel comfortable is a fine thing to do. Take the wind out of the Bridezilla phenomenon . As mentioned above, there are so few real Bridezillas in the world, and those that exist were probably spoiled, demanding or snobby to begin with, and their attitude during wedding planning is merely a reflection of that. So when someone starts up, go ahead and pop that pompous balloon. "Honestly, Aunt Hilda, that's the exception, not the rule. Most brides are just under tremendous and unfair pressure. They're reasonable women who are clear about what they want. Actual Bridezillas are few and far between." Only a very few things are genuinely tacky and Bridezilla-ish, and those vary by region The only thing that is a constant around the world is that a bad attitude is the hallmark of being a Bridezilla, and a tacky one at that. All the others are variable (except thank you cards). In my region, dollar dances, registry cards in invitations, honeymoon registries, asking for money and open bars are all very tacky. In other areas, they are acceptable. I wouldn't dream of doing any of them, but some couples would. A good way to figure out what etiquette rules you should adhere to is to ask lots of people in our area what they did and draw a general guideline for that. If you mess up, who cares? It's just one day. Gossiping about a faux pas you may have committed after the fact reflects badly on the gossiper – it's poor form around the world to harp on another's mistakes long after they're made. A kind person would let it go. We as a society are so obsessed with Bridezillas because, let's face it, weddings are larger than life. They are symbolic – they are supposed to be a reflection of you, except bigger, more public, more theatrical and more expensive. And…they're supposed to be palatable to all in attendance. Every person has a bit of the sacred and the profane in their nature, and weddings are only supposed to celebrate the sacred; that which is acceptable and loveable to your parents, grandparents, extended family, friends, officiant, caterer and everyone else. As such, if you dare to incorporate something they don't like and have trouble accepting, if you let a little bit of that profane side of you sneak in – the profane side being the more fun, unique you in so many cases – the Bridezilla whispers start. What's more, weddings reflect mostly on the bride. The groom gets a free pass, because weddings have become such a feminine thing. They used to be family affairs – you might not have even gotten to choose who you married, let alone what you wore and who attended – but when they stopped being about politics and started being about love, they also became more feminine. As such, all of this great symbolism and "This is YOU, except bigger than YOU, on stage, and we as the audience all get to vote like in American Idol whether we approve of not" is heaved on one set of shoulders. And of course, we all have an id, an ego or a superego (whatever you may think of Freud). The ego accepts the invitation and the superego congratulates the bride, but that nasty id is lurking in the background, full of expectation and judgement, waiting to pounce, whether the prey deserves it or not. Related Post 6 reasons why wedding planning seems to make everyone act crazy In the wake of some drama with our families, I've been reading a bit on why wedding planning seems to make people act crazy and... Read more There is no solution to this as yet, except to set appropriate expectations and boundaries, and to have reasonable expectations of yourself…and hope that we, as brides (and grooms) who may have children who may become brides and grooms, can change things and put Bridezilla to rest. Guest post written by channamasala I was born in some little town you've never heard of, attended a huge university full of what you'd call "turtle heads" in Chinese (you can work that one out for yourself), decided I didn't want the life they were all aspiring to and moved abroad to pimp myself as a corporate trainer. It's fun and it pays well. My fiance and I have been best friends since meeting as students at Turtle Head U. and got together after 8 years of crazy friendship. I love travel, reading, photography, things that taste like wasabi and making inappropriate jokes. http://offbeatbride.ning.com/profile/channamasala PREVIOUS Melody & Matthew's 1950s pinup with a splash of mobster wedding NEXT Melissa & Phil's Day of the Dead, heavy metal Mexipalooza wedding Show/Hide comments [ 89 ] I just want to say this article says exactly what I have been thinking! Ever since I became a bride to be I have dreaded encountering my first person to call me a bridezilla because I know it will happen. Just like when I was pregnant and was genuinely upset about something with every right to be and everyone just brushed it off as hormones! Of course that made it worse just as I know someone brushing off a valid concern as a bridezilla moment will make this situation worse.. Reply This article made me very aware of what an incredible support system I have. Thank you. Reply Seriously. Amazing. You rock! And you have given me something to say to certain relatives when they try to push their ideas of what a wedding is on me and the call me a bridezilla when I dont agree. Thank you for giving me the courage to have the wedding my fiance and I want…not the one others think we should have Reply I saw a bride make her maid of honor cry because the maid of honor wasn't doing exactly what she wanted how she wanted it (she ordered the MOH to make a scrapbook, a collage, etc). The bride was controlling to begin with, but the wedding brought out the worst in her. I think the term gets thrown around too much and at people who don't deserve it, but a wedding can be a stressful event for everyone, and for the control freaks, even more so. Reply Thank you so so much for this article. It gave me tears of joy to read this and realize that so many others are in the same boat as I am. It especially hard in my situation when the person starting the "Bridezilla whispers" is my own sister. The fact that I want my fiancee and my wedding to be layed back and fun instead of staunchly traditional irks her and she has mentioned many times how "tacky" our peacock color scheme is going to look. I just wish people would be supportive of decisions the couple makes for their special day. When faced with decisions that I know might not be outstandingly popular with all those in attendance (such as wearing a tea-length dress and having an outdoor ceremony instead of in a ball gown at my church), I keep a phrase that my late grandmother would always say in my heart: "Those who matter won't mind and those who mind don't matter." Reply "Those who matter won't mind and those who mind don't matter." ——————————————- I wish I had known that saying when planning our wedding! But in the end, those who minded didn't matter. The day was for my husband & I and we enjoyed our moment. Reply Kudos to your Grandma! Words of wisdom! Reply This was a very good article, as was the one on tackiness. Luckily 99% my friends are artists and musicians so my wedding will only be "So Melissa" to them, but this will really help me to deal with a few certain members of my family. Even though the advice you gave might not always work on people without a sense of reason, only a sense of "I'm always right even if it defies the laws of logic and science." I think the trick is to try not to care what ever anybody else might think of your wedding as long as you and your spouse enjoy it. Any gripe is a reflection on the griper. My response to most things are just "okay" and "if you say so" because I'm not going to change these people's minds and I know it no matter what I say. If they think I am a bridezilla, I try not to care. They're going to think what they want, don't let it get to you and enjoy yourself. Now somebody just has to write an article on how much David Tutera can kiss our behinds. ["You must assimilate! Assimmmilllaaatteeee!!"] lol. These shows exist just like the fashion industry, they capitalize by playing into our insecurities and try to amplify it. If everyone had the cahones to be unique, they wouldn't have a job. Oh no. The WE channel should be barred in the wedding-planning period (or forever, which ever lol) Reply absolutely amazing post! I will never call anyone a Bridezilla again (unless they REALLY deserve it! ha!) Reply Great article! Reply We over here think that the show "Bridezillas" has a lot to answer for, because, just as often as not, the woman being painted as a "Bridezilla" is someone who has been thwarted in reaonable expectations (as in "she did not get what she paid for"). The worst offender in this vein was the one about the 2 men who got married – even the man's husband was so totally opposed to any complaints that the husband actually made him apologize to the coordinator who had visibly failed him. We were disgusted – that may have been when we stopped watching. From my own wedding, I have this advice for brides: do it all yourself, & if someone's not paying for anything, his/her opinion is not necessary. Even if you have to elope. I nearly stopped talking to my own mother after what she did to our wedding. Reply FREAKING KUDOS TO YOU FOR WRITING THIS THANK YOU!!! The whole elopement thing hit such a nerve for me thank you thank you thank you!!! my FH and i are going to elope and ive been in such a mood that "oh no theyre gonna think i dont care about my family" (i come from a HUGE family) Reply Well apparently (according to my mother) I'm a bridezilla just because I'm getting married in the first place! Reply I loved the whole article, bookmarked it before I was even done reading it, but you had me… at the psychology jokes :3 Reply This made me feel so much better… thanks! Reply This piece means so much to me! Thank you for writing it. I especially like the "you can't win" section: if you conform you're brainwashed; if you rebel you're disrespectful. So lame! Reply Thank you so much for this article. I am blessed that I have always been a rather "independent" person, so my friends wouldn't expect me to meet their demands or ideals (at least, I hope not…that is a measure of friendship in my book). My family on the other hand is a bit of a different story. Thank you again for the reminder that we are stressed humans, not perfect angel princesses, which does not automatically condemn us to Bridezilla status. Reply Balancing everything is stressful enough without people calling you names. <3 Thank you so much for this. I feel incredibly vindicated. 🙂 Reply This is so true! You're damned if you do, damned if you don't. My family does BIG weddings, and there were things that I just was not into when I got married. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on things that were (for me) unnecessary, wanted to scale certain things back. And still three years later, what does my mom refer to me as? You guessed it: a BRIDEZILLA!! (Insert headscratch here…) Reply Just read this article about "gaslighting" (or emotional manipulation), which keeps women from expressing themselves and exerting their authority. It seems like "bridezilla" is tossed around in the same way. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/yashar-hedayat/a-message-to-women-from-a_1_b_958859.html Reply I feel like I'm late commenting (only by a few years!) but thank you for this. It's incredibly important to keep this mind. Thanks Reply Oh my! I want a fainting couch! I would probably never faint on it though. Still. Reply Thank you so much for this. I wish I'd read it six months ago. Reply Thank you so much for this. I've been getting into it this week with my sister and her bridesmaid dress order-or the fact that she never did place her dress order. Now whatever I say or do comes off as demanding and "bridezilla" even though a deadline was missed and now the dress boutique is calling me for answers. I purposely didn't hound my bridesmaids with reminders in hopes that everyone would be an adult about it and order on their own. Now that they didn't I become the bad person for having to get onto them about it. Now it's my fault because I didn't take into consideration their busy schedules-even though they had seven months to order. I know it's a small detail and in the end won't even matter but I feel that I'm being walked-on and I can't stand my ground because I'll just get brushed off as being pushy. I promise I'm not pushy though. I just like to have all my ducks in a row. Reply Yes! This post encompasses everything I felt during the planning process. It got to the point where any decision I made no matter how small was being labelled. If it was my decision then I was being anal or particular. Reply After all of the words my eyes scanned and absorbed…I can only say…yes. yes to all of it. Reply Just wanted to say a HUGE thank you for this article. I was in a terrible argument with my father because he called me a bridezilla (among other things). It just escalated from there – and when I asked him to apologize, he refused because 'I just don't feel that guilty.' It got worse… Then, I sent him this article, in the hopes that someone else's words would work better than my emotionally charged ones. He sent me an apology a couple of days later. Thank you, thank you. You said it better than I could. Reply Wow. This is… perfect. Thank you. I have been called a Bride zilla this week coz I want my maids wearing the same colour dress. Not thr same dress, just the same colour. The color my sister wanted. The same sister who sulked because she wanted to be MOH, then decided she didn't want to do that anymore coz she wants to cater my wedding to save me money. I'm being called Bride zilla because I want my maids to have curly up dos in their hair, and silk flowers, as I wear flowers in my hair most days. This apparently is wrong as the trend "ugly" I'm also a bride zilla coz h2b doesn't want a church wedding as he is not religious, and I am being Bride zilla for agreeing with him. All leveled at me by the same person. … my sister. Sisterzilla? Reply Read more comments ‹ 1 2 Join the conversation Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Sign me up for your offbeat awesomeness newsletter! No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. 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