Whenever you spot a stressed-out bride to be, look for the irritating people behind the scenes, who are turning her into a ticking timebomb.
Certainly, some brides are responsible for their own meltdowns and drama, but friends and family…they’re often the real culprits. Think about what they do – putting in their two cents where it’s not wanted, making demands, criticising, flat out refusing to co-operate, and let’s not forget, acting as if the wedding is theirs.
So the bride is left to think about things like…
“Oh gosh, what new level of stupidity is Uncle Joe going to reach in his speech?”
“I hope the guests don’t ‘buss’ my bar budget.”
“Who do they think they are? They can’t ruin MY wedding day. Don’t they know it’s all about me?”
Drama is never satisfied with affecting one person only, so if you’re the maid of honour, best man, bridesmaid, or close friend or family member who’s helping out, you’ve got to be on the lookout too. Here are some of the common scenarios, where things might get heated.
No children allowed
This is a sticky one for most couples – it’s like putting yourself between a rock and a hard place. Invite the kids and what do you get, apart from the cuteness? Noise in your wedding video, bawling in the church, smallies playing tag in your formal reception, kids poking at the breakable centrepiece, and well…all manner of toddler tantrums.
Okay…now don’t invite the kids, and you get – family who will be vex with you for all eternity, relaying the story, for generations to come, about how you didn’t want “their chirren” in your wedding. Worst case scenario – you get a mass rebellion, where entire clans of relatives will now decide to boycott your wedding because “you too cheap to invite de chirren.”
Sigh…what’s a bride to do? Stick to her guns with either decision!
Then, there will be relatives who will try to pressure you into choosing their tiny tots for your bridal party. Venture into the under-five age group at your own risk. Choose them any younger, and you’re going to have to deal with potty-training mishaps, sleepiness, crankiness and stage fright. Save yourself the headache by choosing an older child.
Unwanted bridesmaids or groomsmen
Out of the woodwork, everyone will, all of a sudden, come out with suggestions about who you should choose to be in your bridal party. Some bold-faced or manipulative people might go so far as to try to force you to choose somebody. You might barely even know some of the people that they suggest!
Does it make good sense to choose your fiancé’s second cousin who you only met once at a family funeral? No! Definitely don’t feel obligated to choose one of your relatives or your fiancé’s relatives to be a groomsman or bridesmaid. This might be a lovely gesture but your wedding is not a democracy!
And…in case the bridal party members forget, it’s not all “dolls-ing up” and parading. Being a part of the bridal party means…work and wedding planning duties! So give your lazy or unreliable friends and relatives (you know who they are) a rest, when it comes to bridal party selection.
You also don’t have to hurt your head about everything matching – for example, six groomsmen and six bridesmaids. It’s perfectly acceptable to have an uneven number of attendants in your bridal party.
The never-ending guest list
If you’re not careful, before you know it, your wedding guest list is going to look an all-inclusive fete – hundreds! Why? Because every aunty, uncle and cousin wants to invite even more aunties, uncles and cousins.
Then, your mother comes telling you how “bad it looking” for the neighbours not to get invited. Then, you go to work, and everybody’s excitedly asking you about the wedding plans, and you’re feeling bad not to invite them. Pressure!
There’s only one solution, and that is to cut down your guest list. You could do this a couple of ways – have a destination wedding, have an adult-only reception or avoid inviting all your co-workers, every single neighbour or distant relatives.
Brokering with the bridesmaids
Chances are, your bridesmaids will not agree with you about your plans. They will typically have a comment about everything. Brace yourself.
The good ones will have constructive suggestions, hunker down, follow your will, wear the dress they hate, smile, and roll with the punches. The bad ones will bitch and moan, or disappoint and aggravate you to no end.
How to cope? Take a deep breath, and find out exactly what’s bugging those divas. Is it time or money constraints? Jealousy? A difficult personality?
Have a chat, and, if you all just can’t reach a compromise, save yourself the stress of having to deal with a sourpuss bridesmaid, by asking her if she wants out or by offering to get her involved in the wedding in some other way.
For those who feel ‘dissed’
No matter what you do, you will never please everyone, so be prepared for oversensitive relatives and in-laws, who might feel left out. Some of you might say, “Well…hard luck, yes”. But for those of you who care, there are some ways to include them. For example, have them greet/usher guests, be the master of ceremonies, distribute wedding favours, or take care of transportation. This way, you won’t have to deal with the ‘swell-up’ faces.
Get the Bridezilla repellant
The day of the wedding, all will be well. But for the lead-up, you need to get some Bridezilla repellent. Sometimes, with all the planning on the agenda, there comes a time when you feel like putting the brakes on people-pleasing, and just crawling off somewhere and being a hermit. Good for you!
Perhaps, deal with the stressors of planning and pre-wedding jitters by going off on a retreat with your fiancé, or by getting a massage (highly recommended the day before the wedding!). Both will rejuvenate you and might ensure that Bridezilla doesn’t get escape!
For the day itself, preparation is key, and I always tell brides to have an emergency kit that the maid of honour or a trusted relative should carry. It could include safety pins, bobby pins, needle and thread, krazy glue (what if your shoe heel falls off?), fabric glue, medication, a bleach pen, breath mints, tissues, facial blotting paper (who wants an oily nose on their wedding day?), and makeup for re-touching.
So, just when you thought this wedding thing was all about you, you realise, maybe…just maybe, there are other things and people to consider. By all means, listen and be aware of what’s going on around you, but remember at the end of the day, “who vex loss”. Your mission is enjoy your wedding to the max, and look forward to the new chapter of your life.