Confession time: I fear I’m dangerously close to becoming a ‘bridezilla’.
Like many things women are taught they shouldn’t be – opinionated, fat, loud, old, single – the bridezilla is the butt of many jokes, movies and advice columns.
Women who are demanding or emotional around their weddings, we hear, are irrational, selfish, unkind monsters.
Well, a scant six months into planning my own wedding, I’m starting to see the other side.
Let’s begin at the beginning.
My beloved, smart, funny, kind fiance asked me to marry him last year, and I said yes.
He’s my best mate, makes me laugh every day, and we both have the habit of adopting any animal (or human) that looks like they need a bit of TLC.
We hope to have kids one day, and are different nationalities, so after the past few years of pandemic chaos, getting married seems like both a romantic and pragmatic thing to do.
We’re on the same page about wanting a laid-back gathering with the people we love best to celebrate, and neither of us are particularly high maintenance.
So far, so groovy.
A disclaimer here – the vast majority of our close friends and family are wonderful, supportive and helpful, but since we’ve entered the planning phase of our engagement, it’s interesting to notice the marked difference in the way people talk to us about the wedding.
My fiance gets the occasional logistical query from an overseas family member or friend.
On the other hand, I’m regularly asked by friends/family/acquaintances/the postman, whether we have booked the venue/caterer/DJ/photographer/dog groomer.
If the answer is yes, the response is often concern about the nature of the vendor booked, their reliability, and whether I’ve considered X alternative instead.
If the answer is no, there is instead concern about when I am going to book said vendor, coupled with warnings about not leaving it too late and dire presentiments about the disasters that could ensue if we do.
Cue me coming home and having a meltdown about part of the wedding that isn’t my responsibility anyway, and wondering if we should, in fact, match the napkins to the invitations.
All the while I’m conscious that if I get too upset, too demanding, or snap at the person asking, I’ll become that dreaded beast, the bridezilla.
Despite the fact that my partner and I both work full time, and we’re both paying for the dang thing, at no point do enquiring minds consider my dear fiance may actually be responsible for wrangling parts of the event.
Not only does it stress the heck out of me, it’s a massive disservice to him. He’s a team player, and it’s never entered his head that there’s any other way to approach a relationship or plan a wedding.
Sure there are details he doesn’t consider – arbour, anyone – but they’re details I probably wouldn’t consider either if every man and his dog wasn’t asking me about them.
As much as I’d love to be the perfect picture of zen equanimity, after a few months of this I can see why plenty of women lose their shit.
It’s another game set up for us to be unable to win. Relaxed? You’ve forgotten something, or the event will be tacky, or you don’t care enough.
Got every detail planned for the most expensive party you’ll ever throw? You’re a bridezilla.
I haven’t figured out the solution to this particular social quagmire – suggestions welcome – but I’m curious about the fact that in 2024, we still expect women will shoulder the bulk of the responsibility for this kind of domestic work.
Although I would suggest, if you know a cis-het couple who are getting married, you could ask the bloke who their photographer is, and if he’s booked the catering yet.