How not to be a bridezilla

No one sets out to be a bridezilla, right? At least, we don’t think so. But then again, we’ve never met one* and we work in their natural habitat. We’ve been lucky, because we’ve definitely all heard stories of this mythical creature.

(*The brides included in this post were obviously totally lovely.) 

First, we thought we’d talk about what a bridezilla can look like. They morph and can be tricksy. (To learn more, check out the reality TV show or rather, the nature documentary about them. We are being cheeky but the topic warrants it.)

Second, we’ll look at behaviors that can be mistaken for a bridezilla.

And finally, we’ll talk about how not to be a bridezilla.

If you run into a bridezilla, try to remember that they’re probably just super stressed and could use some calming compassion.

A bride ready and waiting in front of sunlit window. (Not a bridezilla)

What a bridezilla can look like

Above all, angry. They can look and sound angry. Exploding into anger over the tiniest things and with no warning becomes a regular occurrence. They might even start hurling insults directly at anyone who isn’t meeting their expectations.

They act entitled — to everyone’s time, to everyone’s energy, and to everyone’s talents. Their bridesmaids have lives, for example, and their wedding is not everyone else’s primary responsibility or focus. They will assume that you’re at their beck and call, whether you’re a friend or a vendor. They’ll want you to use your talents, gifts, know-how for free or at a very low cost. You get the picture.

Sometimes it gets so bad that they even “fire” people from the wedding party. If you’re replacing someone in a wedding party and there doesn’t seem to be a reason, you might consider that a red flag.

If they’ve not fired anyone, people might just start “quitting” on their own.

One of the more toxic of the toxic trends recently is brides actually demanding that their wedding party be of a certain size. Run for the hills!

A less toxic but really annoying trait might be that this bride simply talks about nothing else.

And a little bit of a sneaky trait of a, perhaps, “mini bridezilla”: she doesn’t consult her bridesmaids when she’s picking out the dresses. We should all know by now that everyone’s bodies are very different and that we should consider comfort and cost when we’re asking this favor (yes, it’s a favor) of a friend.

Behaviors that can be mistaken for a bridezilla

At the top of the list of things people mistake for the behavior of a bridezilla is… drum roll, please… boundaries that are very much her right to establish.

Women can have a hard enough time having their boundaries respected on a day to day basis, as they are very much expected to be so many different things to so many different people. But there are a lot of cultural expectations around brides that take this to a whole other level.

Just because you’re the bride doesn’t mean, for example, that people can disrespect your desires about your own wedding. Some flexibility is always key when planning such a large* and special event, but the bride is still allowed to have elements that are non-negotiable. Like anything in life, you have to decide what’s worth holding on to and what’s okay to let go of.

(*A wedding doesn’t have to be big in the number of guests to still be a big event.)

A bride, not yet fully ready, standing in front of and holding her gown. In front of a large bright window. (Not a bridezilla)

Here are some examples of boundaries that a lot of people try to override:

The number of guests.

The bride and groom are most definitely in charge of this very simple but important thing: How big (in numbers) their wedding is going to be. Family can be extra sensitive about this, but it remains the bride’s and groom’s decision.

Who is invited. Same thing as the number of guests. This should be the bride’s and groom’s most favorite people. And sometimes a bride and groom want an adults only event. Again, their decision.

So just because a bride is being firm on some things, this doesn’t automatically make her a bridezilla.

How not to be a bridezilla

Above all, being respectful and kind is the number one way not to be a bridezilla. This applies to everything. And again, just because a bride is being firm or assertive does not mean she’s not also being respectful and kind.

Decide what really matters and try to let little things slide.

Remember that your day will be perfect even though not everything will be perfect. Things happen. Mistakes happen. It doesn’t matter in the larger picture.

When you delegate, really delegate. Try not to micromanage. And remember to include your groom. Planning the wedding should reflect how you are and want to be in relationship together.

Take time outs from your wedding planning. Take whole weeks where you don’t do a thing about it or even (as much as possible) think about it.

Remember to keep having fun.

Don’t overthink. Once you make a decision, let it go. And don’t over investigate or over research; try to trust your gut.

Planning is part of the entire experience of the wedding, so right up front, think about how you want your wedding to feel (calm, peaceful, fun, exciting… whatever) and apply those ideas to the planning too.

Be very clear about what you expect and want, again in a respectful way, so that no one feels confused and then you and they end up disappointed or hurt.

Finally, remember that this is about your marriage and not really about this one day.

A bride in her gown putting on her earrings. (Not a bridezilla)

How to help your bride to not become a bridezilla

If you feel like your bride is tipping a toe over the line of bridezilla, remember that this is stressful. There’s a ton of decisions to be made. A ton of moving parts to coordinate. There are a lot of people telling her what they think should happen.

A little compassion can go a long way. In both directions. Perhaps make sure that your bride is taking breaks and doing the fun things that she loves. Make sure she’s taking good care of herself along the way (i.e. not starving out of some warped desire to look a certain way; hungry people can be so grumpy!).

If you notice that the bride in your life is doing nothing but “wedding stuff,” gently point that out and plan a fun play date or a relaxing day at a spa. She might even resist this invitation but insist… everyone will be happier for it.

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