Thursday, August 28, 2008

It's a Wedding, not a Coronation

I take it back. I take it all back, on behalf of every overly ambitious wedding planner, indulgent mother and brow-beaten bridesmaid, I want to rescind the following statements:

“It’s your wedding; it’s your way or nothing”

“This is the one day in your life for you to be treated like royalty, so make the most of it.”

“It’s your day, yours is the only opinion that matters.”

Sure, if you don’t care about anyone else’s feelings. But first, let us clarify. It is not only your day. A wedding day is not a day devoted to prostrate worship of the bride. It is about a marriage. It is a celebration and public declaration that two people who love each other, intend to spend the rest of their lives together, and are for one another alone.

There is a disconcerting trend, perpetuated, no doubt, by brilliant marketing strategists, popularizing and even glamorizing the “bridezilla.” Certainly it behooves retailers and vendors of all kinds to convince brides (and grooms) to believe they are entitled, perhaps even expected, to have every item, amenity and luxury their hearts never knew they desired for one glorious day of marital reverie. The wedding rituals are so bloated and cumbersome that young couples (and their parents) are spending well beyond their means and deeply indebting themselves in order to finance an illusion. Perhaps “delusion” is a better word. What these people really need is for someone to tell them the truth. Let me be the first. It’s sort of my thing.

To whom it may concern;
Despite what the Bridal magazines and your enabling loved ones have told you, you are not a princess. You Are Not a Princess. You are not the first person ever to be married. You aren’t even the only person to be married that very day within your city or even your neighborhood. You are special to God, your groom and your mother, but your VIP status ends there. Congratulations, someone fell in love with you and wants to marry you. It is truly an honor. But it does not warrant a hero’s welcome. People fall in love every day. And they have been for thousands of years. The day deserves to be filled with beauty, romance, solemnity and joy. However, it is not bestowed upon you alone. Your groom is your equal partner in this occasion. Perhaps he isn’t interested in the plans, or even the execution, but I assure you he is looking forward to showing his loved ones all the wonderful traits he sees in you, that seem to have been swallowed up in tulle and satin as you endeavor to create a “perfect wedding.”

Allow me to simplify that process for you. There is no such thing as a perfect wedding. Not in the sense you seek, anyway. Flowers will wilt, or the DJ will get drunk, your heel might break, the flower girl will get distracted halfway down the aisle and decide it’s the perfect time to sing “boys are rotten, made out of cotton” to the tune of Mendelssohn’s Wedding March. But a day filled with genuine emotion, understated elegance without pretension, and a true desire to share your overflowing joy and affection with the people you love and who love you in an inclusive, sincere and civilized way will be remembered with lasting fondness not only by the bride and groom, but by the other participants and the guests as well.

Does that mean you can’t have everything your heart desires? Of course not. You are only restricted by your credit limits and your own wishes, but as you’ve been learning since you were a toddler, actions have consequences. If you put your bridesmaids in sequined shepherdess dresses the color of gangrene, you’re going to face resentment, and possibly mutiny. If you disinvite children, the young families who don’t live nearby won’t come, and their feelings might be hurt. If you get married in Hawaii, your best friend with $30K in student loans won’t be able to spring for the Monique L’Huillier and the four-star hotel, if she can even afford the trip at all. So you might consider some self-imposed limits, taking into consideration propriety, the feelings of the people you love and the possibility that you might one day find a better use of your money (or your parents’ money) than monogrammed toilet paper for the reception hall. I’m just saying.

Your friendly local Wedding Consultant/Realist/Voice of Reason

The reason I can speak with authority on such matters, beside the obvious familiarity with this phenomenon which my occupation affords, is that I have seen this from all sides. I have been a bride, and I have witnessed every kind of bride, from the crazy, selfish harpies to the easy-going and full of grace. There are brides who are so full of love and hope that they light up a room as they are intended to, and there are those that suck the life out of it as they implode under the pressure of their own expectations.

A little perspective does wonders for the complexion, so my heartfelt advice is to focus on the marriage rather than the wedding, keep it simple, remember that this is also celebration for your families and that in a matter of weeks, you won’t remember if the table linens were a shade lighter than your “bridal white” satin gown.


zachsbebe said...

I loved this blog!! I think every bride-to-be should read it so they can avoid turning into bridezillas!

Anonymous said...

I love it I just love it! If I had to do it all over again which I wont!! It would be so simple, not that I didnt love my wedding because I did, I am just saying, great blog.

Anonymous said...

You go girl!!!! So true, so true, I eloped, and it was great! Great blog! I know somebody that should read this, NOW!

Cai said...

Great work.