Nothing can ruin a fairytale wedding faster than a bride who rules the kingdom like a tyrant. So before you accept bridesmaid duties, check out Modern Manners Guy’s 3 tips for how to handle a bridezilla.
Many of you have been in this situation: You just found out your friend is getting married and you’ve been asked to be a part of her big day. You’re excited! Then, you get another call or email about 30 minutes later with a laundry list of demands, outlining your “duties” as servant to the bride. I say “servant” and not “friend” because I hardly find anything friendly about being bossed around by someone who only has her best interest at heart.
In fact, after recent emails with Modern Manners Guy readers and listeners, who shared their own horror stories of bridezillas gone wild, I’ve found that there isn’t much heart in some of the brides out there. And guys, don’t think you’re off the hook on this one. There is a species of men known as Groomonsters. I’ll be discussing them in an upcoming episode.
Let me first say that I’m a romantic at heart and I enjoy seeing two people in love get married. But there is something to be said about a bride who treats her wedding like a dictator running a third world country. And by the way, bridezillas don’t affect only the bridesmaids. No, no, no, my friends, it seems that everyone – bridesmaids, groomsmen, parents, vendors, flower girls (yes, even little innocent children) – must fear the wrath of a bridezilla about to walk down the aisle.
So before you decide to partake in your friend’s big day, check out my top 3 Quick and Dirty Tips for how to properly handle a bridezilla:
Tip #1: The Go-With-The-Flow Approach
I’ll start off with the easiest way to handle a bridezilla – simply go with the flow. It’s like the old Seinfeld episode in which Frank Costanza says "serenity now" every time his blood pressure starts to rise (of course, he always winds up shouting it instead). I was at a rehearsal dinner once where I actually heard the bride tell the bridal party, “Just go with the G-d damn flow, people!” Her attitude had all the class of a Demolition Derby and made everyone around her want to run their car into a wall. This bridezilla was so intense, she split her bridal party in two – those who could tolerate her and those who were considering not showing up at all.
Her attitude also affected family relations. This behavior was an eye-opener for the groom’s family, which had never seen this side of her. As I watched this bridezilla devolve into an unmannerly tyrant over the year of wedding planning, I was thankful not to be directly involved, yet close enough to witness the play by play. And even though some people thought about jumping ship, this is not always the easiest option. Sometimes, it’s easiest just to go with the flow…Serenity now.
Going with the flow is a very mannerly way of saying, “I don’t care enough to argue, even though I know you’re being a jerk.” Like when you’re at work and your boss says or does something insane. You really want to say something, but you know it may cost you your job, so you keep quiet. In the same way, having to be at the bride’s beck and call is just a part of being in the bridal party. But the only way you can really handle going with the flow is if you can respond to this question, “How much does this really mean to me?” with a simple answer of, “Not that much.”
In the end, it’s not your wedding, right? So if you are asked to wear a green outfit even though you hate the way you look in green, does it really matter? Or if you are asked to show up to pictures, dressed and ready to shine, 7 hours before the big day, should you really argue? Going with the flow and having a blasé attitude about a wedding that is not yours is sometimes the easiest, most stress free, and most mannerly thing to do.
See also: Proper Wedding Attire
Certainly you don’t want to be treated like crap, but you simply smile and hope there is a method to the madness. And if it’s not your wedding, it’s not your place to tell someone what to do.
Tip #2: Vent to Others
You’re all thinking the same thing: “She’s nuts!”
You may not say it out loud but that eye roll you shared with your friend after a bridezilla rant says it all. If a bridezilla is smart, she opens up the bag of crazy slowly, letting little bits of coo-coo out one at a time to keep people by her side as long as possible.
However, there’s always a breaking point. Take my friend Amy. She was one of 7 bridesmaids who all but wanted to defriend their long time “bestie” after only one month of wedding planning. I don’t blame them. One of this bridezilla’s demands included driving 4 hours away to look at custom napkins.
They say that misery enjoys company and thanks to this bridezilla, Amy had plenty of company. While doing some mundane task with her fellow bridesmaids, Amy finally opened up and learned that they all felt the same way. However, they knew that they couldn’t leave their friend of many years high and dry. So, they did what many people in crisis do – confide in a friend (aka, each other).
A lot of effort and money goes into a wedding and, like it or not, you have been chosen to participate. So when you find yourself on the verge of flipping out, confide in others around you and vent together, in private. While together, talk out what your problems are and try to figure out how to help one another. If someone is tasked with running an errand but can’t get to it that day (maybe because of work or family obligations) offer to take on the task in exchange for one of your unpleasant chores. Don’t leave them stranded to feel the bridezilla’s rage! Remember: Strength in numbers.
Tip #3: The Last Straw – Stand Up to the Bridezilla
Okay, having to organize 200 place cards was fine. Having to buy an outfit that was way more than you would ever spend normally was asking a lot…but you did it. Then having to fly cross country to the destination wedding location, four days ahead of time (on your own dime), to help put together 1,000 paper lanterns for the ceiling was way overboard and now you’ve had it.
See also: Backyard Wedding Ideas
But before you explode, think it through. You don’t want to stand up to the bridezilla and tell her she’s being rude the day before the wedding. This will only cause tension and may even cause you to be kicked out of the wedding. Now that dress, the time off from work, the travel expenses, all of it is down the drain because you spoke up too late. Then again, someone had to tell the bridezilla that she can’t treat her friends the way she has been for the past several months, right? Why shouldn’t that person be you? Well, it could be…but you have to choose your timing and approach wisely.
Telling the bridezilla that she’s being an ass takes skill. If she’s ranting and raving don’t fight back with a barrage of curse words. Be calm, cool, and approach her with kid gloves. Do so immediately after she makes a crazy request. Don’t say, “Remember last week when you asked for…”
For example, she just asked you to wait outside a bakery for 3 hours before it opens, in the dead of winter, in hopes of speaking to the owner about your cake. That’s not happening. Take this moment to point out the flaw in her logic. “I am very happy help out but I think asking me to camp out in front of a bakery at 3AM in January is a little much.” Don’t raise your voice or get excited. Let your calm, rational comment sit there so she is forced to consider it fully. Based on her reaction, you can see if a heart to heart is possible. You hope that if she’s a true friend, she’ll understand. If not? Well, I guess you can cancel that hair appointment for the $200 up-do she demanded you get done.
Do you have a great story about how you handled a bridezilla? Post all the details in the comment section of the Modern Manners Guy web site or on the Modern Manners Guy Facebook page.
As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.
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