In Defense of Brides vs Bridezillas

For those who are etymologists, I seem to remember (I’m sure you will correct me if I’m wrong) that Stacy Morrison, then the editor of Modern Bride, came up with the word.  She wanted to run a hysterically funny cartoon series featuring Bridezilla as the main character, but the publisher was way too nervous at the time and, thinking readers would rebel, refused to run it.

Personally, I’ve never really been too keen on the term as 1. I just don’t think any sane, decent person all of a sudden morphs into a monster ONLY because she’s getting married and 2. because what a surprise, no term for difficult grooms?  I’ve always suggested Groomensteins, but it never caught on…

The abundance of dumb, trashy and melodramatic shows around weddings has contributed to the caricature of the bride as a giant, insatiable, bulldozer whose only vocabulary consists of  “I want” and whose only other forms of communication are crying, foot-stamping, tantrum-throwing and generally being extraordinarily nasty to everyone around them. Here’s the glitch: how about perfectly lovely women who have a very specific idea of their taste and style, know very well what they like and what they don’t, and may just have a few ideas that complicate things, but they really, really want them, does that make them monstrous?  Isn’t there a bit of the classic confusion at work here, ie. strong woman = bitch?

Two anecdotes to illustrate:

Many years ago I planned a wedding in Central Park at The Boathouse, where the bride had chosen the space because she had a fantasy of arriving via gondola on the lake with her father.  I think it’s far less complicated to arrange now, but then it was a major ordeal.  Her parents, the banquet manager, her fiance – all were intent on convincing her that it was a waste of time and energy to continue trying to make it happen after we ran into some difficulties.  This is a very lovely women we are talking about, really a doll, but she had her heart set on this midsummer night’s dream arrival, and I felt, as her advocate, that it was my job to make it happen.  Eventually we prevailed, and pulled it off.  She was incredibly  grateful, feeling that we were co-conspirators in saving her dream.

Recently, a delicious couple we are working with was choosing between a classic, traditional venue and a downtown loft space.  The bride knew from the start what she wanted, that despite all the usual arguments: Will you look back and regret it in 10 years.. Most of her family and friends have had traditional weddings..  The classic venue has an iconic name that resonates with people.. She deeply wanted a very different sort of wedding, and she stuck to her guns.  She did it gracefully, politely and lovingly, not a smidge of a ‘zilla in sight, and her fiance and family correctly decided the venue was far more important to her than it was to them – so they acquiesced.

The point to all this?  The opposite of a Bridezilla is not a dishrag, it’s a woman who has opinions and grace in equal measure.