Saturday, August 26, 2023

How To Deal With A Bridezilla

I was a really calm bride. Aside from a meltdown over invitations four months before our wedding, I was pretty zen. I always tell brides you are allowed one insane, crazy, tears streaming from your face meltdown. That's it. Just one. Every other time you start to stress out, you have to cope. So don't waste your crazy on something insignificant like heel height. Your favorite shoes being a half inch higher than you want will not ruin your wedding, so suck it up buttercup and move on. It's not that serious. Shoot, I have a friend who ordered her dress online and accidentally picked ivory instead of white. "Oh well," she said. "I'll just order everything else in ivory too."

There are some brides, though, who have a nervous breakdown over everything. I mean it. Every. Single. Thing. It's exhausting, especially if you're the groom-to-be or her favorite bridesmaid. What can you do? Not much, but I do have a few tips that can help you.

This is my friend Mallory who was just posing for this photo.
She was absolutely NOT a bridezilla for even one minute of her wedding day or her wedding planning,
and she wasn't even a little mad on her wedding day, despite what this picture will lead you to believe.

How To Deal With A Bridezilla

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1. Don't Devalue Her Stress.
You know the scene. The bride is stressing over something. What it is doesn't matter, you just know it's happening. She is frantically texting you in the middle of the night. You roll over, look at the phone, see 18 texts waiting for you, and roll back over. You have a presentation at work in a handful of hours and you really need some sleep. But the bride has another idea, so she calls you.

You absolutely cannot answer and say, "I have this work thing in the morning so I don't care if you have napkin rings or not. Actually, no one cares. You know why? Because napkin rings are stupid. Now, let me go back to sleep and see if I can get back to that Ryan Gosling dream I was having."

To you, Ryan Gosling absolutely trumps napkin rings. As does sleep. Or a root canal. Literally, at that moment, everything in this world is more important than napkin rings. But to the bride, the only thing that matters is napkin rings. And if you don't pretend to care, if you devalue her napkin ring crisis, she will hold that grudge for eternity. Trust me.

Which leads us to ...

1 (part 2). Just Agree With Her.
Your best bet is to just listen. Even if you're halfway in dreamland, that's fine. The truth is, she doesn't really want your opinion. She just needs to talk out her decision. So let her talk, let her weigh her options, and then agree with whatever she decides. Then tomorrow, when she calls you after work to let you know she changed her mind, agree with that too.

2. Seriously, Just Agree With Her. Even If You Don't. The Bride Does Not Care About Your Opinion.
Hate your bridesmaids shoes? The bride doesn't care. Hate the fact that she picked hot pink and teal as her colors? The bride doesn't care. Hate that you're walking down the aisle with her creepy older brother who always hugged you a little too low when he saw you in the halls in high school? The bride doesn't care.

Your opinions don't matter.

She cares about you, obviously. If she didn't, she wouldn't have asked you to be in her bridal party. But right now, she doesn't care if you can't walk in 4.5-inch heels because you know what, you can order the shoes early and learn to walk in them. Practice wearing them in your apartment at all times. Sleep with them on your feet. Purchase heel liners and an excessive amount of blister Band Aids. Change them as soon as the first dance is over.

But, for the love of God, don't complain to the bride about your shoes. Vent to your boyfriend, your mom, the cashier ringing you up as you purchase the shoes. The bride, though, has already agonized for months over those shoes and finally made a decision. The last thing she wants to hear is that you hate them.

You can hate them, of course. Just don't ever let her know.

This also goes for every other aspect of the wedding, too. If she asks you if you like that neon pink dress with the gigantic bow above your butt, just smile and say you love it. Lie to her face if you have to. It makes things a lot easier.

When someone is planning a wedding and finally made a decision, honestly (that leads her to question her choice) is not the best policy. If you don't like it, just don't do it at your wedding. But let her do it at hers.  

3. Check In With Her. Constantly.
Her world exists only for wedding planning. Nothing else matters. A difficult bride doesn't care that your dog is dying or that you had a great first date with a new guy you just met (she especially doesn't care about that because now she has to figure out if you'll be serious enough come wedding time to get a plus one).

A difficult bride is a really bad, selfish friend. It's awful, but it's true. She just doesn't see it, so you can't really get mad. She doesn't mean to be so self-absorbed, but she is.

But if you act the same way, she will notice. She'll call you out for not caring about her.

So just check in with her. You can even go as far as setting an alarm on your phone to go off at the same time every week. When the alarm goes off, just send her a quick text with, "How's wedding planning going? Anything I can do to help?" Shoot, just go ahead and save that as one of your quick replies in your phone so you don't have to type it every time. She'll appreciate it and it will make her a heck of a lot easier to deal with.
4. Learn To Use Coupons.
A difficult bride will expect a lot from you and your wallet. She expects everything. She wants an engagement gift, a bridal shower, a bachelorette party, a rehearsal dinner ... and gifts every step of the way.

It's annoying, especially when you also have to pay for your dress, your shoes, to get your hair and makeup done ... plus your rent, groceries, your car, and anything fun you want to do between now and the wedding (you know, your social life). Somehow, the bride forgets all about that when she expects her bridesmaids to put together a basket and leave it as a surprise in her honeymoon suite.

You can skip all these gifts, which is what any logical person would do. But a difficult bride, she will see that as a slap in the face. She'll be upset if her bridesmaids don't pick up something off her registry and bring it to her shower -- completely ignoring the fact that you paid for a portion of that shower.

So, instead, you need to coupon.

Purchase her registry gift on sale and/or with a coupon. Pick her up a bottle of wine when your store is having a case sale (and pick up a few for yourself because you'll probably need them to survive this wedding). Wait until the day after a holiday and purchase chocolate for 50% off. Then, save it in the closet, and use that chocolate to make favors for her shower.

Wait until you get those free panty and $10 off coupons from Victoria's Secret in the mail and use them to pick up something for her bachelorette party. Also, quick note about Victoria's Secret. It's having a sale right now. You can get a $20 off $50 purchase and a free mist, lotion or lip item with purchase single-use promotional card with any purchase, now through September 6, 2023. So pick up something small now, get those nice coupons, and get a free mist for the bride and an item for her honeymoon with that $20 off coupon.

She won't know if you did or didn't pay full price but she will know if you did or didn't bring a gift.

Honestly, I think it's ridiculous for a bride to expect so much from her bridesmaids. You are paying so much and it seems like she forgets that you don't have a money tree in your backyard. You have limited funds, and a bride should respect that ... but some of them just don't. So instead of getting into a fight over it or just getting incredibly frustrated, set yourself a budget on what you can spend and use coupons to help you stretch that budget.

5. Drop Out Of The Bridal Party.
My friend's friend told me a story about how she sat down her bridal party and told them what she expected. She explained they would be responsible for paying for their hair, nails, and makeup (done in the style she wanted); paying for their dresses, shoes, and accessories; attending all pre-wedding festivities, the wedding, and the after-party; being available at all times; and going on a bachelorette party that required a passport. She told them that if they weren't able to meet her demands, just tell her no. No hard feelings. She gave them an out. I didn't ask if anyone took it, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone did.

Even if your friend doesn't specifically say you can say no, you can. Just because a bride asks you to be in her bridal party doesn't mean you have to do it. Just say no.

You know your friend. You've probably known her for a long time and you know her very well. You know if she will be a difficult bride or if she'll be a calm one. And if you have things in your life that will take priority over her wedding (school, a new baby, work, sleeping through the night), it's best for both of you if you tell her you are honored that she chose you but you just can't give her the type of commitment she deserves. She'll be mad at first, but she'll be a lot more mad if you show up in Cancun for her bachelorette and refuse to pay for every drink she has that trip.

BRIDAL BABBLE: Have you dealt with a difficult bride? What tips would you give others who are dealing with one?

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