Wisdom From the Last Place I Expected

As most of our loyal readers know, I tend to subject myself to unholy amounts of bridal reality television to parse out the messages being sent and hopefully help brides to be and those who love them to defuse the ticking time bombs with which they are so generously filled.

For the most part, I find the messages in these shows either bewildering (at best) or toxic (at worst). I don’t expect to find anything resembling wisdom, and most of the time I am remarkably lucky that isn’t what I’m looking for because, honey, it just ain’t there.

Then yesterday I was watching an episode of Whose Wedding Is It, Anyway?, that ode to heroic wedding planners, without whom no woman could ever hope to have a halfway decent wedding, even when the planner is flat-out incompetent. I expect wisdom to fall from the lips of participants of this show about as often as I would expect it from anyone on Bridezillas.

The wisdom did not come from either bride (it was a double wedding) nor from the wedding planner (the constantly palpatating James Tramondo). No, it came from the mother of the two brides.

You see, the sisters decided at the last minute to have a double wedding. James was duly brought in to figure out the logistics, and all hell broke loose. The sisters may have sprung from the same womb, but they were complete opposites in terms of personality and taste. It felt like The Brady Girls Get Married(Yes, I sat through it once. Shut up.). Where one was classic in style, the other was outrageous. If one adored chair covers, the other loathed them. One wanted a formal sit-down dinner, while the other wanted a disco and had her groom custom fitted for a tuxedo with LED lights in it. In other words, this looked like a disaster in the making from the outset.

The more restrained bride, Debbie, was, however, willing to compromise on some key issues. The more outrageous bride, Lauren, was not willing to back down on much of anything. She kept whining about how it was her day and she deserved everything she wanted exactly the way she wanted because nobody else in the world mattered on her day. Never mind that it was also her sister’s day (not to mention those two guys they happened to be marrying).

At last the only hurdle left was the ceremony. While Debbie had dreamed all her life of walking solo down the aisle on her father’s arm and having her ceremony happen by itself, she was willing to walk with her sister on the other side of their father (the church aisle was wide enough to accommodate all three and two voluminous skirts, so that wasn’t an issue) and have both ceremonies performed simultaneously so guests wouldn’t be confused or forced to sit through two separate Catholic ceremonies on the same day. Lauren felt all eyes should be on her and nobody else and demanded that the ceremonies be separate, one after the other.

So, both grooms, the wedding planner, one bride, and the girls’ parents all thought a double ceremony was the way to go. That’s a clear majority by any standard. Still, Lauren decided to filibuster. She whined on and on about her day and how she didn’t have to do anything that she didn’t like because it was her day.

In the end, it was the mother who shut Lauren up by saying this:

It’s your day; it’s not your day to be rude to people.

In the end, the ceremonies were held simultaneously, and Debbie decided to have a sense of humor about the topper on Lauren’s cake (Lauren in her wedding gown on a stripper pole while her double-Mohawked groom waved glow sticks). There was a formal dinner followed by dancing into the night. Both couples were happy and James was able to go have a good lie-down with a cold compress and a dose of industrial strength Xanax.

What should brides who aren’t having double weddings (or even those who are) take away from all this? Take this important message: Yes, this is your day. But it is not your day to be rude to people. Always consider the comfort of your guests, the needs of your friends and family, and the smooth running of the event in making your plans. Being thoughtful doesn’t make you less important. If anything, it makes people more willing to accept any less than expected details of your day.

Be you. Just make sure it’s the nicest you possible.

12 Responses to “Wisdom From the Last Place I Expected”

  1. Kristin November 1, 2009 at 1:26 pm #

    Darn tootin’. I think the whole it’s-all-about-the-pretty-princess message is one of the least accurate and most damaging messages that girls and women get–it’s about family, friendship, connections between people… and not being nice doesn’t strengthen any of those bonds.

  2. Margo November 1, 2009 at 3:02 pm #

    That’s wonderful advice in pretty much any situation.

    Though this spinster can’t ever imagine getting worked up one way or another about chair covers. Chair covers, people. I know weddings are stressful times, but – chair covers? Perhaps I am lacking in passion.

  3. Rosanna November 1, 2009 at 4:58 pm #

    At risk of sounding rude LOL, I’m sick and tired of people in the wedding (mother of the groom, mother of the bride, bridesmaids, friends, relatives, etc) wanting to be pleased during another person’s wedding. My take is very simple: every time I’ve been at a wedding, it was the couple’s day. THEREFORE whoever is allowed at my wedding will have to either make it about me and my h2b or… don’t bother coming. I’m so glad I’ve selected my friends throughout my life and they are on board with me about this. The last thing I need is people to spoil the celebration. Real relationships are the ones where one doesn’t rain on a loved one’s parade by making it about him/herself even during a wedding. If the entourage can’t understand this basic fact of life, I suggest the bride (and groom) to dump the present entourage and get a better one!

  4. Twistie November 1, 2009 at 5:44 pm #

    Margo, I’m with you about the chair covers, but I know that there are plenty of inconsequential things I can get worked up about, so I’m willing to cut a little slack on the chair cover argument, especially since it appeared to get worked out with relatively little (shown) bloodshed.

    @Rosanna, we aren’t talking about people raining on a bride’s parade over purple bridesmaid dresses or a vegetarian menu. We’re talking about a bride who would not compromise one iota on ANY ITEM WHATSOEVER even though it was also her SISTER’S DAY, and not even for the comfort of her guests. She wanted them to sit through TWO full Catholic masses on the same day purely so she wouldn’t have to share the spotlight with her sister, who was also getting married that day in the same church with the same guest list. This is not reasonable. It was not thoughtful of her sister, of her parents, of either groom, of the guests, or of the priest. That came out to be over three hundred people being inconvenienced by one brat.

    I’m in favor of brides getting their own way about a lot of things, but this was waaay beyond the pale.

    What’s more, I don’t think wishing to be comfortable and not confused is in any way ‘raining on a loved one’s parade.’ I think it’s part of assuming one will be treated with the most basic form of courtesy. Frankly I don’t think that’s at all too much to ask.

  5. Rubiatonta November 2, 2009 at 10:38 am #

    The word that jumped out at me from Rosanna’s comment, is “allowed.” “Allowed”??

    Honey lamb, these people are not filthy supplicants at the palace door. They are doing you the very great honor of participating in your wedding, either in roles that support you and your intended, or as your cherished guests. You should treat them accordingly, with respect and kindness.

    If that’s beyond you, you should at least do them the courtesy of not “allowing” them to be there.

  6. Twistie November 2, 2009 at 12:13 pm #

    Precisely, Rubiatonta. An engagement ring is not a license to treat those around you like lackeys. If a bride I knew felt she was doing me a huge favor by ‘allowing’ me to do her bidding, I would do her the equally huge favor of saving her the cost of my reception dinner.

  7. Stella November 2, 2009 at 4:05 pm #

    I think in this situation, as any in life, the Golden Rule should be applied. The wedding party and guests should try to be understanding and accommodate the bride & groom’s vision/style as much (within reason) as they’d want on their own wedding day… and the couple getting married (particularly the bride, who seems so often to run the show in exclusion of her groom) should consider the guests’ and attendants’ comfort, as she’d expect as a wedding guest or attendant. This “YOU should stop thinking only of yourself and accommodate ME” attitude is rude coming from either side.

  8. Margo November 3, 2009 at 7:23 am #

    @Twistie, I only get het up about VERY IMPORTANT T’INGS, like star-shaped stickers, tea cups, and bath mats. No petty nonsense for me.

    Now, where is my lace-edged hankie? The one with the ribbon, you fool!

  9. Twistie November 3, 2009 at 11:18 am #

    @Margo: And there’s me getting all het up about petty nonsense like world peace and a cure for cancer! ; p

    ps: I have lots of lace-edged hankies. That’s what comes of rolling your own. Neener.

  10. jenny November 4, 2009 at 1:35 am #

    Margo and Twistie: am I gonna to have to sit between you two?! Sheesh.

  11. Twistie November 4, 2009 at 11:15 am #

    Nah, jenny, we’ll be fine. We just like to needle each other a bit.

  12. Pencils November 4, 2009 at 12:53 pm #

    I think what a lot of brides forget is that they are the hostess of their wedding. Maybe if their parents are officially the hosts they don’t feel they are, but when you are making all the decisions on what the day is going to be like, including the guest list, you are the hostess. And when you are the hostess, it is your job to make sure that your guests are comfortable and have a good time. That’s the way I looked at it.