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Psst… I Want a Word With You

Dear Wedding Reality Show Creators,

I’d like a word with you over here, if I may, just for a moment in between your busy schedule of exposing the ‘reality’ of weddings to us all.


Stop it. Just stop it.

What? You don’t know what I’m talking about?

I’m talking about the way brides (and the men you identify as the ‘woman’ in gay male couples) are portrayed in your shows.

It would be one thing if there were truly any variety in how you portray us. Then it would be about individuals. But as things stand, you have two ways of illustrating what it is to be a bride in modern America, and neither portrait is either flattering or accurate to the vast majority of women getting married.
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Bridesmaids, Remember to Budget!

For some, being asked to serve as a bridesmaid is both an honor and a burden. Time spent assembling complicated wedding invitations or funneling candy into favor boxes is one thing; money spent is quite another. I’d wager that most of you reading this would be happy to accompany a friend as she shops for her wedding gown or samples wedding cake. Would you be as pleased if you found out this same friend expected you to pay $600 for bridesmaid attire? Or if she made it clear that her idea of the perfect bachelorette party is a week in Cancun paid for by her attendants?

bridesmaids-dresses

It’s not uncommon for bridesmaids or a maid-of-honor to accept a wedding party post without knowing what they’re getting into. That’s why there are books like Everything Bridesmaid: From Planning the Shower to Supporting the Bride, All You Need to Survive and Enjoy the Wedding and The Bridesmaid Handbook and The Bridesmaid Guide: Etiquette, Parties and Being Fabulous and even The Quintessential Wedding Guide … Maid of Honor.

In other words, while first-time maids and MOHs may not know quite what’s expected of them, there are plenty of how-tos out there ready to help. Get your dress on time, they say. Throw a bridal shower. Bustle the gown. Herd the groomsmen. Hold the bride’s bouquet. Give a speech. And so on.

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When It’s Necessary Not to Be Too Nice

Just a few days ago, my esteemed colleague wrote an excellent article about why brides sometimes do blow their tops. There are plenty of reasons to lose it during the wedding planning process. One of the most important things you need to know is when being a ‘nice girl’ simply isn’t going to cut it.

The first thing to do is free your mind of fear of the Bridezilla label. It gets used for everything from genuinely abusive behavior to simply reminding the florist that you already said you’d prefer not to use lilies. In other words, the term has lost its meaning while retaining its power over brides terrified of making a misstep. Forget Bridezilla. She’s only going to rear her head if you’re naturally a rather horrible person, and we all know such a person would never read this blog for long.

So when is it necessary to not be a nice girl?

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An End to Bridezilla? Or Just Sour Grapes?

Bridezilla is a term that’s always annoyed me, not so much because it exists, but because it gets used as a bludgeon against women who don’t necessarily fit the definition at all. It gets pulled out to shame women who just want people to show up on time, and it gets used to trivialize truly reprehensible behavior.

There’s one thing, however, that’s clear about the term: bridezilla is an attitude of entitlement. Period. That’s what it’s about.

And so I have to kind of wonder at this article by Lauren Beckham Falcone for the Boston Herald. Her claim is that falling budgets for weddings equal an end to bridezilla.

Really?

Look, I know that we here at Manolo for the Brides are all about keeping to budgets and keeping the wedding day in perspective. We remind people often that there are alternatives to nearly everything expected in a wedding, that just because it’s expected doesn’t obligate you to have most wedding items, and that a little imagination can work wonders on the smallest budget. We’re fond of reminding you that things like ice luges, reception gowns, and live orchestras are not necessary for a nice wedding.

But there’s one thing we’ve never done, and that’s conflate a large budget with bad behavior.

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Bride Wars — Unpopular Culture

Weddings… they sure do make chicks crazy, amirite? I’m kidding, of course, but you might assume I wasn’t if you’ve spent any time watching shows like Bridezillas and all the other wacky wedding shows that likely make WE Channel executives oodles of money. The stereotype of the shrilly screaming bride-to-be who needs everyone to know it’s ‘her daaaayyyyyy’ isn’t just a staple of reality TV and Target: Women. Nope, you can find it in fiction, too.

Bride Wars

Right now I’m thinking of Bride Wars, which was met with largely negative reviews from critics. As it should have been. You’d think that a chick flick about two friends who are both getting married would feature strong women expressing their feelings and learning about themselves and kicking ass with girl power. Instead, you get a no holds barred chick vs. chick bitchlympics. Granted, the main characters do make up at the end, but they spend a good deal of the movie acting like spoiled bridezillas whose supposedly strong friendship is all but fractured by a clerical error.

Movies like Bride Wars aren’t meant to depict reality, I know, but the whole premise implies that caring independent women are just one wedding mishap away from turning into screaming banshees who will sacrifice their most precious relationships to ensure their ‘special daaaayyyyyy’ stays special. It ticks me off and bums me out at the same time, since I know that 99.9999% of the time, brides-to-be are calm, partial to compromise, and willing to roll with the punches… especially when the people important to them are involved.

So did any of you see Bride Wars? What did YOU think?

I’m Thinking About Weddings! Women Always Are!

The WE channel comes up quite a lot here at Manolo for the Brides. How can it not, when it sometimes feels like the entire network has been forcefully stuffed into a too-small wedding gown for our amusement? The point is, shows like Rich Bride Poor Bride and Bridezillas wouldn’t exist if no one was watching them.

Now, I don’t know about you, but the appeal for me has always been something akin to nuptial schadenfreude. I can look at the screaming brides and pat myself on the back because, hey, I’m not them! And I wasn’t them! And I’ll never be them, whew.

Sarah Haskins created a Target: Women that addresses this issue so much better than I ever could… you know, because I don’t have a video camera and an editing team backing me up. Bridezilla versus Momm-Ra? “Yeah, wide load, you better get it through your obese head that you’re too fat to get married.”

I recommend watching all the way through because the ending is the best part. Enjoy!

BOO!

I was going to post a corpse bride or a zombie groom in honor of Halloween night, but the fabulous Toni found something far more frightening for me to post.

trashy-bride

Agh! My eyes! Missy Quinn (16, she of the £100,000 wedding and £16,000 dress) is much scarier than anything I could have dredged up on such short notice.

Happy Halloween!

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