We talked about weddings here a couple of weeks ago — great stories from all — but we didn’t talk much about brides. Bridezilla, bride from hell, J-Lo on crack — these are the bridal archetypes these days. I try to think back to the (first) weddings of my generation, and I don’t recall too many of those girls. I remember tearful brides, and exhausted brides, and a great many stoned brides, but not a lot of sacred-monster brides. There was one who had to choose her dress to cover her tattoos, and who spent much of the reception smoking cigarettes, which was where I decided there’s nothing more charming than a bride with a butt hanging from the corner of her mouth. It really says “happily ever after,” doesn’t it?
It’s the wedding racket that makes them this way. The $100,000 wedding, even if it is paid for with daddy’s money, hangs a sword of Damocles over everyone’s head, and who wouldn’t flip out? Brides today snicker at the hippie weddings of my generation, barefoot brides on the beach carrying bouquets of wildflowers and serving homemade cookies at the reception, but I’ll tell you what — none of those girls ever threatened their grooms with a cake knife. Or sent their bridesmaids specific instructions, down to the color formula, for what sort of highlights they should have on the big day.
So I was appalled, but not particularly surprised, to read Emily Yoffe’s roundup of bridal horror in Slate, today:
Is there anything more revealing than the phrase—uttered with a stamping of the foot and a rising of the voice—”my day”? Of course it’s not “our day,” because the groom is merely an accessory, like a cake topper. The first time a bride-to-be utters the words “my day,” I recommend potential bridesmaids and grooms respond, “Mayday.”
My favorite single anecdote:
Weddings were once the place for loved ones to witness the union of the bride and groom. All guests—be they halt, lame, blind, or colorblind—were welcome. But now some brides see themselves as auteurs and their guests merely extras on the production set. How else to explain the letter I received from a groom-to-be who signed himself “Under Moral Siege.” His dear female friend, who wears thick glasses, had been selected as a bridesmaid. But the bride insisted this bridesmaid leave her glasses at home because “glasses are an inappropriate accessory for women’s formalwear, and the bridal magazines have convinced her that there can be no exceptions to the no-glasses rule.” It makes me hope that as the groom tries to explain this to his friend, he’ll find himself looking deep into her Coke-bottle lenses, suddenly declare, “Why, Miss Keeler, you’re beautiful!” and run away with her.
True anecdote: I once knew a bride who was, by conservative estimates, somewhere between 350 and 400 pounds. She was unashamed by her size, and had a big wedding. I wasn’t invited, but my friend Paul was, and described the processional. The bridesmaids start coming down the aisle, and each one is beautiful, just breathtaking. They seem to have been arranged in ascending order of stunningness, starting with the Heidi Klum lookalike, progressing to the Stephanie Seymour clone and so on, finishing with the maid of honor, a blonde who would make Elle Macpherson weep with shame. And then here comes the bride, the size of a boxcar draped in flowing white moiré silk. I never thought much of her before that, but just knowing she had the ovaries to make herself the star of that show raised my opinion of her by several notches.
Anyway, lots more wedding horror in Slate’s wedding issue, which doesn’t have an index page, but Yoffe’s story will lead you to the rest of the stuff. Or you can just go to Slate and click around.
God willing, today is the last hurdle of this preposterously drawn-out farewell-to-school fortnight — an all-day (yes, really) picnic at our lakefront park, the thought of which makes me weep with joy. I can’t wait to see what sort of wedding Kate expects after a school career like this.
Pray for me.