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.
colleen said on June 12, 2007 at 9:00 am
When I was planning my hoo ha doo dah, I specifically told people to smack me if I uttered “It’s my daaaaay” in anything other than a sarcastic tone. The bridal industrial complex really has sold us a bill of goods about what we “need”. My goal was for our guests to have fun.
brian stouder said on June 12, 2007 at 10:21 am
Well, just saw an article about how the leading-edge of the baby boom generation is easing past 60, and retirement is…..easing further away from them!
Fewer children plus divorce plus longer life = pay for your own wedding!
Danny said on June 12, 2007 at 10:56 am
Speaking of retirement, there is this from the Onion.
There’s No More Reassuring Voice In Retirement Planning Than Dennis Hopper
brian stouder said on June 12, 2007 at 11:29 am
Danny, thanks to your post here in NN.c-land on parkour, I at least know what the blazes is going on at the playgound.
Several times this summer, including last evening at Franke Park, the young folks and I have been taken aback by adults (who would seemingly know better) climbing all over the exteriors of the play areas, and swinging hither and thither – and generally setting a bad example for all the 11 and 12 year olds who are big enough to try the same thing (only to tumble into the mulch below)
I bet before long either there will be No Parkouring signs, or else we will have parkour parks (placing them with the skateboard parks would save ambulance time)
John Ritter said on June 12, 2007 at 11:47 am
“One of the last sacred grounds of integrity in local television is the local newsroom, so I guess I would say I’m disappointed to see a station, much less one in our own community, that has evidently sold its integrity.”
This is the kind of attitude that keeps me reading the newspaper and ignoring the local newscast.
(Sorry to detract from the Bride-Zilla discussion!)
Danny said on June 12, 2007 at 11:59 am
Wow, that’s pretty wild that they would do that. Preferring to be ambulant the rest of my life, I would never try that stuff. I haven’t as yet seen anyone doing that in San Diego.
When I was recently back in Baltimore a friend and I hiked around our old stomping grounds one evening and found the rope swing on a huge oak in the woods that we used to ride upon in our youths. I actually climbed the tree and was getting ready to give it a try when my friend mildly asked if I really wanted to do that. Quickly coming to my senses, I climbed down.
Instead, we went to drink a few Coronas on the end of a dock on the Cheaspeake, watch the full moon and the mallard ducks, and relive glory days from a safe vantage. Heheh.
Jolene said on June 12, 2007 at 12:18 pm
Many years back–maybe 25–I was asked to be a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding, and I agreed. While at her house prior to the wedding, I happened to pick up a wedding planning book that was lying around and flipped to a section about choosing bridesmaids. The advice: Choose your prettiest friends; they’ll be in your pictures forever.
Needless to say, that made me wonder why I’d been asked!
alex said on June 12, 2007 at 1:37 pm
I stood up for a female friend — an unconventional but not an unheard of thing to do. She wasn’t Bridezilla. In fact, she told the wedding party to dress well but dress as they liked because she wasn’t going to stick them with a bunch of ugly sherbet-colored polyester tents they’d never be able to wear again.
This was done in a Catholic church in Fort Wayne. I got quite a chuckle after the rehearsal when the bride told me the priest had come to her, quite alarmed, asking “He’s not going to wear a dress tomorrow, is he?”
Nope, that’d be you, Padre. And I’d hold your purse for you except it’s on fire.
Scout said on June 12, 2007 at 5:37 pm
Alex, I simply adore you.