29 May 2022

Here comes the bridezilla?

The diamond is sparkling on your finger and the date is set. You're about – unless you’re very careful – to undergo the transition from ordinary woman to bridal fury. Be afraid. In the flurry of champagne moments and warm-hearted celebrations that follow the announcement of an engagement, it’s all too easy to become convinced of your own importance. You may become strident in defence of your right to have a perfect wedding, and ruthless in your treatment of anyone who (according to you) stands in your way.

Take a step back and breathe deeply. A wedding is a team effort, requiring vast reserves of tact and diplomacy. Parents must be placated, in-laws must feel included, friends must be consulted, and – above all – your future spouse must feel that it is their big day too.

Here are some ways to avoid becoming a bridezilla:

• Remember that your upcoming wedding is not a unique and monolithic event on the social calendar. Other people will be getting on with their lives and will have plenty of crises and celebrations of their own to contend with.

• Conduct a reality check. You may have dreamt of your perfect wedding day for many years, but fantasies are not always fulfilled and everyday constraints – like budget, family relationships, availability of venues – will inevitably intervene.

• Remember it takes two to get married. Your own dreams and agenda will now have to be shared and negotiated with your future spouse, which may well be a tough test of your relationship. Grandiose plans may be shattered when you are confronted by an obstinate desire for an understated wedding.

• Listen to your family (and give your future in-laws equal attention). Weddings tend to be family events, and you may find your dream guest-list is curtailed by family considerations and complex relationship dynamics. While you should not allow yourself to be railroaded by family priorities, you must also consider them very carefully and, if expedient, make concessions.

• Listen to your friends. You may well have already enlisted your best friends as bridesmaids and they will do their utmost to support you on the big day. But if they are good friends, they will notice when you are becoming obsessive or over-demanding, and they will gently put you back on the right track. Accept that they are objective observers and take note of what they say.

• Always negotiate, never demand. Planning a wedding certainly requires organisational abilities, but more importantly it requires excellent social skills. To carry off the big day successfully, you must be prepared to be flexible and accommodating. Never dig your heels in or adopt a non-compromising stance – every problem and challenge can be solved through constructive negotiation.

• Remember your ps and qs. Asking for help and favours and making your own wishes known will all be much more palatable if you remember to say please and thank you. It is a gracious gesture to send the odd note (or even text message) of thanks, for example to your mother-in-law and chief bridesmaid, during the run-up to the wedding, and ensure that their contributions are publicly, and gratefully, acknowledged.

The big day will soon pass, and above all you will want to enjoy memories of a joyous celebration, not niggling recollections of your own intractable behaviour.

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