Your wedding will likely be the largest, most elaborate and expensive event you will ever host, and your bride has the primary responsibility for making sure it’s epic. Certainly you, the wedding planner, and various friends and family members have input and responsibilities, but your bride has likely spent years honing the details of her special day. This means she will make most of the decisions for what will best deliver her vision for the day.
Executing on these decisions requires perfect communication and understanding between you, your bride and dozens of vendors. All of these vendors then need to deliver precisely what they agreed to, which is, at best, an unlikely scenario. And so, as events unfold and the reality no longer matches the perfect image your bride has envisioned, she may morph into the dark, pained, and righteously angry creature known as "Bridezilla."
Let’s face it, even when everything is running like a well-oiled machine, getting married is huge, life-changing, and stressful all by itself. And the fears that come with getting married are far too big and deep to define. It’s difficult to lash out at something so amorphous. This is why the details of the wedding take on more significance than may seem rational: These are the items that your bride actually may be able to control.
This means your bride may experience each disappointment as a small death of her dream for a perfect day, and each issue may require her to pass through the traditional grief cycle, a la Elizabeth Kubler-Ross. For example, let’s say she receives news that there will be no fresh crab cakes for the reception dinner:
- Denial – This is bullshit! Of course they have crab cakes!
- Anger – I don’t care if there’s a red tide in the Pacific right now! I will have crab cakes at my reception!
- Bargaining – Can’t we get fresh Alaskan crab for the cakes?
- Depression – O God…they want to deliver frozen cakes instead…
- Acceptance – Fine. Whatever.
During a traditional wedding ceremony you promise to stick with your bride, for better or worse. Planning a wedding will give you a great deal of practice at seeing your bride under stress and dealing with a bit of “better or worse.” The speed at which your bride processes each disappointment may depend largely on your reaction to her frustration.
Here’s your role: If your bride thinks crab cakes are critically important, they are. Full stop. If she’s hyperventilating about what seems like a small thing, brother, buy yourself two tickets for the crazy train and hop on board with her. Trying to pass her disappointments off as unimportant means that she will emotionally shift you from loving partner to part of the problem.
Having a hard time getting worked up about a misprint on the customized cocktail napkins? Try to imagine how you would feel if, for example, the only available limo service for the wedding day tripled its price a week before the wedding, and you are picking up the tab. Would you want your bride to console you by patting you on the head and saying, “It’s only money, honey. Don’t sweat it.”
When you two share a problem, you also share the process that gets you more quickly to a solution.