I’m Going to Murder the Next Person Who Calls Me a Bridezilla


Tell me how to... not?

by Maddie Eisenhart, Chief Revenue Officer

Q: Do you have any advice on how to deal gracefully with being called a Bridezilla?

I have been really chilled through the whole planning process and still had people bandy about the term, because I’ve been decisive. Even when it is meant in a joking fashion, having the term leveled at me is about the one thing that is likely to get me looking for cities to wreak havoc on.

It really rankles with me, as I have organized other far bigger and more complicated events (things like a three-day games convention for over six hundred people with guests, talks, panels, games slots, and demos) and been precisely as decisive, prepared, organized, enthusiastic, and energetic as I am about the wedding (in actuality, I’m far more laid back about the wedding than I was about the convention) and nobody thought anything of it other than I was doing a great job and being a really good event lead. Apparently though, I’m now a Bridezilla.

Maybe it’s the difference between what they see as professional me and personal me, but suddenly it’s my wedding and some of the people who were supportive of me when it was a non-wedding event have used the B word. I have dealt with those I care about by saying, “I really don’t appreciate you using that word about me,” and, “I find that term hurtful, please don’t,” and those I’m less invested in by laughing it off and asking for directions to the nearest nuclear power station.

Ultimately though, it is really trying my patience. I have trouble at the best of times with how over-used and deeply misogynistic the term Bridezilla, but having it leveled at me is harder to deal with. I don’t want to explode over something so minor. Please help.

A: If you’re having a hard time hearing the word Bridezilla, both out in the wild and when it’s directed at you, you have every right to be! It’s an incredibly misogynistic, undermining word, and it isn’t used by accident. Bridezilla is a carefully curated social construct, and it functions something like this:

  • Step One: Society tells you that weddings are super important.
  • Step Two: Pop culture gives you images of what a socially acceptable wedding looks like, but no clear idea on how to pull it off.
  • Step Three: Somewhere, offstage, someone knows how much that wedding costs, and isn’t telling you.
  • Step FOUR: You are a woman, so whatever you do, do it flawlessly and without any sign of emotional attachment or personal interest in the thing.
  • Step five: When all this inevitably leads to you being stressed out, society punishes you for caring too much. Also, if you’re not stressed out but simply decisive, you must also be punished. Rinse, repeat.

Throw all that in a pot, and ta-da! The concept of the Bridezilla is born. (Oh and for added measure, let’s tell men weddings are important enough that they want it done right, but not important enough for them to care about it personally.) In short, Bridezilla exists, as a concept, as a way of punishing women for a host of offenses including being too bossy, too decisive, or just filling up too much space in any given room.

So, anyway, if you’re frustrated, I get you. If you’re really fucking angry, I’ve also got you there.

Now, what can you do about it? Unfortunately, getting society at large to stop using the word is a long game. For example, we refuse to publish the word at APW (except today!). So the first move is to just pretend that word doesn’t exist, and consume media that does the same. As for how to make it less emotionally exhausting for you, personally? Well, that sort of depends on your emotional bandwidth in any given moment. But these are the two tactics I use for stuff like this:

The non-confrontational education: The hardest part about being called Bridezilla is that it usually comes from people you care about. Which means going to that place where you’re asking, “Is it worth starting something over this?” I spent a good chunk of wedding planning simply holding my breath and praying everyone could temper their drama until we were done saying “I do.” So I sure as shit wasn’t going to invite conflict with something as inconvenient as my feelings.

Luckily (or unluckily?) in this political climate, I’ve had a chance to flex my semi-confrontational education tactics with friends and family. And what I’ve found works best to actually move the needle on their behavior is to educate the person on the other end with a “Did you know” type of engagement. For example, if someone casually called me a Bridezilla, I’d say something like, “So, I actually have been reading this website that refuses to use that word! It’s been so nice for me to have a place like that online, because the word Bridezilla was just invented to make women feel like crap. Plus when you think of it, it’s like a trap, right? You’re damned if you care too much about your wedding, and you’re damned if you don’t.”

Translation: “La la la, I know you would never intentionally hurt my feelings.” When you present a critique as a totally neutral idea that has nothing to do with the person talking to you, it gives them a chance to consider it without getting defensive. Plus, they can only really respond in one of two ways:

  1. Double down and insist that you’re actually a monster. (Which makes them look like an asshole who came to start a fight.)
  2. Nod their head and go, “Oh yeah, I hadn’t thought of that before?” And then maybe they actually go home and think about what you said.

Because here’s the thing: more often than not, people who say shit like this to you have never stopped to think about things like internalized misogyny, or how bride shaming is often inherently sexist (because surprise, they don’t exactly talk about casual sexism on TLC). And just alerting them to the fact that their favorite phrase is low-key sexist can be enough to make them think twice before they say it again. (Your mileage may vary, obviously.) But if you’re dubious about the efficacy of this method, then I direct you to option two:

The internal redirect: Okay, but sometimes people say shitty stuff to us and we just don’t have the emotional bandwidth to deal with it. Or you know them well enough to know that they are simply never going to stop saying bullshit things to you when you don’t need it. What can you do, besides… swallow your rage? In those cases, I remind myself that people say shitty things to you because there’s something wrong with them. Aka, their crappy comment is usually a reflection of some insecurity, or internalized sexisim that they are dealing with.

For example, if people you love are casually calling you a Bridezilla, maybe they are unaware of their own internalized misogyny and can’t grapple with a decisive woman. Or maybe they are having some other anxiety around your wedding they haven’t voiced. (Weddings! They bring up the dirt you thought was good and buried.) Whatever it is, it’s their bullshit to deal with, not yours. And it’s not your responsibility to fix their problems. If you need a mantra to help you remember this, try mine: This has nothing to do with me. And then let it roll off you.

One of the hardest things about getting engaged is the sudden transformation into public property (hello everyone’s opinion about everything). And it only gets worse as the wedding becomes more imminent. (And then forget about it should you choose to have kids. Decorum goes straight out the window.) And when you add to that the fact that most people have been educated on weddings at the school of pop culture, it can mean a recipe for eighteen months of comments that slowly chip away at you.

So it’s up to you how you’re going to get that dirt off your shoulder. But girlfriend, remember. This shit isn’t about you. This is about society.

And till the world catches up with you, you go on being decisive AF.

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is APW’s Chief Revenue Officer. She’s been writing stories about boys, crushes, and relationships since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) from NYU in Entertainment and Mass Media in 2008. She now spends a significant amount of time thinking about trends on the internet and whether flower crowns will be out next year. A Maine native, Maddie currently lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband, Michael and their mastiff puppy. Current hair color: Purple(ish).

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  • Alli

    I so needed to read this today, as I spent all weekend smiling through a DISASTER of a bachelorette party, just so nobody would think I was ungrateful, a pain-in-the-ass, or godforbid, the B-word.
    All I wanted was a fun day/evening out with friends, what I got was a poorly organized day, that everybody who said they could come bailed on, because the planner (my sister/MOH) fell down on the job. Oh, and then the person that got hot-mess wasted was my sister.
    Sorry, just needed to get that off my chest, so I can go back to being completely Zen about the whole thing, because that is the appropriate behavior, right??

    • Alynae

      I vote re-do. Sorry sister, you missed big. Call up your person and say “so that was horrible right? can we do xyz”. Because if my person calls me and says that, bring on the glitter because your best damn day ever is about to happen. Even if that means eating goldfish in bed while watching sex and the city all day. Because its your best day.

      • Amandalikeshummus

        Totally. Even if it’s just you and your bff. It’s not asking too much to want to hang out and actually have fun.

      • Ella

        So I had to google “eating goldfish” because I assumed you didn’t mean literal goldfish, but then I found this http://www.foodrepublic.com/2013/03/01/can-you-eat-a-goldfish/ ? I’m still assuming that’s not what you meant…

        • Alli

          Goldfish crackers, aka the snack that smiles back, aka my choice of lazy food all throughout college

    • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

      Oh, that sounds awful. I’m sorry it sucked. I hope you can do something fun with your closest friends to make up for it.

  • AtHomeInWA

    While these are solidly appropriate non-confrontational responses, I would LOVE someone to go the other route:

    “You want Bridezilla?! I’ll give you Bridezilla!! RoArR!!!!!”

    And then proceed to tirade about exactly what kind of cluster fuck wedding planning is, how sexist it is, how social constructs have set you up to fail, how, how, how. Also, mention how your mother/MOL/MOH/SIL/actual sister/Aunt Gertrude said THAT and how you successfully did not brain explode all over the kitchen.

    Because you aren’t crazy. You are having a perfectly rational response to a crazy situation.

    • Jess

      I had really planned to just dramatically go RAAAWWWRRRR if anybody ever called me a Bridezilla… I never got the opportunity (because I very rarely actually discussed my wedding).

    • Amandalikeshummus

      Just go ROOOAAR and act like you’re stomping cities every time until they walk away or say something useful.

      • AtHomeInWA

        Right? “Oh, you want to make an utterly unhelpful comment? In that case, let me follow your lead and likewise be utterly unhelpful by doing exactly what you suggested. So unhelpful that I am actually embarrassing you. Loudly. In public. Is anyone looking yet?”

  • Laura C

    (Smiling brightly) “I’m sure you didn’t mean to use a misogynist, gaslighting term to insult me for effectively planning a major event, right? I don’t believe you’re really that kind of person.”

    • Katharine Parker

      I agree that bridezilla is misogynistic, but I think don’t think it is necessarily gaslighting. Gaslighting is an effective name for a specific type of long-term emotional abuse designed to make someone distrust their own experiences and knowledge. Calling someone a bridezilla is rude, but not inherently abusive.

      • Laura C

        I’d argue that the dynamic Maddie lays out, where women are told their weddings have to be up to snuff (according to a mysterious, goalpost-shifting definition of snuff), but then are routinely insulted for attempting to make that happen, does fit that definition. It’s about setting up a no-win situation that undermines our perceptions of self and competence.

        • PAJane aka Awesome Tits

          “Wait, I thought I was just communicating clearly to my vendor/relative/friend about what I want, but now somebody’s telling me that I’m being a bitch about it.”

  • Loran

    Play dumb? Pretend you’ve never heard the term before and ask them to explain it to you, why it’s funny/why it’s applicable? This and feminazi – people suck.

    • AtHomeInWA

      Classic. Luv.

    • sofar

      I am a BIG fan of the “playing dumb” method. People expect you to laugh at their “hilarious” comment or apologize. They are NOT prepared for, “Hmmm. What exactly do you mean by that? Can you help me understand?”

      • Amandalikeshummus

        I’ve never had much success with that tactic. Usually, I get told how super naive I am in a very misogynistic way.

        • Jess

          I have good success with, “No, I got the joke, I just don’t find it funny.” when my lack of reaction prompts someone to explain their joke.

          I’m not very fond of variations of “I don’t get it” for the same mansplaining reasons you aren’t.

          Then again… I have rather accepted that my direct nature often labels me another B word.

        • sofar

          IT doesn’t always work, but for me, the success of this method has depended on my willingness to make things SUUUPER awkward and draw others into the conversation.

          I participate in a male-dominated sport, so have had TONS of practice, unfortunately.

        • Henri

          I’m a really young-looking, short, white lady. When I use this tactic, the only way it is successful is if I truly COMMIT to it. So it’s not one instance of “But what do you mean?” as much as around 15, wide-eyed, faux innocent-voiced “Sorry, I don’t get it?”

          It’s exhausting and annoying, but I’ve found it works best in large social groups I’m not super close to or at work in meetings, because it puts whoever said it on the spot in a major way. It would be waaaaaay less useful in smaller groups, with people I’m close to, or one on one with someone.

    • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

      I LOVE doing that. I’ve gotten out of trouble by doing that.

      • Loran

        Honestly, it’s never my favourite go-to, but there are some people who don’t want you to explain to them why it’s wrong/demeaning, and there are some situations where it’s not appropriate to take a more forward approach (work, family reunions, etc.). So it’s a great fall-back when you don’t want to compound the issue by being straight-forward with an audience who is just un-receptive. I’ve definitely gotten out of trouble doing it, too.

    • Ella

      One of my favourite playing dumb moments… https://twitter.com/voldemortsbicep/status/720238299814625280

      • ssha

        YES! I WAS ABOUT TO LOOK FOR THIS TWEET!

  • Katharine Parker

    “Bridezilla? Why do you say that?” And repeat. Force them to double down on it, while staying cool and collected.

    Unless it’s your fiance, in which case something more strongly worded is necessary.

    • Amandalikeshummus

      If it’s your fiance, perhaps, “Oh, did you expect me to do every single thing AND do it with aplomb? I can do one of those things, but not both.”

      • I like the idea of only doing one of those things, and it’s having aplomb. Like, drop all wedding planning entirely, and just swan about in serene satisfaction with a glass of sherry.

  • NolaJael

    I think the concept of a bridezilla comes about because our (dated) cultural conception of a wedding is something that happens to a woman, not something she is in charge of. Someone else proposes to her (groom). Someone gives her away (father/parents). Someone else pays for her wedding (parents). She is the recipient of this bounty – her role is to be the (smiling) (grateful) receiver.

    Never mind that literally none of those things may be true in a modern wedding. The role of the grateful receiver remains.

    • Ilora

      This is so accurate!

  • Jessica

    My mom referred to me as a bridezilla the weekend after I got engaged, because everything I’d been thinking about wedding-wise for the last year (but was not able to talk about with anyone) came word-vomiting out of my mouth. Surprise! None of it was what my mom envisioned for my wedding, and she took every thought I spoke out loud as gospel-fucking-truth and was really hurt.

    Three days after I got engaged.

    Three. Days.

    Then, by the time the wedding rolled around my parents were calling me the anti-bridezilla. There were so many things I could literally give no shits about because my husband-to-be was getting deployed 30 days after the wedding and we had just moved apartments. So no, I did not care about what flowers were on the tables or what the rental chairs look like–just get it done, people!

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  • idkmybffjill

    Honestly… I really prefer the SUPER direct on those sort of things. “Ouch, that really hurts my feelings! I’ve thought I was being pretty chill about this – and my decisiveness was just making things go smoothly. Have I been unkind to you? What’s making you call me that?”

    • savannnah

      You also don’t need to reinforce your chillness to be a non-threatening woman.

      • idkmybffjill

        Oh, sure. But if you feel you’ve been chill I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying, “I feel like I’ve been chill, and you’re using a word which is generally used to mean I’ve lost my shit.”

    • sofar

      This is perfect in every way.

    • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

      This is amazing, and then I would expect 100% of the respondents to be all “RELAX. I was just JOKING. JEEEZuuhh.”

      And then I’d get a rage nosebleed.

      • idkmybffjill

        Oh, yep – I’m sure. To which I think I’d say, “Oh man! I see. Gosh that’s kind of a hurtful joke. There’s a lot of pressure to never ever be a crazy bride so that one is just not gonna land well with me.” *shrug*

    • Lizz

      I like the super direct route too. I prefer to keep it short and then change the subject, because I hate confrontation. “I don’t like being called that term, please don’t use it to describe me. So anyway, check out these centerpieces…”

      If they do it again after that, then I’ll say something like “I already told you I don’t like being called that. Please don’t do it again.” If they still don’t get it: “You keep calling me that after I asked you not to. I’m going to have to cut this visit short. Give me a call next week to talk about [whatever].”

  • Eh

    My SIL proudly called herself a bridezilla. My MIL had never heard of the term before but realized it fit my SIL’s behaviour and started calling my SIL (her other DIL) a bridezilla to other people (and suggested it was ok since my SIL called herself a bridezilla). My SIL was very demanding about her wedding but she had a very specific vision and people kept telling her she couldn’t have it or weren’t living up to her expectations (which sometimes weren’t explicitly given).

    I think some people (my inlaws can’t be the only people like this) like to push the brides buttons to see if she will flip. For some people it seems like a game they like to play.

    I totally agree with the LW though that people take things that are normal in event or project planning as being over the top when it comes to a wedding. I manage projects at work, and treated my wedding like I would have treated a project. I had a Gantt (high-level) and a (detailed) budget for my wedding. Some people took this as me caring too much about my wedding. Other people (family coming from out of town, or friend who was my DOC and MC) appreciated how organized I was because when they had a question I was able to answer it right away.

    • sassafrass

      “People like to push the bride’s buttons and see if she will flip” – sooooo true. My wedding happened to fall on Halloween (just the weekend on October the venue was available) and people kept joking about showing up in costume. And when I laughed it off people went further and further with the joke just to piss me off. Eventually I was salty about the joke just because the whole point of it was to get under my skin to which a number of people told me they thought I shouldn’t get so worked up about it. Cue the rage monster.
      Same situation came up with what would/wouldn’t happen on my husband’s bachelor party, incessant teasing about things I was very anxious and uncomfortable about. Suffice to say I was super over a lot of people by the time the wedding finally rolled around.

      • penguin

        Yep my brother was pulling some of that this weekend – trying to get me riled up by saying how he might wear a leisure suit or disco outfit to the wedding or something. I was there to help him and my dad pick out suits (my dad asked me to be there) and I knew he was hoping I’d go off. I just kept repeating some variation on “wear what you want”, and threw in a paraphrased version of what I saw on a cross-stitch on Etsy one time: “Look upon the field of my fucks, and behold that it is barren”.

        • angela

          Numerous people got a HUGE kick out of telling me that they or their female partners would be wearing white. I would usually reply with, “Great, that sounds lovely!” and they would go on to try to explain why I should actually be very upset about this. That cross-stitch sounds amazing and relevant in way too many situations.

          • CMT

            That is absolutely ridiculous, because everybody *should* know that if you do wear white to someone’s wedding, YOU are the one who looks like a giant asshole and who everyone will be whispering about.

          • Amandalikeshummus

            I get as a person in society that we have a rule about this; but I don’t really get why a bride would care. Even if someone showed up in their wedding dress, that person wouldn’t be in the middle of things so much that anyone would think they were the bride. And they’d be deemed a weirdo.

          • idkmybffjill

            Yeah the only person who looks like an idiot wearing white at a wedding is the person who isn’t the bride. ha

        • Jess

          A version of the “Behold! The field in which I grow my fucks” linked on Captain Awkward:
          https://captainawkwarddotcom.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/fuckssampler.png

          • penguin

            I need this in my life.

      • Jess

        I will never in a million years understand why this is funny? Especially because they *always* finish the joke with, “Wow, don’t get so upset…” when they finally get to you.

        WHY? Who delights in this? What is wrong with them? Did I skip all of “Asshole Humor 101” before getting born?

        • Sarah E

          My one friend’s dad is like this. Boils my blood when she tells me of his behavior, and takes all of my patience in his presence to just brush off the antagonism and not walk away (usually not an option when I’m in from out of town). Pure antagonism just for the pursuit of entertainment is not funny, kind, or anything I want to spend time around. To me, it’s just the lighter end of the “torture/hurt things for sport” spectrum.

          • Eh

            My FIL likes to push his DILs buttons and get his sons in trouble with their wives for entertainment. When we pointed out his behaviour to him (because my BIL/SIL were refusing to visit them because she did not feel welcome) he said he does it on purpose because it is his right as a father to cause strife between his sons and DILs. He said his inlaws did it to them so it’s his time.

          • penguin

            Wow that sounds exhausting and stupid of him honestly. No wonder they didn’t want to visit.

          • Eh

            Sadly, because he refuses to see that he is the problem (actually, my MIL and FIL are both problems), they have resumed visiting with them. They have treated my SIL like crap for 10 years and they claim that they aren’t the problem. She has repeatedly been used as a scapegoat when my BIL has done something my inlaws didn’t like (“his wife must have put him up to it because our son would never do that”). One of the other issues my BIL/SIL have with my MIL/FIL is that they treat my BIL’s bio-daughter differently than his adopted daughters (my SIL’s daughters from other relationships). My FIL was overheard in May at a family event treating my daughter and my BIL’s bio-daughter differently than the other two.

      • Eh

        I was pretty chill about most things (despite having my gantt and budget). My husband’s grandmother wanted to see if she could get a reaction out of me by telling me that she was wearing a black dress to our wedding. I said ‘black dresses are in. my step-mom wore a black dress to my step-brothers wedding’. That wasn’t really the reaction she was going for.

        On the other hand, my FIL kept telling me I should do things the way my BIL wanted me to do them. Both my FIL and my BIL seemed confused as to why I didn’t want to do that way.

        The year before, on my BIL/SIL’s wedding day my MIL suggested that we have a joint wedding and asked if my dad could make it in time for the ceremony. She was very serious about it until I explained that my dad lived 8 hours away and the ceremony was in 5 hours so he couldn’t make it. It was probably good that my SIL wasn’t there at the time because she probably would have flipped (for good reason) at the suggestion.

        • Kat

          Ok so I just had to look up Gantt charts and WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN MY WHOLE LIFE. I just thought I should let you know you’ve improved my life drastically with this realization.

          • Eh

            I am so glad I was able to help :)

    • Sharing the Gantt love. My wedding project plan is a thing of beauty. It’s even in the wedding colours! It’s got a RAG status, and an integrated google form for address gathering, and the budget is colour coded and the honeymoon prices updated automatically with the exchange rate fluctuations (and unlike my sister, I’m actually going to know how much I spent on the wedding – it was very apparent from talking to her she thinks hers cost £5000+ less than it actually did!).

      It is the prettiest spreadsheet I have ever made and I think I am more proud of it than any of the wedding DIY people will actually see on the day.

      • Eh

        I don’t understand why people have a hate on for Gannts and budgets. It’s just a way of organizing information that you need to know. (Or you can ignore if you choose, and there may be consequences, like spending more than you expected, or missing an important deadline, or having people pissed off at you because you give them no notice.) You can organize the information in other ways (my sister had a notebook) but this way works for me.

        The person that hated my Gannt the most was my BIL because he likes to procrastinate. He would say things like “We didn’t do X this early for our wedding!” (At one point “X” was informing our VIPs of the time and locations of the events for our wedding since my half of was travelling from out of town, so I just sent an email to all the VIPs at the same time). Their wedding was the year before ours and it was extremely disorganized. For example, my BIL called my husband the day they had to get measured for their tux rentals. It was the last day to order their tuxes and since my BIL had only called my husband that morning my husband could not get the day off work (which resulted in comments from my BIL/SIL and my MIL/FIL about how my husband was not dedicated to being my BIL’s Best Man). My husband managed to get measured for his tux the next day and everything worked out. Their rehearsal was on the Thursday before the wedding, we only found this out the week before because I pressed my SIL for the information (pointing out that we needed to book the time off and rent a car). One of the groomsmen (my husband’s cousin) only found out because I told his wife. The other groomsman was coming from out of country and only found out on the Wednesday and luckily he was able to make it. My MIL/FIL had offered to host a brunch the day after the wedding for a gift opening, my BIL/SIL only took them up on this offer on their wedding day (my inlaws still agreed to do it). (If they had a Gannt they could have tracked important deadlines like when the tuxes needed to be ordered by and then given the groomsmen notice a head of time, or tracked important details like informing VIPs of when the rehearsal was or confirming details of the brunch with my inlaws.) So the track record from their wedding was they did everything at the very last moment and they are lucky that things didn’t turn out worse than they did.

  • Her Lindsayship

    I would’ve found this super frustrating as well, but I actually didn’t have to deal with it much. Instead, I started getting a little annoyed when everyone kept telling me how zen and chill I was about the whole thing.

    1) Maybe you just don’t hear about the things I’m stressed about because I don’t come to work to dump them on you, co-worker. But that doesn’t mean I’m not stressed.
    2) Even if the truth is that I handled the stress well and took things in stride, I don’t appreciate being held up as a standard of wedding-planning-zen that other women should be compared to. Your friend who freaked out about hairstyles a month before the wedding prob had a really good reason for that.
    3) And of course, I’m pretty sure my now-husband literally never said a word to anyone about the stress of wedding planning, and was never labeled groomchilla.

    • Abs

      Yeah–in yet another instance of “you can never win”, I feel like no matter what people say, it’s all in this mold of judging how you as a woman are dealing with the situation. Like my family have been saying things like “you did really well–you seemed really relaxed.” Which…they probably think is the goal, because that’s what our society says is the goal, but why is it the goal? When I handed in my doctoral dissertation, no one was commenting on whether or not I was relaxed. They were like–oh wow, you completed this major task and it was awesome, good for you!

    • E.

      “Even if the truth is that I handled the stress well and took things in stride, I don’t appreciate being held up as a standard of wedding-planning-zen that other women should be compared to.” YES

      I had a coworker whose daughter got married a week after me and she kept going on and on about how she wished her daughter was more like me. I felt soooo uncomfortable every time. Whenever she talked about her daughter’s spending be out of control I wanted to just be like, “you haven’t set any budget or limit on what she can spend and told her to make it super special. of course she’s spending a lot.”

      • ssha

        Yes! My bridesmaid went on and on about how I was the least bridezilla-y bride she’d seen, and compared me to another bride in a wedding she went to last year. I just sort of laughed uncomfortably? She said it because I let her pick her own dress. What would she have said if she had seen me in my highly anxious, stressed-in-a-ball-on-the-floor state coordinating those dresses put me in?

    • Jan

      I’m getting these comments too, and they make me so. so. so. uncomfortable. Like, does this mean if I have an actual stress meltdown I lose my chill title? Are they concerned that I don’t seem invested enough? Should I start word vomiting all the stuff that IS stressing me out that I just haven’t told these semi-strangers about?

      Moral: just don’t mention the B-word, in any capacity. In lieu of the B-word, I offer these wedding-related conversation pieces: “I am so happy for you! What are you most excited for?” or “All of that planning sounds like a lot, I’m so looking forward to seeing/hearing about it” or “Tell me more about your menu”

      (That last one may only be applicable to me, as I am currently v v obsessed with our food.)

  • Ugh, I’m sorry. That sounds so freaking obnoxious and frustrating.

    My unhelpful suggestion: Carry around a speaker and blast Blue Oyster Cult’s “Godzilla” every time someone says it. Refuse to continue the conversation or say anything else until the song is done. Aversion therapy!

  • sofar

    I love the description of being a bride as a no-win situation. If you are so “chill” that nothing gets done, then you’re disorganized. If you treat it as planning an event and try to get stuff done, you are a bridezilla who is losing focus on the “real” meaning of the day.

    Meanwhile, if the groom does one little thing to help plan, he’s “so great” for helping. If he slacks off and puts it all on the bride, he’s a “smart man” to “stay out of it” and let the bride have “her way” because OBVIOUSLY you don’t want to piss off the bridezilla.

    It’s a damn miracle I didn’t breathe fire during the wedding-planning process.

    • Jessica

      It is a miracle–think of how flammable all that wedding stuff is!

    • archaeopteryx

      I had to explain this to my now-husband, as he would try to compliment me by telling people how hard I was working on the wedding, how much I was organizing, etc, while downplaying his own (considerable) contributions to the planning. In most other situations, this would be gracious manners, but I pointed out that it was giving off the false perception that the bride was doing all the planning and the groom didn’t really care.

  • E.

    Ugh I love my sister, but she called me bridezilla a few times and it pissed me off so much. She also seemed to misremember her wedding, so she was shocked that the dress ideas I sent my wedding party were ~$100 and said, “remember my wedding? your dress was like $30!” I had to remind her it was $80 and I was a broke college student at the time.

  • Katie

    Actual story that almost made me murder my husband last weekend:
    I briefly mentioned how I was a little bummed by his mom taking over the communication between me and the venue manager, and he just wouldn’t understand why I’m taking it so seriously. Then he proceeded to tell me how the wedding planning is supposed to be “fun” and “exciting” (HAHAHAHAH), and when I explained that handling all the emotional labor and everybody’s expections is NOT exciting, he said, “wow, you really are a bridezilla”. Cue to me staring him dead in the eye and… but I don’t want to curse here.

    Nothing makes me go batshit crazy as somebody calling me a bridezilla (especially someone who has no idea what wedding planning actually is).

    • Jessica

      *eye twitch*
      No.

    • ssha

      NO. JUST NO. I am cursing on your behalf.

      • Katie

        It was so not okay. After dropping the f-word I couldn’t help but storm off and burst into tears, because it was just too much to handle. He apologized, of course, and we talked about it, but I hated the fact that wedding planning is perceived by my own husband like something that is supposed to be fun and I’m doing something wrong if it’s not fun. Fortunately he understood just how terribly wrong he was when he called his mom, and there was some drama, too (yay! I’m not the only ~bridezilla~ here)

        • ssha

          Of course it was not okay! I really hope he’s is doing some work for your wedding and not leaving it all to you and his mom?! It seems like he’s blissfully ignorant of the planning work (more so than the normal unequal EL division).

          • Katie

            The thing is, I made a conscious choice to only ask for his input for stuff he really cares about (on the flip side, we’re buying a house, and husband is the one who handles all the documentation, loan applications, phone calls, bank visits, etc, so it’s fair). I am a spreadsheet queen and I love logistics. What I don’t love is when someone meddles with my work or tells me that I’m doing something wrong.

          • ssha

            Thanks for explaining your situation more. From reading some of your other comments, it seems like you have a system, but I sincerely hope your husband realized why he can’t call you the b-word.

          • Katie

            yeah, I realized that he sounded like such a jerk in my previous comments to this thread, and felt I needed to explain, because he’s actually one of the sweetest people I know. He can just be… clueless sometimes. Which is still frustrating, but it’s something that can be worked with!

  • Sara J.

    I had one bridesmaid who called me a Bridezilla for the entire wedding and even now rolls her eyes at how much I cared. What onerous and unreasonable things did I ask of my bridesmaids? I asked them to find a black dress of their choosing and black peep-toe heels, also of their choosing. Oh, and to show up on time for the rehearsal and the wedding. I didn’t even vent or worry to this friend about planning, most of that got dumped on my mom. But right, I’m a “Bridezilla” because I give a shit about a) a huge life milestone and deeply emotional event and b) a big party for over 100 of my closest friends.

    I once asked her what wedding would be so chill and relaxing, and she said something about a wedding in a pretty field, with a potluck reception or a clambake! So simple and cheap and stress-free! Did I mention that, at the time, a significant portion of my job was being an event planner? I tried not to laugh in her face when I started thinking about tent, chair, table, linen rentals, catering (even for 20 people), sound amplification and music, and the logistics of her “simple” wedding.

    Can’t wait to see how calm and chill she is when she finally plans her wedding. Sigh.

    • Kat

      Oh her day is coming, for sure. She basically jinxed herself. I can not stand the “I’m not like other girls, I’m a cool girl, I just don’t care” gimmick.

    • ManderGimlet

      AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAA! I want your friend to talk to mine who just planned a “simple”, “low key” wedding on a farm in a “pretty field” with “easy” “rustic” food. Start getting facial massages now so you don’t strain yourself containing your laughter when she starts planning her wedding.

  • janie

    My caterer refused to say bridezilla also, and instead called it the “bride stride” – like homegirl is getting things done. I liked that.

    • Rachel

      Oh I love that so much.

  • NotMotherTheresa

    Oh man, the horrible part of this is that YOU CANNOT WIN!

    I worked soooooo hard not to be a bridezilla. I’m a naturally easy going person, I hate confrontation, and after being in a couple of weddings where the brides were a bit difficult, I was bound and determined that I would not do that to people. *I* would be lovely and graceful and laid back, and everyone would agree that I was the most delightful bride ever to live.

    And…I spent a full year listening to my more vocal friends and family members talk me about the importance of being decisive and standing up for my vision. So, on occasion, I *did* stand up for my vision to those people, since after all, they were the ones who assured me that it’s okay to be assertive.

    Guess what? THE EXACT SAME PEOPLE WHO TOLD ME TO BE MORE VOCAL GOT ANNOYED WHEN I TRIED EXPRESSING MY OPINIONS!!!!

    I was raised in a conservative Christian household with very traditional gender roles. I live in the hyper patriarchal rural south. I worked in an industry *known* for its rampant sexism. And never, EVER have I felt more aware of society’s bias against women than I did in trying to plan own freaking wedding!

  • Vanessa
    • ssha

      Oh my sister sent that to me last week! So good. I know the APW crew would agree.

  • I want a poster with quotes from this post to put on my walls.

  • ManderGimlet

    I lean into it. I’m planning 95% of it, I’m paying for 100% of it, I know what I want and willing to do the work to get it. Don’t like decisiveness, not dicking around over every little decision, a planner who is organized, has actual tasks and a timeline so when someone offers help I can tell them exactly what they can do and when? THEN SHUT UP, SHOW UP (or not!), AND GET OUT OF MY WAY IN THE MEANTIME! I definitely agree with commenters talking about how some people just love to push buttons, and that is my family to a tee. They can say whatever dumb crap they want, when they show up to spend a magical weekend in a beautiful place that has had every need planned for and their enjoyment and comfort in mind, I will be sure to let them know that a Bridezilla made that shit happen and to fully enjoy that glass of champagne I paid for.