Sherry Amatenstein is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author. Here she shares her top tips on how to avoid becoming the dreaded B-word.
Of course you're a kind, loving, emotionally generous person. But you're also an engaged woman. That means you are susceptible to succumbing to the temporary but extremely toxic (for others) condition called "Bridezilla."
*Lynn Adams puts it this way, "Before my wedding two years ago I remember thinking to myself I never wanted to be that bridezilla. Then, one day, working on invites with my sister I heard myself bossing her around, demanding she keep getting up to fetch me things because I was all that — totally not caring that she was recovering from foot surgery. I suddenly realized, 'OMG — I am a bridezilla!'"
As anyone who has been through it can attest, wedding planning is one of the most stressful endeavors known to womankind. You and/or your parents are spending thousands of dollars on an event that will last a few hours yet live on in photos, videos, and your memories forever. You want every detail to be perfect from the flowers to the seating arrangements to of course, your appearance.
Important proviso: It is okay to assert yourself to ensure that your opinions and desires are heard above the chatter of well-meaning friends and family, as well as sometimes pushy vendors. Women should be allowed to be loud and angry (though not disrespectful of others) on occasion when dealing with an external stressor without being called a bridezilla.
That said, you are being a B-word when you lose perspective entirely and treat others like chattel. So here's how to avoid becoming one:
Plan a Manageable Budget.
Few things cause more angst (a pre-bridezilla condition) than going into debt. So, when wedding planning, have a list of items-you-must-have and items-you-would-love-to-have-if possible. As you lop items off list number two, remind yourself that even if you get the $2,000 dress versus the $12,000 dress, your day isn't any less special. It's important not to start your marriage in debt.
Remember It's Okay to Ask for Help.
Doing it all by yourself is a stress-inducer. Get support. Delegate. Your friends and family are there to help you. Ask then what roles they would be interested in playing. Your groom of course should be involved as well. And consider hiring a wedding planner who can help with all the mind-boggling options that throwing a wedding entails.
Ask someone you love and trust if you are verging on Bridezilla-esque Behavior.
That is what *Jennifer Hill did when she starting noticing and disliking how she was acting: "My best friend was kind enough to be honest and to say yes, I was obsessing. After that wakeup call I was careful not to step over the line as I didn't want to drive everyone around me nuts."
Reconsider Your Priorities.
Lynn stepped back from the brink after spending a weekend away with her fiancé. Their one rule: Wedding planning could not be discussed. She came away revitalized. "I did a 180. Why was I wasting my energy being a maniac about what curlicues were on a wedding invitation? In the end the important part was that my husband and I would be sharing our joy with people we loved."
Lynn's first order of business after returning from the romantic getaway: "Sending a bouquet of yellow roses to my sister with a note apologizing for how I'd treated her!"
As Ruth Nemzoff, Ed.D. points out, "The license to marry is not a license to be a spoiled brat!"
*Name has been changed