Ask Una is a satire column in which we ask those burning wedding questions we know you’re thinking about but are too afraid to put in writing. So we did it for you. Seriously (we’re not serious).
I am a super laid-back bride. I mean, I booked my wedding date and venue before I even had a boyfriend, so there was no drama over scheduling. I let my bridesmaids choose their own metallic jumpsuits so that they can wear them again and again, and I even helped set up my cousin’s GoFundMe when he claimed he “couldn’t afford” the round-trip airfare to the Amalfi Coast. But I feel like in this world full of Bridezillas, no one is giving me the credit I deserve for being so relaxed. How can I make them see how lucky they are?
—Too Cool For Tulle
Do you remember the scene in When Harry Met Sally when they’re watching Casablanca in a split screen, and Meg Ryan asks Billy Crystal if she’s high-maintenance or low-maintenance, and he says “You’re the worst kind. You’re high-maintenance but you think you’re low-maintenance”?
Does that bring up any feelings for you? Perhaps a faint flicker of self-recognition from someplace deep inside, in the meditative caverns of your soul, beneath the sedimentary layers of unflappable blasé?
I hate to break it to you, love, but when we feel the need to proclaim our own positive attributes we’re rarely telling ourselves—or anyone else—the whole truth. For example: The self-anointed “ladies man” who relies on a complex and suspect mating call of mock turtlenecks and aggressive negging; the soft-spoken office-mate who diagnoses her fatal flaw as being “just too nice” and then methodically steals your yogurts from the communal fridge.
So, when you say up front that you’re “super laid-back,” what that says to me is that you have probably flipped a table in public at least twice in your lifetime. I suspect that your loved ones may be afraid to tell you to your face that you are not exactly a walking, talking Bob Marley album of chill, especially if they have just spent their entire life savings to stand beside you on an Italian cliffside dressed like Boogie Nights extras. So give them a break. But first, give yourself one.
You don’t have to be easygoing or low-maintenance. Not as a woman, not as a bride, not as a wife. Some of us just aren’t wired that way. My mother, for instance, is the type to throw plates against walls. She married my father while wearing a skin-tight red leotard and smoking a cigarette. Now, granted, she didn’t have bridesmaids, but she did invite almost everyone from group therapy. And this was in the 1970s, when mellow was at its height!
“Bridezilla” is a tricky term. There are a few truly unreasonable requests that might warrant comparison with a violent, pre-historic sea monster—forced group tattoos, maybe, or BASE jumping, or blood sacrifice—but a wedding is a huge production with a million moving parts. “Demands” like having your friends wear matching outfits, asking guests to shell out for travel, or a creating a registry full of expensive things you may never, ever actually use is generally accepted as part of the package deal. You are not going to breeze through your big day with the insouciant calm of an anthropomorphic Valium, so stop trying.
It’s OK to be more Medusa than Buddha. Just own it. And then maybe buy everyone a few drinks and a massage, because they’re going to need it.
Una LaMarche has written four young-adult novels, Five Summers, Like No Other, Don’t Fail Me Now, and You in Five Acts, as well as a comic essay collection, Unabrow. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Observer, Allure, and Parents, as well as online at the Huffington Post. The New York Times has called her writing “surprisingly seductive,” which she plans to use on her tombstone.