Weddings can be stressful -- we get it. You want everything to be perfect, and most brides like to call the shots when it comes to their special day. But if your lifelong best friend resigned from her post as maid of honor, and the 7-year-old flower girl is breaking out in hives from the stress of throwing petals at your feet, you need to take a step back. You've entered bridezilla territory.
There's help for you yet. We've compiled a list of 10 signs that you're turning into a bridezilla. If any of these are at all applicable to you, or they sound like something you'd consider doing, re-evaluate your priorities. Wedding planning should be fun, after all.
First, we'll tell you why insisting on the best of everything could be bringing out the worst in you.
You're Spending Your Parents into the Poorhouse
It's perfectly natural to want the best of everything for your wedding. However, if your parents are on a fixed income and you're not floating the bill, don't hold too steadfastly to a vision of crystal candelabras and $100 per-person plated dinners. This can put you well on your way to becoming a bridezilla.
You can have a great wedding without forcing your parents to take out a second mortgage. Just scale it back a little. So you'll have heavy hors d'oeuvres instead of a five-course meal. The guests can mingle in the buffet line.
Before you started planning your wedding, you got along with everyone. But your friends and family all seem to have spontaneously transformed into insensitive jerks since you got engaged. We've got a bit of bad news: It's you, not them.
If conversations with your mother have turned into shouting matches, and you're throwing around colorful four-letter words when you address your wedding planner, you're totally on your way to becoming a bridezilla. You have a vision for your wedding, but people are going to have different opinions and ideas. You don't have to incorporate all of them into your ceremony or reception, but you should at least hear everyone out.
The Pictures Must Be Perfect
Most brides hire a professional photographer to capture every moment of their wedding day. You'll still be pulling out those pictures when you're old and gray, so it's understandable that you'll want members of the wedding party to look their best.
But we draw the line at firing a bridesmaid because she revealed she's pregnant and you don't want her to look "fat" in your photos. Also unacceptable? Sending a waxing salon gift card to your future sister-in-law a few days before the ceremony with a note that reads "upper lip." Tone it down, and try to see others' flaws as reasons you'll look all the more radiant on your special day.
Your Bridesmaids Defriend You
You used to be the best of friends, now your bridesmaids are avoiding your calls. Maybe it's because you've demanded twice-weekly meetings and have been sending them daily text updates, even though your wedding is still six months out. If you need that much attention, get a wedding planner -- or a therapist. Your friends are happy for you, but they have lives that revolve around more than your big day.
You Don't Have Time for Anyone (or Anything) Else
Have you missed an inordinate amount of work since getting engaged? Are you too busy to console your best friend after an especially nasty breakup? If you're expecting your sister to postpone her planned C-section until after you get hitched, or you're thinking about telling your boss that you can't work Wednesdays and Fridays for the next six months because you have so much wedding planning to do, you're being a bridezilla.
It's time to face reality. Your wedding is important, sure, but so are your other relationships and responsibilities. Don't neglect everything else in your life or expect other people to drop everything they're doing just because you're going to say "I do." Head on back to work, and go visit your grieving girlfriend. You can deal with your pending nuptials later.
You Have a Vision, and You're Sticking to It
All brides have specific ideas about their perfect wedding day. And, sure, you're entitled to call the shots -- but for practicality's sake, you going to have to relinquish that vision a bit.
For example, say you're planning a rooftop ceremony at a 50-story skyscraper. You find out that the elevator's going to be down for service that day, and your father-in-law has a heart condition. You simply have to move the ceremony to a more accessible location. Forcing the elderly or infirm to scale multiple stories or do any other strenuous activity is more than being a bridezilla, it's practically criminal. Do you really want to go down as the bride who killed her wedding guests?
Nobody Is Taking Your Calls
It's a bad sign if no one is taking your calls -- even if you're paying them. Say your wedding planner quit, the cake designer won't return your e-mails, and your caterer just sent you a refund check and a note asking not to be contacted again. Sure, maybe you're right -- they're all incompetent -- or perhaps you're being a bit unreasonable. Still can't figure it out? Think about that last message you left the poor florist. If you're expecting good service from your vendors, you need to treat them like the industry experts they are.
You're Issuing Clothing Color Edicts
You're a bride, not a queen. You can't exactly issue a decree proclaiming that no female attending the ceremony wear white just because you don't want any unfavorable comparisons. Yes, it was once -- and still is, according to some etiquette experts -- a faux pas for female guests to wear white to a wedding. But there's not much you can do about your brother's new socially dim-witted girlfriend. What are you going to do, kick her out? On second thought, let's not even go there.
Your Registry Totals More Than Most College Educations
Have you already started thinking about where you're going to store your new crystal? Who do you think is going to shell out for the silver -- or the china? What about the high-end digital camera or the top-of-the-line luggage? Unless your last name is Gates, and your daddy's first name is Bill, the only thing a registry filled with $100-plus items is going to get you is a bunch of congratulatory cards. Sure, your families will probably splurge on something nice, and close friends might want to drop a few Benjamins for the occasion, but the rest of your guests aren't looking to spoil you with high-tech gadgets and fine cutlery. If they do, great, but be sure to pepper your registry with a few less expensive items, like coffee makers, toasters and griddles, for the rest of us, OK?
Your Guest List Has 10 People on It
After all the money you spent on your wedding dress, surely you want people there to see you walk down the aisle. Yes, it's your day, but you have to keep in mind everyone else who has some personal stake in watching you and your fiancé exchange vows. Not every guest has to be hand-selected by you to fit your criteria of the perfect guest. Why not include your fiancé's rowdy fraternity brothers, your mother's Bunko group and your cousin's live-in boyfriend? No, they don't all have to make the final cut, but you should at least consider inviting them. A party's not much of a party with only 10 people. Take a break, and let someone else help you compile your guest list. After all, if you relinquish a bit of control now, you'll still have friends to invite to your eventual baby shower.
Take a look at this photo album to see all of our style suggestions for the unique and unexpected style bride!