“We have ourselves a groomzilla,” said Megan Garber last week in The Atlantic, pointing out the fact that most surprising thing about Sean Parker’s upcoming $9-million wedding isn’t the price tag but the fact that he’s the one planning it.
“Because, for all the variation that exists among weddings of the famous and the non-, there tends to be one driving assumption that unites them all: Weddings, first and finally, are about the bride. The bride’s “special day.” The day she’s dreamed of since she was a little girl,” writes Garber.
And it’s true. Never mind the fact that weddings involve two people – of which neither needs to be a woman – the industry unabashedly caters almost solely to heterosexual brides. Brides that are supposed to really give a fuck about finding the perfect colors, custom favors, and flower arrangements to express their personality.
There’s a limit though. The contemporary American bride can be obsessed with weddings, but she must be very careful, lest she become too obsessed with the details of her own. She must not become a Bridezilla.
Take popular wedding planning website TheKnot.com. Its editors, in the interest of helping women everywhere truly come to terms with the limits society has placed on them, has created this handy quiz for brides-to-be: Are you a bridezilla? (FYI: I took the quiz, and I’m not. Sigh of relief everybody!)
At the beginning of the questionnaire, the editors throw in this tidbit of a warning-disguised-as-advice:
“Before you think, “Me? No, that’s definitely not me,” take our quiz to see just what kind of bride you really are — and if you need to chill out or crank it up a notch.”
Throughout the wedding planning process, brides are asked to walk a very fine line between caring enough to show they’re taking it seriously and caring too much and letting the industry get the best of them. The women that don’t care enough are shamed quietly, while those that take it too far are publicly judged by the crowd.
And as a result, in the perfect storm of the Internet, reality television, and the Wedding Industrial Complex, Bridezillas have become one of our favorite fetish objects, ready for public display and ripe for mockery. Their self-absorption and materialism provide us with delicious meltdowns, tantrums, dramatic gown fittings, and fights over cake frosting. But it’s their sincerity, rooted in honest conceptions of romantic love and everlasting companionship, that truly keeps us hooked.
Bridezillas. They’re just like you and me.
The thing is, the wedding industry – and the brides, grooms, friends and family members that fuel it – needs bridezillas. And we – the consumers – need them too. The term is inherently relative, and we rely on extreme examples of wedding mania to justify our own occasional lapses in judgement. We need them the same way that members of the religious right need the Westboro Baptist Church. So that no matter how profane or ridiculous our words or actions get, we’re tolerated as long as we can point to someone crazier and say, “hey, at least I’m not like her.”