“I’ll cry if I have to wear that”. It was our second appointment at a bridesmaid dress boutique in Boston. The day officially stopped being fun for me after one of my bridesmaids gawked at a chicly modern Vera Wang dress that I adored with this retort.
I was about to learn a lesson the hard way. Early that morning, one of my bridesmaids, Mary Margaret, gave me a gentle nudge into Bridezilla territory. She looked at me with a serious face that seemed out of context at the time and said, “It’s really nice of you to let us all try on dresses, but remember, it’s your wedding and you have the final say.” Little did I know Mary Margaret’s serious tone was completely in context. I was just too naïve to hear the important part of her foreshadowing caveat.
My selective listening allowed me to hear that I was being “nice”, and most importantly not a Bridezilla. Everyone could sing my praises as a bride who from the, “will you…” to the “I do!”, had been pleasant, sweet, maybe even demure. What I should have gathered from Mary Margaret’s gentle warning was that I couldn’t shy away from getting what I wanted just to please the masses. After all, it is my wedding. I wasn’t going to stomp my feet shouting that overused mantra, but it’s fair game when you’re in need of some authoritarian influence.
The Vera Wang was exactly what I was looking for in a bridesmaid dress; fun and flirty with a sophisticated undertone, perfect for the New Year’s Eve motif. Most importantly, it wasn’t just another uninspired sash adorned, a-line, knee length, strapless/v-neck dress that has saturated the pages of J.Crew for too long. The bridesmaid threatening tears, however, lives in the pages of J.Crew and its cohorts, Lily Pulitzer and Vineyard Vines. I was at a crossroads. Do I go Bridezilla on the girls, put my foot down and tell them “it’s the dress I want, so it’s the dress they’re buying”? Or do I shy away from the chance at an amazing bridesmaid dress for the sake of one girl’s predictably preppy taste? Luckily, it didn’t come to that. My ‘5”4 size 0 bridesmaid, was a little too petite to handle the poof. This particular Vera wasn’t going to work.
I could feel my wrinkle cream working overtime, as the furrow in my brow became deeper and deeper with each snide remark and pouting face. I was frustrated. I didn’t want to be a Bridezilla, but Mary Margaret’s words were coming back to bite me in my French bustle. We went to a few more boutiques and the frustration wasn’t dying down. It wasn’t until the last of five shops when I came to terms with the fact that we weren’t choosing a dress that day.
I went home to New York feeling slightly defeated and regretting my expectations. How foolish to think that five girls would all find a dress that they liked, looked good in and appealed to what I was aiming for in the bridesmaid attire? A couple of days later I picked a dress for them by myself, and sent them an email with the ordering information. I felt slightly Bridezilla doing it, but it also felt good to get what I want while I avoiding an episode of bride rage.
Future brides, heed this advice. Invoke a Heather Locklear circa Melrose Place personality and execute some executive decisions throughout your entire planning process. Go solo on your bridesmaid dress shopping (and any other wedding related missions). Consult past photos of your girlfriends to figure out what looks good on each girl, and then just choose. There’s no “I” in “T-E-A-M”, and there’s also no “B-R-I-D-E”.