Weddings are wonderful. They are a public celebration of love, family, and friendship that almost always come with an open bar. What's not to love?
Oh, yes. The incredible strain put on women to not only do pretty much everything pertaining to the wedding but also to be lovely and composed the day of, as if they just hadn't busted their asses to put together one of the most important events of their lives. And if they get visibly frustrated during any point of the process they're automatically labeled "crazy" and a "bridezilla." Well, what do you want from us?
Here's the thing, the American Wedding Racket (a Real Thing) and long-held social conventions dictate that the bride-to-be is in charge of almost everything wedding-related. After all, it's her big day. Well, as it turns out, being in charge of almost everything when a wedding is concerned means being in charge of a metric ton (actual measurement) of wedding-themed fuckery. Women, by and large, research and decide on the venue, book the venue, pick out the invitations, order the invitations, send the invitations, manage the RSVPs, book the tastings, book the caterers, choose the tables and tablecloths and napkins and photographers and cakes and oh my god, I'm gonna blow my brains out. (And no, grooms don't get extra points for being dragged along sometimes.) Add in the stress of dealing with friends who might not get along, demanding family members, and all the money that's being spent, and you have a recipe for a "difficult bride." Plus, most ladies do this while still holding down full-time jobs. I'm sorry, but women deserve all the awards.
I hate to break it to you (not really) but a woman who can move that mountain and still be calm, cool, and collected on her wedding day is either: 1. a robot, 2. dead inside, or 3. VERY VERY DRUNK.
Do you want to marry any of these things? (If you answered yes, you are a terrifying monster and I'll call you when I'm in the market for my second husband!)
So, basically, from the word "go," women are set up to fail. And the icing on the (mediocre, over-priced) wedding cake? The disturbing research that shows that women who express anger are judged more harshly than men. Hence every bride who gets upset at her vendor or planner when her insanely expensive chair rentals show up in the wrong color is a 'zilla. Women, most of whom are not professional event planners, must produce a perfect affair, all while pretending that they're not freaking out because "OMG BRIDEZILLAS ARE TERRIFYING SHE-DEVILS; SOMEONE GET THAT WOMAN A TAMPON AND A BROWNIE BEFORE SHE BLOWS!"
Think I'm exaggerating? Well, there's an entire segment of reality TV dedicated to women—"bridezillas"—who are wedding monsters. "Bridezilla" is an insane made-up term that makes men giggle and roll their eyes at how crazy women are and allows ladies to judge what Voldemorts some women are when it comes to their weddings.
What reality TV would never let you believe is that plenty of "bridezillas" are lovely human beings who happen to be under an intense amount of stress to plan and execute a perfect party on what is constantly referred to as their "big day."
It's impossible to plan the average American wedding without getting frustrated by the process and becoming a so-called bridezilla, which renders the term useless and completely sexist.
If we, as in society, really want to eradicate the whole bridezilla thing, we'll have to do a few things together first:
1. Get Grooms to pitch in more. My fiancé is my equal in every way. He does the dishes, he walks the dogs, he does more than his share of the housework. He's a good dude. But when it comes to wedding planning, he only really involves himself in the things he's interested in or the things I nag him about. Does he think I want to be in charge of the chair rentals? I have no choice unless I want to ask him to do it three times, feel like the bad guy, and then probably still end up doing it myself. It's tiring, and from what I've learned form talking to my friends about it, fairly commonplace. Men don't face the same expectations when it comes to weddings—long considered a feminine domain—and so they can sit back and coast. If we want things to change, dudes are gonna have to step it up when it comes to making things happen.
2. Have chiller weddings in general. Maybe it's just a backyard party or a BBQ in the park. Maybe it's dinner at your favorite restaurant or even no host pub crawl. After experiencing the pressure of planning a wedding and not loving how it made her feel, my friend Lauren decided to get married at City Hall and have a big party in the back of her favorite bar. It was low-key and awesome; plus her mom is glorious after a few cocktails and there was love and laughter to spare. You don't need to spend the American average of $25,500 to have a "real wedding." You aren't any more married if you spend $100K than if you just spend the cost of the marriage certificate. Do what you want. A wedding is a celebration and it should be exactly how you like it, expectations be damned.
3. Live and let "bridezillas" live. My best friend almost slapped me on her wedding day when I suggested that her dress might not zip up. Guess what? I deserved it. We got down on that floor with a pair of pliers and some body tape and we made that shit work. If the bride-to-be is crying because the adorable striped straws she ordered are the wrong shade of pink, support her. Give her a hug (if that's what she wants!) and say "Fuck those stupid fucking straw making motherfuckers for being terrible at their dumb fucking jobs!" and then hand her some champagne and get out of her way. She's under a lot of stress and what she needs is a friend, not judgment. Lord knows you'll be able to return the favor one day when you're drowning your sorrows in mediocre wedding cake samples as you cry into your misprinted Save the Date cards.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.