So, I’ve been married over 7 years. That’s kind of a mind-blowing number, since getting married never felt like a big to-do for me. We were 19, dressed up like we were going to our senior prom, repeating vows in front of a justice of the peace, and that was pretty much it. It was exactly what we wanted, and we’ve never looked back.
My parents wanted me to have a big wedding.
Let me rephrase that: they didn’t want to pay for a big wedding, but when I got engaged, there was a natural expectation that I would be married in my parents’ church, in front of 200+ family, friends, and vague acquaintances. Then we’d have a cutesy reception in the church’s gym/meeting space/whatever, and ride off happily into the sunset.
I’ve known since I was a toddler that I would never have that kind of wedding.
It was a fight trying to convince my mom that I wouldn’t get married in a church. Nothing against God or my family, but I’ve never been of the belief that a building is God’s holy place just because someone says it is. God is everywhere – and where more apparent than outside in His beautiful creation? That’s where God speaks to me; that’s where everything comes full circle for me. There is nothing romantic to me about artificial lighting and ventilation systems and hard floors, sorry.
Trying to convince my parents of that was akin to telling them I was pregnant and working as a stripper by night. The looks on their faces…wow. When someone is raised with certain ideals and beliefs, it’s really, really difficult to lift the veil from their eyes. (Pun fully intended.)
That was just the start of the wedding battle, and I knew it. There woudn’t be a moment’s peace if I gave into the “traditional” way of doing things…so I didn’t.
That’s not to say I wouldn’t have enjoyed some aspects of traditional wedding planning. Shopping for dresses and flowers and cakes, picking colors and themes and music? It’s like a dream come true for an OCD over-planner like me. There was even a time when I considered going into the wedding planning business, because I’m just anal-retentive enough to be great at it.
Then I realized that wedding planning would be like planning my own, every day, for the rest of my life…except I wouldn’t have the bride’s right to break down and cry when things go wrong. Yeah, I’ll pass.
In my eyes, there are only two kinds of weddings: the kind with a bridezilla, and the kind with a momzilla. (Heaven forbid anyone have to coordinate the kind with both!) Neither one is something I want to deal with on a semi-yearly basis – much less daily.
A dear relative of mine is getting married soon. She’s just about as chill a bride as you could hope for: fell in love with a dress during her first shopping attempt, doesn’t care what her bridesmaids wear as long as they love the style and the color matches, etc. But when the bride is chill, that means someone else has to take up the wedding-drama slack.
The worst kind of momzilla isn’t the one screaming, sloshing around her sixth cocktail, and ordering “the help” around. If only movie mothers-of-the-bride came in such a dramatic, eye-roll-worthy package every time. The worst kind is arguably the passive momzilla – the one I witnessed today, and the kind I believe my own mother would have been if given the chance.
She’s the mom nitpicking every aspect of the dress (even after the bride has found and purchased “the one”), the mom asking “Um, do you have any more we could look at?” to passive-aggressively indicate her displeasure with something, saying to the bride “it’s pretty” in a non-committal way, bitchily sharing her seamstress knowledge with the tailors and store staff as if to indicate that they’ll inevitably botch the job…etc.
The dry, bad-acting way that these women speak is the thing that drives me battiest. They’d love to jump in and make absolutely every decision themselves – because, let’s face it, they’re trying to make up for their mothers controlling their own weddings back in the day – but because it’s their daughter’s day, they go into passive-aggressive half-defeat mode. That means no matter how much they love something, they’ll never say it. They’re glad to admit the things they hate, but the things they approve of only get curt half-nods or mumbles or (at worst) a shrug and, in a voice dripping with forced calm, “If you like it…”.
I could never do this.
I couldn’t do it to a friend, a relative, and certainly not to my own daughters. It would be impossible for me to be a momzilla, because I know just how much that selfish behavior drives me insane. If my daughter wants to get married in tennis shoes and a bathing suit, in a video arcade, with a rastafarian officiating…fine. (Heaven forbid, but fine!) I’ll bring quarters for the games.
There is inevitably a period of time that mothers/daughters need to go through in order to understand each other as adults. In my case, ten years should be sufficient – thus why I’m planning an actual “wedding” for my 10th anniversary. My mom couldn’t (convincingly) handle any of my wedding ideas back when I first got married. It was like watching someone trying to keep a straight face while having an anvil dropped repeatedly on her foot.
So, I’m looking forward to having the wedding I always wanted – albeit ten years down the road. Maybe even better than I dreamed, because I’ve matured and don’t think things like light-up flamingos and party-store hula skirts are quite as cool as I used to. (Sad, but true.) Maybe I’ll make a decade thing of it – since I imagine that by 2024, I’ll think whatever I did in 2014 was juvenile.
But, in the meantime, I have a relative momzilla to control. Hey, what can I say? I take my bridesmaid duties seriously. I should start charging for this stuff…