Last week, I started answering some questions submitted by a reader. You can view that post by clicking here. I'd love to share with you my responses to the rest of her questions this week. Enjoy!
1. What's the best way for bridesmaids to handle bridezillas? (e.g. Placing demands on their time that would require them to lose their jobs, damage relationships, etc, as well as asking bridesmaids to create and install all decorations for reception, party favors, make sure DJ is playing right songs at the right time, coordinate all photos with photographer, relaying message to guests that there are no ushers and to please seat themselves, makes entire wedding party stand outside in cold rain for over an hour waiting on her to arrive at reception after the wedding because she doesn't want anyone inside without her, throws drink at guests, etc. Yes, that really happened.)
Yeah, I'm pretty sure I'd tell her where to go and how to get there. But that's me. And that's probably not what Ms. Manners would tell you to do. I don't know. Bridezillas are called bridezillas not just because they're crazy, but also because there's no reasoning with them. If you've ever watched Bridezillas, you know this.
I mean obviously the right way to handle this is to politely address your concerns with the bride, explaining that you understand this day is important to her, but that her behavior is also completely unreasonable. Then pray she sees the light.
However, the reality is that she won't see the light and will still be a royal bitch. Well, guess what? She'd be screwed without minions, so screw her over! If she's out of control, politely tell her that with your life being what it is right now, you don't think you can accommodate her in the way that she needs you to, then back that truck right up on outta there!
Seriously. Do it.
2. What do you do if family members that you really want there can't stand each other? (Mostly thinking of your GREAT picture of when your parents started dancing together at your wedding.)
Here's a good story for you. Seven years ago (Why am I just getting older, people? This seemed like yesterday!), I was on a choir at this church. My friend had roped me into singing with the choir for a Christmas concert, so I did. The concert was actually going to be pretty nice, with an orchestra and everything, so I figured it might be nice to invite friends and family. I wanted my father there and when he found out my mother would also be there, he flipped out on me. He screamed at me at the top of his lungs about how he wasn't going and he wouldn't be in the same room as that woman, blah, blah, blah.
Fast forward to our wedding, and yeah, let's let this picture do the talking:
And this reaction from me:
That photo looks a little staged, but I promise you it wasn't. That was my utter shock that my parents were not only being cordial to each other, but taking photos together. WTF??? That should be the caption for that photo! I could not believe it! To this day, I'm still amazed.
The point is, don't sweat that stuff. People are adults and they need to learn to set aside their feelings and behave themselves. And that's what I would have told my father had he thrown a hissy baby fit again before the wedding. As a bride or groom, you have enough to worry about. You don't need to worry about attending to everyone or their emotions. Plus, that's not your job. Your job is to plan a nice wedding, focus on the fact that you're getting married and doing this hugely important thing and make sure that YOU have a good time.
Also, if someone starts acting like a brat and saying they won't pay for someone or something, then tell them you don't need your money. Because guess what? You don't. You can scale back or pay for it yourself. Maybe you have to push back the date or maybe you won't have a pony carry you into the reception hall after all, but who cares? You'll be happier in the long run that you didn't let someone else's anger dictate your day.
As a final note, remember that sometimes the big things in life (i.e. weddings, funerals, babies being born, etc.) have a way of healing old wounds. I really believe that there was something about watching their youngest child get married that made my parents set aside their old feelings and just enjoy the night. The dancing was just icing on the cake. Oh, and not only did my parents dance at the wedding, but last year, for the first time since I was a child, I spent Christmas day with both parents...in the same room...eating the same meal. And you know what? It was awesome! The point is, sometimes people surprise you.
3. Is it okay to give someone a gift for which they didn't register?
Yes and yes! Having a registry is nice. It's really a gift for people who aren't good at giving gifts. It's an easy way for them to be able to know exactly what to get you. But let's remember a couple of things:
You're not the center of everyone's universe. It's not everyone's job to get you exactly what you want.
Gifts are just that: gifts. They should be appreciated because someone is being thoughtful and kind and GIVING. They are not what your wedding day is about nor are they a reason to be angry at someone.
If you know of something that you really want to get the happy couple because you know them well and you know they would like it, then give it to them! That's exactly what you should do! Why buy them measuring cups when you could get them something awesome that they would really love?? I bought Southern K(elle) something that wasn't on her registry (a large crystal vase) because everything left was piecemeal and lame (I bought the gift kind of late in the game). I saw this vase and it was simple and elegant, just like her. I know for a fact that they not only still have it and use it, but also she has told me so many times that she loves it. Maybe she's lying, but seeing as how I always see it out and sometimes with flowers in it, I'm thinking she's telling the truth.
Now, let's really talk about registries/gifts for a second. Read below to see what is NOT okay!
As a member of the happy couple, it is not okay to:
Have five registries and add a sixth three weeks before the wedding, but you still haven't sent out invitations. What the what? Don't be greedy!! Etiquette says you should have 2-3 registries at most (and you should send out your invitations 6-8 weeks ahead of time!). Can you tell I've had this situation happen to me?? And it was LAME people. LAME.
Have registries that are not varied in terms of gift size and price point. Not everyone is Warren Buffet! People can't afford to sometimes travel great distances, buy you a bazillion gifts, and pay for day of transportation and whatever other costs a wedding accrues for the guest. You should have just as many $20 (or less) gifts as you do $200 ones. Actually, that's not true. There's more of a science to it than that, but you get the idea.
As a guest of the wedding, you really should:
For the love of God, if you can afford it, spend at least $50 per guest on the couple. So for instance, if A.P. and I are both invited to a wedding, we should be spending at least $100. The idea is that you cover the cost of your dinner. Plus, assume they'll only do this once in their life. It's the kind/right thing to do to throw a little cash at them.
Finally, the question is if it's okay to purchase something that wasn't on the registry. That's fine. What isn't fine is NOT buying a gift. To me, that's unacceptable. I've been mighty, mighty broke in my life and I can tell you that you can ALWAYS give a gift. It may not be something you've purchased and it may not be what the couple was expecting, but you're a guest, and you should do the right thing. If you are a poet, write them a poem and frame it. If you are a photographer, take a lovely photo of some place meaningful to the couple and frame it. Or just make them something nice. Or hell, write a nice card. Just be thoughtful. We had a friend come to our wedding who did not buy us a gift. He was not broke or poor or anything. In fact, he has enough money to buy himself Louis Vuitton bags all the time and Oliver Peoples glasses, but he couldn't buy us a gift? He didn't even give us a card. I've never forgotten and I totally don't respect him because of it. So, yeah, whatever you do, make sure you are at least a thoughtful enough guest to do SOMETHING for the happy couple.
That's it! I hope you enjoyed the Q&A from the last week. It made me think that we should do this all the time! Lol...but probably that will get old fast. But I would love to do a Q&A section for the blog, so if you have any burning questions about weddings OR about me (or even A.P.), feel free to leave them in the comments today. I may do a formal post requesting submissions later, but this would at least give me a start. : )