it's my day

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I've been reading the Etiquette Hell website. Scary stuff.

It's kind of amazing how far people will sink. From what I've read so far, there are two main types of stories: first, brides with a monstrous sense of entitlement who place enormous burdens on their guests, relatives and/or attendants, and are totally rude and ungrateful about it. Second, relatives or attendants with a monstrous sense of entitlement, who decide that someone else's wedding is all about them and do their level best to ruin the wedding. But the common thread in all the stories is people screaming at each other. So much screaming.

It's hard to pick out a worst story. One that stands out is the mother of the groom who demanded that the couple move their wedding across country to her town, where none of the bride's family could attend; demanded veto power over the location, food and flowers; doubled the guest list even though the couple were paying for the event; and then, without telling them, hired a pair of dwarves to dress up as bride and groom "dolls" and perform a comedy skit about marriage at the reception. All the while berating the bride for destroying her son's life, and telling the rest of the groom's family that the bride hated them all. That one was pretty bad.

I wonder why weddings bring out the worst in so many people? I guess the wedding industry is at least partly to blame, for promoting the idea that a wedding should be this magical fantasy where the bride is a princess and everything is a perfect fairy-tale. It seems like that must encourage people to act spoiled and ignore the feelings of others, if they're inclined in that direction. The "two months salary rule" invented by the diamond industry is the first & probably most egregious example of this, but there's a whole industry dedicated to creating rituals and expectations that will make people spend more money, and demand more of everyone involved with the wedding.

I guess I ought to read the Etiquette Hell site with a sense of relief. These bridezillas set the bar so low. I never knew how many ways there were to abuse and insult your guests. Apparently you're a paragon of bridal etiquette if you don't openly demand money from people, or berate them after the fact for not giving enough. Or call them up and tell them you don't want them to come; you just want their money. Or make your attendants spend countless hours making party favors and writing thank you notes for you, and never even thank them. Or force them to spend hundreds or more on horrible clothes, hair stylist and makeup, the appearance of which they have no say over, and then call them ugly.

(Did you know that when the bridal party get together the day of the wedding to have their hair, makeup and nails done, the bridesmaids have to pay for that??? All this time I thought it was a gift the bride gave her attendants, sort of like a spa treatment before the wedding. I was feeling bad because I couldn't afford to do that for my guests & hoping they wouldn't expect it. Good lord! I never thought a bride would make her bridesmaids pay their own way on professional hair and makeup. I don't even think the bridesmaids should have to pay for their own dresses if they don't get to choose them. But I realize I'm swimming against the tide on that one.)

So anyway, there is a lot of schadenfreude in the Etiquette Hell site, in all these outlandish things I would never do. But to my surprise, it's also causing a vague sense of unease. With all these myriad ways to offend people that I never even thought of, it makes me wonder if I'm going to blunder into some etiquette mistake. Thinking back on my first wedding, the biggest mistake can think of is that I never gave a gift to my "man of honor." I didn't know you were supposed to. I read Miss Manners guide to weddings and she didn't say anything about it. He was a good friend, he was really there for me, helped me a lot with planning. It wasn't until years later that I found out I was supposed to have given him something. I hope he didn't feel slighted.

If I do something stupid this time around, y'all, chalk it up to ignorance, tell me I'm being an idiot, and don't write me up for Etiquette Hell, please?

5 Comments

I have a new winner for worst story ever on the Etiquette Hell site. A woman was in a horrible car accident and lost her leg. Her sister dropped her from the wedding party because she wouldn't be able to wear the stiletto heels.

Her own sister dropped her from her wedding because her prosthetic leg might mar the pictures. I can't even imagine someone so selfish. I almost hope there is a hell for that bridezilla to rot in.

I think it is best to take a page from Frank's book, especially given that you are having your wedding in Vegas. Do it your way. Do what you think is polite and considerate, and that is good enough.

Etiquette Hell really makes you wonder if almost everyone is raised by wolves, or not really raised by...anything.

My favorite story from that site (I used to read it a lot before my wedding) was the Titanic Dress story. If you haven't seen it, do a search. It's amazing.

My little sis is getting married this summer, so I like your wedding updates and stories. I could only dream that she would run away to Vegas and let me wear an Elvis jumpsuit as the maid of honor, but all I can do is hope everyone behaves.

I agree that most "traditions" are contrived by the wedding industry, and it is hard to do battle against them. My in-laws insisted that it was tradition for the groom's father to be the best man. I think they made that one up, but it all worked out okay.

Pinky: the titanic story is a classic! It kind of made me wonder though, why didn't the mother of the bride (the woman who wrote in) realize what was happening sooner. You can't make that many outfits of that complexity in a few days! The seamstress should have shown them at least one completed sample months in advance.

Raynorgrace: I'd be happy if someone came to my wedding in an Elvis jumpsuit. Except Elvis. He's wearing a gold lame suit.

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This page contains a single entry by Sarah published on March 25, 2006 8:37 AM.

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