Broke-Ass Category: Uncategorized

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Happy 2016 everyone!

64477_10100569037296670_4448865682044477865_nThe new husband and I right after the ball dropped … I’d be totally down with being called the Bride-A-Chu instead of the Bridezilla.

I feel like half my Facebook friends list got engaged over the past week or so which is pretty awesome and I’m super psyched for all the love, joy and excitement that the whole getting married thing has in store for them. I know many of them will be starting (or updating) Pinterest wedding boards, or setting out on a journey through the Interwebs to learn all about how to bring their perfect day together … perfectly. There, amongst these web pages, they may find themselves repeatedly bombarded with tales of a mythical beast that looms at the back of many bride’s minds as they set out to put their plans together. This is a not so blissful part of the wedded bliss that I hope we can eradicate this year …

I’m talking about the wild Bridezilla of course. Some might say she is a legendary beast, not a mythological one. The difference between a legend and a myth for those that are unaware is that a legend is something that is based upon a historical figure or story so there is some truth to it. My problem with that definition is that we are not talking about a particular person or figure … we are broadly applying this term to all (or most) ladies that get married, like the day a ring is placed upon a woman’s finger, she suddenly morphs into some kind of scaly beast whose sole focus becomes alienating her family and friends in the pursuit of the perfect day. I’m not saying that there aren’t scenarios where this happens. There are. I’m saying the problem isn’t just that these ladies have some underlying craziness in them induced by the prospect of a wedding. There are other forces at work there, and as bad as it is for those that do succumb to it, it’s equally (and maybe even more) damaging to those of us who don’t.

A Bridezilla, from what the term conjures up in my mind, is a woman (since the term Bride typically is only applied to women) who becomes extremely controlling in all aspects of her wedding planning process, especially toward those family and friends most closely related to the process. She expects more than is reasonably possible of those who surround her and falls apart at the smallest wrinkle in her wedding plans. To her, nothing going on in the rest of the world is more important than her wedding. She mistreats those around her, and then expects them to be happy and enjoy her company when the big day arrives.

I spent a lot of my wedding planning afraid of the big bad Bridezilla dwelling deep within the darkest depths of my heart. As the wedding approached, I constantly expected her to rear her ugly head, all the while in my own head assuring myself that she didn’t actually exist like that.

gazebo wedding pic

I promise my train is not hiding a lizard tail here. Photo by SK Photography

There were little moments here and there when I felt the fire that must be “her” rising in my throat. “She” took the form of minor guest list arguments, some extra emails going back and forth here and there, a little bit of paranoia and the occasional private meltdown between Matt and I on the state of affairs. We were in the process of planning a major event with lots of moving parts, that involved busy people (most of whom work 40+ hours a week and are raising children) and trying to meld two families together that previously had never gotten to spend too much time together. On top of all that we’ve got unrealistic wedding expectations coming from the WIC all over the place that put even more pressure on us.Let’s not even mention the financial aspect of it, which of course, strikes us Broke-Ass Brides even more so than it might others. Of course there were going to be a few tight spots here and there. There were going to be moments of self doubt that come with every new endeavor. And the fear of the Bridezilla exploited that. It got in my head, and fear of becoming one stopped me from approaching a few people here and there whose behavior disappointed me. It made it harder to have tough conversations with vendors at times. I can remember turning to Matt at one point and saying “We’re hiring this person to do a job for us … why am I so worried about what they think of me?”

Don’t get me wrong — this wasn’t the case all the time. My big priorities when it came to the wedding largely related to things that Matt and I had to handle ourselves or being sure that everyone felt comfortable and happy at the wedding and didn’t break the bank to be there. This meant I picked a gown and shoe color for my bridesmaids and then let them do whatever they wanted with everything else because I trusted them to have my best interest at heart (they did!) and come together to make some pretty amazing things happen (again, they did!). I actually was told some bridesmaids took the fact that I didn’t pick a particular shoe for them all to wear as indecisiveness (and instead sent along shoe suggestions whenever I came across something that would fit the color requirements that had a nice price point), but I really just wanted them to be comfortable with whatever they decided upon themselves and helpful in their search. I did my best to pick vendors I knew I could work with and that I did like (psh, I LOVED just about all of my vendors and WISH I had an excuse to keep working with them), so that didn’t really become an issue. And for the most part, we did our very best to acquiesce to any request that didn’t take away from us being able to enjoy the day with our family and friends, especially if it meant  a family member or friend wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the day without it.

But here’s thing … Why did I spend so much time worrying about becoming what I described above? None of those behaviors above really related to who I am as a human on a day to day basis. But it’s what happens to all brides, right? It’s something wedding planning just does to you because it’s so rough. This is the problem with the myth of the Bridezilla. These behaviors do not exist just because a wedding is on the horizon. They exist because someone gives in to base behaviors because they are given an excuse to do so. “It’s their day” after all right? I’m a firm believer that it IS your day, but it shouldn’t ruin your relationship with the people you love. One day, no matter how important or beautiful it is, should not be more important than a lifelong relationship. Keep the feelings and circumstances of the people involved in your wedding in mind as best you can (vendors included!). Your wedding might be super important to the people around you, but that doesn’t mean they can drop everything in their life to rush to your side for it.

I’m not saying that’s true of everyone the Bridezilla title is given to. I think I was a chilled out, cool and calm bride but I’m sure some people who were unhappy with my plus-one policy would tell you that I was a total Bridezilla. Others might’ve have found my tone a bit too snappy when explaining my expectations for the day. So where does this disparity come from? It’s all about context and communication. I did my best to help other people understand where I was coming from and what I was doing. Some people have never been involved with planning a wedding before, so they don’t get all the moving pieces to it. The term Bridezilla also takes the place of some of the other negative terms used for women in other contexts that probably would never be applied to a man who was doing the same things (hence the lack of the groom-zilla equivalent).

So how do we fight this? It’s a twofold thing: First as brides, we need to monitor our own behaviors. Are we mistreating the people who love us and want to be there for us? If you are, you need to check yourself before your wreck some pretty important relationships. Marriage is awesome (seriously, best decision I’ve ever made) but I don’t know how great it’d be if I’d pissed off everyone around me leading up to it. Listen to what others have to say and decide if it has value in relation to your goals or not. If not, do your best to let people know where you’re at and hopefully they will be understanding, but don’t sweat it if they don’t. You can’t control what others think. Instead, just do your thing and hopefully in the end, everything will work out for the best. The few people I worried about calling me a Bridezilla at times were the same people that told me how amazing my wedding was when it was all said and done.  If you’re not the bride in a situation, do the bride a favor and cut her some slack. Understand she’s dealing with a stressful situation unlike anything she’s dealt with before. Even ladies for whom this isn’t their first wedding are dealing with a totally new situation; every marriage is different and calls for a celebration all its own and has its own challenges. Be there for your lady friends who are getting ready to wed and leave the judgement at the door. To my newly engaged friends out there, I promise to help you stay away from this title at every chance I get.

Let’s make 2016 the year we kill the ‘zilla once and for all.

  • 12/18

    Affiliate Disclaimer New

    Whether you’re shopping for those friends who are poised to walk down the aisle or the ones who are enjoying their first holiday season as marrieds (or you just need some inspo for your own wedding registry), there are plenty of great gift ideas out there. From small knick-knacks to big-ticket items (split it with a few pals!), here are 15 great presents for the nearlyweds and newlyweds in your life.

    The Broke-Ass Bride's 2015 Gift Guid Nearlyweds & Newlyweds

    Top row, l to r:

    If the couple in question are some serious oenophiles, they’ll really appreciate a monthly gift of new bottles to sip. Wine Club Subscription, starting at $39.95 from The California Wine Club

    Music lovers can sway sweetly along to their favorite tunes — whether on tape, vinyl or CD — with a chic old-timey stereo. Crosley Rochester 5 in 1 Entertainment Center, $88 at Target

    It may not be sexy, but it’ll make the air in their new abode a helluva lot better for breathing. (Pro Tip: This is a gift that’s perfect to go in on with a group of friends) Dyson 303515-01 AM10 Humidifier, $499 from Amazon

    Second row, l to r:

    For campers, music festival goers or just backyard BBQ-ers, a loveseat camping chair is a gift that will make any gathering a perfect opportunity for impromptu snuggles. Kelty Loveseat Chair, $75.96 from Amazon

    Help your homies document their journey to I Do or their first year as a hitched pair in a nostalgic way with a film camera. Medium Format Camera, $89 from Dot & Bo

    Experiences mean so much more to some than others. Whether it’s an adventure of a lifetime, a culinary experience or attending a dream sports match, give ’em the gift that they’ll remember forever. Prices Vary, from IfOnly

    Third row, l to r:

    Is one half of the couple a bit more of a night owl than the other? Help the continue binge watching their fave shows without waking their partner with a streaming device that has a headphone jack in the remote. Roku 3 Streaming Media Player, $79 from Amazon

    Don’t let ’em get their mix all drinked up — er, drinks all mixed up. Yours Mine and Ours Decanter Set, $39 at Urban Outfitters

    Life gets busy sometimes, especially when you’re busy running around doing wedding planning errands or settling into newlywed life, and dinner can fall by the wayside. Hook up your homies with a gift card to a recipe box delivery service and save ’em a little time and sanity. Gift Cards starting at $69.99 for three meals for two people from Hello Fresh

    Fourth row, l to r:

    Star Wars lovers, cuddlebugs and general sassypants will love this Han and Leia pillowcase set. Star Wars Pillow Set, $45 from Etsy seller AndersAttic

    A registry staple and one that any couple who asked for it but maybe didn’t receive will be thrilled to get. (Pro Tip: This is another solid group gift — and will likely guarantee you many amazing meals.) KitchenAid Artisan Series Stand Mixer, $349.99 from Target

    Parties aplenty tend to take place when engaged or newly married. Help the hosts keep all their booze in one spot and show it off beautifully at the same time. Valet Bar Cart, $249.99 from West Elm

    Bottom row, l to r:

    The division of household labor can be tough, so help ’em take a load off with a robotic duster that’s fun to watch. Bonus: If they’re cat people, they’ll get twice the entertainment. Mocoro Robot Cleaning Ball, $37.29 from Firebox

    Level up your friend points in a hardcore way by getting them a personalized gift that can go from wedding day decor to home embellishments. Any Two 18″ Marquee Letters and One Ampersand, $294 from SawandSteel

    If they’re foodies that love to spend time in the kitchen together, get things cooking with a book made for them. The Newlywed Cookbook, $24.05 from Amazon

    christen
  • 11/13

    Spicy Mustard With Local Beer

    Welcome to another episode of Broke-Ass Advice! Today's question is about what to serve guests at a casual reception: I love your website. Not just this one, but all of your blogs. So helpful and inspirational. While I was reading your book, I continually would read passages out loud to my fiance and say, finally, someone who gets it! We are paying for our wedding…

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    8/6

    One of the few wedding trends I embrace is chalkboards. Mostly because they complement our space really well; otherwise I would've shunned them like I do everything else. I originally liked the look of stained wood signs, but with our venue remodel we are now surrounded by a lot of awesome reclaimed wood. Which led to the official chalkboarding decision. Colorful chalk monogram from Green Wedding Shoes. Chalk wedding…

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    4/18

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    The weekend is almost upon us, Broke-Asses! As you head out to celebrate this weekend, be sure to take advantage of some of the killer deals being offered for Easter and Mother's Day! From eco-friendly yoga gear to DIY flowers to much-coveted Le Creuset bakeware, there's plenty of savings to go around! 1. Still looking for that perfect dress for your cousin's wedding this summer?…

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  • 1/3

    Got a question for Liz? Go to the contact page and let us know what's up! First of all, I want to give a shout out to the all the Newbie Brides and Grooms out there. Welcome to Wedding World. It's very pretty, you're going to love it! Dear Liz,  My partner and I are deciding between having our wedding at an upstate location or…

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    8/21

    Editor's Note: Today, we continue our "On Marriage" series with another poignant essay about divorce. I can't stress how essential it is to read pieces like this, and to encourage your partner to do likewise, in order to avoid falling into the same relationship pitfalls, year after year.  Obviously, I’m not a relationship expert. But there’s something about my divorce being finalized this week that…

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  • 8/1

    I am generally all about DIY projects; if I see something I like, my gears start spinning as to how I can recreate it for myself, and wedding planning has provided ample opportunities for me to build and tweak and tune every detail to my heart’s content. It also has provided me ample opportunities to go overboard. At one point, I read an article criticizing…

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