All moms should be divas...this one just happens to be in Jersey!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My marriage advice to reality TV brides

I can't say I'm a big reality TV fan. Most of it seems over the top, and the drama in the most mundane events  is enough to drive me to the remote each time. While relaxing for a few minutes before going out to dinner today, I've stumbled over to TLC. A mere thirty minutes of TV later, I have to speak up. Into the hall of "people I'd like to smack" I feel compelled to add: every bride in today's episode of "Say Yes to the Dress."

Ironically, I sat down to watch this show waiting for my husband to head to dinner for our anniversary. Technically yesterday was our anniversary, but we were three states apart yesterday, for our kids' overlapping camp drop offs (more on that in a minute). But you'd think I'd be in such a wistful, "oh aren't weddings wonderful" frame of mind. I'm surely in a "isn't my husband amazing" and "marriage is hard but soooooo worth it" frame of mind. Which makes it ironic to me that while I'm watching these girls and their hyper annoying best friends, I'm not getting swept up in their moment. Instead, I'm thinking, "Girls~ get a grip. I pray to God you put half that effort in to your actual marriage." I'm shouting to the TV, "Shut up you spoiled little brat!"

Yes, every bride should have a fabulous day, and you will be photographed in that dress ad infinitum. I was a bride, so I know you want to look amazing. But ladies: perspective check. Now!

1) When to stand up
Pardon my French, but grow a set of balls now with that bitch sister/ best friend/ cousin of yours. If your family can't leave you alone and be supportive for what YOU want picking a dress, smack them now. If they're making your dress about their wishes, or critcizing your personal taste at this moment, God help you when you start raising kids. Put her in her place now while you're in magical bride mode or your life will be Hell.

2) When to shut up
We've all have moments that we would die to see as recorded playback. These girls and their families act like sheer bitches, why? Simply because it's her wedding, and that makes them special? News flash: You're in a bridal store. They see hundreds of brides like you each year. Being the center of attention as a bride does not give you carte blanche to be a bitch. Life's not like that. The people in that store are professionals, there to help you. If you can't treat them with dignity, then please go home, and send the ring back. If you can not be kind to a bridal dress salesperson whose job it is to serve you, then you are not mature enough to deal with any of life's trauma. Get over yourself and get a grip, or give the ring back.

3) If you can't manage a budget for a dress, don't ever try a kitchen renovation
And to the bride I heard say, "Don't tell Mike," (her groom): DO NOT keep money secrets, or you'll be picking out which dress to wear to divorce court before you know it.

4) Your groom is a person, not a prop
It's "your" wedding, with a plural "your." Just because he's rolling his eyes and letting you have your way with everything doesn't mean you should go nuts. This isn't your social debut, it's a wedding. See, the thing about getting married that seems to be escaping many of these young women is that the day is the start of their lives together. So don't be disrespectful about him. If all you can do is make fun of him, shimmy out of the dress, go home, and end it. Free him up to find a girl who may tease him, but not disrespect him. And this should go without saying but, "duh! maybe not on camera?!?"

5) You're shopping for a dress design, not an organ donor
It is a dress. A garment. Yes, you have a vision in your head and it may or may not be easy to match. Don't let that ruin the fun. Bone marrow matching needs to be precise. DNA sequencing needs to be precise. Matching a dress to a picture in your head as a relation to the success of a marriage? Life will go on, and you will look great. Not once, in the most difficult times of my life have I thought, "This day would suck soooo much less if the dress I wanted came in ivory instead of winter white!" Breath.

6) Save this tenacity for your relationship
It's very easy to get sucked in to the bridal mayhem, and maybe the cameras and liberal editing just exaggerate bad behavior. The reality beyond reality TV though, is that you will need this tenacity and determination in your marriage... just not over the great lace or organza debate. Once all the dress drama is done, the words "for better or worse" will be uttered. Save your bitch-overdrive for the "worse" when you may have to fight for something of consequence.

I said at the start that the hubs and I were apart for our actual anniversary. I had to drive Son1 down to Norfolk VA while the hubs took Son2 to his camp. The return drive took eleven hours (should be 6.5) thwarting our night's plans. Yes it sucked. Yes, I wanted to have a nice kid-free night with the hubs marking our wedding date. And then I stopped the next day to get a snack, and saw a charity can for a 5 year old with leukemia and thought, "my son is strong enough to spend a week 6-10 hours away from us for pleasure."  All the driving stress, all the cancelled plans, all the frustration ...all washed away as my "for worse" was dwarfed by the reality of that family's "for worse."

So in the scheme of things, young TV brides, quit your selfish and whiney bitching and enjoy this happy time. Go ahead, "say yes to the dress." Just make sure you're mentally prepared for what happens in the years AFTER the dress. And for the love of God remember you're being filmed.


  1. LOL - same goes for the Bridezillas brides - they are AWFUL!!

  2. I couldn't agree more! Having been married for almost 23 years, I can honestly say nothing that was worn/eaten/photographed at our wedding made ANY impact on our future together. It's just a dress and a party.

  3. You know, that's probably the only reality TV show i watch from time to time because i'm such a girly girl and I like seeing the dresses. But I totally feel you on all of the above. Especially when they let their families squawk about what they should pick.

  4. i'm pretty sure you and i would get along very well in real life! good job!

  5. I am SO with you. I used to make a point to people that it's *our* day, not MY day. It's the start to your life together, not just to your life single. What's more is that marriage is hard (I wrote a blog about it a while ago Is Marriage Easy?) your wedding day should NOT be the happiest day of your life...every day after should (hopefully) be just as great.

    Clearly, you struck a chord. Thanks for telling them how it is and happy belated anniversary!!

  6. End your single life, I meant. I'm writing from my phone!

  7. Maybe you can tackle "The Housewives ..." next?

  8. AMEN!!! I couldn't agree with you more. I just don't get those shows AT ALL!

  9. How totally true!!! I agree with Debbi, I want to see you write about Housewives!!

  10. They will learn pretty soon that the bitch-fest is over when he sits in front of the TV with a beer and stops listening... LOL! Very funny piece.

  11. Thanks for the good laugh. Sometimes we need to hear a little humor and reality TV offers us tons. Visiting from the BF.