real life

The OPPOSITE of Bridezilla.

You know how some people love throwing a big bash?

Well, I’m not one of those people.

In fact, the thought of hosting a dinner party is enough to leave me in the foetal position. I excel at being a guest: I bring wine and conversation. But the planning? I leave that to the pros.

Until I got engaged.

Now, it’s not that I didn’t like wedding planning. No, that’s not it. It’s more like I really, really didn’t like wedding planning. I don’t know what I expected when this whole getting-married caper began, but perhaps on some naïve bride-to-be level I imagined my planning skills would flourish and I’d love comparing white, ivory and cream.

Sadly, they didn’t. And I didn’t.

It all started on the night of the proposal. My fiancé Jason and I rang our friends and family to share the news, but were quickly faced with a question I’d grow to despise: “Have you set the date?” I wasn’t sure when we were supposed to have sorted that. (Somewhere between the post-acceptance kiss and dialling the phone? I still wish I knew.) And then, the warnings began trickling in over the next few weeks. Seemingly wise acquaintances crowed in fearful tones, “Better lock in a date otherwise you’ll miss out on a venue. They book out years in advance”.

Cut to the fastest wedding planning you’ve ever seen. Pick a date, any date? November 3, 2012, got it. Like that venue? Yep? Lock it in. Gorgeous dress and on sale? Even better. I began firing questions like: “But which blue? The royal blue or the not-quite-dark-enough-to-be-royal-blue royal blue?” (Learn from my mistakes: they look exactly the same.).

Yet while I charged around like a demented party planner, Jason was still high-fiving himself for nailing the proposal. In his words, he hadn’t expected the planning side of things to happen so soon.

The truth was, neither had I.

In our years of being together, my fantasies had never strayed to Weddingville. Sure, I’d thought about getting married, but my brain had fast-forwarded past the white dress and to the, well, marriage. Yet somehow I’d bought a ticket on the Bridezilla Express (where talk of nail vitamins is compulsory). But there on the Express, surrounded by other frazzled women with to-do lists to rival mine (oh hi there, I thought you looked familiar!), it dawned on me: I was the only one being peppered with wedding-related questions.


Not Jason, not once.

Where Jason got handshakes about the engagement – “A job well done, mate”, I got squeals of “Gabby, you’re going to love planning the wedding, time’s a ticking, though”. And it was. But why couldn’t it be ticking for the both of us? Why couldn’t Jason take over the kikki.K Wedding Notes book for a while, huh? Guys can handle this stuff, too, right? Right?

The answer is yes. Yes.*

Let’s look at the facts: my man – or yours, or your friend’s or sister’s or aunt’s – is capable of researching, collecting quotes and whittling down 1001 options. He can taste-test wedding cakes and type up a guest list (although he’ll probably forget your Auntie Bertha).

He is capable of all this, oh yes, and more. Of course he is.

Yet somewhere along the line, this seems to be forgotten.

Weddings are a day to celebrate the love and commitment of two people. Yep, two. Even if your long-lost second cousin disagrees (“The groom’s only got one job to do: show up”), there’s a bunch of ways your partner in crime can contribute. Here’s a wacky thought: ask him how he wants to be involved. After all, it’s his day, too.

For us, planning has evolved into a two-person job. While the speedy decisions don’t happen anymore, at least we flounder in uncertainty together. And we learnt one damn important thing during my dalliance with TBB (temporary bridezilla behaviour):  as long as we say “I do”, then the day has been a success, fancy centrepieces or not.

* 99.99 per cent of the time, yes. But, proceed with caution. When pressed about potential wedding colours, Jason suggested his rugby league team’s colours. Yes. And by yes, I mean, no. Love you, hon. But no. Please, no.

Gabby McMillan is a Sydney-based features and creative writer . She and Jason are getting married in November this year (if she doesn’t drive him bonkers first). Visit her website for more and follow her on Twitter here.

Have you ever lost the plot while planning an event? Have you ever witnessed (or behaved like) a Bridezilla?

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