The Bride's Big Daze


April 14, 1996|By DAVE BARRY

We're coming into wedding season, a magical time when the radiant bride, on her Most Special Day, finally makes that long-awaited walk down the Aisle of Joyfulness to stand next to the Man of Her Dreams, only to sprint back up the Aisle of Joyfulness when she suddenly realizes that she forgot to pluck out her Middle Eyebrow Hairs of Grossness. Because the bride knows that a wedding video is forever. She knows that, 20 years later, she could be showing her video to friends, and as soon as she leaves the room they will turn to each other and say, "What was that on her forehead? A tarantula?"

Oh yes, there is a lot of pressure on today's bride to make her Big Day fabulous and perfect. Overseeing a modern wedding is comparable, in terms of complexity, to flying the space shuttle; in fact it's worse, because shuttle crew members don't have to select their silver pattern.

Of course, the bride does get some help. The multibillion-dollar U.S. wedding industry -- currently the second-largest industry in the United States, behind the latte industry -- helps the bride by publishing monthly bridal magazines the size of the U.S. tax code full of products that the bride absolutely has to have and checklists relentlessly reminding the bride of all the decisions she has to make right now concerning critical issues such as the florist and the caterer and the cake and the centerpieces and the guest favors for the formal cocktail reception. (Of course, there have to be guest favors at the formal cocktail reception! Don't you know anything?)

Of course, the groom has responsibilities, too. According to ancient tradition, on the morning of the wedding the groom must check the TV listings to make sure that there is no playoff game scheduled during the ceremony, because if there is, he would have to miss it (the ceremony).

But the other 19 million wedding details are pretty much left up to the bride; this is why, when she finally gets to her Most Special Day, she is clinically insane. Exhibit A is Princess Diana. People ask: "What went wrong? Princess Diana had the Fairy Tale Wedding of the Century!" Yes! Exactly! You try planning the Fairy Tale Wedding of the Century!

This poor woman didn't just have to think about party favors; she had horses in her wedding. A lot of them. Just try to imagine the etiquette issues: What color should the horses be? Should they be invited to the reception? Should they have centerpieces? What if they eat the centerpieces? These are just a few of the issues Princess Diana was grappling with while Prince Charles was out riding around whacking grouse with a polo mallet. No wonder there was tension!

But it's not just Princess Diana: Wedding planning makes all brides crazy. Anybody who doubts this statement should investigate what actually goes on at a "bridal shower." I don't know about you, but I used to think that a shower was just a sedate little party wherein the bride's women friends gave thoughtful little gifts to the bride and ate salads with low-fat dressing on the side. Wrong! You would not believe the bizarre things women do at these affairs.

I have it on excellent authority that women at showers play this game wherein teams compete to see who can make the best wedding dress out of toilet paper. I'm not making this up! Ask a shower attendee! If a man were to wrap himself in a personal hygiene product, he'd immediately be confined in a room with no sharp objects, but this is considered normal behavior for a woman planning a wedding.

I have been informed by an informed source that women at bridal showers also sometimes play a variation of "Pin the Tail on the Donkey." Instead of a picture of a donkey, they use a picture of a man, and instead of a tail, they use something that is not a tail, if you get my drift. I am not suggesting that Princess Diana played this game at her shower, and I am certainly not suggesting that the queen of England did, so just get that mental picture out of your mind right now.

All I'm saying is that, with spring upon us, you may find yourself near a woman in the throes of planning a wedding; if so, you need to recognize that she is under severe pressure, and above all you need to do exactly as she says.

If she wants you to wrap yourself in toilet paper, or purchase and wear a bridesmaid's dress that makes you look like a walking Barcalounger, just do it. You should do it even if you are the groom. Because this is the bride's Most Special Day, and you want to help her make sure everything is exactly the way you want it when the two of you finally stand together in front of all your friends and loved ones, and you gaze upon her face, and you say the words she has been waiting a lifetime to hear: "Hey! What's that between your eyebrows?"

Pub Date: 4/14/96

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