She's become popular fodder for magazines and reality television in recent years. A man could be forgiven for thinking that any woman wielding a diamond ring is liable to morph into a two-headed hydra without notice, roaring about metallic invitation fonts and ready to tear the head off anyone who stands between her and the dusky pink bunting of her dreams.
In most cases, the truth is less dramatic than TV would have us believe. No surprise there. The reality, however, is that planning a wedding brings with it pressures that can strain a union long before it’s even become official.
“[It’s] often one of the most highly anticipated events in a girl’s life,” says Kelly Hody, founder of SaySo Weddings, an online community for brides-to-be. Hody says that how a couple manages the planning stress is a pointer to how well they’ll work together as husband and wife.
For men taking the plunge, Hody has a five-point plan to keep bridezilla at bay:
1.Get involved Her multiple ‘to-do’ lists may seem ridiculous or unnecessary—but they’re important to her. Show support and take on your share of the planning. Traditionally, the groom arranges the transport and honeymoon, but he may also like to take care of entertainment, photography, wedding rings or anything else he's interested in. For your sanity (and to keep the peace), never leave tasks to the last minute.
2. Details, details Some things you won’t care about: the colour of the napkins or whether the bridesmaids’ flowers match the groomsmen’s ties, for instance. But saying you don’t give a toss isn’t the best approach. Listen to her questions and employ subtle questioning to establish what options she is leaning towards and then validate her choices. No matter how many times she changes her mind. Because she will.
3. Find another outlet Life for a bride-to-be becomes very wedding-centric. Friends and family aren’t always receptive to non-stop wedding talk so the groom is in danger of becoming her 24-7 sounding board. Encourage her to join online wedding communities where she can seek advice, get support, vent frustrations, share plans and workshop ideas with other brides (and leave you out of it for a bit).
4. Keep it real As many as one in ten brides experience post-wedding blues once they’re no longer focused on the wedding day. To maintain perspective in the lead-up, insist on one day a week or one weekend a month when all wedding talk is banned. Spend time together doing normal things: catch a movie, have dinner with friends or hang out on the couch chatting about anything but that.
5. Prepare for the worst Nothing goes perfectly to plan. Ever. A man’s instinct is to find a fix, but some things can’t be fixed. If there’s a hitch on the wedding day, work out the best solution for that moment and redirect the bride’s focus. Remind her that becoming a wife (with a shiny new ring, to boot) is what really matters.
Of course, there’s still a chance that bridezilla will make an appearance. If that happens, suck it up. You’re the one who wanted to marry her.