"Helping people who help people"

I went to see Bride Wars a couple nights ago. I know, it’s been out a while. And the reviewers panned it. But it’s one of those movies where if you aren’t in wedding mode you would not remotely get it… the nuance, the complex relationships around wedding planning. So here is why I liked it… ignore if you still haven’t seen it, though I won’t give away the ending.

Timing of engagement

The two characters had long term boyfriends and were both near being engaged. One found an engagement ring box and was thrilled to be “getting engaged” even though it had not quite happened yet. While waiting, the second character DOES get engaged!

The newly engaged friend is sharing her excitement and plans with her friend and there we begin the complexity. The unengaged friend is happy for her friend but can’t help focusing in on why SHE wasn’t engaged, what was wrong with HER boyfriend, and how much this conversation should be about her. The engage friend soon realizes this and tries to shut up… but it’s too late, and unengaged friend doesn’t want to stiffle the joy of her engaged friend. Unengaged friend literally runs away to chase down her boyfriend at work to find out whether he’s ever going to propose. I found it more than a little odd that she had to ask the guy, “is marriage something you want?” I generally feel couples know if they’re marriage-bound, they should certaintly know how the other feels about marriage in GENERAL, and if she saw an engagement ring, why was she even asking that question?

Do Other People Care About Your Wedding?

There is a very short scene where the girlfriends of these two brides are being told about the engagement. One reaches for the pills while faking excitement and the other starts microwaving a pint of Ben and Jerry’s to eat it fast. It can be VERY hard for single friends, especially those not even dating anyone, to lose you to an engagement! If they are dating it can really challenge their own relationship, questioning if they’re wanting marriage, are they in a “marriage bound” relationship or when will they ever get married. Sometimes they’ll fake excitement the whole time but their emotions will come out in lack of follow-through, being critical, or a sudden shift in your friendship. Often they have no idea they’re actually doing this and certaintly the last people they want to share their feelings with is YOU, the BRIDE. They don’t want to get pity or they don’t want to purposefully make you feel bad.

Wedding Dresses

Next big scene is two engaged friend looking at a bridal dress shop for who I’ll call Assertive Bride (the second to get engaged after demanding a proposal from her boyfriend.) Passive Bride (her character is a pleaser, never says no to anyone) finds a dress she loves but then stops, knowing it doesn’t matter because she wants to wear her mothers dress. Assertive Bride then says how it IS a great dress but she ought not to try it on because Passive Bride loves it so much. No, no, try it on says Passive Bride. Yes, you can guess what happened. And ackward scene number two happens as these women start to realize the complexity of being engaged at the same time planning two weddings.

Wedding Location

This is of course the main tension of the movie. A screw up happens and they get booked on the same day and time. This is fine at a large hotel which services two brides at once… .but NOT OK when you’re supposed to be maid of honor for each other at the exact same moment.
The interesting thing to me was out Assertive Bride tried to claim the coveted wedding location (Plaza Hotel in New York) means so much because it was the “only happy memory from her childhood.” Can we say emotional trumpcard?? (We don’t really know what happens to her parents but it sounds like as girls, they along with their parents went to a gorgeous Plaza wedding and sometime later, her parents died.)
Passive Bride says how she doesn’t make NEARLY as much money as Assertive Bride (Teacher Vs. Lawyer) and has been saving since she was 15 years old for her Plaza Hotel. Money trump card or perhaps just, “I have been working harder for this than you have because I’ve been actually saving hard earned cash while you could easily afford anything, anytime.”
Wedding Party
The final thing I’ll note about the movie was the role of the Maid of Honor. While it is definitely important for some people to have a very engaged wedding party, this is not true of all brides. My best girl friends were all out of town, so my mom and I did all the planning. I never went to more than one wedding vendor because I got all word of mouth referrals (saved me tons of time.) I did no “DIY” projects that take a lot of time and usually require the help of others. No family is in town except my parents so I had a small shower with lots of gifts (shipped from out of town… pretty ackward though much appreciated.)

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