Aside from 'Who is the worst Bridezilla you've ever had?". The question I am most asked as a wedding planner is "How much does a wedding cost?". Sometimes, the two questions are linked.
Years ago I used to tell people that this question was a little like asking "how long is a piece of string?". It was meant in a kindly sense to describe a process that had a plethora of questions within one question. The proverbial Russian Doll.
My intent was good and I always couched it by saying that I could likely give the person an idea of general costs once I knew a little more about their plans, but short of producing a cookie cutter, packaged wedding that a hundred couples had used before them, it was impossible to provide an exact figure. 'Sausage factory' weddings? Hmm, that's definitely not my jam.
Anyway, back to the story, I happily used my 'piece of string' analogy to good reviews until one day I had a bride who responded in an email that could have burned through my hard drive. She very impolitely told me that she worked in marketing and that she had never, ever had such a response and what kind of business was I running and who did I think I was and that I was completely unprofessional and on and on it went, injected with the venom of every pejorative within her grasp.
Either she was having a very bad day and my inbox was a convenient place to dump her anger and frustration or she was indeed that genuine but rare and feared species, the Bridezilla. Most often, they don't show themselves immediately, but I work by my 'Zilla rule'. It's best not to take chances. I politely replied and advised her that I was sorry, I could not assist her because I was fully booked for her chosen date. I suspect I had a lucky escape and wondered what would become of her and more importantly, the poor wedding planner that ended up with her as a client.
Bad as that experience was, it's actually the Bridezillas that you don't see coming that present the most danger. These days, I can see the signs early and politely excuse myself from the process.
Yet while I was busy learning how to wrangle the Bridezilla, there have been new mutations of the genus. Say hello to the Groomzilla and even the Fatherofthebridezilla. What the?
Yes, the latter does exist and loves to get right in there at weddings and tell you and any other service provider within range how to suck those eggs. From where and how to place that wine on the tables to how and when the meal should be served to when they are ready for their speech (yes, they are always, always a speaker).
Executing a wedding is difficult enough without a back seat driver. But I get it. Control is at the heart of the 'Zilla' soul, be it a bride, a groom or a father. And at the cellular level of control is usually perfectionism. And when it comes down to it, the soul of perfectionism is fear. We all have it at varying levels so I do try to look deeper and while I will never accept the bad behaviour, I can look beyond it and stay focussed on the job at hand.
It's after the event that I take the doll apart and carefully examine the pieces. Where can I improve? What was really going on? Can and if so, how can this be avoided in future? Then I take that knowledge, polish and shine the pieces and put the doll back together.
That's the way world and wedding planning goes on. We're all in this human soup together and happily, the large majority of people (and clients!) are decent, fun and kind and they make the job very much worth the while for everyone involved. Maybe I've cracked the Zilla radar coz it's been some time since I encountered any variation of the species. I hope so but I somehow doubt it. There will likely be others but like I always say, what doesn't kill you make you stranger (and no, that's not a typo).
And to the first question? Who is the worst bridezilla I've ever had? After seventeen years of planning weddings, I've had my share but there is one who stands head and scaly shoulders above the rest. She was the bridezilla from the sulphur pits of hell and I'm sure she knows who she is. Dang, she'd probably wear the crown proudly. It was a long time ago and I doubt she stayed married to the truly lovely and gentle man she married. I never got that and I've always wanted to ask him why he married her but I guess I'll never know. Love, as they say, truly must be blind and wedding planners, truly prescient.