I confess to, on occasion, watching the trio of reality wedding shows that are on the TLC network.
There’s “Say Yes to the Dress,” “Say Yes to the Dress Bridesmaids” and “Four Weddings,” where brides attend and rate each other’s ceremony and reception. (Have I mentioned these are all on Friday night? That right there tells you a lot about my social calendar.) I usually sit on the couch, my mouth agape, thinking that none of the nonsense I’m seeing really happened. It must be sort of, kind of, scripted because it’s all too crazy.
For example, what bride gets two wedding dresses? And an even better question is why would a parent pay for two dresses? Where’s the mom saying, “Hey there mentally unbalanced daughter of mine, you don’t need a separate wedding gown for your ceremony and a different one for your reception.”
If you do the wedding math, the bride is only going to wear her ceremony gown for, what, two hours, max? As for requiring a different dress for your reception — is your wedding really going to be such a throwdown that you need a backup?
I’m not a dolt. I know wedding receptions have changed, a lot, from back in my day, and I have zero nostalgia for the weddings I attended as a young adult. I was a bride in the 1980s and, trust me, no one misses wedding gowns inspired by the TV show “Dynasty” with puffed sleeves so ginormous they could do double duty as umbrellas and receptions held in the church fellowship hall with punch, cake and Jordan almonds. (Just why on the almonds? How did that ever become a wedding thing?)
Regardless, I’m still flabbergasted by the receptions I see on TV. There’s the cocktail hour where you pre-feed your guests a light buffet before the seven-course, sit-down dinner followed by a post-reception midnight breakfast. It’s like the witch in Hansel and Gretel is the wedding caterer and she’s stuffing the guests so she can eat them later.
But, as of this week, all of the current wedding hoopla makes sense, from the multiple dresses to the layering of the reception into three different events. You see, I have found the birthplace of this foolishness. The primordial stew, if you will, from where all this festers and flows. It’s called high school homecoming. Yes, that’s right, homecoming (not prom, people). A dance held in a gym that is infused with the odor of a thousand sweat socks is ground zero for the making of a bridezilla.
Confused? Hang on, I’m going to walk you through it. Having lived through my first homecoming as a parent of a girl, here’s what I learned. A high school homecoming usually requires two outfits. A fancy-ish dress (with abundant accessories) for the dance and one for the after party, which may or may not have a theme. The grooming ritual for the dance can include: spray tan, professional hair and makeup, mani/pedi and, at the very least, an eyebrow wax. Once again, lest you forgot, this is all for a dance in a gym.
The “Ho Co” activities are as follows: First, an outdoor photo session with the dinner group (which is at least a dozen kids). This can take upwards of an hour for the parents to get all the pictures their daughters are telling them they need. I have discovered that the picture taking is THE most important part of homecoming. It’s all about the pictorial. Seriously, for most girls their dates are simply a conduit to a photo op.
Next up is dinner at a restaurant, then the dance in the gym described as something to be “gotten out of the way” so the teens can head to the after party which, as previously stated, requires a change of outfits.
Now, if you have girls as young as 14 being schooled in this craziness, the whole bridezilla epidemic makes perfect sense. Why wouldn’t you “demand” two dresses for your wedding if you had two for your flipping freshman homecoming dance?
This is why I felt I needed to take a firm parenting stand. I figured it’s never to early to start waging a war against raising a bridezilla. So, I gave my daughter a two-figure homecoming budget and a Discount Shoe Warehouse coupon.
Little does she know that someday her adult self will thank me. Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.