The frazzled, hysterically crying bridezilla with buckets of black mascara cascading down her face is a bad rom-com cliché, but it’s unfortunately more common than one might think. There’s something about planning a wedding that can send even the most “om-shanti” of peaceful women into a wild, neurotic rage.
Even I—and I think of myself as a fairly mellow, easygoing person (hello, I started a wedding company for laid-back brides)—got the bridezilla bug. A few weeks before my wedding, I crash dieted, snapped at random people in my path, and was gripped by a free-floating anxiety that seemed to permeate my every move.
Perspective, people! If I could do it all over again, I would enjoy the planning, relish the build-up, and allow it to unfold organically. After all, how many times in our lives do we really get the opportunity to embrace everlasting love (and buy a really beautiful dress, to boot)? Hopefully only once.
Learn from my experience. Here, nine things you should definitely not do while preparing to say “I do.”
Don’t Forget In-Law Etiquette
It’s easy to be all “she’s a bitch” and knock back a shot when talking about your MIL to your BFs, but really? Granted, she’s probably bugging you, but tolerance and kindness should be your code here. Give a courtesy call every now and then with a breezy question like: “Hey, what’s your favorite flower? I’d love to include some in the centerpiece bouquets.” It’s a super-fast, low-impact way to rack up easy brownie points. Ask her advice, keep her looped in on plans, and remember that the one singular goal here is to merge two families. Sometimes you have to swallow your pride to keep the peace.
Don’t Max Out Your Credit Card
I get it. There are few things more exhilarating than dropping a stupid amount of money on something amazing. But try to resist temptation. In the days leading up to your wedding, you might want to stroll into Isabel Marant and splurge, but one word of advice? Don’t. It’s an anxious act designed to distract, but you know what’s hard to ignore down the line? An awful credit report when you’re applying for a mortgage. And let’s be real here, do you really want your first fight as a married couple to be over an $8,000 asymmetrical poncho?
Don’t Contact Old Flames
Emailing, texting, or calling exes with a casual “Hey, just checking in, wanted to let you know that you’re on my mind . . . and BTW I’m getting married in a few days!” is not appropriate. The same goes for Googling the one that got away while your partner-to-be is asleep. It might seem innocent enough, but it’s not. Yes, it’s hard to say goodbye to your single life, but do it by lighting a candle and listening to a Pema Chodron podcast about uncertainty.
Don’t Ignore Your #Squad
It’s funny on TLC, but in real life, that whole “I’m the bride and my friends aren’t even treating me like it’s my time to shine” thing is really unbecoming. Instead, why not try being an amazing friend to all your amazing friends? They’re the ones who suffered through your obsessive texts, phone calls, and freak-outs during the falling-in-love process. Why not give one a call and say: “I’m sorry I’ve been so self-absorbed lately. Can we go out for dinner if I promise to only talk about you?”
Don’t Go Overboard on Exercise
Do not take an exercise class more than once a day that has the word soul, fly, or core in it. During a time where there is so much goodness to be grateful for, don’t let body hang-ups consume your premarital experience. The best way to enter a union of love is to have self-love. Period.
Don’t Throw Everything Out
This is not the time to purge all of the sentimental belongings from your single days. The shirt that Björk signed in an elevator when you were in high school? The hot dress the tattooed photog tore off you when you cornered him after hours with a head of ratted ringlets and a smudged smoky eye? Keep them for now in a memento box. Trust me, when the kids are bawling and your husband is watching sports on the couch with his hands in his underwear, you might want to reminisce.
Don’t Be Negative
Yes, this is your day, but don’t pray for your hot, skinny stepsister to wake up with period bloat and a raging zit. Bad vibes and bad energy will result in a bad time for everyone. Nobody likes a Negative Nancy, and nobody will pardon bad behavior just because you’re the bride. Try to approach everything from a place of love and light and positivity.
Don’t Do Weird Things to Your Hair
I’m talking head, armpits, and other areas. This is not the time to experiment. Don’t go blonde, wax your upper lip for the first time, bleach or bedazzle your nether regions—you get the idea. The goal here is to look like your most radiant self. Stick to what you know makes you look and feel your best.
Don’t Forget to Be Grateful
Never forget how fortunate you are and the fact that you’re honoring the women before you who also took this leap of faith. Approach everything with a pure, open heart. Be love. Write it on your arms in a colored marker. Smear it in blue eyeliner on the mirror. Say the word morning, noon, and night. Love, love, love—because, in the end, that’s all there really is.