FIRST-PERSON: How to be a Bridezilla

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) -- I once served a large church as food service director, special events coordinator and wedding coordinator during a journey in ministry that has taken me through a variety of positions and responsibilities. Our church was a popular venue for weddings and the large membership made for a full wedding calendar. A typical weekend had at least two weddings and sometimes three.

I have seen it all in weddings and, even before the TV show "Bridezillas" became popular, I witnessed many a sweet Christian bride or her mother transform into an unrecognizable creature -- a bona fide Bridezilla!

With another wedding season in full swing, I have had many conversations with recently engaged and nearly married gals asking for advice, or celebrating their big day, or even doing a little venting.

So, to my sisters in Christ who are in the throes of wedding planning, here are four steps to guarantee Bridezilla fame and becoming THAT bride everyone talks about.

STEP 1: Make it all about you -- You know and you have read that a wedding is all about the bride. Take full advantage of that. Evaluate every decision, every bridesmaid, every flower choice as to how it will make YOU look. You want everyone focused on you and you alone.

STEP 2: Die on every hill -- You may have been planning this wedding since you were a little girl. You know exactly how many bridesmaids you want, the music selections, the colors, the dance and even the time of year you want your wedding. To be a Bridezilla, you must die on every hill to create your ideal wedding. If your venue does not allow the arched helium balloon with the 20 candelabras surrounding it, throw a hissy fit. If that song you REALLY want sung was deemed inappropriate, put on a pout and whine until you get your way.

STEP 3: Don't include your fiancé -- The next logical step to Bridezilla-dom is never consult your fiancé on anything and don't include him in any of the planning. And if he should offer that rare suggestion, humor him a little and simply laugh it off. After all, what do men know about weddings anyway, right?

STEP 4: Keep the wedding a priority over the marriage -- If you have been vigilant about the first three steps, you are well on your way to completing this fourth and final step. Spend well above your budget on your wedding, talk your fiancé into the amazing destination honeymoon he wasn't too sure about, and put all your energy into that one day. Pre-marital counseling? Consider it just another thing on the To-Do list. Then, when you wake up the morning after, and look at that man to whom you just said, "I Do," it is guaranteed you will quickly become the Wifezilla.

The list above may sound crazy, but I have seen it happen over and over again. Brides and their mothers get swept up in the moment and forget what a wedding is all about. They get focused on the dresses, bows, flowers, food and "look," choosing to ask for forgiveness rather than permission, and then even not knowing why they have to ask for forgiveness.

I have seen mothers of the bride threaten to pull their church membership if they didn't get their way, or remind me how much they give to the church looking for an entitled exception. On one occasion, I set a divorced mother and father down and talked to them as if they were grade-schoolers because they refused to sit within 10 feet of each other during the ceremony and the bride didn't know what to do.

My engaged sisters in Christ, don't lose sight of the magnitude and significance of marriage and the ceremony that will set the tone for years to come. Your wedding ceremony will either bolster or taint your own testimony.

A wedding is about you, your fiancé and the Lord. A cord of three shall not be broken. It is a time to make a covenant between the three of you that is unbreakable. Be careful that you not leave out one (or two) of those strands.

A wedding is about standing before friends and family as a testimony of the work God has done in your lives individually and, now, as He brings you together as one.

A wedding is about the Gospel. Marriage is a tangible, earthly picture of the Gospel, and the first look of that picture in your lives will be revealed at the wedding ceremony.

Allow God to take center stage as the artist at your wedding, taking your place by kneeling before His throne.

A wedding is about honoring the Lord in all that you do and say. At the end of the day, would you rather people be talking more about the delicious cake or the meaningful worship service as you both said, "I do," to each other and to the Lord?

There is no room for Bridezillas in the family of God.


Terri Stovall is dean of women's programs and associate professor of women's ministries at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. She is coauthor of the book "Women Leading Women" and a contributing author in "Teaching Ministry of the Church" and "The Christian Homemaker's Handbook." This column first appeared at BiblicalWoman.org, a blog of Southwestern Seminary. For more help, see the Baptist Press story about the new book "A Christ-Centered Wedding" by Catherine and Linda Strode.