What I love most about my wedding video is that it captures all the mistakes and imperfections from our wedding day; moments like the arrival of chronically late relatives, members of the wedding party making stank faces, and all the people delivering heartfelt wishes whom neither my husband nor I can recognize.
Even on the best-intentioned wedding days, things go wrong. For many brides such a statement is anathema, and I believe one event in particular feeds into this delusion: bridal showers. I’ve come to realize that an event originally meant to prepare brides for marriage can actually set them up for disappointment for a few reasons:
Not even Victoria Secret models wear that much lingerie.
Last year I attended a bridal shower for a friend whose entire guest list consisted of women from her church. Now, a church bridal shower is just like a secular bridal shower except:
1) Someone has to pray, at least once;
2) There is no alcohol; and
3) It’s raunchier.
Now, I loved being "that friend" who made the bride blush with a honeymoon gift resembling dental floss -- only to be upstaged by the gifts of edible body condiments and Fruit Roll Up thong underwear, from the pastor’s wife of course -- but if one were to extract the meaning of marriage solely from the average bridal shower gifts, you’d think marriage took place entirely in the bedroom and the kitchen. If we were really honest with brides about life after marriage, there’d be a lot more pairs of sweatpants and granny panties showing up as shower gifts.
We lie to the bride.
The unspoken rule of bridal showers: Do not upset the bride. So what if her future mother-in-law decided to add herself to the wedding party without asking? So what if the bride doesn’t know whether her groom got their wedding rings out of layaway and the rehearsal is tomorrow? And so what if she insists that the last fifty pounds she needs to lose to fit into her wedding gown are coming off in two weeks? As far as her bridal shower is concerned she is svelte, her wedding will be perfect, and she is marrying the fourth member of the Trinity.
The people with the most to say have no business talking.
I’ve come to dread that portion of bridal showers where guests give marriage advice to the bride because the people giving the most advice are newlyweds who have been married for five minutes. The result? Some of the worst marriage advice I’ve ever heard including:
"When you’re mad at your husband, just pray and read the Bible."
"You may cry sometimes but the tears will always be tears of joy."
"You two will be okay because you have God, are Christians, and go to church."
I was so disturbed by the advice given at one shower, that I simply stared at the floor until it was over.
Afterward, another guest questioned my decision to refrain from participating in the advice giving. She confronted me while I was standing over the cake, minding my own business, trying to decide whether I wanted a corner piece or a middle piece. She snarked, "Tinu! I’m surprised you didn’t share any advice! You’ve been married for soooo loooong!
I tried my best not to give her the side-eye, but thought to myself: Are years of marriage being calculated like dog years now? Last time I checked, my 5 years of marriage was a drop in the bucket compared to my parents’ 35 years. As I picked up my cake and headed back to the folding chair, where my fruit punch awaited, I responded: "You know, I think I’ll wait until after the wedding to give her my advice--over a BIG bottle of wine--because she’s not going to remember any of this anyway."