Thursday, September 18, 2008

Both sides now

Many years ago I worked for a local semi-professional theater company. I started there as a house manager, then I played flute in the orchestra, and eventually I produced shows there as well. It occurred to me that to be an effective producer, I should fully understand the audition process; the ordeal the actor goes through in preparing, the nerves, the response from the director and staff. I decided to audition for a show. The fact that I had no training in acting, dancing, or singing did not dissuade me. I wanted to see everything through the performer's eyes. It ended up I got cast and it was terrifying and thrilling and yes, I did learn a lot of things I needed to know to be an effective producer.

Now I am in a very different line of work. Whenever I meet someone new and tell them what my business is about, the question is always along these lines; "Oooh, what is your worst bridezilla story?". "Aren't brides a pain to deal with?" I always tell them that although I do have some very interesting anecdotes, I am lucky enough to meet so many different people, I do not really have the crazy, over the top type of caricature you see on "Bridezillas". I really am not sure why; the sheer volume of weddings I do would suggest that eventually I would run into a nutcase, but compared to my former position as a makeup artist in retail, it's like unicorns and rainbows every day.

So in the interest of research, to be able to better understand my clients and the angst they go through in the process of wedding planning, I have taken the step of getting married myself. I am a "method" makeup artist, folks, and I have to live it to fully understand it. Now, granted, this is not my first time at the rodeo. However, the last shot was an elopement, so no stress. So why am I going through this now, as a "seasoned" woman?

I had to admit to myself that there is a beauty in the ritual of making it official in front of your nearest and dearest. Shouting it from the rooftops merely annoys people, unless there is drink and eats involved. It is truly an important ritual and worth scrimping and saving so your guests can feast on crabcakes. Whether it is a modest affair or lavish, the tribe needs to commune around something hopeful and happy. Think how much the average American funeral is, and tell me weddings are a waste of money.

So with my wedding just a scant few weeks away, I salute my clients agonizing over place cards and favors and table linens. We want to throw a fantastic party to kick off the start of a new beginning; naturally we have that facial tic; what of it? We scour bridal blogs daily for the nirvana of centerpiece decor and cringe in horror when The Knot Checklist tells us we still have 649 tasks to complete. You can forgive us for a little neurosis. I just give all my clients a virtual embrace because now I fully understand the hell you encountered or are still in the midst of.

End. Scene.

5 comments:

Alison said...

I personally do not believe in the concept of Bridezilla... it's my opinion that the creature is something made up by the media to entertain us, but in reality just doesn't exist. I know that I've never experienced it. Crazy and/or funny stories: yes. Bridezillas: no.

And YOU are certainly far from one. Your wedding is going to be beautiful and fabulous. And please promise you won't ever look at a Knot Checklist ever again :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations and welcome to the wonderful, whacky, insane world of wedding planning! You get sucked into it before you even realize it! Melissa

Tess said...

Beautifully and wittily written!! Good luck Nancy.

Anonymous said...

You're such a cool soul, Nancy, that I just can't picture you bogged down in any minutiae of wedding planning. Yeah, I know you are doing it but I just can't picture it! I hope this wedding (and the marriage) bring you fun, humor and peace.

nanno said...

awww shucks, you guys.
I hjeard a new term over the weekend from my friend Sam that I totally plan to steal;it is the opposite of a 'zilla;
"bridechilla"