Your fiancée is more complicated than the “Bridezilla” cliché. She’s not a single stereotype. Instead, she’s one of five stereotypes. Take our simple quiz. Your answers will determine what kind of bride she’ll become, and more importantly, how you can cope. Three quick notes:
(1) Don’t be alarmed if she falls into two (or even more) Bride Stereotypes. It happens.
(2) The answers are deliberately extreme. None will perfectly describe your lady; just pick whichever one fits best.
(3) Don’t show her this quiz. It’s demeaning at best and relationship-killing at worst. You’ve been warned.
It’s easy to take the quiz. For each answer, just pick A or B. Tabulation instructions follow at the end. Ready? Let’s go.
At work, she’s not exactly known as a “number cruncher” or crack budgeter.
A) It’s hopeless. I love the girl, but she uses a calculator and then enters the result into Excel. She couldn’t count to 3 if you spot her the 1 and the 2.
B) Actually, no. Don’t tell her I said this, but she’s as good with numbers, charts, and spreadsheets as I am.
If A –> Bridezilla template “I” (Don’t worry about the letters now; that will come at the end.)
At the grocery store, she’ll buy a generic store brand instead of brand name.
A) Yep. Toilet paper is toilet paper (even when it feels like sandpaper).
B) Not a chance. She thinks it’s worth a few extra bucks to “guarantee quality.”
If B –> Bridezilla template “P”
When you ask, “what do you want for dinner?” she can’t decide, goes back and forth, then launches into an hour-long dialogue about what to eat.
A) That’s her, It takes forever. The time we spend eating is inversely proportional to the time we spend deciding.
B) No way, she plans her meals-sometimes days in advance.
If A –> Bridezilla template “H”
She jokes with you about how stupid most weddings are, how everything gets blown out of proportion, how she wishes the whole production would just disappear.
A) Yeah. It’s weird. She’s more like the typical groom-she thinks the whole thing is a chore.
B) Are you serious? Are there any brides who act like that? Can they please call mine.
If A –> Bridezilla template “M”
When you travel together, do you trust her to make the arrangements?
A) Shhh…don’t tell her this, but not really. She’s flighty and disorganized and if it was left up to her, we’d never book a hotel room.
B) Sure. She’s good at scouring the web for cheap flights and hotel packages.
If A –> template “I”
When we started to discuss the wedding planning–the big questions like when, where, how big–she went back and fourth a thousand times.
A) She can’t make up her mind. One minute she wants a 20-person ceremony in her hometown, the next minute she wants a destination wedding in Guam.
B) No dilly-daddling here. She knows what she wants with deadly certainty…and it’s sort of frightening.
If A –> template “H”
Be honest. When she brings a bottle of wine to a dinner party, is she more worried about how the wine will taste…or impressing the guests with a fancy label?
A) As long as the wine tastes good, what’s the difference? She’s cool with bringing a $7 bottle-frankly she prefers beer
B) Are you kidding me? A $7 bottle to a dinner party? HA! No, she wouldn’t go for that.
If B –> template “P”
When weekend guests stay at her place, she’s so relaxed, so mellow, so unfettered by pomp and circumstance, that she forgets to give them clean towels.
A) That’s so her! She’s like me and doesn’t worry about decorum.
B) Way off. Before she has company she scrubs the bathroom, buys fresh groceries and practically leaves a chocolate mint on the pillows.
If A –> template “M”
How to Score:
Add up your letters. (i.e. I, M, P, H)
If you scored 2 P’s, you have “Prada Bride.”
If you scored 2 I’s, you have “Charmingly Incompetent Bride.”
If you scored 2 M’s, you have “Alarmingly Mellow Bride.”
If you scored 2 H’s, you have “Hamlet Bride.”
If you didn’t score 2 of any one letter, you have “Government Issue Bride.”
By the way….is this quiz absurdly and stupidly simplistic? Of course. Consider it a parody of those other “Fun Relationship Quizes!” you see at the newstands. If you think that you will identify your bride’s personality after 8 lousy questions, well, you need more help than we can provide. And our the stereotypes (on next page) fair or accurate? Of course not. We’re painting with a broad brush. It’s mostly in jest. Even the cartoonish generalizations, however, might give you just a hint of insight…
The 5 Bride Stereotypes
How she acts: For the Prada Bride, your wedding isn’t the joyous celebration of your love and future; it’s the female-equivalent of seeing who can bench-press the most. It’s all about status, class, and one-upmanship. Her goal is to out-wedding everyone she has ever known or will know. Underneath it all, the woman you love isn’t (necessarily) a label whore, but the crushing forces of peer pressure, social norms, and mommy issues have corrupted her modesty, warped her values, and poisoned her judgment. If a photographer costs $2,000 more than someone with an identical portfolio, then she’ll want the pricier guy, just because.
How you cope: You will go absolutely batshit if you get involved in every wrenching Gucci- v. Fendi decision (frankly, what’s the difference?). Especially with the Prada Bride, it’s critical that you inject your opinion before you establish the overall budget. If you’re paying for this Carrie Bradshaw-orgy, then show her the financial tradeoffs that both of you will make. Example: “Honey, you’re right, we could swing a $100,000 wedding…but that means we can’t buy a house until 2037.” Remember you’re a team. If you go into debt, she goes into debt. Agree to reasonable boundaries on the global budget, and then, once that’s locked in, back off and shield your eyes while she squanders money. If her parents are paying then take a deep breath, relax, and remember that beneath this Darth Bride there’s still good in her, just like Anakin.
Charmingly Incompetent Bride
How she acts: You love this woman. She means the best. But God bless her, your fiancée is to budgets what Shaq is to free throws. If she opens up Excel, she points at the cells in confusion and calls them little “boxes.” She’s determined to plan the wedding on a single sheet of 8.5 by 11 paper. She treats receipts like they’re bubble gum wrappers, chucking them in the trash or keeping them crumpled in her pocket. To her, “deadline” means the precise moment that you start working. She can’t manage a grocery list much less a reception. When she negotiates with vendors she cleverly nudges them to a higher quote.
How you cope: You have three options: 1) hire a wedding planner to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks; 2) roll up your sleeves, monitor the calendar, attend every vendor meeting, and dazzle her by showing that in Excel you can add up the little boxes as if by magic; 3) grit your teeth and get comfortable with the fact that things will go wrong, you’ll be over-charged, and there’s a 30% chance that your invitations will “cordially request the horror of your presence.”
How she acts: She finally found the right priest. No, make that a judge. Priest, priest, priest—Mom wants a priest. But no, we’re not religious, so maybe we should go with a Justice of the Peace? Nah, too impersonal, too dry. How about our buddy Cody who’s getting ordained as a minister? Well shit, if we’re doing a minister then we might as well stick with a proper priest. Or maybe—
How you cope: Every bride will go back and forth, but the Hamlet Brides agonize over every hideous detail, yakking through the entire Game 7 about whether you should go with balsamic vinaigrette or creamy artichoke. For the Hamlet Bride, it’s not enough to nod your head and be supportive—she needs your vote. So take a stand. End this gridlock. Tell her that nothing would make you happier then for her to let you watch the motherf’ing game you to enjoy the creamy artichoke. Don’t be insulted when she decides to do the opposite of your instinct; who cares, right? There’s an old saying that when a horse is precisely in the middle of two equal-sized bails of hay, the horse will die of hunger. We mean this in the sweetest, most romantic way possible: it’s your job to flog the horse.
Alarmingly Mellow Bride
How she acts: She doesn’t buy into the wedding hype. If it was up to her, you’d get married under an apricot tree with just her roommates, dog, and a box of cheap white wine. She has the mindset of a guy, and she’s only going through the motions to appease the parental units. No cry-fests, no shouting matches, no drama. She reads wedding-porn about as often as you read Marie Clare. She’s super-excited to marry you and spend her life with you, but she scorns the pageantry, waste, and excess of traditional receptions. She picks out a wedding dress the way you’d pick out an umbrella.
How you cope: Careful. This is a double-edged sword. Sure, it’s cool to have a bride who hasn’t sold her soul to Martin Short. On the other hand, unless you elope, every wedding—no matter how relaxed—has a beefy list of tasks that simply must get done. If she’s not leading the charge, then as emasculating as this sounds, you’ll have to pick up the slack. Here’s the good news. A recent study shows that 49% of grooms are “Extremely Involved” or “Very Involved” in the wedding planning, so your misery has company. Well take care of you here.
Government Issue Bride
How she acts: Congratulations. This is the textbook bride, the bride everyone expects, the closest thing to “Bridezilla.” She’s still the perfect girl you love (or One of the Many Ones That Will Work Out Okay Enough), but she’s cracking from the staggering weight of stress and expectations. At times she’ll get crabby. She’ll blame you. She’ll lose her sense of humor. She’ll blow things out of proportion: suddenly the color of the bridesmaids shoes is as monumental a decision as whether we should have bailed out AIG, open diplomatic talks with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or eliminate the designated hitter.
How you cope: Think of this as good practice for when she’s pregnant. Be flexible with her. Have an opinion about the stuff that counts, but don’t bicker over the details. Compliment her decisions. Provide positive encouragement. Do the tasks on your list and designated assignments on time. Surprise her with the occasional date, flowers, or gift when they’re not expected. Remember: roses are more romantic on a ho-hum Tuesday than they are on February 14th. And in the spirit of fairness, if you were to add up all the hours in your life that you’ve spent watching football—stressed and irritable, pissed at the coach for not benching the quarterback—it would dwarf her one year of insanity.
And now, to turn the tables, we have The Knot’s Groom Stereotypes.