When folks find out that I’m a wedding photographer, they often ask if I have had to deal with any crazy Bridezillas. I used to demur, saying that perhaps my clients self-selected by choosing a laid back photographer, and Bridezillas were looking for someone of a different temperament. People often seemed disappointed with my answer. Over time, I came to understand that people just wanted to hear stories of brides being selfish, dramatic, or outrageously demanding.
Weddings are often the largest event anyone has planned. People are overwhelmed and stressed. I have seen as many overwhelmed and stressed grooms as I have seen brides. Weddings require hundreds of decisions and coordinating vendors, family, and friends. Not everyone responds to pressure gracefully. However, when men respond to wedding stress by telling people what to do, it’s perceived as taking charge and being a leader. When women respond that way, we invent a mythical monster to describe them: the bridezilla. We feel so uncomfortable with a woman knowing not only what she wants for herself, but being in charge of the story she wants to tell and the others taking part in it, that we knock women down for taking the lead.
In Beyonce’s recent interview with Solange:
And, as far back as I can remember, our mother always taught us to be in control of our voice and our bodies and our work, and she showed us that through her example. If she conjured up an idea, there was not one element of that idea that she was not going to have her hand in. She was not going to hand that over to someone. And I think it’s been an interesting thing to navigate, especially watching you do the same in all aspects of your work: Society labels that a control freak, an obsessive woman, or someone who has an inability to trust her team or to empower other people to do the work, which is completely untrue. There’s no way to succeed without having a team and all of the moving parts that help bring it into life. But I do have—and I’m unafraid to say it—a very distinctive, clear vision of how I want to present myself and my body and my voice and my perspective. And who better to really tell that story than yourself?
You can see that distinctive, clear vision in the way she chose to present herself in her wedding photography
I’m happy to chat with people about funny or sweet wedding moments that I’ve seen. But when I’m asked about bridezillas, I simply reply, “I don’t believe in them,” just as I would for any mythical creature.