When most folks think of the term bridezilla, they picture the tantrum throwing, sailor swearing, hysterically sobbing whack job that you generally see on reality programs like Say Yes to the Dress (which is one of the reasons I don’t watch that show, incidentally). In my line of work, I’ve been exposed to enough of them, including Mom-zillas, but I would have to say the worst one I’ve come across was far calmer, far scarier, and more insidious than the tantrum throwing toddler in an adult body.
The appointment began like many others: I welcomed the bride and her best friend/maid of honor into my studio, talked about the dress, did the fitting, discussed options, and talked about what comes next. In many cases, the bridesmaid asks if she can bring me her dress too. The answer is always yes, as I do alterations for the entire bridal party.
At the time, I didn’t think anything of it when the bride told me that she was getting married in the Mormon Temple and her dress needed to cover her temple garments, underwear worn by followers of the Mormon faith after they have taken part in the endowment ceremony. These garments are required for any adult who previously participated in the endowment ceremony to enter a temple. They remind me of saint medals worn by the Catholics, yarmulkes worn by Jewish men, and hajibs worn by Muslim women. They are symbols of their faith. I’ve known a handful of devout Mormons in my life, and these garments are a BIG deal to them. Something else that should be mentioned is that, if you haven’t gone through the endowment ceremony, you WON’T be allowed in the temple. No exceptions. So, unlike the other three examples that I mentioned, this one is representative of exclusivity.
Okay, so the stage is set. Enter the maid of honor (MOH) on her own for a fitting appointment for her dress. When I answered the door, there she was, sans dress. Usually when this happens, something else has gone awry in the woman’s life, so I asked if she was okay. She attempted not to burst into tears . . . and failed miserably. I invited her in and scooped her into my arms for a much-needed hug (don’t worry . . . it was pre-COVID). In my line of work, I’m often called upon to play psychologist.
I sat her down, provided tissue, wine, and chocolate, and offered to listen to whatever she needed to say. Slowly, the story poured out between her tears. Apparently, the two women had been thick as thieves through high school and college even though the MOH was not a member of the Mormon Church (not that her friend hadn’t tried). They both dated another set of best friends, neither of whom were Mormons either. When they graduated from high school, the MOH and her beau went separate ways, but her friend received a proposal. The bride apparently agreed on the condition that her fiancé not only become Mormon but also go through the endowment ceremony.
At this point, I didn’t quite understand or remember what the big deal was, so I asked for clarification. She then told me that the only people who would be allowed to attend the wedding were the bride’s parents (see paragraph 3). I was aghast. I asked why they didn’t just elope instead of making a big deal out of it. The MOH continued, saying that it wasn’t the worst part. She told me that her BFF had chosen another Mormon, someone she’d just met, to stand with her for the ceremony. Now I understood the betrayal. The MOH, who had been the bride’s best friend all through high school and college, was being laid aside like an old doll in favor of someone who had the right credentials.
When I saw the bride for the final fitting, I chose to say nothing. It wasn’t my affair, and karma would take care of her in the end. I never saw the MOH again. I heard nothing back from either of them, so I don’t know what happened with the wedding or their friendship.
From my perspective, it seemed that the MOH was deeply wounded by the bride’s betrayal. It was almost as if the bride was telling the MOH, “I’m getting married now and I don’t need you.” Don’t get me wrong. I understand that someone’s faith can be extremely important to them. It just seemed extremely selfish to me for the bride to treat the person who was supposed to be her best friend in that manner. And it wasn’t just her BFF. She made crazy demands of her fiancé (as I understand it now, the endowment ceremony is quite the event for which to prepare) and unfair demands of his family and their attendants, as she expected them to help with the reception even though they would be unable to witness the union. With so many easy and loving compromises at her fingertips, it just flummoxed me why she would choose this route … one that excluded so many and damaged so many relationships. Not a good way to start what should be a joyous transition in your life.