"They Made Me Give My Life To Christ"; Hannah's #Bridezilla Experience
Many women anticipate their weddings their entire lives, vividly envisioning the day through their childhood and adulthood. Mostly, this fixation on weddings and marriages is a product of socialisation. Little girls know nothing of marriages and weddings until it is introduced to them through teachings from family, religious institutions and media propaganda (decades of Disney princess movies, etc.)
Bridezilla; a woman whose behaviour in planning the details of her wedding is regarded as obsessive or intolerably demanding.
Sometimes, preparation for "the big day" brings out the worst in the bride-to-be. Irrational and arbitrary demands from bridesmaids, bossiness and other lousy behaviours can make a bride a bridezilla. The desire to have a "fairy tale wedding" can make some people obsessive about every single detail, intolerably demanding, difficult and unpleasant to work with.
The term "bridezilla" was coined in 1995 by journalist Diane White to describe an out-of-control bride in an article. The word combines "bride" and "Godzilla" to cleverly describe a bride with challenging and unreasonable expectations.
In Nigeria, weddings are an event. These elaborate celebrations are organised with perfection in mind. There's also the need for your wedding to be better than everyone else's, the most talked about, heavily featured on all the marriage blogs. This culture births many bridezillas.
Twitter user Ife Nkili talks about her experience with a bridezilla who happened to be her cousin, the closest thing to a sibling in her life. Her cousin instructed her to lose weight before the wedding, or she wouldn't serve as maid of honour.
A superficial need to present a certain way and have the wedding look a certain way inspires many brides to display fatphobia and other bigoted ideologies about people's appearances toward their prospective bridesmaids.
Hannah's aunt asked her to be her bridesmaid, and everything went downhill from there.
"So, I got a call from my aunt (the bride) that she needed to tell me something important and that I should come to her place from school. I went, and she told me her wedding was the next month and that I was going to be part of the bridal train. I knew accepting it would cause a lot of trouble because we don't see eye to eye on most things, but I accepted the role. She gave me the material to sew and specifically told me my whole body must be covered and that I can't sew an extravagant style. Her mum also said the same thing."
" I went to the family house for the engagement, and my aunts said they wanted to see my clothes (since I am an 'unbeliever'). They saw it and started screaming at me, saying I wanted to ruin my aunt's day and I was evil and all sort of things." - Hannah
I had to put it on to show them that the only thing showing was my arm and the gown was so long that it was sweeping the floor. I wore it, and the shouts increased. Because I am curvy, they felt I should have made the gown loose-fitted. I had to show them that it wasn't even hugging my body at all. They tried to look for an alternative outfit for me. Throughout the engagement party, my aunt kept shouting at me at the slightest provocation (I didn't even provoke her). I was all around, attending to guests, serving food, and trying to make sure she was okay. And that night, when we had the bridal shower, I felt like I didn't belong; I was treated differently by her."
On the morning of the wedding, I got dressed at the hotel, and unfortunately, I had to be in the same car as the bride. She complained about everything, my clothes, me being slow and how I hadn't smiled in a while. We got to the church, and she kept sending me on errands till it was time for her to enter. Sadly I slept throughout because I was so exhausted. I thought that would be the end, but the reception was much worse. The tone I was spoken to in was so bad that I considered returning to my hostel. I held my tongue and did everything I was told to do.
Hannah and her aunt, the bride, had some irreconcilable differences before she was invited on the bridal train. Hannah is irreligious, while her aunt and the family are deeply religious, members of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry.
In the course of the wedding, Hannah recalls being made to give her life to Christ a total of three times during the wedding proceedings.
"The thing is, every time they see me, they make me say the salvation prayer. So the Friday I went there, I said it. During the engagement, after the pastor preached, he asked if anyone wanted to give their life to Christ and my Aunt(Bride's mother) told me to raise my hand. So I gave my life to Christ again. At the wedding, the officiating pastor saw me and had a lot to say about my dress, so after he was done, he made me give my life to Christ again."
For Hannah and her aunt, the wedding marked the end of their relationship.
"That was the last time we spoke. I didn't contact her, and she didn't try to reach me. I also swore never to be part of the bridal train of anyone I might have an issue with. Because at the end of the day, I was forced to give my life to Christ three or four times, had things thrown at me and was insulted a couple of times; not worth it, do not recommend."
Ultimately, a wedding is just one day. The months of preparation (and terrorisation in the case of a bridezilla) come and go in under hours. However, the relationships that take a hit in the process may never recover. Weddings should be a fun affair for all involved, not a boot camp situation.