The Online Bride Guide
Once upon a time, there was a girl called Lucy*. Lucy was a perfectly normal girl from a perfectly normal town in the North West. One day Lucy’s boyfriend asked her to marry him and delighted, Lucy said ‘yes’. Lucy spent a month drinking champagne and meeting up with several friends for celebratory dinners and without even trying, Lucy put on fifteen pounds. Although secretly quite proud of herself, Lucy vowed to do something about this in the very near to far distant future. Having no clothes left to fit her, Lucy was unable to leave the house. In a fit of relentless boredom, Lucy switched on her old laptop and decided to explore the world of online wedding forums. If only someone could have stopped her! Soon Lucy was lost in a sea of bridal tears as women from all over the world took the internet to engage in total meltdowns while sharing their stories of catastrophic wedding planning doom. Lucy used to be a normal girl but not anymore. Now Lucy is madder than a bag of badgers. She lived of course, miserably ever after.
I know you may be dazzled by my amazing storytelling skills but try not to let that stop you from understanding the meaning behind this terrible tale for the story of Lucy is a cautionary one indeed. The online world of wedding forums is I have discovered, quite the minefield. First of all, there are literally hundreds of them out there. Newly engaged, most women are quick to sign up. “Hi everybody, my name is Lucy and I’m newly engaged just wanted to say ‘hi’, seems to be best way to make an entrance. Other brides welcome you congratulate you on your recent engagement and then there’s usually one mad yoke who asks you to post a photo of your ring. Some people be needing to retake their stranger danger course methinks!
Depending on how busy you are, or how much you suspect your employer checks your internet history, it is quite easy to spend hours and hours scrolling through the subject matters within subject matters on these websites. Don’t get me wrong now. Some of these chatrooms are filled with brides just having a craic extravaganza, virtually high-fiving each other all over the place for anything from making a decision on chair covers to deciding on floral arrangements. Those rooms are great but they aren’t the only rooms. In the dark corners of the bridal internet, there are other, more sinister rooms were brides interrogate each other usually asking the most dreaded question a bride to be can ever be asked. That question is masked as harmless curiosity, friendliness even but be warned it can be more venomous than a false widow spider. The question is this: ‘have you everything sorted yourself?” See what I mean? A question born in the fires of hell if ever there was one!
A seasoned bride to be like myself doesn’t switch on her iPad without the answer to this question fully prepared and wrapped in tinfoil. “Yes, everything is taken care of, thank you so much for asking” usually does the trick. A newly engaged girl may not have the same savviness and answer with a simple “no”. Her explanation that she only got engaged last night will undoubtedly be met with a chorus of “well I got engaged this morning and I’ve already got my band photographer and venue.” “Is your bum hot ladies?” I want to ask, “because your underwear is most definitely on fire”.
Besides the outlandish reports of “stuff booking”, there are also the meltdowns. Some of these girls are getting themselves into a right state. This has the knock on effect of making the innocent visitor question their own emotional investment in their wedding. “What if I don’t attack the postman because my invitations are wrong? Does that mean I don’t love my fiancé?” You get the idea. Step away from the postman girls. He is not your enemy. You need him for the RSVPs!!
I was once on a forum initiated by a bride to be who was seriously thinking of calling off her wedding. The reason? Her mother had commented that she could probably steam the veil on the morning of the wedding in front of the groom. The girl was devastated; her fiancé hadn’t known she was going to be wearing a veil. So now the mother was in the dog house, the fiancé was scratching his head waiting to hear what the big deal was and the bride was in serious danger of short-circuiting her laptop as she cried over it all night waiting on strangers to make her feel better. What a sorry mess. Forums can be great places to get some quick advice – “best bridal shop in Fermanagh” for example. Using them as a crutch to get through the stresses of wedding planning? Maybe not the best idea. My advice? Get into a onesie, buy a bar of chocolate, a bottle of wine throw the two in a blender. Deal with the after effects in the far distant future.
*Lucy is an alias used here to protect the identity of a real person who is definitely not me. Definitely not.