Dear Wendy: “Am I Turning Into A Bridezilla?”

I’m getting married in August and have been planning the wedding for over a year, so the date has been set for a while now. My brother — my only sibling — got engaged last weekend. I love him and his fiancée, but I was very upset when I found out today that they are planning to get married a mere six weeks before I do. Why couldn’t they get married in May or November, so that there is more turn-around time? What if all of my out-of-state family comes to his wedding and then can’t make it to mine? I invited them first! My mom is on the sickly side and is already stressed about one child getting married, so now I’m worried about her having to deal with two weddings back-to-back.

I’m worried that if I confront my brother and fiancée, it will turn into a sibling grudge match with lots of old dynamics rearing their ugly heads. I already asked my parents to mention how stressful it will be for them. Is that fair? Should I just suck it up and silently resent them so that twenty years from now when we are fighting over who gets mom’s heirlooms I end up screaming, “I get them since you practically ruined my wedding!” — Trying Not To Be A Bridezilla

Oh man, I remember planning my own wedding two years ago and how I could go from totally Rational Sane Wendy to Miss Coo Coo Ca Choo in a matter or minutes, and I definitely was not a Bridezilla. So, I’m gonna give you the benefit of the doubt here and assume that the stress you’re under is affecting your judgment. But, honey, let me give it to you straight: you are definitely venturing into crazy Bridezilla territory. You need to take some deep breaths and get a little perspective. As long as you still get to marry the man you love in good health and sound mind and the people who mean the most to you are present to witness it, there’s no way your brother getting married six weeks before you is going to “ruin your wedding,” and if you genuinely fear that it will, you need to get your priorities straight.

While I can certainly appreciate how another family wedding so close to your own may add some stress to your life, you’re really kind of blowing it out of proportion and losing sight of the big picture. You’re also making your brother’s engagement about you. It’s not about you. It’s about him and his fiancée. Whether they want a summer wedding instead of a May or November wedding isn’t up to you. I’m sure they have plenty of good reasons, just as you do, for wanting a summer wedding, but the bottom line is those reasons aren’t your business. Rather than let something that’s out of your control make you crazy, why don’t you embrace it? This is a joyous time! Two weddings in one summer.

And you know what? Your wedding is going to be perfect because you are going to marry the person you love and the people who mean the most will be there to see it. (Long distance guests who have to choose between attending your wedding or your brother’s are likely going to choose the one for which they received an invitation first. If they don’t, then they probably aren’t so close to you that their presence will be all that missed anyway). If you’re having anxiety about how supportive you can be to your brother in the midst of making the final arrangements for your own wedding, then tell him that. Instead of berating him for “ruining your wedding,” tell him that you’re really excited for him, but you hope he and his fiancée will understand if you aren’t as available to help or support with their planning as you might be if you weren’t planning your own wedding. And if you’re anxious about how your sickly mother will fare with two back-to-back weddings, rest assured that her involvement and responsibilities in her son’s five month wedding planning will be quite different than her involvement and responsibilities in her daughter’s year and a half wedding planning.

Now, if what’s concerning you the most is that your brother and his fiancée are going to steal your thunder, you need to grow up. There’s enough thunder to go around for everyone. Six weeks is plenty of time for the thunder to recoup its power. Six weeks is enough time for the guests to recoup their energy and show enthusiasm for you. You are not going to be any less special or beautiful or loved or honored on your special day just because “a mere six weeks” have passed since your brother’s special day. You’ve been planning your wedding for over a year and the only thing that’s going to keep it from being any less spectacular than you want it to be is your own neuroses. So, cool it. Everything that needs to get done will get done with a lot less hassle and drama if you stay rational and sane.

Twenty years from now when you’re reminiscing about the summer of 2011 when you celebrated not just one joyous occasion in the company of loved ones, but two, I hope its with grace, compassion and gratitude — and not resentment toward your brother — that you look back and think, “That was a damn good time.” Because it will be … as long as you let it.

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at {encode=”wendy@dearwendy.com” title=”wendy@dearwendy.com”}.

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