Why do we get so angry about rude brides?

Why do we get such a Schadenfreude charge from badly behaved brides?

Why do we get such a Schadenfreude charge from badly behaved brides? Photo: Getty

There once was an Australian reality TV show about weddings called Weddings.

The fact that I can’t find any trace of it on the interwebs, nor does it appear on host Rachel Hunter’s Wikipedia page or IMDb profile speaks rather loudly to me that it was a program that no one gave two shakes of a lamb’s tail about.

I hazard a guess it aired about 1994ish.

Why doesn’t anyone remember this show? Well, I have a theory.


This show’s format was pretty basic, follow three couples that are getting married, ending with each couples’ wedding day.

There was no omniscient voice-over, there was seemingly nothing orchestrated, and, there was no cast for conflict. (Yo, what up my old documentary lecturer Martin Mhando)

Compared to super-produced and packaged ‘reality’ programs today, which we now expect to have a game win-or-lose element, ‘Weddings’ was a straighty-one-eighty kind of a show that just wouldn’t get a whiff at a 2013 guernsey. 

While everyone loves a beautiful bride… we really truly love a bad one.

Why else do stories like this and this go stratospheric? 

We don’t hate Bridezillas at all; we actually love being outraged by their awful inappropriate ungratefulness the same way we just can’t pull ourselves away from rubbernecking at a crash site or the resist the compulsion to pick up a Woman’s Day while waiting for the dude at the Department of Transport to finish putting your car over the pits after you forgot to pay your rego (it’s been a long week).

But why do we get such a Schadenfreude charge from them?

I’m the first to admit I love nothing more than to read these stories, sometimes even trawling the bride boards specifically to indulge my occasional Bridezilla lust, or listen to one of my mates talk about her sister-in-law’s bad bride shenanigans on how she’s using her wedding as an emotional 12-gauge to take pot shots at her.  

We’re drawn to articles and stories about good-brides-gone-bad because it’s a weird form of titillation, or as Professor Eric Wilson, author of Everyone Loves A Good Train Wreck: Why We Can't Look Away, nudges at: we learn what not to do, or in this case, how not to behave 

It’s a different story if we’re somehow implicated or involved with the wedding wolverine, but reading about a boorish bride means that we can be suitably horrified from a distance without running the risk of being dragged down by the undertow.  

Also, these sorts of stories started off being played out behind closed passwords of Gmail inboxes before they were flagged, forwarded and churned into fresh evidence that the Bridezilla was alive and kicking (heads).

The tantilising part of this correspondence is, the protagonist isn’t just anyone, like the articles about how saucy emails between two employees were accidently sent to the entire office, the grubby manners were from society’s angel – a bride.

When a bride behaves like a jerk, it kind of stops us in our tracks because it messes with our preconceived ideas about how a gorgeous bride should conduct herself. And that doesn’t usually include the possibility that she would fit right in on the set of V. 

I went to this wedding last year and when, in the dreaded line-up, said how beautiful she looked (well you’re not going to say ‘so how’s your week been?’), and instead of the usual thank you, she said ‘Well, I am the bride!’

While it wasn’t quite Bridezilla territory, I did do a double-take and had a little guffaw to myself in the taxi to the reception.

I get that there is an unprecedented amount of Bridezilla-like spinoff TV shows that don’t just cast for conflict but gleefully poke the bear, but I doubt that we’ve opened the floodgates for normalising The Bad Bride. She’s labeled bad for a reason. And not just Coyote Ugly kind of 'bad girl', but the bad that comes with losing friendships and having a nasty sense of entitlement - people genuinely despise that kind of a person, bride or no bride.

I honestly believe that anyone getting married would have the nous to not use that as some weird green light to treat vendors and guests like animals - instead, I think it's fine to publish these stories every so often as reminders to pull our heads in and learn what not to do.

But, like watching Maury Povich, Keeping Up with the Kardashians or Cheaters, I will secretly go on loving these provocative stories so I can, time after time, gasp, clutch my pearls and exclaim ‘who on Earth does that? 

And the fact that it’s a beautiful bride acting so ugly?

Well that’s just the icing on the wedding cake.


This story first appeared on Wry Bride, republished with permission.

15 comments so far

  • Could a wrist slap please be administered to whoever wrote the phrase 'hate on' that links to this story on the front page of the site? That is a particularly nonsensical Americanism that should not be encouraged.

    Content: I think talking about Bridezillas is immensely fun. It provides the safe, voyeuristic thrill of observing someone ride roughshod over the societal norms of politeness and civil conduct. It's thrilling when we are protected from the fallout, yet still able to revel in all the gory mess. Who doesn't have a secret longing to break all the rules once in a while? We'd never actually do it, but some people (Bridezillas) do, and it's hard to look away.

    It also helps us feel superior, and who doesn't love that? "At least I know how to conduct myself with class on my wedding day." It also serves as an object lesson for prospective brides - friends can point out Bridezilla behaviour and nip it in the bud.

    Date and time
    July 25, 2013, 8:41AM
    • You whine about the use of 'hate on' but then use 'Bridezilla' repeatedly. Classic!

      Date and time
      July 25, 2013, 10:26AM
  • "Why do we get so angry about rude brides?"

    We don't, we have a chuckle and move on

    Date and time
    July 25, 2013, 9:04AM
    • Wouldn't it be great if the person who wrote the article also got to write the title/headline?

      Date and time
      July 25, 2013, 10:50AM
  • I think women obsess over Bridezillas because it gives them some sense of security in either looking back at their own wedding and thinking "see, I wasn't that crazy" or if they are yet to be married as sort of a rule book of things not to do.

    I've never been married and because I'm gay its unlikely that will happen any time soon.

    I imagine it is completely normal to be stressed and for emotions to be heightened and therefore some people will go a bit mental. I think the bridezilla serves to remind us that it could always be worse.

    Why do we "hate on" them?

    I don't really think we do, I think we all find it amusing to a degree. Hence all the TV shows.

    Date and time
    July 25, 2013, 9:30AM
    • I don't hate them, I just find it all incredibly entertaining.

      Weddings can create Bridezillas. If you've ever dealt with any company that specialises in anything bridal they can send you mental with their questions and even their own stresses, 'You're getting married in 9 months and you don't have a DRESS!!!!' Relatives and anxious mum and mum-in-law to be can also do a normally calm womans head in. The bride cops the grief so if she loses at one point it's hardly surprising.

      Hunting Aliens
      Date and time
      July 25, 2013, 10:33AM
      • I remember 'Weddings' - or specifically this moment: One of the bride (or groom's) brothers was the footballer Shannon Grant who was in the AFL draft the day of the wedding. He was drafted to Sydney and cracked an absolute wobbly.

        Date and time
        July 25, 2013, 11:49AM
        • I can't think of anything less entertaining that watching awful, selfish people who lack any sense of perspective, yelling and throwing tantrums. Whatever floats your boat though.

          Tim the Toolman
          Date and time
          July 25, 2013, 12:10PM
          • I dunno, I think I would find it highly entertaining to watch the Labor party caucus meetings?

            Date and time
            July 25, 2013, 1:49PM
        • Wasn't 'Weddings' the show that spawned 'Kath & Kim'?

          Date and time
          July 25, 2013, 12:28PM

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