there's nothing romantic or comedic about real life bride wars. when neil and i got engaged it was for my june birthday. six months later at christmas, my bff got engaged, too. unlike the movie's characters, who compete for the perfect new york wedding, bbf and i did not resort to sophomoric sabotage; it was a series of coincidences that did us in. after setting my date, i got a phone call alerting me to the date of bff's nuptials.
"you're getting married a week before me?" i gasped. it seemed that that was the only day her reception venue could co-ordinate with the church. then came the request to be her maid of honor. vindictiveness was not the motivation for denying the request. with tears rolling down my cheeks, i choked out, "my mother would kill me." although i wanted to get married, i wanted to avoid all the clichéd scenes of getting married. ("butter cream filling? i'll start shooting if i see butter cream in that cake!") and so, i turned the details over to my "wedding planner," a.k.a. mother, a loving woman with impeccable taste, who is also a control freak. even though my mother was glad to be large and in charge, there was still a twinge of resentment-her thoughtful and well-chosen selections were not met with flattery and enthusiasm, but with shrugs of, "sure, sounds fine, whatever." hence, if i informed her that after not wholeheartedly participating in my own wedding plans, i would be participating in someone else's, let's just say i'd be the only bride to ever be married in her coffin. bff and i both limped away from battle number one. but wedding plans, like life, go on. bff asked another and soon i received an invitation to attend her bridal shower being held the same afternoon that i had arranged for my four attendants to come in from connecticut, new jersey and queens to pick out their bridesmaid dresses. coordinating the calendars of three college girls and one 8th grader was a drama the likes of which could not be seen even on gossip girl. i did not dare try to reschedule. shock of shocks, bff was not there the day my family's female contingency yelled, "surprise" and made me sit under a "showers of happiness" umbrella. bff said she'd never received the invite sent by my mother. we blamed the post office. then came the shot heard 'round the world. my church could only book my wedding rehearsal early in the evening the saturday before my wedding. yes, that meant neil and i would have to leave bff's manhattan afternoon wedding early in order to get to my bronx church on time. i cannot recount for you what she was yelling at me over the phone because bff was drowned out by the voice in my head screaming, "why is this happening?" days later, she notified me she'd be leaving my wedding early, as an invite to another wedding on the same day as mine had just arrived in the mail. i knew it was true because there was too much "revenge glee" in her voice. we both ended up with fairy tale wedding days, and believe it or not, the bride war was not the last straw in our friendship. but it was the beginning of the end. at least we don't have wedding pictures to cut each other out of.
lorraine duffy merkl has been named humor writer of the month by the erma bombeck writers' workshop. her column appears every other week.