BERRY: Daughter becomes Bridezilla at hasty wedding

My No. 2 daughter, Hillary, called me the first week in April and announced that she was getting married the day before Easter.
May 1, 2014


After assuring me that impending motherhood was not the reason for this hasty decision, she proceeded to cry, sob and insufficiently explain why she was getting married so suddenly.

"I just want to be married now!" she said.

"Why don't you just wait until after college like you've been planning?" I suggested.

"I just want to do this now,” she replied. “I want Brian to be my husband. I don't want to wait anymore."

She's a grown woman. She can make her own decisions. Yet, it was still baffling that Hillary — my smart, sensible, level-headed daughter — was going to try and pull off a wedding in 17 days. 

"I don't want anything big," she said. "Just a few of my closest family members to share the moment. Nothing fancy, no frills."

"OK,” I said. Down deep, I fully expected her to come to her senses and change her mind.

Not only did she not come to her senses or change her mind, but her expectations and demands grew in the following days. She invited more people, bought a wedding dress, rented an outdoor facility for the ceremony, and added a small reception with pizza and cheesecake. 

That's when I started wondering about this boy she was going to marry. They've only been dating for about five years. How much can you really know about someone in five years?

He owns his own motorcycle repair shop, but he still lives with his parents. Is this guy going to be able to provide for my daughter? Is my daughter going to live in her in-laws’ basement until she's in her 40s?

Hillary called me up and asked, "Dad, what are you wearing to the wedding?"

"I dunno," I said. "I haven't thought about it."

"How about a suit?" she suggested.

There was a long silence, and then I let Hillary have it with both barrels. I told her I thought she should wait until she got out of school and until Brian could afford to buy her a house, and I also got in a few other choice, personal jabs.

I felt justified and vindicated that I had given my sincere, concerned opinion. That is, until Hillary started to cry. Then I realized I had only managed to toss water on her fire.

A few days later, Brian called and calmly explained that his business was doing well, and he lived with his parents by choice and not out of necessity. 

"I'm saving money to buy a house for Hillary and I," he said. "I have a year to prepare before she finishes school."

I softened a little and started warming up to the idea of having Brian as a son-in-law. He fixes motorcycles for a living, but he doesn't have any tattoos — so how bad can he be, right? But I still didn't understand the urgency of getting married now when they couldn't even live together or enjoy their first year as husband and wife.

On the day of the wedding, I picked Hillary up at her mom's house. There was a lot of commotion, people getting dressed and milling around. Once everyone cleared out, I had a moment alone with Hillary, and I asked her one last time if this was what she really wanted.

"Yes," she said confidently, and I knew she meant business.

"OK,” I said. 

Then Hillary and I prayed together, and we headed to the wedding. 

Driving together, just her and I, reminded me of when Hillary was a teenager. We spent many hours together driving to sporting events. She played basketball, ran track and played volleyball. I took her to practices at the high school and games all over the district. She was such an intense competitor that I'd often be greeted after a game with, "Don't hug me — I'm sweaty."

Once, after a game, I said, "Great game, Hill."

She snapped back: "No it wasn't. We lost."

Hillary was getting married under the pavilion at Hoffmaster State Park. Our drive together was calm and casual, and filled with lighthearted conversation — much like our trips to sporting events. However, when she and I pulled into that parking lot and she saw her family and friends just standing around casually, her intensity level reached new highs.

"Why is everyone just wandering around?" she asked.

My wife, Amy, walked up to the car and Hillary barked, "What are you doing? Why aren't you under the pavilion? I want everyone to sit down."

I parked the car and helped Hillary out of the passenger side. 

"Where is that photographer? I want him right here, right now!" she demanded.

"Stay here. I'll take care of it," I assured her.

I marched to the pavilion and scanned the stunned faces in the small crowd. 

"Everyone, please sit down and don't move," I said. "And where is that cameraman?" He waved his hand. "Come with me."

I caught sight of Brian, slapped him on the shoulder and said, "In a few minutes, she's all yours." 

The crowd chuckled.

The photographer followed me down the hill and took some pictures of Hillary and I. I bunched the back of Hillary's dress in my hand so it wouldn't drag on the ground. 

"When we get to that bench, drop the dress," she said.

"Why don't we wait until we get on the pavement?" I asked.

"Drop it by the bench!"

I dropped the train of her dress in the dirt by the bench. When we walked across the pavement toward her waiting groom, the dress dragged leaves across the pavement — scritchy-scratchy, scritchy-scratchy. I smiled.

When the minister asked, "Who gives this bride away?" Hillary's intensity made it much easier for me to say, "I do."

Brian shook my hand and looked me in the eye as I turned Hillary over to him. I watched and listened intently as Brian recited his own hand-written vows to my grown-up little girl. His voice never wavered and his hands didn't tremble. 

"He's completely in love with my daughter,” I thought, "intensity and all."

And Hillary is in love with him, too. Of that, I am certain. Maybe that's why she had to marry him now — I don't know. I may never fully understand their urgency. But that's inconsequential now because, even though I am critical of their timing, I have no question about their commitment.

— By Grant Berry, Tribune community columnist



From a daughter who rushed her dad to attend her wedding: You protected her while repecting her life. Bless you. Your a great dad. So was mine.


As the sister of the bride,
I would like to clarify, Hillary and Brian's wedding was beautiful. The venue, the vows. And the bride herself was as gorgeous as she could be. I admit to experiencing some shock at the announcement of the upcoming wedding, but the truth is I encouraged them to wed before her graduation all along. The incidents outlined in the article were a mere fraction of the day's occurrences (what bride doesn't get nervous?). The way they chose to do it was their decision, it was the right one for them and they couldn't be happier with it. Brian is a wonderful, hardworking man who will take the best care of my sister and she is easily the happiest she's been, ever. And I couldn't be happier for them.


As a Grandmother of the bride, I can only say the wedding I attended was nothing like the account given in this article. It was exactly right for these two beautiful and loving people. It goes into my book of memories as one of the most simple, yet sincerely beautiful and heartwarming experiences I have witnessed at a wedding. What I saw when Daddy handed Hillary over to Brian, was a young woman whose face literally shown with exultant joy and love as she looked at her husband to be. There are so many errors in this article I am appalled- Hillary had nearly everything purchased and stored away. Most of all, how the pure joy of the couple could be missed by this Daddy is beyond me. It never is about us as parents and grandparents. It was about two sensible, well grounded young people who decided when and how to take this step in life. And to call this sweetest girl a "bridezillah" is the utmost insult I can imagine. If she argued for anything it was to have a simple wedding and by all of today's accepted and grossly expensive standards, that is exactly what she got. So many people stepped up to help her and Brian have this special day. To recount the day in this way is hurtful beyond imagination. She is strong, opinionated clearly knows right from wrong. She is no different than she ever was. Brian is strong, steady and is clearly her perfect match. She can lean on him and will always be able to do that. Both of these young people were raised by parents who can look at them with trust and pride as to their values and goals. How you could not have known Brian and his good intents after the many years of dating is a mystery. This article was not "protecting" and loving, it was hurtful and self-serving at the expense of a loving daughter. Apologies are due to everyone who loves Hillary and Brian and especially to them. I have always admired this writer and held him in high esteem, but he missed experiencing the true essence of this beautifully planned and holy event. I am sad and sorry for him to be so out of touch with reality.

words of wisdom

I was compelled to write this letter in response to the “Bridezilla” column that appeared in the Tribune on May 1, 2014, written by the father of the bride, Grant Berry.

After reading the article, I went to the “Contact Us” section of the Tribune website – my concern was that the Tribune no longer had an editor, but sure enough, there is an editor and an editorial or “content” staff. I am perplexed that this column was ever published. This is something I would expect to see at the check out counter on the front page of some “rag” like the Enquirer, or on the Jerry Springer show.

The father was more than willing to share his experience, detailing his daughter's wedding from his vantage point. However, it was at the expense of his daughter's privacy and happiness. The decision to publish this article is nothing short of exploitation. I understand that this column is categorized as “opinion”, but it should still be accurate and reflect dignity. After reading comments from family and friends in the Tribune and on Facebook, I am torn between disgust for the father and the Tribune, and compassion for a young married couple having to deal with the repercussions of the father's public representation of an event that was meant to be intimate and special.

I considered that this might be Mr. Berry's attempt at humor; if this is the case, he failed miserably. After reading the article a second time, I'm convinced that it serves no purpose – except to defame his daughter. This column is the like wedding gift that will keep on giving – pain and grief.

I know the newspaper industry is struggling, but this is a new low. Mr. Berry certainly lacked consideration and taste, but the Tribune's decision to publish it is despicable.


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