“How do I convince her that she’s being ridiculous and that what happened was a long time ago and has no bearing on my wedding?”
We’ve read some terrible bridezilla stories in our time – and enjoyed them – but this Reddit thread about a white bride’s fallout with her black bridesmaid has definitely struck a chord on social media.
The story begins, as all stories do, with a little spiel about the bride’s wedding planning experience. She and her fiancé are getting married in February, she asked her best friend to be maid of honour, and three of her closest pals agreed to be bridesmaids. So far, so normal. Indeed, “all was well until the last week of August, when my fiancé and I booked our wedding venue,” she continued, “which is an incredibly beautiful plantation.”
As in, yes, the very same plantations which used enslaved Africans for labour. A brief history lesson: in 1665, there were fewer than 500 Africans in Virginia. By 1840, though, one in every four families in Virginia owned slaves, and over 100 plantation owners owned over 100 slaves. Most slaves who were brought to plantations were not expected to survive more than nine years, thanks to the appalling living conditions and brutal treatment meted out by the white people in charge.
But, still. They make “incredibly beautiful” wedding venues. Who knew, eh?
Understandably, one of the bridesmaids – only named as ‘J’ in the Reddit thread – felt uncomfortable about being involved in the wedding. As such, she decided to write a (very nice) message to her insensitive bridezilla pal.
“I love you a lot but I have to bow out of being a bridesmaid,” she wrote, noting that she had expressed her concerns before the venue had been booked.
“I firmly believe that all plantations should be museums that highlight the atrocious injustices towards my community. We talked in great detail about exactly why I felt this way, and you told me your love for me outweighed your desire to have a wedding at a plantation, and I wouldn’t have to worry about it.”
J added that, even if she could put aside her own personal convictions for her pal’s big day, she could not risk damaging her career. “To be pictured and seen at a plantation wedding could cause harm to my professional reputation,” she said, “and, much as I love you, I cannot make that sacrifice.”
However, while J wasn’t able to attend, she did offer to pay for her bridesmaid dress – and said she would still love to be involved in the bridal shower and hen party.
“Please know that my issues with the chosen venue do not translate to issues with you and [your fiancé],” added J. “I love you both and I am so happy for the two of you.”
All very nice and reasonable, in our opinion. However, J’s unendingly patient and understanding message did not go down well with her bridezilla pal, who branded the whole thing “ridiculous”.
“How do I convince her that she’s being ridiculous and that what happened there was a long time ago and has no bearing on my wedding?” she asked the Reddit community, after admitting that she did remember promising her pal that she would never have a plantation wedding (“I thought she was being overly sensitive and would change her mind when my actual wedding came around”).
As you might expect, the Reddit community had a LOT to say about this thread. The general consensus, though, was that this bridezilla was un-f**king-believable.
What is the appeal of paying a family rich off *slave labor, human rights violations, human trafficking, etc* REAL MONEY to have a wedding at their former slave camp? Where is the allure?— the girls are fighting (@thepaxjones) September 9, 2018
This is the most ‘sounds about white’ thing I’ve ever read.— Becky (@beckyloujenks) September 8, 2018
White Southerns genuinely do not see plantations as ugly reminders of the history of slavery but as beautiful and elegant pieces of history. They keep their blinders on to racial injustice past and present. The bride’s perspective does not surprise me at all— Reed (@sbwagner1900) September 8, 2018
It goes without saying that you should never plan a wedding on a plantation – an opinion previously stressed by wedding planner Allison Davis.
“A plantation was not a site of accidental death or benevolent caretakers,” she writes on her site, A Practical Wedding. “It was a site of systematic torture, rape, and murder. That ‘wedding venue’ you’re considering? It was physically built by slaves. Slaves who were whipped to death during the construction process. It was inhabited by slaves. Slaves that were consistently raped by their owners, and forced to give birth to children of their rapists, while tending to the needs of their rapists’ families. And many of those slaves died, of natural and non-natural deaths. Infants and children along with adults.”
As Davis adds: “Their bodies are buried all over the property, in thousands of unmarked graves… under that garden where you’re thinking of having cocktail hour.”
Image: Gades Photography/Unsplash