When Girl Code star and standup comedian Jamie Lee first got engaged, she found herself plunging ring-first into a lace-trimmed minefield of bridal magazines. From The Knot to Modern Bride, every hyperventilating glossy (or "Big Bridal," as Lee refers to them) warned that weddings — their delicate crudités, towering cakes, and pastel-colored bouquets — needed to create unforgettable memories that symbolize something profound about the marrying couple. Of course, it’s hard for post-ceremony lobster puffs to say so much, and even harder to control how each nail-bitten detail will be remembered by soon-to-be-sloppy guests. Throwing aside Big Bridal's horror stories of disastrously chosen napkin-holders and nausea-inducing color pallets, Lee teamed up with comedian Jacqueline Novak, author of depression memoir How to Weep in Public and creator of Riot series of the same name, to write her hilariously frank, unapologetically “do-you” advice book for the newly engaged, Weddiculous: An Unfiltered Guide To Being A Bride.
Of course, resisting the siren-song of that big, beautiful brass band or the temptation of ordering those pristine paper invitations (so pretty, yet so antiquated) is easier than it sounds. Reflecting on the first months of planning her own big day, Lee recalls how she and then-fiancé, Dan, got caught in the craze-inducing frenzy of trying to orchestrate the "perfect" wedding. "We got swept up in the fantasy and the drama of it all, convincing ourselves that every vendor, every service mattered. We were living in this insular bubble. Now we just so deeply feel that it was ridiculous — none of it was important." Instead, she says, put time and money into the aspects of the day that you care most about, and stop endlessly worrying over how picky guests might judge them. "Remember that wherever your wedding went, even if it wasn't where you expected, that's what makes it yours," Novak summarizes with unflinching deadpan.
Reading Weddiculous feels like talking to a friend who's ready to pour a cocktail when your bridesmaids get grouchy or the centerpiece bills come through. Mostly, it's a guide about sorting out legit priorities from the wedding industry's diamond-studded nonsense by offering some much-needed real talk about the absurdities brides face when planning a wedding. "One thing we address in the book that we feel strongly about is the label 'Bridezilla.' It feels like a much less offensive way of calling women 'mouthy' or 'controlling' or 'pushy,'" Lee comments. (We fully agree, and this is something we've also written about in the past.) "Having emotions and stress and disappointments along the way is how you get through it, because the other option is holding everything in and feeling miserable."
Lee's readiness to laugh off the insanities of wedding-planning springs from many years of working as a comedian, where her acerbic brand of humor amplifies the humor of her own flaws, rather than casting them as tragic. And she's had a lot of practice shading, with a smile, the general BS women endure through her role on MTV's Girl Code, hilariously tearing down everything from slut-shaming to vocal fry. So it's no surprise that she and Novak partnered with "Two Dope Queens" host and fellow author Phoebe Robinson to mock the wedding industry's manufactured, petty competitiveness. Watch the video above for an ironic tutorial in every wedding guest's Olympic sport, "vergasm" — the delicious pleasure of humbling a bride and groom's impossible nuptial expectations. "Collaborating with Jacqueline and Phoebe felt like a glorious middle-finger to Big Bridal," Lee says. "It's so important that we can come together and satirize how a very female-centric industry tries to divide women."
"Look, people are going to criticize your wedding, even when you obsess about the day," Novak says, laughing. "Let your guests have that pleasure, and be at peace with it."