Katie Masters wasn't trying to be a Bridezilla—honest. So how to explain the "contract" that she e-mailed to her five bridesmaids last month, forbidding them from (among other things) changing their hairstyle, gaining more than 4 lbs. or getting pregnant? "I thought everyone would think it was a joke!" insists Masters, who had come across the guidelines on the wedding Web site theknot.com. "I thought it was hysterical."
She's no longer laughing. Within days of the e-mail's transmission, it made its way to computers around the country—and in the weeks since, strangers have showered Masters, 27, a Philadelphia research coordinator, with hate mail. One "concerned" mom wrote, "My daughter would never act like that"; another e-mail read, "After this day, no one's going to care about you."
How, exactly, did a personal message end up so public? Turns out that Masters's two older sisters didn't get that she was kidding. "I was like, 'I had a baby three months ago, and I have to lose weight?" recalls big sis Amy Grady, 33. She commiserated with sister Kara Cimabue, 31—who showed the contract to her husband. He, in turn, forwarded it to friends, and before Masters could let her sisters in on the prank, it went viral. (There are no hard feelings among the siblings.) "It's a big joke that got completely out of hand," Cimabue says. She's not kidding: On May 3, a man who tracked down Masters's work number left her a message saying he'd canceled her order for bridesmaid dresses. "I felt sick to my stomach, scared," says Masters, who plans to hire security for her Sept. 21 wedding to firefighter Bob Parker, 29.
In the meantime, Masters's bridesmaids have come to her defense, with her younger sister Allison, 22, even attempting to contact many of those to whom the original e-mail was forwarded, stressing that Masters "is not a psycho." At this point, however, Masters cares less about her reputation than about simply moving on. "I can't believe how many people believed it," she sighs. "When is it going to end?"
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