This wedding mess occurred back in 1996. My then-best friend, Carrie was marrying her fiancé Gary after a rather tumultuous 15 month relationship. Of course, I am thrilled for Carrie because her first marriage was, according to her, abusive and terrible, and I am hopeful that she and Gary will have a wonderful wedding and a happy life, despite their frequent fights and separations. Most of which I am an unfortunate witness to, since we are together so often. As I said, she is my best friend. I found out years later that her first husband was not an abusive monster, but that she had met Gary (while she was pregnant with first husband’s child) and decided she didn’t want to be married to first husband anymore.
So, Carrie calls me to announce her engagement, and to ask me to be her MOH. I, of course, accept with great excitement. They have set their wedding date for 8 months in the future. Fastforward a month and I call Carrie to ask when we will go shopping for the wedding gown and bridesmaids dresses. She says she has decided to rent her gown because she doesn’t want to waste money on a dress she will only wear once. Ok, kind of tacky, but maybe she isn’t sentimental and prefers to spend her money on other aspects of the wedding. I ask what about the bridesmaids’ dresses? She says she will call all of the BMs (there are 4 besides me) and she will let me know what date everyone can get together. Ok, fine. I should add that I am a single mother, in my early 20’s, working full time and going to school at night, plus I am a DJ, performing on the weekends at weddings and events all over the southern state that we live in, so money is pretty tight for me. Carrie works full time as a manager in a fast food restaurant and Gary works for a large tire chain as a manager, plus he is the drummer in a popular local band. They are not rich, but they are financially more stable than I am.
Carrie had asked Gary’s older sister Mary to be a bridesmaid. Mary is much older than Gary (he is in his early 30’s, Carrie, who is a year younger than me, is 23) and has been married many years herself. Carrie calls me one night just to chat and I ask her when we will be going dress shopping, and she says can I go with her one day this week. I tell her when I can go, and she says that sounds good. We talk a bit more and then hang up. I arrive at the dress shop on the appointed day at the appointed time, expecting to look at dresses and instead I am told, “This is the dress you girls will be wearing. Isn’t it great?!” Hold up, excuse me?? This is the dress we will be doing what with? This is when Carrie tells me, sotto voce, that her FSIL Mary has informed her that because she is family, and she is the oldest in the bridal party, that SHE is going to be the MOH! Come again? I ask Carrie if this is what she wants. She indicates to me that no, this is not her choice, and she is so sorry, but for the sake of harmony with her new family she feels she has to go along with it. And the dress? Picture a certain ugly purple dinosaur, but in satin with bows on the sleeves, and the ugliest died-to-match shoes. Complete with a butt-bow, strings of pearls draped across the open back of the dress. Strings of pearls that stick to your skin in the 90 degree southern heat in the tiny little church that is NOT air-conditioned, has no windows to open or even fans to help cool off the sweltering guests, but I am getting ahead of myself. And the coup de gras? The damn thing cost $250!! I had to borrow money from my mom to finish paying for the stupid, ugly thing.
I look at Carrie, and clearly my expression says, “What the hell is this nonsense? And do you really expect me to wear that hideous purple albatross?” She shrugs and looks sympathetic, but I suppose I was lucky. FSIL Mary picked out Carrie’s wedding gown too, and it was hideous. Shouldn’t have even been available to rent it was in such bad shape, but Carrie apparently checked her ovarian fortitude at the door when she agreed to FSIL’s outrageous demands. Before I continue, I should say that 4 of us BM’s offered, at various times, to take care of various aspects of the planning, and we were firmly, and not very nicely, told to bug off by Mary.
Just a few more things that FSIL “decided” during the course of planning this wedding:
Never planned a bridal shower or bachelorette party. So the rest of the bridal party threw something together last minute. We took Carrie out for drinks the night before the wedding, after we had finished decorating the reception hall. Mary refused to pay for Carrie’s drinks, and wouldn’t even pay for her own. Myself and the other 3 BM’s form a huddle and collectively agree that we will buy Carrie’s drinks, but under no circumstances will we buy for Mary. We inform the bartender of this and he proceeds to put us on a separate tab.
Mary volunteered to order the bridal party favors that Carrie had chosen, but apparently didn’t like them so she purposely waited until it was too late. She instead ordered the favors that SHE wanted. T-shirts with the Bride and groom’s names on them, and the wedding date. Carrie was heartbroken when she found out that the lovely silver baskets that she had chosen to have engraved with our names and the date on them were not ordered.
Mary decided that she wanted to take care of the catering for the reception, so she ordered the food to be provided by Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, and deli platters from a local grocery store. The reception dinner consisted of Fried chicken, mashed potatoes with gravy, biscuits, corn on the cob, and tacos, along with the cold cut and cheese trays. Needless to say, the food was cold because no one thought to provide sterno to heat it with, and there was quite a bit left over, since no one wanted to eat cold chicken and mashed potatoes, never mind cold tacos.
As I mentioned earlier, I am a professional DJ and perform at weddings for a living. When I saw what a fiasco this was turning into, I offered to DJ the reception for free as my gift to the couple, and back out of being a BM. (Mary had been hinting that she wanted her teenage daughter in the bridal party anyway, so I figured I was doing them a favor.) Mary said absolutely not, she had found a WONDERFUL DJ who would be SO MUCH better, and she was only charging them $150. I cringed when I heard that. The company I worked for at the time charged $500-$1000 or more (I myself charged $50 to $100 an hour when I free-lanced), so I knew that for this person to charge $150 (and she didn’t know the couple from a hole in the wall, so she didn’t do it as a favor) there was massive potential for disaster. But of course, I let the subject drop. I was almost curious, in a morbid sort of way, to see what this wedding was going to end up looking like.
Well, the DJ was really not a DJ, just someone who had a Karaoke machine and a couple of speakers. She had NO CLUE what she was doing. She announced the bridal party in the wrong order, didn’t bother to get anyone’s names correct, and so had to stop before announcing each couple to ask them their names (on microphone, I might add), didn’t have the song the bride and groom wanted for their first dance, and pretty much spent most of the reception outside smoking. This of course left the karaoke machine unguarded so that all of the extremely drunk guests could stand on the stage and “serenade” the couple with their drunken renditions of everything from Frank Sinatra (almost bearable) to Metallica (ear-bleedingly painful). Fortunately, Carrie and Gary were so drunk 30 minutes into the reception, that they never noticed the bad food, terrible DJ, or absence of actual music. Unfortunately, Carrie and Gary were so drunk that they got into a huge fight and had to be physically separated at their own reception.
Carrie and I are no longer friends because a few years later she had an affair with my (now ex) husband (we met after the wedding debacle). She and Gary are no longer married because she had an affair with a 17 year old co-worker and got pregnant (Gary never knew about her and my ex, and I didn’t have the heart to tell him). I’m just glad that I got away from all of them! 10-24-08