Hi Jeanne. Here is a story about a wedding that unintentionally unbearable.
As much as I love my cousin, her wedding will forever be the one that I will use as a “what not to do” example. My cousin Anne got married in 2014 to a wonderful man, Guy. They were both older, and in their 40s when they met and married. Anne has always been unconventional, and her wedding was no different.
To begin with, both Anne and Guy are teachers, and therefore didn’t want to get married during the school year. This left only the summer. This would have been fine if it had been early summer, but they picked July 4th weekend in upstate New York. July and August are usually the hottest and most humid months of the year for us. The ceremony and reception were to be held at Guy’s school, which was an independent school with beautiful grounds and a pond. It really was a beautiful location.
The ceremony was held outside at the pond in the center of the school. There were about 120 guests in attendance, but there were only chairs for about 30 people for the ceremony. The ceremony was to begin at 5:00pm, and guests began arriving around 3:30. The bride and groom had thoughtfully provided for hors d’oeuvres to be served prior to the ceremony, so we had finger foods and, most importantly, drinks from an open bar. By 4:00, most of the guests have arrived, and it’s about 95 degrees outside, sunny and humid. The chairs for the ceremony were in full sunlight, since the only trees were farther back. My 80+ grandmother and her sisters, who do not walk well to begin with, sat in their wheelchairs in the shade waiting for the ceremony to begin. We still had an hour until the ceremony, and everyone was doing their best to stay cool. My parents and I were standing in the shade drinking water. It was too hot to even consider drinking alcohol. Eventually, Anne came out to announce to everyone that they weren’t going to wait until 5:00 to begin, and would be starting the ceremony early so that we could get out of the sun quicker.
The ceremony began at 4:30, and it was lovely. What I could see of it anyway. Like I said, there were only chairs for about 30 people, so I stood in the back and watched the ceremony. I couldn’t hear the vows, since there wasn’t a microphone or speaker, and the sun was shining directly in my eyes, which made it hard to see anything. By the time the ceremony ended, I was hot and sticky and ready for air conditioning. My family and I had arrived around 3:00, and were all dressed in cocktail attire since that was what the dress code stated. I had found a lightweight chiffon dress, and it was still too hot for this weather.
After the ceremony, we went into the barn next to the pond for the reception. There was no cocktail hour, since there were refreshments before the ceremony. The barn was not air conditioned, but it had giant fans on the ceiling that were turned on full blast. The fans didn’t help much though, since the humidity was so high and the temperature didn’t go down. There were 12 tables in the barn, each seating 10 people. But the barn wasn’t very big, and the tables were cramped up next to each other. You couldn’t scoot your chair out to stand up without hitting the chair of the person behind you. The cramped quarters made the room even hotter than it was outside. To make matters worse, my brothers and I were not seated with our parents. Instead we were seated with cousins from Guy’s side that we had never met before. So it was just me and my brothers sitting together talking, and Guy’s cousins sitting and talking.
The food was actually pretty good, but it had to be eaten in shifts. The food was prepared by the school, and they apparently could only make one item at a time. It was served family style, so our table was served a platter of salmon. Then about 5-10 minutes later we got a platter of rice. Then another 5-10 minutes later we got chicken. By the time the whole meal was served, the stuff that was brought out first was cold. And some tables got different food than others did.
Finally it came time for dancing. I understand that Anne and Guy were trying to save money by not hiring a DJ, and I think the playlist they made for the wedding was great. But it was too hot to dance. My other cousins, my brother and I went outside to keep cool and avoid dancing. It didn’t work. Anne and her sisters caught us and brought us up on the stage to dance. Which was fun, but incredibly too hot.
We ended up leaving about 9:00, which is early for us. My brothers and I, along with our cousins are usually the last ones to leave a wedding. This time, all of us left early. By the time we got home, we just jumped in the pool to cool off, then got something to eat because we were starving.
Anne and Guy tried to have a beautiful wedding, and it was beautiful in it’s own way. But it truly felt like the wedding from hell, despite their best efforts. 0309-16
One of the more difficult aspects of wedding planning is projecting into the future and seeing all possible consequences of choices and then determining how you will address every possible scenario. A lot of people either don’t do this at all or have significant gaps in their planning. Someone associated with this wedding simply could not foresee how hot it would be, how difficult it would be for people to move between crowded tables, etc.