|Looking for that perfect bridal shower gift? Every
bride needs a commonsense guide to the etiquette that really
matters. Let Wedding Etiquette Hell: A Bride's
Bible for Avoiding Everlasting Damnation by Jeanne
Hamilton be your guide.
Jul-Dec 2000 Archives
Jan-Jun 2003 Archive
The newly engaged couple, both in their
mid-30s, had just moved to the small town in which my partner of 18 years
and I live. We'd developed something of a
friendship, and over drinks one night, she was talking about their wedding plans. I
thought: What a shame that no one's offered to throw them an engagement
party. I followed through on the
thought by suggesting that my partner and I host one for them at our house. This
was not just stupid, this was SHTOOPIT.
A date was set for three months in advance.
Unfortunately, the couple didn't supply
me with the names and addresses of all their invitees, most of whom were several
hours distant, until a scant two weeks before the party. They continued with
last-minute add-ons up to the last day, requiring that I actually call
the people --- whom I had never met --- because there wasn't
time to mail an invitation.
This Bridezilla is a notoriously picky eater, and none
of the suggestions I
made for food, from appetizers to main courses to desserts, met with her approval. It was
a two-hour session of me suggesting dishes and her
responding with "Eeeew!" and "Gross!!!" She finally said, rather huffily,
"I'll just eat something before I come." Okay by me, because the only
two foods I'd ever seen her consume were popcorn shrimp and
French fries, neither of which I was keen on serving.
The day of the party arrived. I had thirty people
coming, at least twenty of whom
I didn't know. I got up at dawn and did the grocery shopping: $350. I went to the liquor
store: $200. I spent the rest of the day cleaning the house and
patio and cooking up a storm --- I was, in truth, enjoying myself, because I
like to cook. The bride and groom had made no offer to kick in
on any of the expenses, which was okay. After all, I'd
volunteered to host it.
The only contact that day from them before the party was
when the bride called to see
how things were proceeding. I said, "Great! But I forgot one thing at the store. Could you pick
up some napkins before you come?"
She said yes.
They arrived that evening, an hour and a half late. I'd
already greeted all the guests
and been holding food on warm for some time. No excuse was offered for the late
arrival. They just breezed in and she demanded, "What,
isn't the food ready yet? I'm STARVING!"
So I rushed around and put dinner out. When I asked her
about the napkins, she
said, "Oh, we didn't have time to get any." She looked at the kitchen counter and then picked up
and handed me a roll of paper towels with
bears on the border. "Here, just use these."
So I served a $350 dinner on porcelain plates to total
strangers with bear-emblazoned
paper towels for napery. The whole time, the bride had a scowl on her face as she
made it abundantly clear that she didn't care for anything on the table, from prime
rib to coq au vin to duchess potatoes to
salad to cake.
I received a short thank-you note from the couple some
three months later,
long after the wedding, which is a story in itself.
Bridezilla had meticulously researched every facet of
wedding traditions. She MUST, she announced, get married at the half hour,
with the minute hand sweeping upward rather than down. She MUST have
this-and-such song played. MUST this, MUST that.
Most important, the bridesmaids MUST look worse than
she. That must've been uppermost in her mind, because she had me drive her
to a city two hours distant to the cheesiest dress outlet imaginable,
where she picked out the dullest, most matronly dresses possible. No, I
was not a bridesmaid. I was spared that little slice of heaven. I suspect
that's why she had me, a non-bridesmaid, accompany her --- the bridesmaids
would've recoiled in horror.
During that particular excursion, I was required to buy
her lunch, during which festive occasion I was treated to dramatics about
how her future MIL hated her and would try to ruin her wedding. The bride
even managed to work in some self-pitying tears of maltreatment over her
lunch of popcorn shrimp and French fries. I'd met her future MIL, whom I
found self-involved and pushy, and I was beginning to wonder if the son
hadn't managed to find a gal just like dear old Mom.
Dawned the day of the wedding, which was to be held in
July in a small church with no air-conditioning. It was easily in the high
nineties by noon. The wedding was to be at 1:30. Not 1:00, not 2:00, but
1:30, because EVERYONE knows you can only get married when the minute hand
is on the upsweep.
A hundred sweating people were packed into the hot pews,
using bulletins to fan themselves. The 1:30 marks passed, and everyone
waited, shifting in their seats, straining in the stillness for a breeze
from one of the small windows.
1:45 comes and goes. 1:55. 2:00.
Just then, the mother-in-law, who sincerely doesn't like
or approve of the bride, pulled in with a lame excuse about getting lost.
(Their hotel was ten minutes away.) A supreme grandstand maneuver, and the
bride had been aced. And knew it. Many tears were shed in the
bridal-preparation chamber, during which time all of the guests were
required to wait until 2:30, when the all-important minute hand was on the
It's not surprising that most of the guests wound up out
in the parking lot in the shade, smoking cigarettes and sipping from
flasks of bourbon. Several people said the heck with it and went straight
to the reception to see if there were any life-sustaining cold drinks to
be had there. Some wise soul led the way and tapped the keg while the
couple was still in preparations for the delayed service. This doubtless
kept several like-minded individuals from getting advanced cases of
dehydration. Finally, the music struck up and the bridesmaids appeared at
the church door. All of them were wholly disgusted by then: the dresses
were ugly, they were wilting in the heat, and they'd been consoling the
tearful bride for an hour. They fairly raced up the aisle.
Not the bride. Noooooooo. The bride proceeded to do the
slowest step-together, step-together in the history of aisle-walking. The
time it took her to go down the aisle in a blindingly white dress with a
full veil and Lady-Di-like train (it was her second marriage) was
something akin to the encroachment of glaciers in the last Ice Age. The
entire time, her single thought was apparent on her face: "Me, me,
ME!" My partner and I made an appearance at the reception, where I
chugged a beer for the first time since my college chugging days ended,
and we then made a hasty departure.
We have since watched the evolution from Bridezilla to
Wifezilla to Mom-to-bezilla. The ongoing tug-of-war between her and her
mother-in-law remains quite entertaining, as both remain convinced the
other one is a b****.
I recently was at a small bridal shop with my friend
(the bride), her maid of honor and her mom. We had completed what we
wanted to do that day, and were waiting for my friend and her mom to pay
for some jewelry. Meanwhile, another bride and her MOH were looking at a
display of bridesmaids’ dresses that came as mix-and-match separates.
Please remember this is a SMALL bridal shop - very easy to notice and
listen to others. The Bridezilla was testily pulling out the plainer dress
tops, hissing over each one "THIS is not alot of beading." She
was very angry with her MOH for preferring dress tops that were, in her
opinion, too sparkly or would attract too much attention. An older woman,
who turned out to be the MOB, got in on the act, saying what the MOH liked
was fine. Bridezilla loudly stated that she didn't want to be upstaged at
her own wedding. The MOB said through her teeth, "Everyone will
notice you." Suddenly, Bridezilla threw her arms out wide, stuck out
her chest, splayed her hands and yelled "I can't believe you are
doing this to me!!! I'M THE BRIIIIIIIIIDE!!!" The MOB and MOH just
walked out of the store. Bridezilla then walked over to another woman,
probably her bridesmaid, and said, shaking her head in disbelief, "I
can't believe my own mother and sister would treat me in this way."
The other 'maid just weakly smiled at her.
My party then left the bridal shop. During the scene, we
were all looking at each other, trying not to rest our jaws on the floor.
And all over a bit of beading - amazing. I just hope it was a one-time
temper tantrum and not a sign of a future wedding from hell.
Well, my wedding experience from Hell began when I was
asked to be the bridesmaid for a young woman who was a friend of a friend.
This young woman is much younger than I am (as are all of the other
bridesmaids) and she caught me totally off guard when she requested that I
be one of her bridesmaids. She actually caught me off guard because the
other bridesmaids had been asked months before she asked me, so I have to
believe I was only asked because the bride wanted something from me. I'll
simply list the Hellish aspects for your reading pleasure:
1. The dresses were not only hideous, but I found out
that I'm the only one who paid for my own dress!
2. There were never any real parties for the bride or
the bridesmaids, so I threw a bachelorette party for the bride and only
one of the other bridesmaids showed up! Oh, the party turned into an
excuse for these young women to drink too much and then do lap dances on
each other (when did this become popular). Oh, I should mention, I'm not
ancient, I'm only 39 years old!
3. On the night of the rehearsal dinner, the bride
handed out instructions for those of us in the bridal party (along with
our Dollar store bridal party gifts). The instructions detailed how we
were expected to be at the wedding 3 hours early for pictures, and that
after the ceremony, we would be required to move tables and chairs and
set-up the reception and food. It gets better from there! We are expected
to stay until the reception ends at 5:30 and then clean up the reception
facility! Yes, I finally figured out why I was asked to be in this
wedding.....The bride was looking for unpaid laborers!
4. I have spent at least $300 on this whole event (gifts
and parties for the bride and one hideous dress), and now I'm expected to
be her servant for the day. I am a full-time student in Grad school with
little money or time (I have 6 papers due on Monday, but I'm supposed to
play waitress at some little princess' wedding rather than complete my
5. The wedding is today...It's an outside wedding (the
bride chose the cheapest location possible) and it looks like it's going
To sum it all up, I'm a total loser for not recognizing
all of this in advance! I will be attending this event, but I'll be
leaving unannounced in the middle of the reception (after I've set up the
food, of course) because I'm so angry I could explode! What are people
thinking when they set-up these types of events.
Here's a true story of a bride from hell from a
photographer's perspective. This is the only wedding from the past two
years I wound up regretting having agreed to shoot, and hands-down my
worst experience in my entire 15 years as a wedding photographer.
I show up at a lovely country inn at the scheduled time
to begin pre-bridal formals. The ceremony is to be held outside, the
reception indoors. Before leaving for the inn weather radar indicated it
was going to rain like hell approximately the scheduled time of the
ceremony. I find the florists setting up at the intended ceremony area and
tell them about the impending rain, but they prefer to pretend the weather
will be just fine. OK. I find the bridal suite, and bridezilla is already
well on her way to being completely out of her mind with worry; but I calm
her down and begin the pre-bridal portrait session. She complains about
having to stand while I adjust lights, etc., then insists on one
"serious" and one "happy" shot of every pose. It
doesn't matter to her that in the "serious" shots look like
she's miserable and in the "happy" shots her smile is grossly
exaggerated. OK. It begins to rain outside, then thunder, and she proceeds
to completely flip out about it, setting everyone on edge--everyone except
her mother whose temperament (like her daughter's) was already like some
kind of mental patient on speed. The rest of the pre-bridal formal session
was split between the bride's nearly continuous frantic phone calls to the
front desk and who-knows-who about whether to switch the ceremony to
indoors, or postpone the ceremony for a while to see if the sky cleared,
fitful crying, more complaining about having to stand for formals (though
she refuses to sit), and otherwise chaos.
When dear mother insists on critiquing poses when I
haven't nearly finished setting them up, I lose it for the first time in
15 years and more or less snap "Please let me do my work!" This
I am allowed to do. Then a family friend of the bride's offers me a smile
of pity as I pack up and get the hell out of there to find the groom.
Turns out the ceremony had been switched to
inside--fine. I find the function coordinator and ask what the procedure
will be for the procession, ceremony, recession, etc. The function
coordinator appears at a loss about how to set up the ceremony--as if it
has never rained at the inn when a wedding ceremony has been scheduled
fore outside??!! I ask the coordinator what is the house rain plan for
post-ceremony formal photography, and she leads me up some stairs, points
to a ridiculously narrow staircase, and says I can do the formal work on
it. The staircase would be suitable to shoot no more than two people. I
think to myself "great" and pray the rain lets up for the
post-ceremony formal photos.
Meanwhile back in the function room, the staff has
pieced together a plan for the ceremony, which is now an hour late in
starting. Finally bridezilla arrives with her perplexed-looking
bridesmaids. The ceremony takes place, I privately wish the groom a lot of
luck, and we head outside where the rain has graciously and most
thankfully stopped. The bride agrees to have the formal photography done
outside though the ground is understandably wet, but she doesn't want a
drop of water on her dress. Personally, by then I wanted to throw a bucket
of water over her head, but explained at least the extra-long veil part of
her dress is going to wind up damp, though just with fresh rain water and
it will dry. Fine. So I proceed to be ridiculously hurried through a
harried rush of formal photography, complete with bridezilla's orders that
I "hurry up!" and the obligatory, ridiculous "serious"
and "happy" expressions. At this point I am sufficiently
numbed-out so as not to express my complete unhappiness with the absurd
rush and inhuman expressions. I really just want it all to be over and go
The reception starts. There are not enough chairs for
everyone to sit. The DJ explains to me this was the bride's idea, to more
or less promote ("force" is a better word) mingling. Doesn't
matter to bridezilla this arrangement has only caused the available
table-seating to be "claimed" by most of the guests, forcing the
remaining 30 or so to stand, lean or dance all night--brilliant. It helps
matters it is not a "sit-down" dinner, but one which consists of
an abundance of actually delicious appetizers. For the most part the
portion of my work which requires me to interact closely with the bride is
over, so I am relieved; and for the duration of the reception I am only
annoyed once or twice by the speed-freak mother making picture demands in
a tone that makes me feel like some kind of minion, and by an occasional
condescending grimace from one or two guests who behaved as if they were
quite full of themselves and cocaine. One guest candidly confides to me
the bride is a bit of a "princess" and of a
"high-maintenance" character. Well, that's one way to put it. I
think of my wonderful wife waiting back at home, and thank my lucky stars.
Speaking of cocaine, I find it odd the dancing begins
the bride tends to begin disappearing for about 15 minutes at a time.
Though I no longer care whether she's in the room or not, the DJ does, and
the groom seems to spend an unusual lot of his time looking for her.
Bridezilly eventually reappears bug-eyed, usually with a small but equally
bug-eyed entourage, and I get the picture if you know what I mean. A
couple times she signals for me to take a photo of her as she seductively
dances toward me like some kind of amped-out lap dancer. This I find
amusing, as I am well beyond the point of caring--I think to myself,
"Hell, what's the harm in yet one more stupid photo to add to the
pile." The night finally ends, I wish the groom well, avoid the bride
and mama, and head the hell out of there like some speedy Gonzales with
camera equipment dangling.
This was yesterday. I'm a little aggravated thinking
about last night, but more aggravated at what I guess the photos are going
to look like, because I care about my work. I'm glad it's over. I'm trying
to not imagine complaints about stern-looking expressions or
forced-looking smiles, because I will not sit and take it. Thanks for the
opportunity to vent, and a little advice for future couples: If you're
planning an outdoor wedding ceremony, have a SOLID rain plan. Try to
understand there are things like the weather completely out of your
control. If you're planning your wedding ceremony and reception at the
same spot, make sure the place you're considering has an attractive indoor
area for formal photography large enough for group portraiture, or pick
another venue. If you've hired a pro photographer, certainly kindly
suggestions are appreciated, but otherwise please let him/her to do
his/her work--chances are a seasoned pro knows what s/he is doing. Plan a
seat for every one of your reception guests. And most of all, do what ever
you can think of to maximize the possibility you will ENJOY YOURSELF!
OK, this is probably too dark or morbid for your
website. After I had a talk with one of my friends who is in a bad
situation I came up with the "Bridezilla test." I have wondered
whether it is appropriate to submit it. I'll let you be the judge. I think
it is a sign of the rampant Bridezillism in our culture.
First, the story: I was 20 years old and met a dreamy
older man. He swept me off my feet by deluging me with roses and poems.
Those of you who are older and wiser probably have alarm bells going off
already. Mine didn't sound until he began being jealous. He wasn't just
jealous of my male friends (even though he told me I had to ask permission
before talking to them.) - he would get upset if I wanted to read a book
and not pay attention to him. He told me I could only work on my hobbies
if there was a TV show he wanted to watch and so I would be
"free." He told me that I was made for him and that I should be
giving up myself to make him happy. When I tried to talk about my trapped
feelings with him he would tell me that I was being ungrateful. (He'd tell
me exactly how much he spent on flowers and dinners as proof.) My friends
who weren't much wiser than I told me that I should just keep quiet and
enjoy the pampering.
Well a month and a half after meeting this man, he
informed me that we were going to be married in two months' time. I told
him that I wanted to wait and get to know him. But he kept talking about
how wonderful and fairytale our wedding would be. It seemed this guy had
been dreaming of his wedding since he was three. He told me that he was
going to propose to me with a half-carat diamond solitaire with hearts
etched all around the band. (OK, even though I was more romantic then, I
still thought that was way too cheesy.) He was going to wear a vintage
suit and I would wear a lacy ivory gothic-style dress. He had the food and
the decor planned out to the last blood red rose. Whenever I told him that
I didn't want to think about marriage, he would go off on descriptions of
how lovely our wedding would be. His charm was wearing off.
One night as he started in about how sparkly the ring
would be (again,) I told him in no uncertain terms that I didn't want to
get too serious too soon. His replied, "You chose to go out with me.
You accepted the flowers. You have already chosen and now you don't get to
chose not to marry me." That was my spine growing point. I told him
that most hookers wouldn't give him two nights for what he had spent on
me. (He kept a tab - $600 in 2 months.) I ended up by saying, "You
can keep your bleeping flowers, you can stuff your bleeping ring up your
bleep, and you can fantasize over bleeping brides magazine for the rest of
your life for all I bleeping care. I want my own life!" (Not very
ladylike, I know.) He immediately put on a crying and moping scene. He
often did this so I would break down and pat him and promise never to
think my own mind again. I told him to get out of my sight.
He left messages telling me that he would be at such and
such a place and I owed him an apology. He told me exactly what I owed him
before he would break down and take me back. I didn't answer my phone.
Then came the final message that he thought he was too good for me and
that he hoped I would be lonely for the rest of my life. I congratulated
myself on getting rid of him. I didn't know that he was watching me and
waiting for both my roommates to leave me alone.
He broke into the house saying, "I am going to hurt
you as much on the outside as you have hurt me on the inside." I
won't go into details, lets just say that I was lucky that 911 can track
calls even if the phone cord is cut in mid-call. I was lucky that there
was a police cruiser three streets away. And I was very lucky that he
cared more about scaring me that actually hurting me. Later that night, I
was waiting treatment in the emergency room when a social worker
approached me. I told her the whole story. She had a reaction that shocked
Three days later, I told the story to my roommates who
had the same reaction.
Two years later, I told the story to a friend of mine
who was getting scared of her boyfriend and I got the same reaction. I've
tried to warn other women of how bad a controlling man can be with my
story, but for some reason they can't get over one part of my story.
A year ago, when I was planning my own wedding I posted
the story on a wedding board because there was a frequent user who I
thought should recognize the signs. At least 50 brides had the same
reaction. Recently, after I had read all the bridezilla entries on
etiquette hell, I shared my story with someone who needed to hear that bad
behavior doesn't "just go away." She had the same reaction. But
this time I saw it as a symptom of the Bridezillaness that pervades our
culture. The social worker at the hospital turned out to be the best
friend of my current co-worker. I found out she's gay and doesn't believe
in marriage - but she still had the same reaction so I don't think we can
blame this on bridezillaness alone. So here is the bridezilla test. Tell
my story to the testee and note the first reaction. See if it stacks up to
what I have called the "Bridezilla reaction."
The reaction: "He chose a wedding dress for you?
That's wrong! Only you can pick out the perfect dress for your special
day!" This is a story of a man slowly trying to take all my rights
away. I can't believe so many people think the fact that he didn't think I
had the right to pick out a dress is so much more upsetting than the fact
that he didn't think I had the right to pick out the groom. I guess since
so many bridezillas claim that they are going to die if they don't have
the wedding they want I shouldn't have minded him coming after me with the
When it comes to weddings I have learned that even the
nicest of women can turn into monster brides. That was the case with my
former friend Jean. Jean and I met when we both attended graduate school
and had stayed good friends even after I left the program. When I got
married it seemed only natural to include her in my wedding. Jean was a
resident at the time and extremely busy but we had one of the rare
friendships where it was understood that we were important to each other
even thought we might not always have time to talk.
A few years later when Jean got engaged she asked me to be in her wedding.
I was thrilled and happily accepted. By this point, Jean had finished her
residency and was looking for a job and I was now the busy one as I was
finishing graduate school, working part time, and renovating my house. We
were also living four hours apart, but continued to talk as often as
In the fall we talked several times and she always down played her lack of
employment and said that it was good to have some time off particularly
since it gave her the freedom to plan a long distance wedding. Then in
November, I forgot to call her on her birthday. I called her a few days
later and apologized profusely. Because she was such a good friend, I
revealed that I been undergoing infertility testing and I had forgotten to
call her because I had received really bad news the day before her
birthday and had spent the next few days crying. She seemed to accept my
apology and everything continued on like always. In January, when my
husband was picking his vacation dates for the year she confirmed the
dates for the rehearsal dinner with me and we frequently spoke about the
Fast forward to the end of March. I started getting a little concerned
because the wedding was in Sept. and I had not been contacted by any of
the other bridesmaids about things nor had the bride said anything about
dresses. I called Jean and that is when she confessed to me that she had
been very depressed all fall about not having a job and then when I missed
her birthday she was extremely hurt and had decided that she was now
closer to another friend than she was to me so she had kicked me out of
the wedding back in December!!!!! She then told me how she really
wished I was still in her wedding, but she had a "symmetry
thing" and couldn't have more bridesmaids than groomsmen. However,
she still considered me one of her closest friends and hoped I would
Hello! She hoped I would understand! First of all I told her that kicking
someone out of your wedding is a huge deal, is basically reserved for
those who act horribly, and pretty much means the end of any friendship.
Seriously have you ever heard of someone being kicked out of a wedding
because they forget to call the bride on her birthday. Second, I pointed
out that as I lived four hours away I had no way of knowing that she was
depressed since she never said anything about it to me. If I had known I
would have been there for her. I also pointed out that I obviously had no
clue that there were any problems between us or I would have never
revealed my incredibly personal reason for forgetting her birthday.
Finally, I pretty much told her that it was absolutely insane to kick
someone out of your wedding with ever talking to them first and then not
tell them for over four months. I still can believe that she spent four
months pretending I was still in the wedding, nor can I believe that I was
kicked out because I forgot to call on her birthday.
Jean insists that she really values our friendship and now says that she
made a huge mistake but that she just had this vision of her wedding day
and had wanted all of her bridesmaids to be in sync with that vision so
her day would be perfect. Huh? She begged me to still attend the wedding
and for months has been sending me cards and e-mails on the value of
friendship. What makes this story even funnier is that even though she
still continues e-mail me to tell me how important I am to her, the
wedding is now two weeks away and she didn't invite me.
First of all, let me say I love your sight. My husband
and I got married 15 years ago and it went off without a hitch, but I love
reading about all the faux paus that others experience.
My story is about my sister's wedding. Although the
wedding went fine, the night before (the rehearsal dinner) and the
reception were a different story. At the rehearsal dinner, where I was the
Matron of Honor and my daughter was the flower girl, EVERYONE attending
(whether they were part of the wedding party or not) received a gift,
except for my daughter. Now you try to explain to a four-year-old why she
is the only one not receiving a present, not an easy task. My sister said
they had a present for her but thought they would wait until the next day
to give it to her. Mistake #1.
At the reception my sister and her new husband sat at
the head table as if they were the king and queen. They never got up to
greet guests or speak to anyone, they expected to be waited on hand and
foot, and refused to leave the table at any time for any reason. I could
take that, to a certain degree, but my husband, myself and several other
family members took this as the time to decorate the newlywed's car. We
were very careful in what we used and only did a small amount of
decorating, but this was considered awful by the bride and groom. When
they finally did come outside, after everyone had left, they quickly took
all the decorations off the car, threw them in the lawn of the church and
The straw that broke my back was the comment my sister
made several months later. When asked by a friend about how the wedding
went, she responded with "it was beautiful of course, but thank God
it wasn't tacky like K and D's (mine) wedding! I was stunned, our wedding
cost 1/4 of hers so apparently if it is not a big show it is tacky. I have
never forgotten that comment, only now can my husband and I laugh about
I recently attended a wedding that I'd consider eligible
to be in your "Weddings from Hell" page. It was summer, and my
boyfriend and I were invited to a wedding. The bride, Samantha, was a
friend from many years ago, but not someone I kept in close touch with. We
were actually surprised we were invited. The groom, Mark, was a guy she
had dated for years, since high school. However, their relationship was
full of turmoil and he treated her very badly very often. Samantha's
closest friends, and family, tried in vain to talk her out of marrying
him. In fact, she didn't even receive a "real" proposal . . .
They were moving in together and because of religious beliefs, she wanted
a commitment. So she went to a jeweler by herself, found a ring, he went
and bought it, came home and said, "here" . . . But, Samantha's
loved ones finally chose to support her in whatever she wanted . . .
The ceremony was held in a very romantic and small
church. It really gave us all a feeling of closeness and belonging. As we
sat down before the ceremony I felt myself smiling and thinking how happy
I was that Samantha's day was going to be so beautiful. However, the mood
changed when the groomsmen came in. Mark was chewing gum. Well, rather he
was chomping gum! The minister forgot their names at the end of the
ceremony to top it all off . . .
The reception hall was lovely. It was very romantic,
with rich shades of red and ivory all about. Again, I thought, how
wonderful for Samantha for her special day. The wedding party arrived,
some of them noticeably half drunk, and we had dinner after the minister
gave the blessing and forgot their names another time . . . The first
dance and the father/daughter dance were sweet. Then Mark and his
groomsmen leave. The hotel that the wedding party was staying at was right
across the street. The groomsmen return about 30 minutes later (sans
Mark), and the best man comes to our table (the maid of honor, his
girlfriend, was sitting with us) and says that Mark is passed out in the
bathroom of his room, completely out of it. They had ingested tons of
alcohol as well as gotten quite high during those 30 minutes. It was
6:30pm, and Mark never returned to his reception.
Yes, they are still married . . .
I'm not sure if you can use this, or where you would put
it, but this is something minor that happened when a friend of mine was
getting married that has always bugged me, mainly because this particular
friend has continued to exhibit selfish behavior over the years, and this
was just the beginning. I am telling you this because truly, it might not
have been that bad and I might be biased. I thought I would share it
We were seniors in high school when my friend
"Becky" got engaged. The wedding was planned for June, the month
after graduation. My two friends and I were the bridesmaids. Lots of
little breaches of etiquette occurred, but the only real problems for the
bridemaids were the dresses. Becky picked them out with no input from the
people who had to wear the things (i.e., us). Of course, they were purple.
Butt bow? Check. $150 each?
Yeppers. Needless to say, this was a lot of money in
1991 for girls who had just graduated, and even though her mother sewed
(she had made Becky a great prom dress a few months before) and had
volunteered to make the dresses (!!!!) Becky wanted dresses she had found
in the JC Penney catalog (under the section titled "things you will
wear once, and only once") and informed us that we had to cover the
cost of the dresses ourselves. We all sat down together and decided that
since we had to spend so much on the dresses that we couldn't afford the
$40 dyed shoes she wanted us to wear. We all had taupe heels that looked
almost exactly alike that we wanted to wear (and really we were almost
still in the 80s and this look was more in style back then). Becky didn't
seem thrilled, but she agreed to it. A few days later she called me and
said, "I decided that I really want the dyed shoes, so my parents are
going to take care of it". Great, I thought, she gets what she wants,
and I don't have to spend any more money. A few days later her brother
came by my house to drop them off, and asked me for $40!!! I was shocked,
as I had assumed that she meant her parents were PAYING for them, not just
ordering them!! I know that's how she tried to make it sound so that we
wouldn't argue before the fact (she confessed to this after it was all
over). I didn't want to make a fuss, so I paid up. See, it was the tricky
part that got to me. We never got a bridesmaid's gift or even a thank you.
To top it all off, only about 20 people showed up for the wedding! They
didn't mail out invitations, just put an ad in the "marriages"
column in the paper saying that all friends and family were invited. Of
course, the marriage only lasted a year. They were really too young to be
That's it! Just wanted to get it off my chest, and now
that I have typed it out and read it, it really doesn't seem that bad. I
will put it behind me and move on. Maybe you can use it anyway. :o)
I have been a bridesmaid or maid of honor seventeen
times. My younger sister (who was also an attendant in nine of those
weddings) and I thought that with our collection of matching dresses, we
could start a business called "Rent a Bridesmaid" for
brides-to-be who have no friends.
My last stint as a wedding attendant came about ten
years ago (I'm now in my late forties.) A woman of my own age was getting
married for a second time and asked me to be her matron-of-honor. Silly
me, I figured that it would be a quiet, simple affair requiring merely
that we coordinate rather dressy outfits. I mean, after all, adults do not
have friends who are willing to dye shoes to match, adults do not assign
their closest friend to wear unflattering outfits or hairstyles, right?
That was my assumption, but, as the old saw goes, when you assume, you
make an ass out of u and me!
While she did not opt for a bridal gown, Sally did opt
to have floral hair combs made and then proceeded to tell me how I should
wear my hair that day (naturally, having it done at my expense.) She
selected the dress I would wear (which I assure you, was not my taste,
having layers of organza and tulle, and this for a daytime wedding in our
hot and humid July weather, with an outdoor reception to follow.
When we shopped for dresses, Sally set her heart on one
ivory brocade suit with pearl beading and a high neckline. Trouble was, it
was on clearance and two sizes too small. The dress she selected for me
(the aforementioned pink organza and tulle concoction) was a size too
large for me.
After numerous demands on her part, such as informing me
where I was to throw a bridal shower, I nearly bowed out of the wedding,
claiming national emergency (I was a reservist at the time.) Instead, I
put my foot down and informed her that showers were for young girls who
were setting up housekeeping for the first time, and since she and her
fiancé were combining households, I would be happy to organize and man
her garage sale. She would have none of this, and we compromised on having
an afternoon tea three weeks before the wedding, which went very nicely,
and although no mention of gifts was made on the invitations, some people
did bring some presents.
Fast forward to two weeks before the wedding: I attended
a picnic from work, and six hours later started to experience the most
violent abdominal pain and intestinal distress I thought possible. I
lingered like this for a day and a half before seeking medical attention;
when I did so I was so dehydrated I was immediately hospitalized. I stayed
in the hospital for five days (I was so ill, I have no memory of the first
two days there) and lost twenty pounds.
Bridezilla's sympathetic reaction? She called me in the
hospital the day after I was transferred out of the ICU to ask me what
size dress I wore so that someone else could fill in!
A footnote to the above: I did recover adequately to
participate in the wedding. Bridezilla never did lose the fifteen pounds
that she wanted to lose, in fact, she gained five from the time that she
bought the dress. I had to let out all the seams in the dress to the
maximum for her.
We looked like a pink potato sack and an overstuffed
ivory sausage in the pictures!
Bridezilla was cloned and lives on the West Coast! Just
to make things simple, we will call this bride: "Jill" and will
call her poor groom "Jack". Jill and I knew each other growing
up but only as friendly classmates and we both belonged to two
organizational groups for a very long time. So I knew her a little more
than an acquaintance, I gave her a ride here and there and vise a versa
but we didn’t really hang out outside of these groups. She just wasn’t
my type of friend because she was a little snotty and bossy.
When Jill and Jack were dating, they were at my father’s
house more than I was. As a matter of fact, we would all laugh about how
they were the "golden children" to my Dad because they were over
there so much. As an added coincidence, Jack was my ex-brother in-law. Two
years earlier, I divorced his older brother. It was a very amicable
divorce. Honestly, there were no hard feelings. Additionally, I was very
close to the ex’s family and stayed in touch with them. So having my ex’s
brother in-law around my Dad’s house was not really a big deal at all. I
was still very close to him too.
After the announcement of the wedding date, we were all
very excited. I congratulated the ex-in-laws and even offered to Jill to
pick up all of out of town relatives and take them to their hotels (Please
note that I lived over 30 miles from the airport and I was full-time
student, so this was a lot for me to do). This included Jill’s future
Mother-in-law and Brother-in-law. Since they were all going to come in on
different days and time, I thought this would really help out. The
youngest brother was completely broke and I was more than happy to have
him stay with me.
So about 3 months before the wedding, everyone including
my Dad gets their invite except for me. I thought it might be an oversight
because maybe they didn’t have my address or it was assumed that I was
to be included on my Dad’s. Knowing that if my name isn’t on the
invitation that I am not invited I asked my Dad to ask them the next time
they came over. He told me that they gave him a blank stare and didn’t
answer. He asked them if there was something wrong, or if I had done
something. He reported to me that they seemed real squirmy and said that
they "didn’t know". Dad tried probing them further but they
were completely uncomfortable. As the next few weeks started to pass, we
saw less and less of them. We chalked it up to their busy schedules and
planning a wedding was consuming their time. Still no invite and I didn’t
really worry about it until about a week before the wedding.
I was confirming the flight plans with Jill’s future
Mother-in-law when we started to talk about the wedding. Half joking she
asked me which side I would sit on. When I replied that I would not be
sitting on either side because I was not invited. She got upset. (Please
note that the FMIL was going to be a nun before she got married. She has
the most patient disposition and will always take the high road. In the
seven years that I knew her, this was a first I ever heard the slightest
rise in her tone) She asked me all sorts of questions and was trying to
say that it must be an oversight. After I hung up with her, I actually
didn’t feel bad about not going to the wedding. I figured that at least
I could see the ex-in-laws and have a pleasant visit with them. Two days
later, Jill calls me.
Before I could finish saying hello, Jill starts in on
"why she doesn’t want me at her wedding". She explains that
"they" thought that I would be uncomfortable for me with my
ex-husband and his new wife being there. Out of the many hundred times I
saw her before the invites were sent out; "they" didn’t bother
to even ask me? I told her that I didn’t have a problem with him being
there and I was certain that he didn’t have a problem with my presence
either. It wasn’t like I wanted to sit next to him but I certainly can
handle myself in a mature way. So after I explain this to her, she went
off on me. Screaming at me that I was being selfish and I wasn’t
considering "their" feelings (which I never did find out what
they were so she was coming across completely irrational). I actually was
very calm about everything and I just assured her that I completely
understand that she didn’t want me to be there and I wouldn’t go. I
actually chalked it up the irrational screaming to pre-wedding jitters.
So the relatives are starting to pile in and yes I still
follow through with picking them all up. It was fun and I had a ton of
laughs. I didn’t say anything to anyone but they all knew that I still
wasn’t invited. The ex-brother-in-law comes in and we spent the next
couple of days having a lot of fun. Come time for the rehearsal and I drop
him off. He was supposed to call my Dad’s house after dinner (Dad lived
closer to all of the events). I figured it would be a couple of hours.
About hour and half later, I get his call and I hear screaming in the
background. He’s whispering to me to bring my Dad’s car so I can pick
him and some of the relatives up because they HAVE TO GET OUT OF THERE
NOW! Grabbed Dad’s keys and was there in a flash. I pulled up and people
ran to get inside the car. Before they could place on the seat belts and
close the doors, they were screaming "GO! GO! GO!" I peeled out.
There were so many people in the car that besides laps to sit on, some sat
on the floor. I didn’t know where to go so I took them to my Dad’s
house. When they all piled out there were 2 people I didn’t even know!
Dad was great and he felt bad for everyone and decided to BBQ everyone a
dinner (considering they were suppose to go to a rehearsal dinner, they
were all more than grateful to eat a tasty impromptu BBQ. Even the
vegetarian!) After they calmed down, they spilled out the horrid details.
Apparently Jill didn’t like one thing that was going
on during the rehearsal. She screamed at her mom for bringing her brother
in late to the rehearsal (he just flew in and came directly from the
airport. His original flight was delayed because of weather). She had a
photographer to capture the "rehearsal moments" and he wasn’t
taking pictures she wrote out for him so she screamed at him so bad that
not only was it demeaning but everyone was questioning why he just didn’t
leave (he also was the photographer for the next day). She screamed at
everyone because they were not "in their places". She yelled at
the 4 year old flower girl because she refused to walk down the aisle on
cue (the mother told me that she was too scared from all of the
screaming). Jill also screamed at her MOH and Bridesmaids that they didn’t
do enough for her and she listed it all out: she was upset about the
Bridal Shower, no Bachelorette party, they didn’t make her the rehearsal
bouquet out of the bows from the Bridal Shower, and it just goes on and on
and on. She started yelling at the JOP and he tried taking her aside to
calm her down but she went off on him and stormed out. She comes back in
five minutes later in a higher level of tirade and starts kicking over
chairs, and ripping of the ribbons that the bridesmaids and relatives are
placing up on the pews. They aren’t good enough. Nothing is good enough.
And she just doesn’t stop screaming. The bridesmaids run out crying, the
relatives go outside just to get some air and that was just about when I
The next morning was the wedding. Knowing that I wasn’t
invited was becoming a relief for me. I had plans to have breakfast with
the ex-Mother in law and brother in law. When I went to pick them up, they
told me that the Jill didn’t want anyone who wasn’t a bridesmaid or
groom to be in the limos. So basically, none of Jill’s future in laws
had a ride to the wedding. Just when we start talking about what to do,
the mother in-law gets a phone call from Jill. Jill tells us that her car
was vandalized and there is no battery, and two tires are flat. She has to
go get her hair done and the bridesmaids are not answering their phones
(Gee, her car gets vandalized and her Bridesmaids aren’t answering the
phone. What a strange coincidence). We feel bad and decide to drop her off
and wait at a nearby restaurant to have breakfast. With people talking,
dishes clanking and being a few storefronts away we can hear her screaming
at the hairdresser. We get her back to her apartment and she didn’t pick
up her dress the day before. I know the shop so I go get it for her and
picked up a pair of panty hose. She actually thanked me and finally told
me to come to the wedding after telling me that my ex-husband wasn’t
able to make it after all (it turns out that there is a whole other story
to why he didn’t come).
Since I didn’t really plan on going, I didn’t really
have anything to wear. I had only one dress and it was red. Everyone
insisted that I wear it. When it came time for the seating at the
ceremony, the ex-brother in-law sat me right behind his mother so that I
could be seen in a lot of photos. It worked! We had a blast. The
photographer picked up on this and would take a lot of pictures of me at
the reception. Everyone encourage me to sit on their lap for a picture or
take a group table picture with them. Jill’s parents took a lot of
pictures with me. In one picture, both of her parents are kissing me on
the cheek! It became the running joke to have me in each picture! As a
side note, Jill’s brother was very happy to see me. I hadn’t seen him
in so very long that we spent a lot of time together. It looked like we
were hitting it off but we’ve just always got along really well. Jill
got mad and was making a lot of comments about it. The ceremony and
reception was actually really nice. Everyone had a great time. When the
pictures came in, Jill was upset that I was in just about every picture.
Even in the background when they were taking "posed
photographs". Unfortunately, it is about 11 years later and they are
still together. Since the wedding, she has managed to break ties with both
sides of the family because no one will conform to her ways. I still hear
from the ex-in-laws and they always laugh and ask if I still have that
"red dress". Bridezillas
A little background - 10 years ago, my sister got
married. The wedding was planned, complete with me as MOH. They were to be
married on a Saturday in March. The Sunday night (at 10:00 PM) before, my
sister calls me from Reno, and wants me to pick up my dress from the
bridal shop and hightail it up there (I live in the SF Bay Area, mind you
- a 4 hour drive). They've decided to get married there on Monday in the
afternoon, forego the festivities already planned, but she's still wearing
her dress and wants me to stand up for her in mine. She has basically
attempted to transport the formal wedding already planned up to a wedding
chapel in Reno. His whole family is already up there, as well as her
brother, mother and stepfather. I tell her I can't make it, no possible
way for me to get off work for this. She is angry that I won't be coming.
To this day, I'm not sure if she has "forgiven" me. Mind you, I
spent $300 on a dress that I never even picked up from the bridal shop.
That late in the game the dress was non-refundable, and it was not
something I could have (or would have) worn again.
Fast forward to 10 years later. My sister gets pregnant,
moves in with the boyfriend, and gets engaged in May. They want to get
married before the baby is born (due in Jan 2004), but figure they'll do
it in Sept/October. First she decides she wants a big wedding (like the
one that never was). At this point, she discovers that her divorce from
her first husband was never completed (she thought the divorce was final
over 2 years ago). She scrambles to get the paperwork finalized. They now
decide they'll just go to Vegas. The only people they want there are me
and my fiancé (we got engaged shortly after they did). She asks me if
there is any particular time that is better for us. My best friend was due
to have her first baby the second week of September, and I was supposed to
be in the delivery room, so I tell her the whole month is pretty much out
for me, since there is no way of knowing when the baby will be born. Next
thing I know, she wants to do it the third weekend of September. Now, I
know you can't plan your wedding around other people, but considering this
was only going to be the 4 of us, you would think she would have
accommodated me. FH and I decide we can't do it.
3 weeks ago (Sept 2003) I talk to my sister on the
phone. She's now 5 months pregnant, and they've decided they're just going
to go down to the courthouse and get married. She has finally gotten the
final divorce papers back. It's just going to be her and her FH. We
discuss our wedding plans for a while (mine is in May 2004). Everything is
hunky dory, and we get off the phone. 2 days later, I get an email from
her flaming me for not inviting her to my wedding! She goes on and on
about how rude it is, and she can't believe it, and how could I do that to
her, and is it because I think she can't afford to come! Mind you, my
wedding is not for another 8 months. It is going to be small (30 people)
and very causal, but we are sending out real invitations 8 weeks prior to
the date, like any normal person would. It seems that she expected me to
invite her over the phone. I respond to her email, tell her that of course
she is invited, and invitations will be sent out in due time. I should
have directed her to your website. She responded an apologized, blaming
This week (3 days ago) I get an email from her - AN
EMAIL - telling me that they have set a date (plans have changed once
again). They'll be getting married 3 weeks from Saturday, I am supposed to
be MOH, and I will need to pay for my own dress. Mind you, they live in
another state, 800 miles away! I spoke with her on the phone the following
day, and the things that came out of her mouth shocked me. They are
basically trying to throw together a small but formal wedding in 3 weeks.
She'll be wearing a white wedding dress (6 months pregnant and all). This
is to be outdoors, in late October, in a state notorious for rain. During
this conversation she informs me that I will need to be at the rehearsal
dinner the night before. She then goes on to say she was looking up
etiquette information online, and came across the "traditional"
breakdown of who pays for what. She happily informed me that she is
thrilled to find that they don't have top pay for the rehearsal dinner,
his parents do! She apparently told her FH to let his parents know that
they'll need to fork over the money for it. I am well aware of the
"traditional" breakdown, but I would never consider telling
someone they "have" to pay for something. My FH and I are paying
for our own wedding, and don't expect anyone else to assist at all. If
either of our families wish to assist us, we will simply consider that to
be a wonderful gift. I've spent the better part of the last 3 days trying
to figure out if there is any possible way for me to swing this,
considering we are both working 2 jobs to pay for our own wedding, but
have decided tonight that I can't. I will have to tell her that this is
too short of notice for me to even be at the wedding, much less be IN it!
I am not looking forward to the response I receive when I tell her of
this....I'll have to send an update later.
My fiancé and I got married in August of 2003. Since a
bunch of our friends were getting married either just after us or about 2
months later, we all went to Mexico together for our
"honeymoon." Had a blast. Then the trouble started.
My friend "Chris" had been dating this girl
"Amber" for quite some time. They had been engaged previously in
high school but broke it off. Amber started dating this guy
"Fred" and eventually moved in with him. All hell ensued. He
beat her up and she eventually moved out. And immediately got back
together with Chris. An engagement ring was produced and the wedding was
in motion. (Obviously Chris had not gotten over her). Amber and Chris were
two of the people who joined us in Mexico and were supposed to get married
this October (2003).
Fred apparently got this wild idea in his head that it
would be fun to mess with Chris and Amber. Still smarting over her dumping
him and running back to Chris, I guess. So he starts whispering sweet
nothings in her ear and has two of their mutual friends (another couple
who joined us in Mexico) start arranging time for the two of them to spend
together. They do and Fred makes his move. Needless to say, last weekend
Amber dumped Chris. She loves Fred more than him, she says. She picked up
all her stuff and moved from Chris's house into Fred's house. Oh yeah, she
also stiffed Chris for the bill for the trip to Mexico, took all HIS DVDs,
took the $1500 set of pots and pans they had bought, swiped all the
wedding shower gifts (which she told him she was NOT going to return as
her and Fred would need them), and then had the nerve to complain when he
took the $600 out of their joint savings account to pay for HER half of
the credit card bill. And of course Fred is totally enjoying it because
Amber has moved back in, put the loan to his house in her name (long
story...upshot...he's a convicted felon on probation and can't have a
loan), and has basically become his slave...about the same thing that
happened last time she dated Fred.
The part about all this that really upsets me (besides
the fact that Chris, my husband, and I are really good friends and he
really got screwed over) is the fact that we just got our wedding pictures
back and there are a ton of them with her in them, smiling as if nothing
is wrong. Oh yeah, she's three months pregnant with Fred's kid. Guess I
won't be sending her a Christmas card this year! What nerve.
When my best friend Chris got married, I tried to talk
her out of it as I had known the guy when a different friend had dated
him. He was pretty awful, and his family was even worse. But she's pretty
darned stubborn, so I agreed to be MoH to stay as close to the situation
The night before the wedding, our "bachelorette"
party was supposed to be the other BM, the bride, and a couple of common
friends at my parents’ house, having a movie night. The bride
accidentally turned her cell phone off, and so apparently the groom
decided she was out cheating on him instead when he tried to call her. He
finally called her brother and send Teddy to my parents’ home, to tell
her the wedding was off. She called him promptly, and apologized for
angering him. He finally "agreed" to still marry her if she
would spend the night with him at his hunting cabin where he could SEE she
wasn’t with another man, and "bring a few girls for his
friends." So the other BM and I went (still trying to talk her out of
going though with it).
The Groom had few friends, so he had asked his favorite
drinking buddy... his father ... to be the BM. At the ceremony, both men
showed up drunk. The FoG/BestM was sooooo drunk that at the end of the
ceremony I had to half carry him up the aisle at recessional. We got to
the church steps, and he fell down them. And them threw up. After he
abused everyone going though the receiving line, he insisted he and the
MOB ride in the can with the B/G. On the way to the reception, the men
decided they'd stop at the wedding reception of someone else they knew...
so my friend had to go to another woman's reception in her gown.
Chris is now divorced, after several years of physical
and emotional abuse.
About 6 months after my husband and I were married, my
husband's best friend, "Shane", called to tell us that he had
met the woman of his dreams and had become engaged. Shane had been the
Best Man in our wedding, and he now asked my husband to be the BM in his,
and of course my husband agreed. A few weeks later we got the chance to
meet "Jackie", Shane's fiancée. We were surprised to learn that
Jackie was divorced with three young children, as Shane had always said he
would never marry anyone with kids because he didn't want a
"ready-made family" - but Jackie seemed nice and we figured it
must be true love. We imagined that since it would be her second wedding,
they would probably plan a small, intimate wedding with close friends and
family. Then the tackiness began.
A few months later, we received an invitation to an
engagement party that Shane and Jackie were throwing for themselves. The
invitation stated that the meal was to be "potluck" - each guest
was to bring a dish to serve 8-10 people. The invitation also asked that
the bride- and groom-to-be would prefer that guests not bring gifts, but
instead give cash gifts "to help pay for the wedding." As if
this wasn't tacky enough, included with the invitation was a letter
(written by Jackie) with instructions of what was expected of each of the
bridesmaids and groomsmen for this engagement party - each of the
groomsmen were supposed to bring a case of beer, and each bridesmaid was
to bring a case of soda or 4 bottles of wine. My husband and I could not
believe that this couple would have the nerve to throw a party for
themselves and then expect all of the guests to provide all of the food,
drinks and then give them money to pay for their wedding as well!!
Two months before the actual wedding, we received
another letter from Jackie - this time it was a checklist of things that
everyone involved in the wedding "must do, or else." Some of the
highlights include: "Every person involved in the ceremony (including
musicians, ushers, etc.) MUST be at the church no later than 10:30
AM" - (the ceremony didn't start until 4:00 PM!); "The groom and
ALL groomsmen must not stay out past 12:00 AM the night before the
wedding"; "All members of the bridal party are not allowed to
consume more than two drinks at the reception, to avoid drunken
behavior"; and my personal favorite, "Groomsmen and ushers must
wait until after the ceremony and reception are over to ask a female guest
for her phone number." Needless to say, on the day of the wedding the
hen-pecked groom was seen taking quite a few swigs out of a metal flask
before the ceremony, and he was fairly sloshed by the time he got to the
alter. The whole event turned out to be a fun evening, mainly because
nobody paid any attention to her little "checklist". My husband
and I have kept the invitations and checklist as proof of a true
"Bridezilla" story - and for an occasional good laugh.
Many years ago my sister decided to have her wedding at
a Knights of Columbus hall. She is, and was, a teacher and so was her
husband. My sister is the type of person who never offers help when there
is a family problem and she has always been considered a sneak. The day of
her wedding my other sister and her husband, who were maid of honor and
best man, and myself arrived at the hall. It was a narrow, long room in
which some tables and chairs were pushed to the side wall as the room was
too narrow for the flow of guests that she invited. There was a long table
with a small amount of food, brought by the groom's aunt who, with another
relative, were serving the food. My sister then enlisted a priest, who was
a friend, to serve the liquor .She then asked the best man to serve when
the priest took a break. My sister wanted my other sister the maid of
honor to serve food as well. She waited until the day of the wedding to
solicit help in serving food and liquor. The bride and groom never hired a
caterer, bartender or servers. It was the cheapest, worst wedding I've
ever attended. Bridezillas 1209/03