Etiquette Hell = Where the ill-mannered deserve to go


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They're armed, they're unprofessional and they're going to ruin your wedding day if you aren't careful.  (And stories of victimized vendors.)

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I have a Vendor from hell story that just has to be told.  The DJ at my sister's wedding was one of the most unprofessional I have ever encountered.  A bit of background.  I am a former DJ myself, with several years of experience in college and local radio, as well as a fair amount of time spent as a DJ for special events, both radio functions and private ones.  Though I was not part of the wedding party, it was understood that I would not be asked/required to DJ for my sister's wedding, as most of my time would be occupied with family/wedding related business.  When my sister was discussing DJ's, I offered to call some people I knew, including "Martin", a retired gentleman who is a radio legend in our local area, with over 60 years of experience as a DJ doing both local radio and private functions.  My sister and FBIL thanked me for the offer, but they had decided to hire "DJ Joe" a local DJ who mainly did high school dances and parties.  

The reception came, and when the families of the Bride and groom arrived, (after the majority of the guests, but before the wedding party), Joe has all his equipment set up, but is nowhere to be found.  Wedding Party arrives, and is lining up to be introduced, still no Joe.  When he finally shows up from God-only-knows-where, he spends twenty minutes going over the introduction music, and pronunciations of names and such with sis and BIL, as if they had never once discussed this in all the prior wedding plans.  Then, and only then does he come out, and start performing sound checks, which takes another twenty minutes, while the bridal party, and the parents of the bride and groom stand in the hall, wondering what's taking so long.  After this is completed, he goes through the introductions, and does a good enough job of that, makes a few basic announcements, invites the bridal party to dine, calls the tables and such, puts on some dinner music, and proceeds to vanish again for the better part of two hours.  This meant no working microphone for the toasts, so the MOH (my soft-spoken sister) and BM have to almost shout to be heard.  

When he finally returns, (after my father, brother and I had turned the place upside-down looking for him for half an hour), he proceeds to open the dancing with music more appropriate to a high school dance than a wedding reception.  He spent most of the time ignoring or flatly refusing (sometimes very rudely) to play requests from family, including requests for polkas (which are traditionally played at ANY and ALL weddings in my large, Polish family), and other, more recent traditions, such as the YMCA.  With the exception of the father-daughter dance, the mother-son dance, and the first dance of the bride and groom, and the final song of the night, he only played two other slow songs.  Between changing CD's, much of the rest of his time was spent coming out on to the dance floor, and trying to dance and party with the guests.  He only stopped when my father (who paid for most of the wedding) informed him that he was being paid to DJ the wedding, and not to party with the guests, and if he wanted earn the rest of his fee, he would stay off the dance floor and behind his equipment where he belonged.    He spent the rest of the wedding sulking behind his equipment, and making rude comments to anyone (including the bride and groom) who dared approach him to make a request, or request that he make an announcement.  He even refused to make simple courtesy announcements at the end of the night, such as the fact that we had volunteer designated drivers waiting in the hall, and a taxi stand with half a dozen cabs available outside the hotel where the reception was being held, claiming it was "not his job" to make those announcements.  I doubt anyone in my family will ever hire DJ Joe again. See what you’re getting into…before you go there. Check it out!



I'm currently planning my wedding, and it came time to find a photographer. We were able to rule out a few people before even meeting with them (we viewed their web sites and didn't like their work). A couple were booked. Then there were 3 we needed to meet with. We wanted to make sure we met with more than one person, to make the best possible choice.

We met with the first one; we liked his work, we liked him, but, to be sure we were making the best decision, we still wanted to meet with the other two.

I'd communicated with one, call her "Paula," online. I'd found her site, contacted her, and since then we'd traded emails. We made an appointment to meet at a restaurant one day at 7:00. My fiancé, "John," got to the restaurant at 6:00, I arrived at about 6:15.

7:00 came . . . no Paula.

7:15 . . . no Paula.

7:30 . . . no Paula.

Obviously, Paula is not coming.

At 10:00 that night, I received an email from her. Turns out she'd had to pick up her son from a town 2 hours away. This had happened unexpectedly, and she'd had to leave town at 3:00. She'd thought she could make it back in time for our appointment, but obviously she hadn't. Furthermore, she would have called me, she said . . . but she didn't have my phone number.

Okay, let's break this down.

First: The time problem. The town is 2 hours away. Even if her ex threw their son into her car when she slowed down driving past, that's still a 4-hour-round-trip journey. So if she left at 3:00, how could she have gotten back by 7:00? It just doesn't work.

Second: The phone problem. She couldn't call me? I gave her my phone number when I first contacted her. Either she is too scatterbrained to keep her contact info with her all the time, or she doesn't keep up with it at all. I looked through the chain of emails she and I had traded; my phone number was right there.

Third: The contact problem. Okay, let's pretend I never gave her my phone number. We'll pretend that. I find it hard to believe that she had no time between the time she found out she had to pick up her son, and the time she actually left, to email me and say "I'm so sorry--I can't make it. Could we please reschedule?" I would have cheerfully agreed and rescheduled.

Fourth: The emergency problem. I understand that everyone has emergencies arise in their lives. I know I do. But when I have said emergencies, I do not put anyone else out. And this wasn't an emergency--her son was not sick, he was not hurt, he was not injured, he was not in danger. His father couldn't keep him that night.

The whole thing just adds up to irresponsibility. You can't keep up with my phone number . . . you can't get yourself together enough to contact me . . . you ditch out on our appointment . . . what happens if, on the day I get married, your ex suddenly decides he can't keep your son again?

So she was off the list.

We made another appointment, with "Andy."

Our appointment with Andy was at 6:00. John arrived at his office at 5:30. The lights were all off, the doors were locked, no cars were in the parking lot. John called me, made sure that we did indeed have an appointment. Yes, we did. I said that he was early, to give the guy a chance.

I arrived at 5:55. No one had come into or gone out of the office. Lights were off, the doors were locked, no other cars were in the parking lot. We waited until 6:10. I called the photographer and left him a message: "Hi, Andy, this is _____; I may have my days mixed up, but I thought our appointment was at 6:00 on ___day the __th. It's 10 after now, we're at your studio, no one's here. Please give me a call at ___-____ and let me know if I got the appointment wrong."

At 6:15 we left.

At 9:00, my phone rang. It was Andy. He'd had a flat tire, and just then got to his cell phone.

Okay . . .

In this day and age, who doesn't have their cell phone with them all the time?

What small-business owner doesn't have his/her cell phone with him/her all the time?

What kind of car do you drive that it took you 3 hours to change a tire? Did you have to call AAA? If you did . . . THEN YOU COULD HAVE CALLED ME.

I was positively astounded at the lack of professionalism shown by these people.



I worked for six months before my wedding to shed some pounds. Not a lot-just a couple of dress sizes. All in all I'm not really huge. Anyhow, as I went for my monthly fittings with the seamstress (she was adapting a family dress) we would share diet tips and discuss my weight loss plans. At the last fitting, the day before the wedding, I was roundly scolded for losing so much weight she had to take the dress in again (hello? I told you my plans!). I was only down to a size 10 Australian so we are not talking tiny anyway-more like average. Anyway the seamstress crossly agrees to fix the dress and my mum can collect it the day of the wedding. Come the day of the wedding, I don the dress-and it was so big it had to be pinned to hold. In all the pictures it's visibly falling off and I had to keep stopping, even in the middle of my vows, bridal waltz etc-to haul it up. The pictures look terrible and it's quite distressing as I worked for months to avoid an off the shoulder gown-personally don't like 'em-and ended up with something just barely grazing my -er-lady lumps as the Black Eyed Peas would say! When I contacted the seamstress again to ask what happened, she had decided that no one really loses all the weight they want for their wedding and I would probably put a bit more on so the fit would be ok. Put weight on-overnight? I could have killed her. That woman was as nutty as a fruitcake, but now I have been married a year and am porky again-it would fit me now if I ever decide to have a vow renewal!



When I was sixteen, my favorite cousin got engaged and both flattered and surprised me by asking me to be a bridesmaid.  We'd always been close, but there were five attendants total, all of whom were at least nine years my senior.  But I was overjoyed, and all of us got along (although my Mom graciously paid for my attire and my share of the shower/bachelorette party.  My Mom is amazing.)

We all went dress shopping together, and though we were all of different body types we found a gorgeous taffeta two-piece in my cousin's color.  However, because the boutique was so far out of the way for my mother and I, she decided to have the dress altered at a seamstress nearer to our house that she had used previously and liked.  

I should mention here that I am what I would call a spectacularly busty girl.  I'm not by any means skinny, but my chest is still disproportionate to the rest of me - when I wear shirts, I always have to decide whether they should be very loose in the stomach or very tight in the chest, because clothing is just not made for girls with my shape.  I should also mention that the bridesmaids dress had teensy weensy little spaghetti straps that would in no way hide a bra.

Noticing both of these facts, the seamstress insisted that the taffeta, which was good and thick and sturdy, could most definitely support my chest without a bra, if she tightened it enough in all the right places.  My Mom and I thought this was a fabulous idea, as my experiences with strapless bras had always ended badly and we all know it's the height of trash to have bra straps showing during a formal event.  (Props to anyone who can see where this is going.)

During my final fitting, I was extremely pleased that the dress did indeed support me, that it was comfortable and fit like a glove.  Cue the morning of the wedding.  After our hair and makeup appointments, we helped the bride dress and took pictures of the bridal party, then pictures all-together to avoid keeping guests waiting after the ceremony.  So far, so good.  While the coordinator was doing final touches, I sat with my brother (a groomsman) to relax for a moment.  POP.  The zipper in the back of my dress had sprung a leak.  I rushed to my Mom, who had enough safety pins in her purse to fix things up rather seamlessly.  (Told you, she's amazing.) 

Not to exclude it completely, the ceremony came and went, and it was beautiful and flawless, and my dress held together since I wasn't exactly sitting.  Onto the reception; as we're being served at the head table, I feel a gentle, "pop, pop, pop" and lo and behold, my spectacular chest had bested my Mom's safety pins.  I gingerly leaned over to the nearest bridesmaid, also a friend of mine and a work colleague, who discreetly patched me up.  She did so three more times over the course of dinner, as the pins were constantly coming undone and pricking me in the back.  If anyone noticed, I bet they were extremely confused. 

Finally, it's time for dancing, and I avoid sitting for awhile, but after a couple hours, can't take it anymore.  I found my cousin and apologized profusely, explained what had happened, and asked if she would be offended if I ran to my room and changed into my dress from the rehearsal dinner.  To her credit, she laughed it off and told me it was just fine.  I still felt terrible being the only bridesmaid in a red flowered dress, but it being so late in the reception, people were having too much fun to notice, or at least too much fun to care.

I still feel guilty about it, even though she told me it wasn't a big deal and even though I know it's not my fault.  I've gone back to the seamstress only one other time, to have new hooks sewn into a winter coat.  They were wrapped "fur" hooks (the coat is synthetically fluffy), and within a month, had all but unraveled and were starting to come loose.  I don't feel the need to give said seamstress a third strike -- now, I think I was crazy for even giving her a second one!  Shoddy, shoddy, shoddy.


This happened over a year ago when I was planning my wedding. I was still in the early stages of planning and trying to decide what I wanted and so on. A close friend of my mother's, "Janice", has many event-related business contacts and she was extremely kind enough to pull any weight she had with vendors to get me really good deals on linens, food, etc. (She single-handedly turned my reception into the party of the year - everything was perfect! She was THE BEST!! At the reception DH and I thanked her profusely, told everyone within the sound of our voice that she was responsible for the beautiful reception, and immediately sent her a thank-you card.)

Anyway, Janice referred us to a florist whom she said was very good, professional, etc. So we all go, Janice, my mom, me, and my MOH to see what were our options for floral centerpieces. One centerpiece option included tall branches that would go very nicely with the fall theme we were creating. The branches were expensive so the florist suggested renting the branch centerpieces. Then she went on to say "But you'll have to keep an eye on them, you know how centerpieces can disappear - especially at Hispanic weddings! Everyone takes them!"

Now I may state here that me, my mom, Janice, and my MOH are all Hispanic, have Hispanic last names, and look obviously Hispanic. MOH and I awkwardly laughed it off but my mom and Janice were livid. Needless to say, we didn't hire her to do the centerpieces.



My best friend is getting married on New Years Eve, she sent me a packet of information about the wedding, including the hotel information, names of the other attendants, important dates and, most ominously, the name and location of the bridal gown and tux shop.  She called me before I went to get my dress to warn me that the older guy who runs the place had been kind enough to inform her “not to worry, that all brides lose weight before the wedding.” For one thing I’m not sure that’s necessarily true, and for another, my best friend is a gorgeous girl, and does not need to lose weight.  In fact there are times when I worry that she doesn’t eat enough, but that comment from a stranger, 6 months before her wedding was completely out of line.

So, I went to order my dress, I didn’t really want to use this store, knowing how he had treated my friend, but she had done the research and knew that this guy carried the dress she had chosen and had been unable to find another place in town that did.  ( I live in Tulsa and if I had known what a lecherous old perv the owner of this place was I might have driven the 2 hours to Okie City instead )  When I got there the woman who greeted us and began to help us was really nice, I admit that I thought maybe I had gotten lucky and wouldn’t have to deal with the infamous insult man.  No such luck, turns out that he does all the measurements.  THEY CALL HIM IN FROM THE BACK ROOM!!!!!!  Not sure if they do this for all the girls or if he has certain specifications???  He takes my measurements (at this point I’m just prepared for some derogatory comment.  Not aware that he derives pleasure from the exchange.)  He takes my bust measurement and mumbles “sweet” under his breath as he types the number into his computer (wish I was making this up… But I’m not) then sends me into the dressing room with the correct size (in a different and of course ugly and unflattering style) so that I can try it on and see how it fits.  Just as I’m pulling up the back zip who should come busting into the dressing room? (That’s right, INTO THE LADIES DRESSING ROOM!!!!!!!!)  I’ll give you three guesses.  I just put my foot in between the door and the doorframe as he was trying to close it and smiled sweetly at him and asked if I could help him with something.  He accepted that I was not going to allow the door to be shut and instead proceeded to scrunch the dress this way and that talking about how “we” would put a stitch in here and let one out there (as if I’m paying this guy any more than I absolutely have to for this dress.  I take my clothes to a lady that always does a wonderful, prompt, and professional job.)  Then he leans in real close and says in a low voice, “This size should be just fine for you as long as you lay off the Christmas goodies, okay?” He actually had the nerve to start rubbing his belly and nodding to me knowingly.  I’m ready to spit nails at this point and practically have to push him out of the dressing room so I can get out of the hideous dress that I’m wearing as a substitute for the gorgeous one that my friend picked out.  

Back at the sale counter, I’m wearing my own clothes again, he eyes me lewdly and as I’m paying for the dress ( I didn’t want to buy it but I also didn’t want to fight that battle and leave empty handed, or risk screwing up my best friend’s carefully organized wedding by giving what for to the only shopkeeper in town that carried the designer of the bridesmaids’ and the bride’s dresses, oh what’s a girl to do?) he reaches out in a way that is obviously meant to simulate some sort of attempted handshake and grazes my breast with his palm!  I was so shocked at his obviously out of line behavior that I didn’t say a word.  And I’m not the type to keep my opinions to myself about things like this.  But I’ll admit that I was speechless.  I just left. 

I’m picking the dress up tomorrow.  I informed him as I was paying that I would take the dress elsewhere for alterations, but of course the day before Thanksgiving I came home to a voicemail saying that my dress, with alterations, will be ready on Monday, and I’ve been too busy with visiting family to return the voicemail.  I have a feeling that I’ll be charged extra for the alterations tomorrow.  I’m taking my boyfriend with me to prevent any more “spontaneous displays of vulgarity” from the old conman, but I have a sinking feeling that if I don’t pay for the alterations, they won’t give me the dress.  I think they know how crazy people get at weddings and take advantage of the desperation freely.  At this point it’s too late to order from someone else and I’m not about to add to the bride’s worries by telling her that I have decided not to buy the dress on principle!  

Miss Jeanne, I hope there’s justice in the world for this Ehell merchant!  Then again, I may just copy the Better Business Bureau on this email to you!



My fiancé and I got engaged last September and began planning the wedding for this coming February.  Most vendor searches have gone smoothly and I am confident the folks we have hired will do an excellent job for our wedding.   It was when I tried to find a DJ that all etiquette hell broke loose.

I searched a well-known wedding planning website for a DJ.  The one I contacted first looked polished and professional in the picture he provided for his ad, and I liked the fact that he was the only DJ in his business, and would not be sending in a second-string replacement - what you see is what you get. 

His website can only be described as obsessive.  He goes on and on (for pages!) about how he's different from other DJs, those guys will just cheat you and not keep promises and make your wedding the tackiest night of your life with their over-the-top announcing style, bad taste and lack of professionalism.  Okay, fine, he really cares and feels strongly about what he does.

I got in touch with him and we talked a little about the wedding and my vision for the day.  We didn't cover too many details - I was just feeling things out - but he sent me an e-mail with his contract attached right away.  Thanks, I'll fill it out when I'm ready to.

I e-mail him again later to ask some basic questions - when was the last time he's worked at my wedding site, whether we could meet in person, that kind of thing.  His answers should have set off warning bells, but for some reason they didn't.  He told me that he conducts all business over the phone and internet to "keep costs low" and "pass along the savings to his customers."  I'm supposed to hire this guy sight-unseen, to DJ my wedding, without even knowing if I get along with him (there's only so much you can tell about a person over the phone).  Also, he couldn't remember when he had last worked at my venue or which room it was, but he's "completely mobile" so he can "easily adapt to all sites."  I'm surprised, since I think this would be a good thing to be able to tell potential clients. 

At this point I take a look at his contract, and notice that there's a place for me to write credit card information, and a line for my signature.  A credit card?  Shouldn't I be able to pay by check?  No, he doesn't have a mailing address.  No vendor signature?  Since when is a contract between two people valid with only one of their signatures?  That weirded me out, and I told him I still wasn't ready to sign (even though he kept urging me to in order to book the date) because I hadn't received any testimonials from previous clients.  Oh wait, that's because he didn't provide them, because he needs to "preserve his clients' privacy."  Okay, that makes me leery, but I'm willing to go check out vendor review websites to see if anyone has written about him.  I can't find a single one.  This guy who has supposedly worked for 18 years as a wedding DJ has absolutely no reviews, anywhere, from anyone?

Now I'm really getting frustrated.  Why am I working so hard to make myself comfortable with hiring this guy??  Then the kicker comes.  I tell him that I want to use my mom's credit card to put down a deposit, but I don't know how I'll get her signature on the contract since I'm planning this wedding in my hometown from the other side of the country.  He says it's fine, he doesn't need a signature - just the credit card number, expiration date, and mailing address.  When I mention the fact that there isn't a place for his signature on the contract, he complies and adds a line for it.  All along he's been assuring me that "You'll be really happy with how things turn out hiring me" but has been giving me no actual information.  But when I refuse to send him the credit card number until he signs the contract first, he becomes very defensive and writes me the following: 

Since after everything you read on my site and speaking with me on the phone two times and too numerous to count emails back and forth in the last month, you still haven't booked me and you continue to make things much more complicated than what they should be.  I've decided it wouldn't be wise to get involved with you and your wedding.

Excuse me?  Tying to infuse some legality into the proceedings is making things "much more complicated than what they should be"??  It wouldn't be wise for him to get involved with my wedding?  Wow.  Just, wow.  He says I should have known he did things differently, all of his other clients seem to be happy about it (these, I assume, would be the ones I've never been able to contact or find glowing reviews from), and that other DJs are out of touch with technology and efficiency and so was I.  Oh, and he said I'd used up $250 of his time in consultations.

I have since met in person and booked a sweet, friendly, laid-back DJ on the recommendation of two very dear friends.  I wish I'd called him first - it would have saved me a great deal of aggravation!



Whenever we were looking around for photographers, I really wanted to find someone who used two people to shoot a wedding. That way someone could be with my maids and I and someone could be with my husband and his groomsmen.  So we find this lady, seemed nice enough, and she told us she had an assistant and so there would be two people at our wedding taking pictures.

My husband wanted very traditional, he didn't want to see me before the wedding etc.  When we met with our photographer she said she did a lot of bride and groom together before the wedding, to cut back on time  wedding.  It made sense, but it wasn't something we wanted to do.  She literally sat there and told us how stupid that "old fashioned" thing was.... to not see each other before the wedding. How stupid it was to do that etc.  That was the first annoyance. 

The day of the wedding, everyone is happy and cheery, she comes in, in the WORST mood.  She is literally yelling at people to move here, stand here, move this way, look that way. We were all terrified. She take maybe 5 min worth of pictures with my maids and I, and says she must go and do the groomsmen pictures. I ask her, I thought you had another photographer taking their pictures. She stops and looks at me, and very meanly says. .... I told you she wasn't a photographer that she just help me out with my equipment. (she told us there were 2 photographers, that's why we picked her) so that TOTALLY messed up out picture taking schedule, and didn't get to do a ton of stuff.

So then, while my dad and I were walking down the the beautiful song, I don't see my husband in front of me, I don't hear the pretty song playing, all I see if our photographer right in front of my husband taking a ton of shots. and she is saying to me, loudly, look this way.  stop right there.  RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF MY WALK DOWN! I thought that was a little odd.. never seen people do that before, but whatever. 

At the reception, it was time for the first dance, we are out there dancing and it was so nice. I look up and notice my mom taking pictures with her own personal camera( not the photographers camera) and I don't think anything of it.  Then the father daughter dance....the same thing.   After it is all over, someone comes up to me and asks if I have seen my photographer. 

She made herself like a guest at our reception.  She grabbed herself a plate of food ( a HUGE plate of food) and (literally) a pitcher of beer...and was sitting at a table eating, flirting with a drunk groomsmen.

She was to busy drinking and eating our food, to take pictures of our first dances etc. 

I was so upset!! So my mom got up and was taking pictures so we would have something!  Then she said pictures would be ready in 3 weeks.  It has now been 5 , and I call her.  She said she has been very busy and hasn't had time to even look at them yet...but tells me that there is only one wedding ahead of me....we are next.  We were going to use those wedding pictures in some Christmas gifts, so then we had to redo that as well. 

I was very upset by her terrible, mean attitude to everyone...and how she was getting drunk, while being paid to take pictures..... what a wicked witch!!


I actually have three tacky vendor stories from my wedding, lucky me! 

Tacky vendor number one was the band although my mother bears a large share of the blame here too.  My reception was held in a small town with few local options band-wise, basically one awful DJ (lack of personal hygiene and bad music) or a couple of very amateur bands.  One of my friends recommended a band that she'd heard play a few times at functions in this town.  Other friends backed her up so I asked my mother to call and make the booking; I was living abroad so she did a fair amount of the calling around for me to avoid international phone calls.  She told me they were booked and I heard nothing more about the band.

  When I arrive at the reception I notice there are very few instruments on the stage, just a keyboard and an accordion.  Odd since I'd been told this band consisted of 6 people but I figured that they weren't done setting up.  After dinner the MC announced the first dance, against our wishes, and rather than make a fuss we got up to dance.  At this point an elderly couple came on stage and started playing rather badly, one handed keyboard playing with one of those back up beats programmed in to keyboards.  As soon as the dance was over I went to find my mother and ask what had happened.  Turns out the band had been offered a regular Saturday night gig so they decided to pass their contracts on to this old couple.  They called my mother and told her that this new band was just as good which she just accepted and didn't bother informing us of the change.

Tacky vendor number two was the photographer.  I looked at a number of different photographers and found one that I really liked.  His photos were nice, his prices were reasonable and he seemed to really care about the job i.e. he took lots of notes on what we wanted and arranged to meet us at the wedding site a couple of weeks prior to discuss shots.  

All was well till the day of the wedding.  He showed up late (after the legal ceremony was finished) because he went to the wrong building.  We took a few shots there then moved on to the site of our proper ceremony (we couldn't be legally married outdoors and we really wanted to marry at a special spot) where he did a good job of taking shots without getting in the way.  Afterwards we put all the guests on the coaches to the reception and went to take a few photos.  He said it would take half an hour and we figured we'd be able to get to the reception about the same time as the coaches since we had a faster car and would be taking a faster route.  We took the planned shots but he also wanted to take a number of other shots including some 'novelty' shots which I knew would never make it in to the album.  Took much longer than planned plus I had to run back to the house to fix my hair before the photos because an idiot guest threw a bottle of bubbles over my head which was gross and sticky.  

Finally we make it to the reception, get in and sit down for dinner.  Just as the MC is about to tell us to go through the buffet line the photographer comes up to me and tells me we need to take the cake cutting shot now.  I tell him we can do it after dinner when we actually cut the cake and he replied that they can only stay for a few minutes because they have another client to see that evening.  I remind him that they agreed to take reception photos but he denies that he said such a thing.  Whatever, I'm just ready to be rid of this guy.  I apologized to our guests, let him take the picture (basically a snap shot because he has no time to set up stuff) and told him we'd be having a talk about this later.  When I went to pick photos for the album he apologized for the 'misunderstanding' and told me he wouldn't be charging me gas money for the extra travel for that one snap shot.

Tacky vendor number three was the bagpiper.  We had a pretty informal reception but my mother had her heart set on having someone pipe the newlyweds in as is tradition.  I agreed and she asked a friends daughter (a semi-professional bagpipe player) to do it and she agreed to do it for a very reasonable fee.  The week before our wedding she came down with some terrible respiratory thing that meant she couldn't play.  Again my mother didn't tell me any of this but instead replaced her with a local woman who just happens to hate me for some unknown reason.  My new husband and I arrived at the hall and saw her standing by the door wearing her regular clothes (our original piper would have been in full pipe band regalia) and almost turned around to try and sneak in the back entrance of the hall.  I know that some people think that bagpipes never sound good but they can be quite beautiful if played properly.  On the other hand they can sound like a cat being strangled if played badly as was the case here.  I was mortified and our guests were cringing.

All in all I spent more of the evening apologizing to guests for our late arrival (the coach didn't take the scenic route and the reception organizers made everyone sit at the tables looking at the buffet for over an hour till we arrived), the obtrusive photographer and the painful piping.  At least my marriage is a success!



I suppose this is less of a particular story and more of a general rant...  I have been in so many weddings that I lost count (though each was special) and have so very many stories.  But, now, I find myself in the very unusual position of planning my own wedding, which still feels very strange.

I am no stranger to planning parties, though.  I have been planning at least a dozen a year for my church singles' group, for sizes ranging from a couple dozens to a few hundred and with varying degrees of formality.  Still, once you mention the word "wedding," I find that many vendors start seeing dollar signs.  I have worked very hard to fight against the billion dollar industry and its cry of "You have the perfect man and the perfect ring.  Now you get the prefect day."  Nothing is perfect, no matter how much you pay.

I am having a cruise wedding for simplicity and because I'd rather spend money on travel than flowers.  This has spared me most of the vendor issues.  Still, I needed some transportation during my honeymoon (and a towncar was actually cheaper than a taxi).  One vendor, who claimed to be able to beat any quote and was not able to do so, tried to convince me to spend an extra $150 dollars on a limo because it was my honeymoon and didn't I want the best.  (The thought that I was looking for the cheapest way to get from point A to point B was foreign).  When I registered at one of the most popular stores for registries, I was informed that I should register for far more gifts than I expected I would actually receive and for higher priced items (this is especially bad when I am having a destination wedding and people are paying to attend, so I have emphasized through every means acceptable that my FH and I do not expect gifts).  When I got registry cards in the mail, I was shocked that a store which should be giving assistance with etiquette expected me to include them in my invitations -- they should be the experts!

I suppose today was the last straw.  I am exploring the idea of a CASUAL brunch two months after the wedding for all of those who could not join my FH and me on the wedding.  I am already spending money to pay for the cruises of immediate family and bridal party and the economy is such that I do not have the funds I would like for anything elaborate.  When meeting with vendors, I make this clear and inform them on email so I do not waste their time to meet with me if they cannot work within budget constraints.  I was assured by one site they could do something inexpensive, casual, but still nice.  I am looking at daytime off-season so I figure this should help.  I have a nice meeting with the site and really liked the place.  I was promised a quote the next day (today).  I got the quote and was shocked.  It allowed for a per person charge of almost double what I was hoping to spend and greatly outside of the budget range I communicated.  And no explanation was given -- no alternatives, no break down of why the amount was so much higher.

I guess I am accustomed to working in a corporation that (at least in my department) tries very hard to be under-budget.  I get the feeling that in the wedding industry budgets are considered more as a starting point and a bride ought to expect to spend twice what she budgets.  Shame on some of the industry (not all, of course) for turning beautiful celebrations into money-making schemes!



This is not a wedding story but it uses a wedding seamstress...   In the late 80's I lived in M/SP, a thriving city of a few million and a lot of 'fan clubs' existed. I belonged to a themed club. They had purchased patterns for uniforms off a certain SCI-FI movie, and had a seamstress that usually sewed weddings, and lived on the very north end; to produce these outfits at not horrific amounts.

I sewed for others at this time, but. A) time constraint with a convention coming up in some months that I wished to wear this to (and I had other work to do for goods to SELL at this event). B) experience that this seamstress had, at least three others were wearing her work at meetings and looked fairly good C) group had purchased certain fabrics for members to purchase to have the outfits made from and she had custody of them. I opted to pay to have this done.

I paid for the fabrics. I paid for the work. Apparently she had a wedding turn killer AND caught pneumonia or some such. She would come to fittings that WE PAID FOR and not be prepared, or have stuff messed up so much the fittings couldn't happen. I also paid for an undershirt to be made of (shown fabric bolt) that was appropriate.... and paid for an upgrade to a better trouser fabric (also shown bolt) [I had also laid eyes on the main fabric that the group had purchased, there was enough for several of these outfits around].

I also ordered various accessories through the club to go with these (pins and other things). Finally it is coming down to a month before, and I hear that she may be ill and about this wedding... and. I refused to pay for yet another fitting that would be she had nothing ready or nothing right, so. I said cut a standard misses size (....) and I would take that. Just cut that. It's getting out that she may have not even cut mine yet, and I started paying around Thanksgiving for an April delivery.... I asked for the standard size at least three times.. oh just pay for another trip for a fitting...

All my checks were very promptly cashed, every time. The event that I wanted the outfit for came and went. Amongst other things I was told my accessories were in and in soandso's car trunk; which I was later told at the end of the event that that's their standard brush-off. So another thing I had been taken on; apparently also not the only one but the most major toe in the pot.

Others were also stung but not to the tune that I was. Over half a month's salary when money was tight, and I did not get ANYTHING. Still more 'pay me for another fitting and I'll come down and get it done up...' Finally a year later some that got SOME of their stuff, some that had stuff that was WRONG, and some of us that didn't get anything, one of the others was going to take it to court. About this time I was moving, and I gave them my cancelled checks as proof. Two sets, one against the seamstress, and one against certain of the club for where did the $ go for the stuff that was ordered, and where did that stuff go (some got ordered some did not)

The only thing I got was a beltblank, one club fellow was paid for that and he was about to move, and he was told by the rest of his friends of the club that he better cough that and not blow me off too as I was the one that had been far and away shafted on the whole fiasco. (they guilted him into producing it).

That was 20 years ago and that was all I got from it. It was a major financial hardship to end up with zero, it was worse to have multiple dumpings (the amounts were not worth filing in small claims against each one involved) and in the end, I don't hire anyone to sew me anything. If it's not finished and ready to purchase forget it. I'm just very glad it was NOT my wedding that had this happen. 

Why did I submit this? Get it off mine, maybe someone that was involved will recognize the whole thing and at least feel bad about what they did, and maybe someone might have an update.



I saw an ad for a florist in a local wedding magazine. I learned that she was my age (20 something) and that she owned her own shop so I thought I should stop by to see if I give her some business support. We chatted and she seemed to really like my ideas. She said she would be in touch with me.

So three months pass and I decide to call her. She runs down a price for me - SHE WANTED $1000 TO DO THREE WRIST CORSAGES AND A POSEY OF A BOUQUET FOR ME THE BRIDE. That's over my monthly rent. I resisted the instinct to laugh in her face and simply said I would think it over and call her. I did some research and price comparisons and found a much better offer of $500 for three wrist corsages, a bouquet for me, five boutonnières and an orchid corsage for my mother. Much better.

So, three more months pass and she emails me wondering if I have made my decision. I told her: "I think your talents are exquisite but they are out of our budget." So she did another workup for me: She could do daisies instead of hydrangea, baby's breath instead of fiddlehead fern and carnations instead of roses for $500. OH, COULD YOU? I said no and bade her farewell. I'm sure there are plenty of people out there willing to get ripped off, I just don't think I need to be one of them. What she offered for $500, I could do myself for $20 at the local grocery store.



I got married a year ago and while the wedding turned out wonderfully, the drama I had to go through with the boutique I got my wedding dress from will never be forgotten by anyone involved in the wedding.

I got engaged to my now husband, shortly after Thanksgiving. Because it was my first year of graduate school and I was already stressed out with that, we decided a long engagement would be best and agreed not to get married for a year and a half. However, as several of my BM's are from the same hometown as me, we were all home over Christmas break and thought it would be fun to go looking at wedding dresses while we were all there. We went to a boutique where many of us had gotten our prom dresses years earlier. I ended up finding a dress there that I loved. While the wedding was a long way out, I was advised to go ahead and purchase it now as styles change frequently and there was no guarantee it would still be there as my wedding date drew closer. I asked the sales lady when I should get fitted for my dress (this is important later) and she said I should wait until a few months before the wedding in case my weight fluctuated. I ordered the dress and it came in several months later. I live several hours away so my mother went back to the store to make sure the right dress had come. It had and the store held the dress until my wedding.

Fast forward to 3 months before my wedding. By this point I had bought several other items from this store, including my veil and BM dresses. I call and make an appt to get fitted for my wedding dress. I go in and put my dress on and it is immediately obvious to my mother and I that not only is the dress too short, but the hem is uneven. While I did have shoes w/ 3" heels (bought from a different store), I was told dresses were typically made for a 5'11" height. I am 5'7" so I thought it would be no problem. The seamstress tells me not to worry, she can fix it but I might need to wear flats. I am pretty laid back so even though my first shoes cost $70 and were non-refundable, I said ok that I would buy flats. At the same time my mom inquired where my veil was b/c I had ordered it approximately 3 months earlier. They check and realize they had never ordered it. I also inquired about tuxedo fittings. My brother, a GM, was in Iraq and would be home, at most, a week before the wedding on leave and would need to be fitted in that short amount of time. The girl working had no idea if this was possible. We decided to get tuxes elsewhere.

A month later, I arrived for my final fitting (new flat shoes in hand) optimistic that my dress would be fixed. I was wrong. Even with the flats, the dress was still way too short on me and still uneven. The seamstress said that there was no hem on the dress to be let out. At this point my mother and I are fuming and call the manager over. She freaks out and says that I should have been fitted as soon as my dress came in b/c they could only send the dress back to the manufacturer for 2 weeks after receiving it and that if there was a problem the dress was not to be altered in any way. I explain to her what myself, my mother, and all my BM's had heard the sales lady say when I purchased the dress, at which point I was informed that none of her sales people would tell a customer that b/c it wasn't policy and I was lying. In addition she had never known a single bride who wouldn't immediately come in to try on their dress because they were so excited (I mentioned I lived several hours away and was dealing with the stress of graduate school) so I should have known better. She had also NEVER heard of anyone buying their dress so early and nobody had ever complained about this particular sales lady (who no longer worked there) so I must be wrong.

Basically to make a long story shorter, there was no way I could wear the dress, as there was no hem to let out and it looked ridiculous on me. They refused to give me a refund or a new dress (since, of course, all this was my fault). Thank God my wonderful parents allowed me to buy a second dress that I ended up liking better anyways. Eventually when the wedding was over, we sued the store for the cost of the original dress. We won and finally got our money back. There were many other incidents with this particular store including how they lost one of my BM's dresses and then claimed I never paid for my wedding dress (luckily we had the receipts.)

However, I believe in karma and several months ago my dad informed me that the boutique had gone of business. I just hope all the poor brides were able to get their dresses when the store closed!



The florist I worked with is the sister-in-law of my favorite coworker. We had a great rapport, and met four separate times over an 8-month period to collaborate. We emailed and phoned on details. And she still got it wrong!

I wanted local, seasonal flowers in deep purple, cream and natural greens. After spending two hours in the library looking at picture books of flowers, I had specific desires and dislikes: purple sage, green hydrangea, cream lisanthum, and maroon lilacs. I specifically said NO ROSES, NO ORCHIDS. I saw those same words written on the final invoice.

Here's what I ordered: 7 centerpieces, 6 boutonnières, 4 wrist corsages, 2 orchid corsages for the moms (they like them, I don't), 1 bouquet for me.

The boutonnières were pathetic little sprigs of jade hypericum berries. There was nothing else. I had asked for dusty miller or oak leaves with the berries, as well as herbs that symbolize fertility, but there was nothing else but berries. They looked horrible. When I mentioned it to her, she said, Oh why would I have used dusty miller, because it wilts. My question - why didn't she say that when I asked for dusty miller? She only said she didn't remember us talking about it! That's garbage because she put it in my bouquet "TO MATCH THE BOUTONNIÈRES!"

My bridesmaids and flowergirl's wrist corsages were green orchids and red roses!!! No hydrangea, no sage, no lisanthum. No purple at all. Flower girl's corsage fell apart before the end of the evening. She's 10 - and wasn't rough with it.

My bouquet had periwinkle hyacinth. Not seasonal! Not local! They're imported! My desire was to have a bouquet that looked like it had been picked from a field on the way to the wedding. I said that specifically every time we talked about it. I thought we had a really good understanding of what I was paying for. Unfortunately the bouquet was not only huge but it looked like it had come from a florist's shop - not a field, not at all.

I asked her why she put red roses, orchids and hyacinth in there when I had specifically requested she NOT use two of those, and when we had never discussed imported hyacinth, and she said she "thought they would look nice at the last minute." I told her, if you had just given me what I wanted and paid for, instead of what you thought would look nice, we wouldn't be DISCUSSING A REFUND!

And - NO orchid corsages for the moms. None. She just plain didn't make them. I was really, really disappointed. I'm really angry my mom didn't have a corsage. I know there is always something that is completely, completely wrong at a wedding, and for me it was the flowers - so I resolved to just ignore it for the wedding and deal with it later. So when I was in the ladies room before the ceremony, and I said that same thing to the wedding coordinator, she said, "That's fine - But we won't work with them ever again in the future."

Vendors - just give the customer what they want and not what you think will look better! Honestly though, what is so bad about what I chose that she decided it would be better to use the flowers that I specifically DID NOT WANT instead?



My family is very conservative, and neither of my sisters had dancing at their wedding. Fortunately, by the time I got married, my parents were fine with it, so I got to have it, but part of the method I used to getting my way was to limit the music to swing/big band, with a few modern tunes thrown in. No big deal, because I love music from that era.   We went with an affordably priced DJ, and I even downloaded a bunch of music (legally, paying 99 cents per song) because they didn't have a great deal of swing and big band music on their play list. I spoke with the DJ by phone a couple of weeks before our wedding and told him that he was only to play either swing/big band or songs that were on the pre-approved must-play list that I had emailed to him and of which he had acknowledged receipt. I hung up feeling pretty good about our selection.   

So imagine my shock when, in the middle of my reception, "Footloose" begins blasting over the sound system. I was in the midst of talking with one of my old friends from high school, and I stopped cold. I was pissed but continued my conversation. I said, "This better be the last song from the '80s." He must have seen the look on my face when he queued up "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" by Wham!, because immediately it cut off and something tasteful by Glenn Miller came on.   Also, I had specifically asked that he play my parents' song. It was one of the songs the DJ company supposedly had in their play list. When I requested that he play it, he said that he didn't have it. Thanks for ruining that magical moment I had planned for my parents.   Miraculously, I tipped him, but it wasn't a good one...shouldn't have given him anything. 



My photographer was AWFUL. The wedding got off to a bit of an unpredictable start, but everything was great...I was marrying my dream man, so who cared, right? I had looked at our photographer's website and he had some beautiful shots, so I booked him. Our wedding was set to start at 7:30...well, there was a massive fatality crash that shut down the main interstate on which people would be coming to the wedding, so we were delayed by about an hour waiting for family and very close friends to be able to get there! The photographer was coming from about an hour away on that same interstate, but he managed to get off and take back roads and get there at around 6:45. Lovely. So he took shots of me and shots of the men--we didn't want to see each other beforehand--and a few candids before the ceremony, mostly of me. There is, I think, one candid of my husband beforehand.   

So anyway, he takes all the pictures, and we had planned to stop at a park. I had paid for about six hours of coverage and that included an additional location, but by that time, it was too dark. It was May, but it was already after 8:30 and it was a drizzly day. So we just went ahead to the reception.   I didn't pay attention to where the photographer was and what he was doing at the reception...hello, I'm the bride, I'm not supposed to have to worry about stuff like that, I'm supposed to be enjoying myself...but I did notice him eating (something I'd given him and his assistant permission to do beforehand, with the understanding that they would still be getting their work done). Then he came up to me around 10:00 and asked if I minded if they left. I said sure, because again, I figured that must mean that they had gotten a bunch of great shots.   Imagine my shock when I got my proofs a few weeks later. We had 200 proofs included. There were supposed to be 70% candid and 30% posed.

It was probably the other way. There were at least TWO, sometimes THREE shots of the exact same and my husband with my parents, us with his parents, us with my grandparents...and then the pictures at the reception were pathetic! He took two or three pictures of people standing in groups talking, and a few pictures of people sitting at their tables, smiling at the camera. All of the pictures of my husband and I are traditional posed, no cute little moments. In fact, my sister-in-law, an amateur photographer who does it for a hobby, got shots ten times better than his! There were no pictures of the exterior of our reception hall, no pictures of the exterior of the church...he didn't even ask us to step into the lobby for pictures, which was GORGEOUS. (It was in a historic hotel.) When I asked him about it, he acted like it was because we had gone cheap (we paid $1300 for the package). I was so mad. I felt like he should have gone above and beyond, given that we didn't even get to go to the park, which I had paid for, and that he only worked about half the amount of time he had to work! He acted like he had gotten all of these great shots, but that he didn't include them because we had only paid for 200 proofs. When I asked if he had any of the pictures that supposedly didn't make the cut, he claimed that he had them all on his computer but had recently deleted all his old files. Riiiight. I said that he had given us so many posed shots and almost no photojournalism, and he said it's his experience that people always get mad and want choices for the posed shots because they don't like the one he picked to send. Okay. Then explain the fact that he got NO pictures whatsoever of my maid of honor and her husband at our reception!!! It's like they weren't even there.   It completely bums me out that the photographer--which was my "splurge," something I really wanted to be good--screwed us over so badly.

Even our posed shot of the two of us in front of the church is off-center and has one side of the altar (where you kneel for the Eucharist) in the foreground!! God, do I ever wish I'd gone with a trust least they would've cared about us as people and not just cashed the check and told us to deal with what we had. I feel like we paid $1300 for someone who didn't know what the hell they were doing.


I have just started to look for wedding dresses.  I have never been married before and have always dreamed of my wedding.  Now I live in North Little Rock, AR.  While Little Rock is the capitol of the state, it isn’t that big (I am originally from Chicago).  So one Saturday I decide on a whim to go look at three of the local bridal stores.  The first one I went to it was like I was invisible.  I even had my best friend with me.  I know that I am not a model or anything, and I am a plus size girl, but this was ridiculous.  We perused the dresses for a few minutes and my best friend (a very good looking guy) wanted to ask the sales lady about tuxes.  But we were left at the counter, staring and waiting, for 10 minutes before we left.  Not only did they not have anything over a size 10, but they had three attendants working with one bride and no one even willing to help us.

So I decided that I wanted to look at a couple more places, in hopes that I could find something I liked.  I dropped off my best friend at my house to hang out with my FH and headed up the street.  I stopped in a small bridal boutique whose parking lot was completely empty.  You would think that I would be able to get some service and maybe even try on some dresses.  Not only was I told that they didn’t carry My size in most things, but that to even try on the few things they did have in my size I would have to have an appointment.  I was there for about 15 minutes, and the entire time not a single other customer came in.  Not only that, but instead of helping me, the saleswomen were discussing what they wanted for lunch and where to get it from.  And the worst thing is, This wasn’t the first time they had treated me that way.  I had gone in two different times, one to get a dress for my mum's wedding and the other with a girlfriend for her to try on dresses, and they treated me badly then as well.

Needless to say, I left and almost didn’t go to the third bridal salon, but I am glad I did.  The sales people were very kind, they had a lot for me to try on, in my size, and I didn’t have to have an appointment.  I even found the dress of my dreams. 


Page Last Updated October 11, 2008