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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.)

Jan-Jun 2000 Archive
Jun-Dec 2000 Archive
2000 Archive
2001 Archive


This wedding happened 11 years ago, a year after my husband and I were married.

My husband had worked closely in college at a theme park with a very tight group of friends. They are all really delightful people, though we have lost touch with them.

We were invited to 'Laurie's' wedding, which was 3 hours from our home. We were thrilled to attend.

We were given 2 choices for hotel was the very elegant and expensive hotel that the reception was in, and one was a reputable chain. This chain has a hotel in my hometown so I had a good feeling about it. As it was about $100 a night cheaper, we went with that.

Upon arriving at the hotel, which actually turned out to be a motel, we found the clerk spoke no English. It took 10 minutes for him to figure out who we were. He pointed us in the direction of our room. To give you an idea of how grotesque this motel was, we had to step over vomit in the stairwell. It was still there an hour later after we informed the desk clerk. When we got into the room, to my horror, I found that the room was DISGUSTING. Now, I am an avid camper, I have a cluttered, but clean, home and I am not one to get disgusted easily. I work in the medical field, so it takes a lot to turn my stomach. There were cobwebs in the corners(big enough for me to notice when I walked in the door), the rug was filthy, there was toothpaste in the drippy sink, and the SHEETS HAD NOT BEEN CHANGED FROM THE PREVIOUS VISITORS. They had only just MADE THE BED WITH DIRTY SHEETS. Truly, it would take my sheets at home 3 weeks to get as filthy as these sheets were(if I let my sheets go that long, which I don't). It was so gross that it became funny. We decided to sleep on top of the bed, and I pulled a car blanket out of the car to sleep under(when the car blanket is better than the bed, you wonder why you paid for the motel room). The bride did not know how bad the place was, apparently, and had sent some lovely arrangements to anyone staying in the rooms there. We did NOT ruin her wedding by telling her what the place was like. I hope she never found out.

We arrived at the wedding, which was one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever gone to. The flower arrangements were lovely. When we got to the luxurious hotel, however, we found that the hotel had not planned for all the guests and there were not enough places to sit! The younger folks like us just stood for the whole reception and drank from the champagne bubbling cake, and giggled together about the rooms where we were all staying...

I don't know if the bride even knew that there were not enough places to sit, I hope she thought everyone was just socializing!


When my boyfriend and I decided to get married I was in graduate school and he was just starting out at a job. So we tried our best to cut costs where possible. Some things worked out, others didn't. Those that didn't are what I'd like to share now. Some people say that music makes the wedding. I should have listened. In an effort to save costs we hired a DJ who was a friend of the family (I use this term quite loosely) and was willing to play for an incredible rate because he only did DJing on the side. We met with him in plenty of time before the wedding to go over his selections and we both noticed at the time that he smelled strongly of alcohol. But we both agreed after the meeting that he was probably just nipping a little to relax after a long day. Big mistake. The day of the wedding arrives and so does the DJ - already smelling of alcohol and with a suspicious bulge in his coat pocket where I suspect he was keeping his "stores". Though I had gone over the bridal party list with him several times before in emails and phone calls he still requested my attention before the party was announced. We went over the names again and the way to pronounce all the names, which weren't difficult, and he still was having trouble. I was slightly worried but thought, we just went over it so he'll be fine. He got our names right, thank goodness. And he did well for the first couple. Just as I was ready to breathe a sigh of relief, it all went downhill. He proceeded to mispronounce every name after that, to the point that the couples just stood there and didn't know whether they should wait for him to try again or just let it slide even though no one in the room had any clue who they really were. And for every mistake, someone in the crowd would laugh or yell out the correct name, which just made the DJ more nervous and more prone to screw up again. He blurred last names together, mixed up vowels, and put letters on names that shouldn't have been there. For example Griffith became Cliffith because we also had a Clifford, who became Grifford. You get the picture. I really think hooked on phonics would've worked for this guy. If only I'd known. Luckily he did not screw up after that and the music was played without a hitch, but I think this was due to the fact that I'd had enough insight to burn a few CDs which he could just pop in and play. What's almost as bad is that a family member of my husband had agreed to video the wedding as his gift to us and he got all of the DJ antics on tape - but the camera battery ran out just as we were about to cut the cake - a moment I really would have liked to have since we really "worked" the crowd for that one. My advice to anyone trying to budget is there's something to be said for trying to save money on weddings, but sometimes you just need to suck it up and deal and pay the cost because you'll definitely be better off.


Hello! I just love your website; When I feel so incredibly frustrated with planning my wedding, I go to read one of your stories and realize that my wedding life isn't that bad... However, I do have one long story that may fit into your tacky vendors section! My fiancé and I are both very young (I will be 20 in March, and he is 21) so we're used to getting lectured every so often about getting married so young, but one wedding shop went way beyond anything that was their business. My fiancé "Joe" is in the military, so after he proposed to me about 2 years ago, I moved to the town he was stationed at so I could be with him more. We decided to get an apartment together to save money and because I hate living alone. We decided about 6 months ago to have the wedding in March, and I didn't have a car, so most of our planning has been done through online vendors. I found the most perfect dress at a discount store online that was about half of what I expected to pay for a wedding gown. I loved it so much I wanted to order it the minute I saw it, but I needed to be measured so that I could order the right size. As I have said, I didn't have a car, so I found it a great convenience that there was a bridal shop just around the corner from my apartment. The first day that I went into the shop, I entered a tiny little room full of UGLY dresses. There weren't any clerks around, but I figured someone must have heard the bell ring when I came in, so I looked through the books of dresses they had lying around. None of the dresses looked like anything I would ever wear. I waited for about a half hour, no one came out to assist me so I left. The next day I returned, and explained that I had been there before, but no one came out. The woman accused me of LYING to her about the situation (what would I gain from that?)I just brushed it off and explained that I already had a dress picked out, and I only needed to be measured. She said I might as well just get the dress there because they could probably accommodate me for less money. I thought less is good, so I agreed to try on a few dresses. I described my dress to her in full detail. Short cap sleeves, empire waist, royal train, and very little beadwork/sequins. She asked how much the other vendor wanted- okay, fair question, she wanted to beat the competition. I told her, and she went on a rampant about how much that is and why would I ever pay that much for a dress on and on... So she proceeds to bring me the gawdiest dresses with awful sequins and beads all over them, nothing at all like I described, and they were very cheaply made. I told her very politely I didn't like the dresses, and she seemed very offended, and criticized me for buying it online for such "an awful amount of money" Then, while her assistant was taking my measurements they found out through small talk that I had moved here to live with my fiancé, and proceeded to lecture me about living with him, and moving away from my parents, and getting married so young.. They even asked me "Do you really think this is what God wants you to do???" Okay, now that truly offended me! I'm a very religious person, and I actually DID pray about it before I moved. I told them so and left. I wish that were it, but I needed to go back to get alterations done, since there were no other shops in this area who would do it. I got my dress months before the online vendor had promised and it was so beautiful! I took my dress back to the shop on the day of my appointment for alterations, and as soon as I stepped inside the criticism began about how I'm not listening to God's will, and I paid too much for the dress.. which they said as they opened the garment bag "OH we have a dress JUST like that one!" (Uh, I think not!), and why was I getting everything done so soon, and why would I pay $40 for a pair of shoes that was too big (my feet are very large, and sometimes they swell so I got shoes a size larger, and had to use inserts for the fittings) and what good is a degree in psychology (yes, they were criticizing my school too) it just seemed that EVERYTHING I did offended these people, and just walking into the shop was enough for a lecture. Half the stuff wasn't even any of their business- it was as if they wanted me to drive to the next town (an hour away) to support their competitors!!!! They also wanted me to buy special expensive undergarments, which I truly didn't need because my dress doesn't have a low back or neckline, and it has sleeves, so of course they argued with me about that for a quarter of an hour. Needless to say, I worked with another store for my bride's maid dresses!!!


When I started planning my wedding, one of my priorities was hiring a good band, so I was calling local booking agencies asking for demo tapes of jazz bands within our price range. Most people were great, but one of the bookers kept me on the phone for over 15 minutes, playing demos of two of his bands (which were either a)not jazz or b) not in our price range anyhow). I told him I was calling from work and asked him to just pass on some tapes, and he asked for my home phone # (I wouldn't give it to him) and started to lecture for me calling when I couldn't give the conversation my full attention!

But the fun didn't end there. He followed up our conversation with an email saying that I "seemed to lack focus" and "Here's a tip: you need to know what you want" before calling vendors. I considered writing back, "Here's a tip: don't lecture people who are considering hiring you on their phone manners."

And no, I never got any tapes from him.


Here's yet another story to add to the throng. Thank you for hours of entertainment, by the way!

My fiancée and I are getting married at the end of July, so we started registering this month (February-March). One of the places we decided to register was a well-known store where practically everyone in town registers. I figured we'd register there too-- after all, they have a few nice things there that meet both of our tastes.

We finished entering our names into the store computer, and waited while it printed out the necessary forms. We took the forms to the desk behind us, where the woman there gave us a disgusted glare and told us to take the forms to the home department. I figured, no big deal, I've worked in retail and know how easy it can be to get in a bad mood. :)

At the home department, I showed my forms to the woman behind the counter. She said she couldn't help me, and the only woman who could was on her dinner break, and would I mind waiting five minutes while she finished eating? I told her that would be fine. So, we waited. After about ten minutes, the woman (with no other customers during our waiting time) wandered off. She came back to ask if I had the forms (which I just showed her, not ten minutes ago), wandered off again, and came back again to say that it'd be another five minutes.

So, we looked around the store a while, and ended up back at the counter again. After twenty (yes!) minutes, the woman (who still hadn't had any other customers) glares at us and says, "Oh, are you still here?" and tells us that she'll go check on the other woman eating dinner. Ten minutes later, she wanders back saying that she can't find the other woman, and she has no idea where she could have gone. She calls over another associate to ask if she knew where this other woman went. After a quick, "No," they continued to have a personal conversation in front of us, as if we weren't there!

I waited another ten minutes, without being acknowledged. Fed up, we left. I doubt they even noticed. Needless to say, we registered elsewhere, and it's highly unlikely that this store will get any of my business again.


What follows is a true account of my wedding; only the names have been changed... I got married late in life. I had a wonderful friend, Will, whom I'd known for almost 30 years. We'd been friends, briefly lovers, and dear friends again for all that time. He and his wife Jane were among our very closest friends. And happily, Will was a mail-order minister, authorized to officiate at weddings. I wanted the four of us to go away for the weekend to some lovely place and do the deed privately. But my beloved, Mark, has two wonderful grown daughters and he wanted them to be there. So we decided to have a very small gathering at the home of some good friends. (I wasn't about to parade down an aisle in a big white dress - my friends would have died laughing!) We e-mailed back and forth with Will, discussing the features we wanted - an informal but meaningful event. Mark wore a morning suit, I wore a lovely long dress and jacket, and I filled our friends' house with flowers. We wanted to write our own vows, and I told Will that he would have to "feed" them to us because my beloved would probably be in tears and I didn't trust my own memory. We each wrote brief, profound statements and I both e-mailed and snailed them to Will. The night before, we had a "rehearsal" dinner - no rehearsal, just the dinner! - at a nice restaurant. Will assured us that he had our vows in his breast pocket. Came our wedding day and we all gathered at our friends' house for champagne and hors d'oeuvres. There were about 18 of our nearest and dearest. At the appointed time, we all gathered in the living room. Will planted himself in front of the fireplace, we stood in front of him facing each other, and the wedding began. Our friends are singers, so we had lovely music, a reading or two, comments and advice from my mom, sister, and friends, and then Will said, "Rose and Mark have written their own vows and will now recite them to each other!" Then he folded his hands and beamed beatifically at us. Ooops. I turned to him for the following exchange: "Will, you're supposed to feed them to us, remember?" "I am? I can't." "Why not?" "I don't have them. I don't know where they are." "You had them last night; where are they?" "I don't know - probably in my other jacket." "Well, we don't have them memorized..." At that point, one of our friends spoke up and mentioned seeing a folder marked "WEDDING" on top of the piano. My beloved remarked that we probably had copies of our vows in that folder; he trotted over to the piano, riffled through the folder, and cried, "Eureka!" He came back to the fireplace, handed the two sheets of paper to Will, took his place by my side, and our wedding resumed. The only change was that our family and friends were all on the floor! I've always believed that a good sense of humor and perspective is absolutely critical to survival, and am convinced that our married life started out on exactly the right foot; my wedding was exactly the way I wanted it to be, faux pas and all. Will and Jane became even dearer to us - in fact, we invited them along on our honeymoon three months later, in a borrowed house on Maui, and we had a wonderful time. Anyone can have a perfect wedding, and spend months agonizing and fighting over every minor detail, to pull off an event that will be indistinguishable from all the other perfect weddings. It's the glitches that make it distinctive and yours. We planned ours in a little more than a month and I wouldn't have done it any differently.


I was playing piano and organ for the church wedding of a dear friend--F. was a member of the church choir at our parish and took her faith and prayer life very seriously, and she and her fiancé put most of the heart and soul of their planning into having a truly beautiful and warm music-filled wedding ceremony that would reflect their own faith, in a church where they truly felt they belonged. (Not that a bride who simply "chooses a pretty church" would deserve what happened either; this just makes it more tragic.)

They had hired a videographer who was rather prominent in our Midwestern city to chronicle their wedding, and in fact the company's owner himself came to take the photos rather than sending one of his assistants. The pastor and I both touched base with him prior to the wedding, as was our custom, to make certain he had everything he needed and was aware of the parish's "suggested locations" for a videographer to stand during weddings. (Yes, we were one of THOSE churches...we were more concerned with the family and guests having a good experience In The Moment than with the videographer Getting A Good Movie by standing in front of the Groom's father or having his camera in the bride's face during the vows. So we had guidelines.) F. had given him the guidelines previously, though he asserted that she hadn't, and he was visibly annoyed to be informed that he would not be able to stand in what he believed to be the best spot. (the best spot would have blocked sightlines for at least 7 guests) We also (as was our custom) asked him if he would be using wireless microphones for any of the ceremony, as our church's sound system had had problems in the past when two different microphones battled each other for the same frequency. (Not to get too technical, but this is just a sound equipment phenomenon resulting in horrible static, popping, and sound cutting in and out. It can be avoided by changing one of the wireless mics to a different frequency. Think of a radio picking up two stations simultaneously.) We asked that he make CERTAIN he'd had a good sound check with all of the microphones prior to the ceremony. He snapped back that of course he would, there would be no problem.

Naturally...there was a problem. By the time the first prayers were spoken, the system was hissing and popping horribly, and the pastor's voice was cutting in and out. Whenever anyone sang above a whisper, a high pitched feedback whine would start to build. Two of us repeatedly went over to him and asked him to turn OFF all of his microphones, and after attempting to simply ignore us (we church staff people are very good at politely getting into people's faces) again rudely snapped that yes, they were all off. (I am trying to be somewhat unbiased here, but he was really terribly rude. In my book, Professionals Don't Curse At Other Professionals. We'll leave it at that.) The problems continued, until even the pastor briefly stopped the ceremony to ask out loud, before the entire congregation, "Would the videographer please make certain that all of his microphones are turned off, as they are causing problems with the sound in the church." He gave no appearance of having heard the request. Finally, about two thirds of the way through the service, with no improvement whatsoever (I was weeping inside that this prayerful musician bride was having any hope of beautiful music at her wedding completely obliterated), I saw a little red light peeping out from under the pulpit, where Videoguy had taped it. I quietly walked up, found the "off" switch, and flipped it. Problem solved. For the remaining 15 minutes, the music was perfect and lovely. The photographer never commented or acknowledged that there had been any problem and was as rude to the couple when they addressed it after the ceremony as he had been to us.

Since then I have wasted no opportunity to mention this story and his name to any local couples looking for a photographer, and have in fact encountered THREE other horror stories about the same man from other couples. One wonders how "prominent" photographers like this get to be so prominent...


I am not a small woman. I freely admit that, and don't have a problem with it. But as any larger woman who has ever had to go and try on bridal gowns knows, the sample sizes don't come close to fitting us larger ladies. I had gone home to where I grew up and had a successful shopping trip with my bridesmaids to try on dresses, and blessedly found a shop that carries plus sized dresses in plus-sized sample sizes. I tried on a bunch, but there was one dress I liked that they didn't have a larger sample in, and only had the regular-size sample for. I hadn't found anything perfect that day, so I wrote down the sample information and figured I'd call around in my local area to see if anyone had one I could try on.

I finally found a store that said they had the dress in a size that was a little big for me, but would give me a good idea of how it would look. They also had my two other "finalists" and I figured I'd be able to make my decision once and for all. I asked them to hold them for me and told them I'd be there that night (about 7 hours later). I picked up a friend and drove about 80 minutes to the burbs to the store. When I arrived, we had to wait for half an hour from our scheduled time to get someone to wait on us. They weren't busy - the sales girl was gabbing on the phone with a friend (not a customer). Finally, when she came to talk with us, I told her I had three dresses on hold. She went to get them and I went to the dressing room.

She brought me the three dresses. When I went to try them on, only one was one of the ones I had asked for, and it wasn't the one I was running around trying to find - it was one I had already tried on. I asked the salesgirl if there'd been a mistake and gave her the list of style numbers. She went to look and came back and told me that they didn't have the other two dresses. I asked her why they said they had them 7 hours before, and why they told me that they'd hold them. She said that the one I'd been desperately looking for they had SOLD the sample of that afternoon. I was speechless. I'd asked them to hold it and told them I was coming all that way specifically for that dress, and they sold the sample? I figure they never had the sample at all and had just wanted to get me in.

Then I asked what these other two dresses were for, and she said the ticket had said three dresses, so she just grabbed two more for me to try on. They were size 8 sample dresses that didn't even come in my size, and they were strapless - which anyone who had looked at what I'd asked for would have known was totally inappropriate. But I gave her the benefit of the doubt, thinking she was trying to be helpful, until she let out the kicker.

I told her thanks, but no thanks, and got ready to shut the curtain and change into normal clothes (all the while apologizing to the friend I'd dragged all that way for nothing on a weeknight). The sales girl gave a huff (as if I'd offended her by not trying on her "choices") and said, "You know, sweetie, if you'd only lose some weight you wouldn't have such troubles finding a dress."

I'm not sure where this story fits. It'd probably be best in "Weddings from Hell", but if you had a "Clergy from Hell" section, this one would definitely be a shoo-in. A few years ago, a dear friend of mine and her fiancé were planning their wedding. Both were Catholic (and you'll see why I say "were" in a moment), and both were careful to comply with all the requirements of that denomination prior to marrying: pre-Cana marriage counseling, Engagement Encounter, meetings with their parish wedding coordinator, the whole nine yards. My friend told me that she and her husband-to-be wanted a wedding that was holy and blessed, a true sacrament, as well as a big party for friends and family.

Well, a couple of weeks before the wedding, the bride-to-be found out she was about a month pregnant. She and her fiancé had "just sorta jumped the gun" after a romantic dinner, and it had been the first time for her. Oh, well ... they're certainly not the first couple to do so, and it didn't lessen their commitment to each other, and as devout Christians, they knew that God would forgive their impetuosity, and that the baby was His gift and blessing. A month-old pregnancy doesn't show, and the pregnancy in no way affected their plans for the wedding. The dress didn't even need to be altered. The church was ready, the bridesmaids' dresses were good to go, the groomsmen were outfitted -- everything was set for the big day.

And then my friend and her fiancé made their big mistake. Three days before the wedding, during a final check with the elderly nun who was their parish's wedding coordinator, the fiancé mentioned that my friend was pregnant, and that they were thrilled. The nun almost had a heart attack. She left the parish office where they were meeting and ran to tell the priest, a man from Spain who was even older than the nun, who came storming back to the office to screech at the terrified couple that they were going to hell, and that he wasn't going to marry two people who were living in sin (my friend and her fiancé were certainly not living together), and that God had punished them for their evil. Huh? A new life is punishment? It was all my friend's fiancé could do to calm down the priest, and he agreed to marry them only after much pleading and begging.

The ceremony was lovely, and the bride and her bridesmaids were beautiful, the groom and his attendants handsome and elegant. Everything would have been perfect but for the awful, frowning, glaring cleric at the altar, who never cracked a smile and whose homily was almost entirely about the sinful couple who had to get married because the bride was in the family way and wouldn't this be a wonderful event otherwise? Too bad the bride and groom couldn't contain their lustful impulses, and well, they were paying for it now. The bride was in tears, the groom was ready to punch out the priest, and the parents of the couple -- both sides -- were steaming. The reception was similarly gloomy, with lots of strained smiles and guests very kindly making small talk about anything but the nasty Spanish jerk sitting at the head table and the "happy" couple trying hard to maintain their composure.

And how did I learn of all this? Well, I'm the coordinator of my Lutheran church's New Members classes, and this couple, who are now dear friends, came to the church where I work just before the birth of their second child, asking to be received as new Lutherans. Apparently, the priest who married them also baptized their child, and he spoke at length at the baptism about "the child conceived in sin, whose stain would now be washed away by Holy Baptism." After that one, my friends swore that it'd be a cold day in hell before they let another Catholic priest touch a child of theirs. They've been members of my church for the past five years now, and they're real assets to our community. A couple of weeks ago, they had me over for dinner, and for an after-dinner treat we watched the video of their wedding, complete with glaring priest, nasty, vicious sermon, and tension-filled reception. I would not have believed that any so-called man of God could be so cruel if I hadn't seen and heard the proof. Good grief!


My family was raised in a fundamentalist church which does not allow instrumental music, dancing, drinking, or women's active participation in services (other than singing). We have never been particularly fundamentalist ourselves, and in fact the whole family has now left that church, except for my brother and his wife, whose wedding I would like to tell you about.

My brother (I'll call him Bob) met his charming wife (I'll call her Mary) at church, and when they decided to marry, in keeping with family tradition, planned a very simple but lovely do-it-yourself style ceremony and reception at the same church. My aunt, a terrific cook, catered the reception; Mary's mom is a wonderful seamstress and sewed the bridesmaids' gowns and her daughter's Victorian-style dress. The church choir provided a cappella music. The senior preacher at the church was to officiate.

Everything was beautiful and went smoothly, until it came time for the elderly preacher's little sermon. It started out harmlessly enough, with the usual blessings and happy talk about love. Then, without warning, the preacher went off on a bizarre and offensive tangent. "It's so wonderful that Mary is bringing herself, as a virgin, to Bob, offering her untouched body before God as a wife and a mother. Because it is her Christian responsibility to bear him many children and bring them up as Christians. Mary must answer to Bob just as Bob must answer to God one day for her behavior. As her husband, he is now responsible for her." It just went on and ON. Now, I had been going to this church all my life and NEVER heard anything like this. Judging from the expressions on my brother's and his bride's faces, neither had they. Furthermore, at this time, Bob and Mary had decided that they would not be having children (and later discovered they couldn't --- so imagine how painful these words are to them now). Mary was glaring DAGGERS at my brother (she wasn't allowed to talk, you see, except to exchange the vows) and he was shifting foot to foot nervously, licking his lips, and (as he told us later) wondering how he could interrupt the preacher and get him off this awful tangent. Neither of them had any idea the old guy would go off like this! He'd said nothing of the sort during their counseling sessions! Thankfully, he finally moved on to more benign topics and the wedding finished without further incident.

The entire family was both amused and horrified. Some of our less charitable and more mischievous relatives took revenge at the reception by asking the fundamentalist preacher questions they knew would unsettle him, such as, "So where's the organ?" and "How come y'all don't have any statues of the saints in here? Kind of plain, isn't it?" or "Did you leave your robes at the dry cleaners?". I wanted to shake his hand and tell him how I excited I was to learn that my poor future husband was going to have to answer to God on my behalf, since that meant I could pretty much get away with anything and I was going to go have a nice big beer right away. (My mother wisely restrained me). My brother had a few words with the preacher when they got back from the honeymoon, and the poor old guy apologized. He really hadn't meant to embarrass anybody; he just got on a roll, or so he thought!


I will never forget a wedding reception I attended about 10 years ago. As the bride and groom were announced (in true "Monster Truck Rally" fashion), the guests greeted them with Arsenio Hall-style arm pumping and whooping. After dinner, the team of DJs began a laser light show complete with a strobe light and smoke machine. Finally, for reasons that were never revealed, these DJs put on mariachi sleeves and latex Richard Nixon masks (?!?!) before leading the conga line under the limbo bar. At this point someone began handing out plastic leis and fluorescent colored sunglasses (most of the pictures of the reception show the bride with a pair of pink sunglasses tucked into the front of her gown). As we choked on smoke from the smoke machine and watched all the Richard Nixon clones dance past us, my date whispered to me: "LSD could add nothing to this experience." He was so right.


For my wedding I used one of our local DJ's. First off, I had booked one DJ with the company...and then 8 months later when I went to turn in my final payment the happened to tell me that the DJ that I had hired had left 3 months ago, and that I was assigned a new DJ. Not wanting to add extra stress to an already crazy process, I agreed. On the wedding day when we arrived at the reception we found that our new DJ was someone we had gone to high school with. He immediately started hitting on my Maid of Honor whom we also went to school with. All throughout the reception he was trying to get her attention. Because of this he played songs that we had asked him not to, forgot to announce events like the toast from our best man and cake cutting, and completely left out the money dance. Finally by the end of the reception he had bugged my maid of honor enough to get her to agree to a dance. We used a videographer that was associated with the DJ company, and I guess the two had been planning together to get a shot of the DJ dancing with my best friend. When we finally got our video back, there's a spot about a minute long of my DJ dancing with my MOH and he has the goofiest look ever on his face. I wouldn't doubt that he does this at many weddings and keeps little clips from each video as a record of girls he thinks he's impressing. I would never refer that company to anyone!!


This is about a bad pastor.... My friends got married this past July, 2001. I was one of the wedding coordinators. At the rehearsal, the pastor was not very nice...getting mad when we were just trying to have some fun on a hot day. The wedding went very well...everything was beautiful. It wasn't until later, that the couple watched the video of their wedding. The pastor had a microphone on, so the cam-corder could pick up the ceremony. As one of the groomsmen or bridesmaids walked down the aisle (we'll never know because the camera was pointed on the pastor), the pastor exclaimed into the microphone, "Look at that sh*t-eating grin." A little inappropriate? I think so!


We had planned on having the best man and the man of honor make a toast, and then have the bride and groom (us) say a few brief words to thank everyone for being there. Our DJ asked us beforehand if it would be ok with us if other people asked to toast too. We said sure why not, and left it at that. How the DJ handled the toasting was HORRIBLE. Without calling the best man up to the dance floor (or somewhere central), he handed the microphone to the Best Man, who gave his speech standing near his table. Then the best man, clueless without any instruction, just passed the microphone onward to his brother, seated at a nearby table. He said a few sweet words, and then passed the mic. People were cringing and squirming in their seats hoping the microphone wouldn't be thrown at them next. The DJ did nothing, in fact he urged this passing of the microphone by constantly saying "Anyone else??" after each flabbergasted person was done speaking! It was like a freaking' alcoholics anonymous meeting. I think about 10-12 people spoke. It was sooooo embarrassing. I have to admit, what people said was priceless, but it was just conducted SOOOOO poorly. By the time the mic had made it around the room and back to our table, the "toasting" had gone on for so long that even though we had planned on each of us saying a few sentences to our guests to thank them for sharing our wedding day, we felt obligated to make it super-brief after all our poor guests had been through. Thanks a lot, Mr. DJ.

When my now-husband and I were planning our 1993 wedding, we were both pretty new in town. We needed a pastor to marry us but didn't know anybody to ask yet. Word got out at my husband's job of our wedding plans, and a co-worker approached him and said we must let him perform the ceremony; he wouldn't take no for an answer, he had a license and had performed weddings before and was only too happy to help. We were grateful and thought, "Super! What a great guy! One less thing to worry about." Months passed by and as time was getting closer, my fiancé and I had figured out how we wanted our vows to read. We kept making plans to meet with this great guy, but he always had something else to do, and one time simply stood us up. Finally, a week before the wedding, we were desperate.... My fiancé found out THROUGH ANOTHER CO-WORKER that this great guy "had no intention of marrying us and he never wanted anything to do with it and wanted us to get off his back." There aren't words in my vocabulary for a class act such as this. (Doesn't stop me from trying to come up with the perfect combination, though.) Lucky for us, my then-boss's pastor agreed to meet with us, and he kindly married us 7 days later. If I could have told that sleaze off, it might have helped. But my husband insisted he had to work (i.e. get along) with this creep so don't tick him off. But that bridge was worth burning, IMO.


First of all, I love your website...I nearly went blind one weekend reading every single entry! I'm not sure which category this falls into, and it's going to be fairly long, but here goes.

My husband, "Tim", and I got engaged in June of 1992, and his mother threw us a small, family-only engagement party several weeks later. She planned this party so that my husband's sister, who lives on the west coast, would be present, as she would be visiting the Midwestern city we lived in. It was a nice party, with my husband's extended family in attendance. After we had finished eating the delicious barbecue his mother had prepared, she gives my husband the nod, and he stands up and announces that we're engaged. Immediately, the boyfriend of Tim's cousin, "Marla", says "We're engaged, too." Tim and I kind of look at each other, wondering what the heck he was thinking, but that branch of the family is very competitive, so they probably didn't want us to be "ahead" of them in any way.

We get down to the business of planning our wedding, and choose to get married the Saturday before Thanksgiving in 1993. Tim's cousin and her fiancé, "Joe" decide they're getting married in June of the same year. Tim's aunt, "Mary", who is Marla's mother, offers to make our wedding cake as her gift to us. This was a very nice offer, as she used to have her own cake shop, and is capable of professional-quality work. She has us come over to her house several times about six months before the wedding to look through books and magazines to choose the type of cake we'd like. Early on, it became apparent that we had different ideas of what type of cake Tim and I were going to have. We wanted something with several tiers, and pillars and flowers and the usual decorations between each tier....pretty much a typical wedding cake. Mary kept pushing a tiered cake, but each tier sat on it's own plate, and the plates were set up lazy-susan style, with a post going up the center. We didn't care for that style. She finally agreed to make the type of cake we wanted, and told us to go out and purchase the pillars, topper, and any other decorations we wanted for the cake.

Marla and Joe's wedding takes place at the end of June, and it starts half an hour late, takes way too long, and then the guests sit for another forty-five minutes to an hour in the reception hall while the wedding party has their pictures taken. Apparently they bought into that silly superstition about the groom not seeing the bride before the wedding. Waiting around that long gave me plenty of time to check out Marla and Joe's cake, which had been made by a friend of Mary. It was very elaborate, with at least four tiers, pillars between the tiers, little stairs going off to the side of the third tier that led to yet another tiered and pillared cake. After that, it was obvious to me that Mary didn't want us to have anywhere near as nice a cake as Marla and Joe. Oh, did I mention that Tim's mother called him a week before Marla's wedding to remind him to go get fitted for the tuxedo he was going to wear as an usher in the wedding? Fine, except for the fact that it was the first Tim heard of even being in the wedding! He had to scramble around and rearrange his work schedule in order to attend the rehearsal, then had the last-minute expense of paying to rent the tux. My feeling is that they had someone else lined up, but they canceled so they just threw it at Tim. So, we got through their wedding and proceed with the planning of ours.

As our wedding approaches, we have more meetings with Mary about our wedding cake, and cannot see eye to eye on how many people the cake should be large enough to serve. Mary said she had a formula based on the number of people invited that she could use to figure out how many servings of cake should be provided. I know this is standard practice in the catering business, but my mother said that we needed to provide cake for everyone invited. Tim and I could see the logic of this, so he called his aunt and told her. She resisted, saying that would mean she'd have to purchase more cake mixes than she'd originally planned, but my mom said she would pay for the additional cake mixes. Mary immediately refused that offer, and agreed to make the cake the size we asked for.

Three weeks before our wedding, Mary calls Tim at work to tell him she can't make our cake after all. She gave no reason other than, "It's just not going to work out", and left us in kind of a lurch, as we had not allowed for the cost of a cake in our wedding budget. Luckily, my mother purchased our cake. It was from one of the best bakeries in the city, and exactly what we wanted.

One year and two days after we got married, I gave birth to our first baby. Marla had their first baby one week before I had ours, then she got pregnant again six months later. Six months after the birth of their second baby, Joe leaves Marla because he's impregnated the Hispanic woman he's cheating on Marla with. The fact that she's Hispanic would be unimportant, except that in addition to being competitive, that branch of the family is also very prejudiced, so the fact that she was of another race just worsened the blow.


I don't know where this one will fit in, to be honest. I got married in my home state but planned things from where I was living at the time with the help of my mother (who is one of the only reasons I had a "big" wedding in the first place), my step-mom, and my mother in law. We agreed to keep things small, I asked a friend from high school to be my MOH....she did a good job. It's her mother that was the problem. My MOH's mother is a seamstress, and we asked her to sew our dresses. No big deal, my mom paid for the supplies and the dresses turned out beautiful. Now comes MY dress. I arrived in town a week before the wedding. MOH's mom takes my measurements and 2 or 3 days later has most of the dress done, not exactly what I originally pictured for my dress, but it's stunning and better. Great, right? I found a veil to go with things and it's a little too light to go with the dress. No problem MOH's mom says, I have a friend who can fix that. Fast forward to the day of the wedding now. MOH has had 5 more days to work on veil and dress, but instead decides to spend her time on other affairs (harassing her ex in court after turning him in for switching license plates on his car). So morning of the wedding she wakes up with a migraine and gets a late start on things. MOH and I are done with our hair and stop at her house to pick up dress and veil, they aren't there. MOH's grandma says mom barely left, and took the dress with her. MOH's mom takes the dress all over town to show it off to her friends before taking it to be fixed....the friend colors it almost brown, so it's ruined. After running for new tulle and other supplies, she makes it back to the house where we do a quick 45 minute millinery job. I end up making it in barely enough time to change and have a few pictures taken maybe 90 minutes before the ceremony. My mother is clearly upset from the fact that I am so late, and it takes nearly ten years now to get her to understand things. Been married 11 years now, and it still bugs my mom, it became a big issue when my sister got married last year...and that's another story all together..............................


My Best friend since high school was getting married, I'll call her "J" and I was honored to be a part of the wedding.

I got measured for my dress at a po-dunk low class bridal shop that the bride insisted on going to. The owner of the shop used to be a bartender and had no prior experience. Anyway they said they measured me at a very large size.....I told them it was wrong and they just looked at me like I was pathetic and said that is what I had to order and of course it cost a lot more. I was embarrassed and accepted I was 6 sizes bigger than I thought.

Anyway when the dress came in it fell off of me. I was in tears, I was very upset and the owner insisted I had lost weight and I told her if that was the case I'd had to buy a whole new wardrobe considering how the dress fit, which was not the case. I needed 12 inches off the hem, 6 inches off the waist and 8 inches off the bust. The dress needed to be totally remade.

The shop refused to reorder me another dress. They talked about moving straps on the dress and totally remaking it. Well I told the bride how upset I was and maybe she could talk to them about ordering another dress in a smaller size....

Well she called me back and told me that the owner had said I was a terrible customer. She was actually upset with ME! Then the bridal shop called and told me they refused to do my alterations. I was told later by a professional seamstress that it was probably close to impossible for them to do it and that the shop had ordered the larger size to ensure alteration money and they had gone way to far on mine and made a mistake they couldn't fix. Anyway I was obviously upset and crying on the phone begging the shop to fix the dress and I said "I have to get this fixed so I can be in "J's" wedding."

An hour later "J" called and told me the owner had told her I didn't want to be in her wedding anymore and "J" believed her. A total stranger. I assured her that was not the case. I called all over town to find a shop or seamstress to alter my dress. Many people refused saying it was too big of a job and was near impossible to promise it would look right. One woman agreed to do it and said she had experience with this kind of thing, but it would cost another hundred or more, but I was just relieved to find someone.

So I called "J" to tell her I found someone to fix the dress and not to worry. But she was on her way home from the shop with my dress and said she didn't want me in her wedding and I found out her overweight sister-in-law wore the dress and the bride ended our 13 year friendship because I wouldn't look right in a dress that was totally remade. To make matters worse, she shorted me when reimbursing me for the purchase of the dress and shoes.....


My friends and I were throwing a bridal shower for my best friend at what was supposed to be a very nice restaurant/catering hall. When we got there, we found out that they had double booked and therefore our party had to be held in the restaurant portion. This forced the guests of the other party to walk through the middle of our party to get to their room. The servers put out one pitcher of cola per table and then disappeared into the other room where they stayed until someone went to find them. the shower was to be from 12-4 and the meal was served as soon as the bride walked in at 12:30. at 1:30 we started opening gifts, which kept the bridal party and the mother of the bride from noticing that the cake was being served at 2 PM. At 2:30, the cake and presents were done, and even though guests were still milling about and drinking coffee the hostess for the restaurant started seating lunch patrons at the empty tables around our party room.

And the owner didn't understand why we were so angry...


I was married a few years ago in the spring. Because of my father's social and professional standing we had a larger wedding than any of us had ever considered, and we knew that the planning and coordination for such an elaborate event was beyond our experience. Because of this, we hired a wedding coordinator. This woman was The Coordinator From Hell, and we had nothing but problems with her. A sampling of the things she did includes: 1. She tried repeatedly to convince me to order a particularly hideous cake that she seemed to have her heart set on. We finally had to make an appointment with the baker without telling the coordinator, just so she would stop muddying the water about what we wanted. 2. We wanted silk flowers and she wanted fresh, so she lied to us about the price difference. 3. She took me to a local stationer's shop on a day when my mother couldn't go and browbeat me into choosing the invitations that she preferred, when there was nothing in any way tacky or objectionable about the invitations I preferred. 4. She never told us that the photographer wanted to meet with us in person, so we missed the opportunity to order extra wedding albums (we wanted two extra albums as gifts for our parents). Arranging to have the extra albums printed and assembled separately was significantly more expensive. 5. She flat out refused to provide us with contact information for the soloist that she insisted that I hire, which resulted in my having to ask an organist friend to fill in a week before the wedding and make arrangements for a rental organ (the original soloist played a brass instrument, so there hadn't been any provisions for an organ or piano). Thank god my friend didn't have plans! There were numerous other small irritations and headaches with this woman, luckily none of them ruined the day. I was under the impression that a wedding coordinator was someone who worked with you to smooth the way, rather than someone you had to work around in order to have a decent ceremony. To this day though, my family is glad we hired her. My mother and I were so busy trying to put out the fired that she set and so mutually disgusted by her lack of professionalism that we bonded together in loathing of The Coordinator From Hell and avoided all the unpleasantness that brides and their mothers normally faces!
Vendors 1110-02

This is a double whammy vendornista tale. I am an event coordinator for a gorgeous venue and I run both ceremonies and receptions at our site. My job is to coordinate the ceremonies, the catering, the timing of the events in the reception, the bar, the music, etc, but I am not involved in the early stages of planning (the gowns, the cake, the florist, etc.). So I'm not technically a "wedding planner. I do occasionally work with them, though. Most are terrific and provide immense support to brides, but I've run into a few that were just plain WEIRD. This is a story about the worst of them. The bride in this wedding was adorable and had placed her full confidence in the wedding planner (WP). Mercifully, the wedding was at a church and we were only holding the reception at our site. My first meeting with the WP was a month before the event. At that time she was concerned with decorating our venue. I should point out, the venue is a fabulously elegant, glamorous restored theater with carved angels on the ceiling and an ornate balcony overlooking a ballroom. It needs next to nothing in terms of decorations, and most brides just arrange for centerpieces on the tables. But this particular WP decided she didn't care for our speaker towers. We have a full stage with a red velvet curtain and on the sides of the stage are enormous black speaker towers used for concerts we hold. These speaker towers are something you see in any event hall that does music, and honestly the eye just tunes them out (next time you are in a concert hall you'll see what I mean.) They are there but you forget they are there. Not this WP. She decided she needed to decorate them. We'll get to what she did in moment. At the next meeting, two weeks before the event, the bride, the WP and myself sat down and began discussing table arrangements. The caterer then arrived to join us. This woman was not a professional caterer and was someone who had volunteered to cater the event as she knew the WP from church. I asked whether they planned on having a buffet or a formally served dinner and the WP informed me they were having BOTH. It turns out the WP had convinced the bride that she should reward guests who RSVP'd early with formal dining and waitstaff, but the other guests who did not RSVP as quickly were to be in a buffet line. The guest list was only 175 people, with half to be formally served and half to be left to self-serve. Now there is nothing wrong with a buffet (I personally think they are terrific) but they were utterly CLUELESS to the fact that they were creating a class system within the reception. Our venue is a big open ballroom with a balcony and the banquet tables are all set out in the main ballroom. There was no way guests were not going to notice they hadn't made the A list on food. To make matters worse, the caterer was bizarrely hostile towards both the bride and the WP. Perhaps she had already figured out the WP was out of her mind. After a gentle discussion with the bride I helped her realize she was risking ostracizing half her guests and we adjusted the catering to where she had the wedding party formally served, but everyone else was buffet. At this point the caterer began a tirade about how she had planned a sit down dinner, would only cook enough food to serve people once and that was that. She was downright MEAN to the bride about it. Now comes the day of the wedding. The reception was scheduled to start at 7pm. I opened the theater at noon to allow everyone to come do their thing. By 3:30 PM I began to get nervous as the WP hadn't been by yet. Well she arrived just before 4pm and proceeded to hand me a stack of chair covers and sashes for half the chairs (the half that would have had formal dining) and began decorating. The speakers. She asked for a ladder and then placed flowerpots along the tops of the speakers. And then came the tulle. Yards and yards and yards of tulle. By the time she was done the speakers were, well . . . remember those little Kleenex ghosts you made as a kid in gradeschool? They were like those. Thirty foot tall Kleenex ghosts with flowerpots on top. The ONLY thing you noticed when you walked into the ballroom was the speakers. H-i-d-e-o-u-s. Then the WP declared she didn't have time to do the chairscovers herself because she had to get to the church. I couldn't believe it. She hadn't arranged for anyone to do the work, showed up late and just left it there with me. I had my cleaning crew come back in and together we pressed out the chaircovers and tied the sashes on. I was tempted to have them take down the ghost towers to spare the bride, but there was no more time with the cake lady and the caterer all abuzz so I just let it ride. Did I mention the centerpieces? Plastic flowers. The WP brought plastic flowers in. Despite the weirdness we pulled off a lovely reception, and honestly, the bride and groom were so in love and so happy we could have had an earthquake and they'd have had a good time. But I cannot believe she actually PAID that WP. Or the caterer. The food? It was godawful. Macaroni and cheese and mushy chicken. I swear I am not making this up. One of the perks of my job is that my staff and I get to enjoy a lovely dinner and taste different caterers creations. That night I ordered pizza for us. The food was inedible. And the next day? The kitchen was left an absolute disaster, no one came to pick up decorations and I never heard from the WP or the caterer again. The bride called to thank us and said she had a wonderful time. I have no idea what she had to say to the WP or the caterer, but I hope she let them have it but good. One last thing. I saved the tulle from the speaker towers. We used it for our Halloween Ball =)

vendors 1109-02

Hi, love the site and I have a story of my own. For the rehearsal dinner the MotG,Sister of the groom, and bride-to-be walked all over little Italy in Baltimore. They find a restaurant they like, however the don't appreciated the managers attitude. Maybe he is a little bit chauvinistic, maybe he is just a jerk, but he gives them the limitations: they can only have a side of the restaurant, they can only be there for a certain amount of time, etc. The Mother of the Groom gets a ballpark price and says "Lets go with this" She then asks for a menu with specific pricing be faxed to her two days later. She gets nothing. She calls. No response. She calls again. Nothing. Very rude but she ends up finding an even better place not too far away (and right on the water). Note: this was before September 11th (back in March, 2001). The wedding was October 6th (right afterwards). The week before the wedding the first restaurant calls the Mother of the Groom (3 states away) and says "yes, we are calling to confirm your party of 50 for next Saturday?" After blowing us off for months they decide to beg for our business! The MotG simply replied "Oh I'm sorry, we never had any reservations. Good bye."

Vendors 1107-02

My fiancé and I got engaged in May 2002 and right away began to look for reception sites. We found a place that was only a block from our church that was beautiful and was in our price range and included everything. We have two friends who both had their receptions there and gave the place rave reviews, so we decided to use them for our reception. We made an appointment to go look at the ballroom on a Saturday afternoon. When we showed up, there was only one person at the site and the ballroom was empty and not set up. Everything still seemed ok so we told the lady we'd put down a deposit as soon as we could get a contract drawn up. She told us we'd need to make another appointment to come in on a day when the manager was there, because she was the only one who could do the contract with us. The lady wrote us in their calendar as having our reception on that date and told me the manager would call me that week to make our appointment.

I never heard from the manager, so after 2 weeks I started trying to call them to see what was going on. No one would answer the phone and no one ever returned my messages I left on their answering machine. Finally last month (5 months from when we first went and looked at the reception hall) I was able to get in touch with them. They finally told me that they didn't return my phone calls because the building was being sold and torn down in January and since my wedding was in July, they wouldn't be able to do our reception. Evidently they weren't going to call me and let me know that my reception was off! Now I'm just over 8 months away from my wedding and can't find a reception hall anywhere...thank God I hadn't put down my non-refundable deposit yet!

Vendors 1101-02

This is a wedding repeat/anniversary story. Our parents were about to celebrate their 25th. Our mother had always regretted that she and our dad had been too poor to have a wedding, and she'd missed out on a wedding cake, gown, and even pictures. (Her parents gave her siblings fancy weddings, but shrugged her off because she was the last to get married).

My sister and I were both teens at the time, but had jobs, so decided to surprise mom and dad with a repeat of their vows and a silver wedding anniversary reception. I must also mention that our mom was dying of cancer at this time, and we knew it would probably be her last anniversary celebration. We wanted to give her something special. A family friend offered to help. She gave us the use of her beautiful home and her silver punch and coffee sets. We were very grateful and said we'd set up, polish the silver, and clean up afterwards out of gratitude. She agreed that was fair, but then began using her generosity to take over the whole show. Being kids, and because we were grateful for being able to use her house, we kept quiet.

The problem was when we got to the wedding/anniversary cake. I wanted to use a local bakery that I knew mom liked, but the friend insisted we "had" to use her friend, who baked cakes out of her home. We protested but this was when she really bullied us. Told us we were ungrateful and ended up by telling us not to talk back to her. It was getting ugly and, as I've said, we were kids, so we caved. Turns out this baker chick was her best friend.

We went to order the cake and the baker friend was even worse than the family friend. Said all our ideas were "tacky." (We wanted pink - mom's favorite color -roses on the cake and the silver anniversary bride and groom cake topper we'd already bought). We ordered three tiers and she snapped that we wouldn’t be able to afford that. She kept calling us, "you kids" which annoyed me even more, although maybe she was right. If I'd been a grownup I'd have known to ask for a sample to taste and to get a contract.

Finally, I told her that we were paying for the cake ourselves, we DID have enough money, and to give us what we knew mom would want. She sniffed at us but took the order.

The reception and ceremony were beautiful and mom was in tears. The food was great and the cake was beautiful, in spite of our misgivings: the baker had given us what we'd ordered, with beautiful flowers and trailing vines. It was really a work of art.

Until mom and dad cut it. That baker had for some reason decided to "flavor" the cake and frosting with, of all ungodly things, PEPPERMINT, the mediciney-tasting kind of peppermint. It tasted HORRIBLE. Nobody wanted to eat it. People were trying to quietly dump their unfinished pieces in the trash. We ended up with two whole layers left over and had to throw them away, they tasted so bad.

Brides, when you order your cake, ask for a sample to taste and make sure the baker doesn't "get creative."

Still, mom and dad loved the whole thing, and she talked about it nearly every day till she finally passed away a year later.

Vendors 1027-02

We wanted a simple reception, just cake and punch, and we found a hotel with a lovely atrium complete with fountain and pool. The reception wasn't a disaster, but the hotel bungled every part of it that they were to take care of. We wanted a light-colored punch (in case of spills) and they brought bright red. We gave them our names for the sign out front. They never put them up. They promised their sound system could handle our CD's of carefully-chosen background music. All we got was static. Midway through the reception, just as I was about to throw my bouquet, some flunky came out and said the guests had drunk more punch than expected (20 gallons vs. 2 to 5). He presented me with a bill, for which he demanded on the spot payment. I had to send someone out to the car for my purse and write him a check then and there. Obviously he had never heard of not harassing the bride on her special day. We had booked a room at this same hotel for that night, before we left on our honeymoon. We had a suit on the 17th floor at the end of a long hallway. No offer help with the bags. The toilet flushed itself and gurgled all night. Not romantic. The front desk was not apologetic the next morning. When we got back from our short trip, we went in to ask them about the bill presented at the reception, since we still couldn't figure out how fewer than 200 people had drunk 20 gallons of punch during a very short reception. We were told that, yes, we were due a refund, and they would just apply it to our outstanding balance. Excuse me? We had paid every penny beforehand! We could prove that our check had cleared, but they had no record of it. Finally, it came to light that it had been deposited in the kitchen's account, so they finally did admit that we'd paid. Getting our refund (about $200) took six weeks, though. It took two person's signatures on the check, and each time my husband went in to check on it, one or the other was out. Finally he told them he would camp in their office every day for as long as it took. The next day, we had a check--but only just, as one of the people was about to go on vacation. We spent lots of time afterwards, telling all our marrying friends (and we had *lots*) not to use this place. We heard lots of horror stories from other people who'd been mistreated. The place no longer does weddings. Hmm. Wonder why?       Vendors 1023-02

This is a story about what was supposed to be a beautiful wedding but ended up being...well...less so. I think it should go under Wicked Witches, because of one evil wedding planner that decided to ruin my special day.

I decided to have a small wedding in Vegas (fiancé didn't want some of his relatives in attendance, I didn't want some of mine in attendance, and we didn't want to go nuts about all the traditional wedding stuff). Since we figured we'd be going there on our honeymoon anyway, we simply decided to add the wedding in and it'd probably cost the same amount. No attendants, no special ceremonies, just good old fashioned nuptials.

We contacted the wedding coordinator of the hotel we were staying in, and started setting everything up. We were to have our wedding on the first night of our stay and go on to one of the hotel restaurants for dinner. Then, our guests could do what they wanted with that evening, or for however long they wanted to stay. I later learned that the wedding coordinator was served divorce papers by her husband two weeks after she started on our wedding.

Nothing went right when we got there. We were supposed to be VIP's...didn't happen. We were supposed to have a dressing room set up right before the wedding...nope. Had to go up to our room and get dressed there, and then parade through the hotel until I got to the chapel. The wedding coordinator who was so friendly and bubbly on the phone was a cold, domineering woman who bore a striking resemblance to Janet Reno. She snapped at everyone, literally MARCHED through the afternoon rehearsal, doing everything herself. I asked a question, she snapped, "I don't have time to deal with your bullsh*t! Now GO STAND WHERE YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO!" During the ceremony itself, she stood in a corner, arms folded, glowering at everyone like a vulture. She hustled us off to our restaurant and left us...our reservation wasn't there. Not only that, but they didn't have enough table space to accommodate us for at least three hours. Lucky for us, Las Vegas hosts hundreds of 24-hour buffets...and we calculated the amount for us and our 35 guests (hooray for small affairs!!) and it turned out to be less than what it would have been to have our meal at the restaurant. And again, luckily, the maitre'd at the buffet let us through before the line...and none of the people in the line complained. We had a great meal after all, and went on to enjoy our stay in Vegas. And before we got the bill, we made sure to talk to the hotel manager. We told him about the shoddy treatment, the disparity in our contract and our actual accommodations, and the restaurant problem. The hotel manager sympathized greatly and gave us a free all-inclusive week at the hotel. He also had her written up! And, I found out later when we decided to go for our free week, that the bitch had been fired in connection with her spoiling another person's wedding.

I guess my advice would be, those who err on the side of bad etiquette dig their own graves, not to mention a toasty pitchfork in etiquette hell!!

Vendors 1021-02

In April 2001 my husband and I were married. I had watched the tortures of the damned that my sister suffered (and inflicted on others) in the months leading up to her "big church wedding," and I decided that I didn't want to have that kind of stress to deal with. I'm 38, my husband is 49, was a widower, and he had already experienced the "big wedding" syndrome with his late wife--so he agreed to leave all the planning up to me.

I had always joked that I would run away to Vegas and be married by Elvis. It was just a joke, but when I looked into the matter, I found out that I could, in fact be married by Elvis in Las Vegas. We were married in a lovely, humorous ceremony at the Viva Las Vegas Wedding Chapel. We were attended by my mother and father, and my sister and her husband. It wasn't traditional, but what the heck, we loved it!

Now on to the hellish part of my story...last week I received a letter that appeared to be personally addressed to me. In 2-inch RED letters, the return-address for the envelope said "DIVORCE EXPRESS." My husband (who had brought in the mail) handed the envelope to me with a funny look on his face. He said, "Honey--- was there something you wanted to tell me?"

Flabbergasted, I opened the letter and found a "form" letter soliciting business for a divorce attorney in the Bahamas. It went on to extol how Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie got their divorce there, along with Mariah Carey, and other Hollywood notables. For only $1,000, one of us could fly down there and be divorced in only 4 hours.

I laughed about it, and then I realized that I had received the letter exactly 18 months to the date of my wedding. Apparently this law firm gets a list of marriage licenses from Clark County, Nevada--(Las Vegas) and sends out these bulk mail letters to see if anyone is ready to get divorced!

So here's my etiquette question: do I tuck this letter into my wedding album? :)

vendors 1003-02

My husband and I were married this summer and our wedding was actually great - our guests were thoughtful and wonderful, our families were supportive and get along great and there were no major snafus. The only glitch, and it was a small glitch, had to do with our bitchy DJ. Monsieur Le DJ was presented to us by way of recommendation of the golf course where we held the reception (Incidentally, the reception was done with the utmost elegance and the food was delish). When I first met with Mr. DJ, I thought he was ok. Very gregarious, and promises of "your wish is my command" graced his brochures. His price was reasonable and he was amenable to us making a music list and playing mostly from that list. In the month leading up to the wedding, my husband and I expended a great deal of effort putting together a play list that had the right "tone". Cocktail lounge music for the reception, jazz for the dinner and then lots of fun, ironic and 50s stuff for the dance (so that everyone would have a something to dance to). We met with Mr. DJ a few days before the wedding to give him the list, the CDs and to go over what songs we wanted played. He was great. Totally enthusiastic and even burned all of our chosen songs onto one CD. Things were looking good. The day of the wedding, life is grand. The ceremony was fantastic, everything went off without a hitch. Like I said, the only glitch was the fact that Mr. DJ went from Mr. Your-Wish-Is-My-Command to a surly b***** from the get-go. He decided that he would appoint himself to be the Master of Ceremonies for the entire event. While guests were trying to tuck into their rather expensive plates of food, Mr. DJ was up cracking bad jokes and pretending that he was a Montreal Radio Announcer. Uh dude, we paid you to spin records, not be the center of attention. During the speeches, he thought it would be fun to interject the first two notes from the Star Wars theme every time a speaker finished a sentence...e.g. "I've known the bride ever since she was a little girl....BARMP BARRRRRMP DUNT DUNT DUNT DUNT" Admittedly, he did cease with that adorable party trick when I shot him a despairing look. During the Dance with Dad, he plays "What a Wonderful World" as requested, but instead decides to go with the KENNY G INSTRUMENTAL. It was beyond tacky. We had asked him to play a lot of fiddle music because my family is from the Maritimes where that is very popular and gets everyone up and dancing. He played one song which had all 180 people up and step-dancing, including my grandmother. Instead of going with the flow, he decides to cut the fun short and plays some stupid song (I think it was freaking' FOOTLOSE) that wasn't on our list. The dance floor emptied out and people went looking for alcohol. I certainly did. Later on, my husband goes over and asks him to play more stuff from the list. What does Mr. DJ play next? BORN IN THE USA! That song was awful in the 80s, and beyond terrible in the year 2002. When I shoot him a look and shake my head, he throws down his headphones and has a temper tantrum. When my father-in-law made a request, he was surly to him. My in-laws are very courteous and thoughtful people, so my husband was concerned about Mr. DJ being angry with us, to which I thought "nah, I didn't pay that jerk $500 so that he could be rude to us on our wedding day". In any case, Mr. DJ's antics did not ruin our party in the least, (and I really don't think I was an uber-wedding nazi at all (in fact, my co-workers and friends said I was the calmest bride they had ever met), but I was really disappointed that this guy could be so unprofessional when we were paying him a fair amount of money and weren't being unreasonable. Here's the difference between my husband and me. He sent the DJ a note thanking him for his work. I sent a note to the golf club saying that they might want to reconsider recommending him in the future.


My husband and I had an inexpensive but warm and beautiful wedding eight years ago. We were ecstatic that the Latin music band that was playing the night we first met agreed to play at our wedding, and even to specially arrange and practice two special-request songs. Things really all went smoothly at the wedding and the reception, but I almost fell over from shock when the band leader approached me during a break between sets and asked me where he could score some "blow." There was absolutely no precedent to this request since neither my husband nor I do cocaine or any other drugs. To this day I wish I would have politely pointed to my mother and said "I don't know, but you could ask her." Just to completely embarrass him.
Vendors 0916-02

My fiancée and her mother planned the perfect church wedding. I sat back and watched, knowing all I had to arrange was the limousine and honeymoon.

The honeymoon was to be a week at an island resort, all-inclusive, and the limousine was rented for two hours- their minimum, paid in advance including the driver's tip.

The wedding came of without a hitch - absolutely perfect. The time came for the limousine to arrive and no limousine. Everyone stood outside waiting for the limo so they could toss birdseed as we ran for it. Fifteen minutes passed, and then thirty and finally after forty-five minutes a black hearse rolls up! I was livid! A hearse! The elderly driver, wearing a leisure suit from the nineteen-seventies, got out and opened the passenger door. I asked him where was the limousine and he only smiled, nodded and said, "Hilton?" The Hilton is where my new bride and I were staying until our flight the next morning. The driver spoke no English so any conversation was pointless. He drove us to the Hilton, a five minute ride, and left. I tried calling the limo company but only the answering service responded.

After we returned from our perfect honeymoon, I called Joe of Joe's Limousines to exact a refund. Joe explained to me that he agreed to a car and driver. I got a car and driver. When I explained that we didn't have the limousine but for five minutes, he said the driver did not leave us, we left the car so the driver had completed his assignment. I said the driver didn't speak English. Joe replied that it was racial discrimination if I held that against the driver. Joe hung up his phone. I felt like feeding him mine.

Vendors 0907-02

Compared to stories of wedding sites canceling or losing reservations, double-bookings, and shoddy and crass bridal salons, I suppose one vendor I had to work with for my wedding wasn't all that bad - but it was the consistency of their failure which impressed me.

My mother, my stepgrandmother, and I were planning a midsize, fairly informal wedding. Mom and I live in the West; my stepgrandmother lives in the Midwest. So the distance was a challenge, but we lucked into booking a very professional site, with a pre-approved list of reasonably priced vendors. Our caterer, for example, was praised to the stars by all attendees.

The other vendor we worked most extensively with was responsible for setting up tables, chairs, tablecloths, a few other incidentals. The most important thing was that we were having the wedding in my grandparents' backyard, and it being Midwest in the summer, we needed tents and chairs. No way were my guests going to think they were in a Turkish bath.

We called two weeks before we left to confirm, for about the billionth time, that they were very comfortable with working with our sites, that they knew the schedule for setup and tear down, and so forth. Yes, everything was fine. Two days before the wedding, we called again to check on what time they were coming the day before to set up.


"Setting up. For the wedding. You're setting up tomorrow."

"Ummmm... we don't have any record of that."

"We have signed contracts and a timeline of our contacts with your company confirming this as soon as two and a half weeks ago."


"Listen, just talk to [the owner, who is a family friend, and needs to hire staff at least one level above chimpanzee apparently]."

The owner quickly found the contract, and pleasantly reconfirmed. He said he had a family obligation so he couldn't be there, but his staff would set up by a certain time, no problem.

They were five hours late. They parked on the grass. They forgot half the stuff we rented - which we had backups for, because we were by this time so wary of anything going wrong. They didn't bring the tablecloths, so we just used our own. The awnings were half the size. They also just left without setting up the chairs. Not quite what we envisioned, but we made do, and being an informal wedding, we were not going to blanch at either a little setup and creative arrangement or what must have been a minor mixup.

The next day, when we got to the reception site, we found out much later from the caterer (the owner, another family friend) that their staff had had to set up the stuff from the rental company. Luckily they didn't charge us for it. The centerpieces we rented from these people were pretty much just dumped there. We didn't want some cheesy DJ, so we asked earlier if we could rent a CD system - something simple, we have our own CDs. No problem, they said. Play the CDs and go, just like at home, but with better speakers. Turned out to be a complicated, professional sound board. After fifteen minutes on monkeying with it, my husband figured out where to put the CDs and how to play, but no sound came out. One of my friends arrived at that moment, and revealed a secret from his past: he used to be a professional sound operator! He told us not to worry about a thing, and was bubbly-happy working sound for the rest of the reception (which didn't take too much of his time, really, and he had plenty of time to have fun too. He's getting a fruit basket). He told us later that nothing on that soundboard had been set up correctly. At all. He was moving around wires and fixing connections for a good ten minutes.

Icing on the cake (pardon the pun)? The company charged us extra for same-day teardown. They also tried to charge us for the equipment they didn't bring before. We spoke to the owner again, who was suitably appalled by the behavior of his staff. We got charges taken off here and there - and got everything resolved without screaming at anyone. I think he was very appreciative that we weren't screaming about *nothing* being done right or on time by his company. We do know it's a fluke - he's very professional, but he's learned a sad lesson that if he's not there to supervise his chimps, they'll mess up.

Vendors 0729-02

I once attended a wedding with the most self-important photographer I've ever seen. He set up the tripod and video camera in the center of the room where the wedding was held. It being a very small room, there was no room for any chairs. So, we all stood in a circle around the photographer. Fortunately, it was a very short ceremony. Afterwards, there was no aisle for a recessional, so the couple just looked at each other and shrugged, and that's when the photographer took over. He began directing the reception all around "getting the shot." I didn't mind so much, but I felt sad that this vendor had taken over what would have been an intimate wedding. That is, until I was standing next to him. I was in the position where he needed to be to "get the shot," so he elbowed me in the head. Hard. I'm sure they have lovely pictures; I only wish I had a lovely memory of that day.

Vendors 0731-02

A little less than two years ago, a good college friend of mine (we'll call her Mary) was getting married in up-state New York to her fiancé "Mike." I flew up to go to the wedding and it was beautiful. The ceremony was in a beautiful old style catholic church with a full pipe-organ that filled the room with music. Mary looked fantastic as she walked down the aisle and we all "oohed" and "awwed" at her dress and hair and flowers. Everything was perfect. Then the ceremony started and everything seemed to be going to plan. The priest, who was an elder man, perhaps in his late 50's or early 60's, and he began the service with the typical "dearly beloved..." Then the priest asked that everyone pray for the newly blessed couple Mary and Frank. At first I thought I had mis-heard, I was sitting rather far back behind the families and I let it go. But not long after it came time for the vows. Again the priest turned to Mary and said, "Mary, do you take "Frank". Mary, unfazed said loudly, "I take Mike!" which was greeted to some chuckles from everyone. But even with that rather loud correction, the priest seemed oblivious to the name mistake. Throughout the rest of the ceremony he continued to call Mike, "Frank" to the point where the congregation started yelling "MIKE!" every time the now infamous Frank was mentioned. After the ceremony at the reception the Frank jokes kept coming. Poor Mary and Mike were good sports about it all, but Mary later confided in me that they hadn't given the priest much of a thank you donation. I was told that several weeks after the wedding the priest was told about his gaff and did send an apology to the bride and groom.