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.)
Jun-Dec 2000 Archive
Jan-Jul 2003 Archive
Jul-Dec 2003 Archive
Jan -Jun 2004 Archive
Jul-Dec 2004 Archive
About a year ago now, my fiancé proposed to me while on
holidays and needless to say, I said yes. When we returned we decided to throw a
big engagement party for all our friends and family. Everything went perfectly;
only minor hiccups occurred here and there but nothing I'd lose sleep over. We
began planning our wedding. As we got engaged on the beach, we decided to have a
beach wedding. We quickly found the perfect reception place, right on the beach
so our guests wouldn't have to travel far (it's a 50 meter walk from the
ceremony spot to the reception center). We found a wonderful photographer, a
fantastic celebrant and everything major was booked ages in advance. And to this
day, it's all been smooth sailing except for one thing...
My wedding dress was always going to be the most important
decision I would make, aside from marrying the man of my dreams. Having
absolutely no dressmaking skills or knowledge I knew finding the right
dressmaker was going to be hard. You can see where this is going, right! My
beautiful, supportive and fantastic mother (MOB) was fantastic in helping me do
my shop around for dress ideas. My fiancé and I had discussed purchasing a
dress from a store, but decided even though it might be more costly, the allure
of having an originally designed, tailor-made and original dress was more
important. Our wedding was going to be original, so of course my dress would
have to be. And as most girls do, I'd dreamt of my wedding dress since I was a
little girl. So MOB and I went from store to store looking at dresses to get
ideas (I was not having a bridal party as we were hoping to have a relaxed,
personal wedding we felt our close friends would have more fun as guests, not
slaves...not that that is what they would be, but we wanted them to relax and
not have to do anything on the day). Then we began going through magazines
searching for little ideas here and there. As I was getting married on the
beach, it was always important that my dress reflect the occasion. Nothing too
big and fancy, nothing ballgownish or 'princess-like', something light and
floaty, romantic and delicate. I began to settle on my dress design - backless,
spaghetti straps, full floaty skirt - nothing hugely difficult. That's when we
decided it's time to find a dressmaker. I had a look in our local phone
directory and found some dressmakers. I rang quite a few and after speaking with
them, armed with a bucketful of questions, I would rate each out of ten. In the
end I made an appointment with two ladies. Both sounded like they really knew
what was going on, had made loads of dresses before, would make a trial dress to
ensure the fit/cut/style was right and so forth.
So off MOB and I went. The first lady seemed lovely. Her
sewing room was exceptionally tidy and organized, she was very polite and sweet
and was happy to discuss my ideas. I showed her a heap of magazine pictures
where certain dresses had specific details I liked (I made an emphasis of
pointing out I didn't necessary like the dresses themselves , as they were very
different from one another, but I liked certain details on them). She drew a
sketch of what I'd said I wanted and I was very impressed with the result. She
explained her fee, which I felt was reasonable, and then set MOB and I to task
to investigate fabrics. However, she also insisted on making another
appointment, even though I explained to her that we were still shopping around
for dressmakers. The dressmaker insisted she knew the exact type of dress I was
after and was very confident she was on track and went ahead in making us
another appointment. Fine!
MOB and I went ahead and visited the next dressmaker anyway.
After waiting ten minutes in her dining room (she was with another bride-to-be),
MOB and I laughed and decided the other lady seemed more professional. When we
finally got in to see the dressmaker she showed me all her work, talked about
fabrics, drew a sketch of the dress etc. I wasn't overly impressed with her
work, not that it was bad quality, it just didn't suit my tastes. She also kept
saying that she would have to do certain things to the dress, which I felt would
ruin the look. That was when we all began smelling something burning. The poor
dressmaker was hysterical. The smell was very strong, and because her sewing
room was so messy she couldn't find the source of the burning smell. As she had
a stack of wedding dresses in the room, she was freaking out and so was MOB and
I. We quickly left her to find the burning offender and made up our mind. The
first dressmaker would be fine.
MOB and I had a great time going from fabric shop to fabric
shop. We both fell in love with a heavy silk satin and got a heap of samples
from different stores. I also bought a cheap light fabric so the dressmaker
could make a mock up of the dress to see if I liked it. She kept telling me over
and over that the mock-up dress was just a trial and if there was anything about
it I didn't like, I could change it. Not a problem! Finally the dressmaker
advised us to go with a rather expensive silk satin ($80 per meter) and that we
would need about 12 meters. That didn't include the lace which was a minimum of
$220 per meter. She hadn't mentioned lining, thread etc and MOB and I assumed
this was included in her fee. Not a drama...it was a bit dearer than I'd hoped,
but she was the expert and she assured me time and again she knew what she was
After several visits, I asked the dressmaker to put her
services in writing and asked her when I should pay a deposit etc. I just wanted
a fallback because she still hadn't made her fee 100 percent clear (It might
cost more depending on this and that, but she remained quite vague about the
very final cost and what this would include - as opposed to what she said in our
first meeting). As my fiancé and I were paying for our wedding in full (I'm a
student and work as a casual in retail and he is a laborer) we did have a tight
budget. My fiancé had been very generous and said I could spend quite a lot on
my dress, but I felt I could get the dress I wanted for a reasonable fee.
Anyway, she kept insisting everything was fine and not to worry about it, for
which I was very grateful. Strangely enough, each time I visited her she never
had trouble booking me in for appointments. She didn't seem very busy, and I
became concerned she didn't have much work on - which might have explained her
very tidy sewing room. I kept saying to myself, next time I go in I will ask to
see her sample work. However, she was very pushy and would always steer the
She began making my trial dress. I was getting very excited,
but not nervous at all because she had said time and again that we could change
anything whatsoever and that my dress would have to be perfect. She also
insisted we start the dress very early, 18 months early in fact. I later learnt
this is ludicrous because of weight gain/loss, taste changes etc. I thought this
was great because everything was so well organized for the wedding. Between
visits, she would draw and sketch flowers and shapes she felt would suit my
dress and had suggested I have some machine embroidery on the edges, to which I
was happy about. I felt flattered she was putting in, what seemed, a lot of
effort. I kept asking about a deposit, but she insisted nothing was needed yet.
Having never been married before or had a dress made for me, I thought this was
normal! MOB was getting a bit edgy, but I insisted the dressmaker knew what she
was doing and not to worry. After all, there was nothing to worry about...until
my first fitting.
Keep in mind; the first fitting was of the trial dress not the
real dress and I could change anything if I didn't like it. Well, I didn't like
it. In fact, I hated it. It was nothing like I'd originally asked for. It was a
straight A-line dress, cut very poorly (even MOB could see that, and she was
more inexperienced in sewing as I). The spaghetti straps were twisted and then
turned into large straps from the middle of the shoulders to the back and the
back was an ugly shape. There was nothing romantic or soft about it. But I
didn't scream. In fact I said it was lovely. MOB said nothing. After some
fitting adjustments I suggested that we make the straps at the back a little
thinner to match the front. The dressmaker seemed a little put off at this
suggestion and said the straps HAD to be thicker at the back to hold it up. I
thought to myself, maybe that's true, ok I'll leave it - it will be ok when it's
the real deal. And even though I'd asked for a backless dress, this dress sat in
the middle of my back instead. I suggested lowering this and the dressmaker
looked at me like I was insane. I didn't even mention the bust area of the
dress. As I am rather small chested, I had previously asked the dressmaker to
make cups in the top of the dress to give me some lift and a nice shape to
create the illusion of a fuller chest, much the same as a good bra where the
cups hold your breasts up and out. Instead she made the cups huge, way too big
for me. They stuck out of my chest like balloons. It looked terrible, plus the
cups were totally uneven. One was 2cm higher than the other - not flattering.
And instead of light 'bunching' I'm not sure what the technique is called where
you gather the fabric up together to create fine wrinkles (for texture), she had
folded the fabric over so it looked like big horizontal stripes over the whole
Keep in mind, this was 6 months after our initial meeting, so
it had taken a long time to progress only this far.
After MOB and I left we decided to try and find a picture that
showed what I wanted in more detail. We set about cutting out pictures and
trying to piece together my idea so the next time we saw the dressmaker, she
would know what I wanted very specifically, and after all, she had said I could
change the dress if I wasn't happy with it. Which I wasn't.
The night before I was due to go back to the dressmaker she
called me in a fluster. Her sewing machine had broken and she had been unable to
make any alterations on the dress. Alarm bells began ringing! She was relying on
her sewing machine 100 percent and hadn't even made changes despite not seeing
me for several weeks. What would happen if she made my wedding dress and her
machine broke down...could she not make adjustments by hand sewing, or have a
back up machine? I didn't know anything about dressmaking and again calmed down
and thought, well these things happen to us all. Its ok!
We went back at a later date only to discover she'd made
barely any of the changes I requested, despite her sewing machine having been
fixed for several weeks! We showed her the pictures that we'd found that might
help inform her dress. She became very snakey and started saying things like
"well I'm going to have to do the whole thing again", "I've
worked so hard on this" (even though it looked like a frayed rag that
kindergarten-aged children cut out while blindfolded). I apologized and tried to
explain that I loved the dress and I didn't want to change it (cough, cough), I
just wanted a few little adjustments to make it more what I was hoping. I guess
in my mind I was trying to make a bad dress work by doing everything I could to
help the dressmaker see what I wanted and didn't want a confrontation (Yes, I
She calmed down somewhat when I started backing down on what I
wanted to change. We agreed on thinner straps and a slightly lower back. She
kept saying that I was changing my mind with the dress I wanted, and that I was
confusing her. The thing that I was actually doing was trying to get her back to
my original idea that had somehow become lost in this monstrosity of a dress. I
had never changed my mind, I'd just tried to find ways to make this dress better
than it was. But I never actually told her that. Anyway, this was the
appointment where she was to tell me what fabric to buy and I then have to buy
it, deliver it to her and she would begin the real dress. I asked her what I
would need to buy and was astonished when she didn't even bother to give it any
thought, she said something along the lines of "10 meters of silk, lace
whatever". Keep in mind this would cost me $1500 alone and I was upset she
was so blasé about it. I then asked if I had to buy the lining. Well boy, did
her eyes light up. She started rattling off how much lining I should get, but I
had to ask what fabric it should be, width etc. She then said I had to buy heaps
of thread etc. Then as I was leaving I asked about a zip and she just said get
whatever...what about length? And then MOB and I were literally pushed out the
As far as the dressmaker knew, we had left to go and buy about
$2000 worth of fabric and materials.
That night I was in tears. My fiancé knew the story and was
very sympathetic. He knew how much I wanted the dress to be perfect and that it
was important that I look as beautiful as I could for him on our special day.
He's always been so sweet to me like this and knows how important The Dress is.
I've never been the type of girl to get caught up in these things, but this was
my one opportunity to look my best for him. He asked me to ring the dressmaker
and make another appointment. I actually wrote down what I wanted to say
beforehand so I didn't upset her and still make my point. It took me ages to
work up the courage as she'd been so snappy at MOB and I earlier (after being an
angel all those times before). But I called, and she said she felt uncomfortable
with my changing my mind and that she didn't know what I was thinking. I calmly
said I didn't want to change the whole thing, I just wanted to make an
adjustment or two. Anyway, I tried to get some insight into her previous
experience, again, and asked if she ever had any brides as picky as me (I was
actually joking to try and get her on side again). She laughed and joked (or so
I thought) that I took the cake, but made no reference to any other brides.
Strangely enough, each time I visited her there was no evidence of any other
dresses being made, no material, no mess, no nothing. It was always just as it
was the last time I'd been, with the addition of my mock-up dress' fabric cut
into bits and pieces here and there. We made an appointment for the following
week, but unfortunately I ended up canceling as I came down with severe food
poisoning (or nerves!).
Finally MOB and I braved the dressmaker's doorstep once more.
Unlike previous times, she was very cold and matter-of-fact. No chit chat like
earlier appointments. MOB and I looked at each other, we could see this was
going to be a problem. I began thinking, like I had many times before, about how
I would pull out of this. But I wasn't sure if I should, it might still work
out, plus I'd owe her all this money for her work so far and it wasn't long
until the wedding.
I tried one last time to explain what I wanted and had finally
found a picture of the exact dress I had described to her in my first meeting.
Spaghetti straps, backless, floaty, short train...beautiful and perfectly suited
to our wedding and me. MOB told me later that while I was describing what I
wanted, the dressmaker didn't even look at the picture, she just glared at me
the whole time like she didn't have any interest or intention in helping me out
at all. She wasn't even listening. Remember, we were only talking about the mock
up dress - not the REAL dress, and I'd offered, several times, to pay for her
services so far. I told the dressmaker I didn't want to do much to the dress at
all, I just wanted thinner straps and a lower back...which still hadn't been
done. But I could tell she wasn't interested and kept saying I was changing my
mind and she was so confused. I began to feel like I had been the most awful
person in the world and must be the fussiest bride ever. MOB took charge and
asked the dressmaker to bring in the mock-up dress. I tried to show her how
small the changes were that I wanted (or were becoming, considering steam was
shooting from her ears...I began to really question how experienced she really
Don't all brides teeter totter around ideas and change their
minds? But I hadn't even done this. I'd only tried to make an ugly dress better
and I'd only done this in my head, I'd never had the chance to actually say what
I really felt.
My mother had seven mock-up dresses made before she was sure
of her final style for her wedding dress, yet I'd only had one and that was a
problem...what would happen with the real dress? I was feeling very
uncomfortable that this woman who had been so lovely and lively with me in the
beginning was now going back on her word and getting angry because I wanted
thinner straps on my dress. The dress looked like she had found a bunch of
patterns and stuck them all together; there was no consistency in the dress at
all. I later discovered, the dressmaker had most likely found different patterns
and pieced them together, she hadn't made the pattern herself, which is what I
was under the impression would happen. Things were getting heated from her end,
I was getting upset and didn't want to have a fight so I backed right down. I
ended up joking with her to lighten the air, but to also test her response when
I said "you don't want to back out now do you?" That's when she looked
at me. "Actually yes, that's exactly what I want." I was stunned. I
was being dropped by my dressmaker, for being too difficult, isn't it usually
the other way around. I went over and over it in my head. Had I been that fussy,
had I been nasty, was I a bridezilla? No, no, no. I couldn't have been. I asked
MOB repeatedly what I'd done wrong and she was at a loss. I apologized to the
dressmaker (sick, I know) and offered again to pay for her services. To which I
was pleasantly told I owed her nothing (this actually made me feel even worse as
I really thought I must be evil, but looking back at least she did the right
thing in that) and thankfully she had nothing in writing (to her own fault) even
if she wanted payment. I began getting a bit emotional as it was only about six
months to the wedding date and I knew to order a dress from a shop would take a
lot of time, let alone find another dressmaker and go through it all again.
The dressmaker threw the dress at me and told me I might as
well throw it in the bin. This hurt me as I never ever insulted her dress and
never showed any signs of my disappointment. I'd only ever complimented it and
made little suggestions, not demands, all of which I took back after she got
nasty with my ideas. After all, it was her pushing me time and again to get the
dress started so early incase I changed my mind or wanted to make alterations.
It was her who made appointment after appointment and hurried into making the
dress. And as far as she knew I had spent $2000 on fabric that was now just
going to sit there. Luckily my instincts had long kicked in and I never did
purchase the fabric.
After a rude and final goodbye, she shut the door in our face,
thrust the 'dress' upon me and left us there with our mouths open. I just want
to say here that I would understand if I was a difficult person to deal with or
had done anything to warrant this behavior, but I honestly had not. I've never
had anything like this happen to me ever and having worked in retail, I've had
to become a very patient and understanding person...I know what difficult is and
from an objective point of view, that is not me.
When I got home I remembered another dressmaker I was going to
see when I was originally shopping around but because the first dressmaker made
me a second appointment I never got around to seeing her. I gave her a call, and
she said to me "Oh, I've got a few brides in tomorrow, but I'll fit you
in". Good, she had experience with brides. 1 point. The next day MOB and I
went to the new dressmaker, I didn't give myself time to think too much about
the other one and tried to get the ball rolling. I ended up telling this
dressmaker everything. She was wonderful. She explained lots of dressmakers
claim they have experience when they're trying to break into the bridal
industry. They aren't actually pattern makers and from her point of view it
sounded like the other woman had no experience, or very little with brides at
least, considering how intolerant she was. I showed her the picture I wanted and
told her I wanted it in silk for my beach wedding. She was horrified...SILK!
"Not at the beach, it will cost a fortune and if it gets wet it will be
destroyed." (No kidding!) 4 points. In her sewing room the walls were
covered in pictures of dresses she had made. There were rows and rows of half
finished and finished wedding dresses. 6 points. She gave me a sample of a
better fabric that was only $35 per meter and would be fine if wet. 8 points.
Her service was a little dearer, but she put it all in writing and organized it
so I'd pay in installments. 10 points. She was everything the other dressmaker
It was becoming apparent to me how true it is that all things
happen for a reason.
She told me that her fee included labor, thread, lining and
everything else and she wrote it down for me. 100 points. Then she took all my
details, email, address and phone number'S' so she could contact me if the need
be and made loads and loads of measurements. She told me I would only have to
buy the main fabric and the lace and that I wouldn't need anywhere near the
amount I'd previously been told, the dress simply didn't need it. 200 points.
This woman had got me to the stage that the other dressmaker had taken almost 10
months to do, and she did it in one appointment. She even said I should still
shop around in the meantime for a dressmaker so I am really sure. But I was
sure. This time.
Anyway, in two days I will try on my wedding dress for the
first time. The dressmaker/designer has warned me to tell her if I don't like
anything to say so and that she will not charge me for her work if at the end I
hate it (small relief considering the time frame I'd have to get another
dress!). But it's in writing! She also warned me that the first fitting won't be
perfect and that WE will HAVE to make adjustments. Oh, but I thought I couldn't
make adjustments and that I was too picky or fussy!!
So a few lessons to all you brides-to-be out there. A
dressmaker doesn't mean a patternmaker, make sure you see what they've made and
that they cut their own patterns. Shop, shop, shop around. Don't be pushed into
anything by anyone. Go with you're instincts and speak up if you have a problem.
And always, always get everything in writing.
Good luck and keep your fingers crossed my first fitting will
be ok, or I might have another story to put on this website. Happy weddings!!!
Some years ago my younger brother was getting married. My new
sister-in-law to be is a wonderful, sweet girl and I was thrilled when she asked
me to be a bridesmaid. I have always been quite heavy and decided that for their
wedding I was going to lose as much weight as I safely could. I went to my
physician and he prescribed a popular weight loss pill, but only for 6 months. I
was taking this pill, eating carefully and exercising for the first time in my
life. I went to the bridal shop to try on the dress the bride had chosen. It was
lovely, very simple and beautiful. The seamstress measured me and said, size 26.
I said, oh no, I'm at 24 right now and I'm losing weight. She just patted my arm
and said, "EVERYONE goes on a diet before the wedding and EVERYONE has
intentions of losing the weight but NO ONE actually does it" The rest of
the bridal party was standing there so I caved and said ok.
And you can see what's coming can't you? When the size 26
dress came in I was comfortably in a size 22. So, it swam on me. I mean 5 to 6
inches too big. The seamstress suggested 'stuffing' my bra to 'fill it out a
bit'. Uhm..I'm a C cup so don't think so! The seamstress stuttered and looked
flustered and said, maybe we should wait until 1 week before the wedding to fit
me properly. I just smiled, I knew this was coming and why oh why hadn't she
ordered the smaller size? Then the seamstress says she has a
"wonderful" idea. She will keep this size 26 in her shop and order me
a 24. I firmly stated that she should order a 22 and then maybe it won't need as
much alteration and therefore won't cost me a fortune in alterations. She
blushed and nodded and ordered the 22.
And in the end that had to be altered as well as I had lost
another dress size and was wearing a 20. If I had gone with her 26, it would
have been SIX sizes too big and she'd surely have charged me for it!!!
I was the maid of honor at my best friends wedding and there
were two shocks we received. One was the DJ and the other was the videographer.
The DJ that showed up was not the DJ she had originally
contracted. Instead, he sent two high school kids to play the music at her
wedding. Instead of playing Kenny Rogers "Through the Years" while she
danced with her father, these kids played "Lets Get It On" and would
not change it. They completely screwed up the song lists and played many songs
that the bride and groom did not like. They are country music people and had to
listen to gangster rap music at their wedding.
Two weeks later, she invited me over to view the wedding video
with her. The videographer decided that rather than videotape the wedding,
he would tape whatever caught his attention. The ceremony began with the mothers
walking down the aisle to light the unity candle. All he managed to catch was
the mother of the groom tripping while she stepped away from the candle. Then he
did a nice close-up shot of her skirt riding up so we could see her thighs and a
brief glimpse of her underwear. It only got worse from there. Then he decided to
focus on the chests of the bridesmaids coming down the aisle. You
could clearly see all the cleavage he kept focusing on. He completely missed
their vows b/c he was too busy taping a guest that was picking his nose during
the ceremony. During the reception, instead of taping their first dance, he
panned the camera around and focused on the grooms very sexy aunt making out
with her boyfriend by the bar. She cried so hard after watching
that video and called her brother who recommended him. She then found out that
the wife of the videographer had left him the day before the wedding and he had
been fired from his job. He was miserable and unhappy and did not want to focus
on other peoples happiness. This jerk ruined the wonderful memories of her
wedding that should have been in her video.
The most important thing to me about my wedding cake was that
it taste good. That being said – I should have wished for it to not
contain any sexual innuendos as well. Read on. The cake vendor
I decided to go with does have a delicious butter cream icing – he made my
parent’s wedding cake – so I trusted he’d do a good job. I didn’t
want anything too fancy. I even had a diagram of the cake outlining the
flavors. I thought I’d covered all my bases. I gave him photos of
similar designs (scroll work) that I like to put on the cake - I told him
any of the designs in the photos would be fine. In my diagram I
free-handed the design so he would know where to put the design. Simple
enough right? I was a little nervous, but thought he’d do a good
job. Fast forward to our reception. We’re announced and walk
to our spot at the head table. A warm glow fills the room from the lights.
I get the chance to glance at our cake which is on the dance floor. My
first glance is a little fuzzy – but it looks really good - awe how pretty, I
thought to myself. Then my eyes come into focus and I am getting a clearer
picture of the cake. Oh my gosh! It had “69’s” all over it!
He had tried to duplicate exactly what my diagram had on it!!!! And to my
surprise his take on it looked like the number 69. Luckily right after
dinner is when they carve up the cake and whisk it away!!! How many of my
guests saw the “69’s” all over the cake?!?!? I’ll never know. No one
mentioned it. But we get a good laugh out of it now. And hey, it
makes for a funny story.
I wish that could be the end of my contact with the cake man.
But a few days after the wedding when we were in Hawaii on our honeymoon we
had caught a virus and that particular night I was up every 15-20 minutes
vomiting. I had even made a made-shift bed on the bathroom floor of towels
– I was that sick. When at 2:00am Hawaii time (8:00am at home) I was
actually awake vomiting – I didn’t answer it – I did check my voice mail
– it was the cake man. He was calling to inquire about the columns from
the cakes –he needed them back. Who calls a married couple 3-4 days
after their wedding anyway?!!?
I started to shop for a wedding dress as early as November
2004 for a wedding in September 2005. Not knowing what I wanted, I didn’t want
to rush in buying something I didn’t want at the last minute and I wanted to
compare service and styles from various bridal shops in Montreal. One Saturday,
I was in a mall and decided to have a look at what France B. Pronuptia had in
stock. Although I speak English, I am first a French speaking person and I like
to be addressed in that language. In Quebec, anyone working in retail must speak
both and adapt to the language choice of the customer.
The first sales clerk that came to me spoke only English. In
the end I switched to English to make sure I was being understood, but in my
mind, I didn’t want to buy from her. Then came another clerk, who spoke
French. I explained that I was looking for something simple, no lace, no
froufrou, no sparkle, no strapless in cream. Well she proceeded to show me
dresses with the most frou-frous and sparkles on it. She told me “How else are
going people to know you’re the bride?” Gee, let me think? Maybe because I
invited friends and relatives to MY wedding and I will be the only one wearing a
long white gown and, just in case they’re not sure, a bouquet and a veil to!
Duh! Also, she started pressuring me into buy a dress immediately, even if I had
not tried anything on yet and knew only what I didn’t want. I just left and
went to another independent bridal shop where I had to most exquisite service
and private salon to try on as many dresses as I liked until I found THE ONE.
Well, I did, and I never felt any pressure to buy something I didn’t like. It
has no sparkle, no froufrou and is cream, but it’s strapless...
I'm horrified by some of the attitudes of wedding vendors, but
there is another side to it...we have to deal with Bridezillas and dippy
attendants too! I used to dressmake through a fabric shop. The
town (in country Western Australia) had no bridal boutique within a 7 hour
drive, so I made a lot of wedding and bridesmaid dresses. We had no
ready-made stock, customers would describe what they wanted or show us a picture
and we'd make it from scratch. Here are some of the more inglorious
situations we had to deal with...
1. The bridesmaids who wanted their dresses made
with matching bags so they could carry their cigarettes to the bridal table.
2. The bride who rang and abused us after her wedding
because the flower girls' dresses (which she'd designed) were "too
cute". People had paid too much attention to the little girls and not
enough to her.
3. Brides who don't tell us they're pregnant. Go
4. Numerous examples of what I call "Aunty
Starts" - the ugly situation where a relative or family friend offers to
make anything from the men's cummerbunds to the gowns for the entire wedding
party, then realizes with a couple of weeks to go that she's not skilled enough.
These horrors (which are often badly cut out) have to be unpicked, reshaped, stabilized,
ironed and sometimes even washed before they can be made up. Brides always
expected them to be done cheaply because "half the work's already
5. The bride who came back three months after she picked
up her bodice-and-skirt set, screaming abuse and yelling that I'd made it too
small. Certainly the skirt would not do up. The reason? She'd
put on THREE INCHES around her hips since she'd picked it up.
6. The MOH who arrived with the bride and the other
three bridesmaids for the final try-on of identical strapless, low-backed
dresses. MOH cheerfully announced that all the dresses would have to have
a complicated wrap added to cover the shoulders and back - because she had JUST
GOTTEN A NEW TATTOO on her shoulder blade and wanted it covered for the
wedding!!!!!!! From the faces of the bride and other bridesmaids, this was
news to them! When I got my jaw off the floor I told her the additions
could be made, but would cost $75 per dress. The other bridesmaids' faces
fell, not surprising as the dresses were already quite expensive. The MOH
began arguing with me, saying the quote included alterations. I pointed
out that "alterations" means adjustments to the fit, NOT major
redesign of the finished dress!! The bride told her that if she was stupid
enough to get tattooed TWO WEEKS before the wedding and then wanted to hide it,
she could pay the $300 to get all the dresses redone.
7. The sobbing bride who entered the shop on Wednesday
morning with no wedding dress for a Saturday wedding. Being on a
very tight budget, she had arranged to borrow a friend's wedding dress instead
of buying one of her own. The arrangement had been in place for months.
On Tuesday night her "friend" rang to say she wasn't going to lend the
wedding dress after all. Four days before the wedding. So the
bride had no dress, no budget for a dress and four days to get one in a
town with no wedding boutiques. My partner and I threw ourselves into
the challenge and made her a gorgeous dress, for A$400 (a laughable small amount
for a wedding dress over here) in two and a half days. Talk
about revenge - the dress was much nicer than the one she was going to
borrow. The whole story made the local paper, our business had
the kind of publicity you can't buy and her "friend's" name was
But this was undoubtedly the worst...
My partner took an order for a wedding dress on my day off. The
description was for a strapless dress, very tight to knee level, then
flaring sharply out (think Morticia Adams). The flare was to be achieved
by putting triangular inserts in the 5 seams of the dress. The dress itself
was to be black, the inserts stark white. Oh, and the insert at the center
back was to be longer than the rest. So it would finish right in the center
of the bride's butt, in fact. Unusual and definitely not to my taste, but
hey, I just make 'em. Then I looked at the bride's measurements.
She was considerably wider than she was tall. We were not at all
"sizeist" at this establishment and never put down heavier people OR
anyone's individual taste, but...this bride was going to look HIDEOUS.
She was going to look like a black beach ball with big white arrows highlighting
her hips and butt. Then I looked at the material she'd provided (we
encouraged people to purchase their fabric from us but it was not required,
people often bought their own and we had no problem with it). It was
cheap, flimsy, shoddy satin from a discount store. No way it was suitable
for a tight-fitting dress, on anyone of any size. My partner had
tried to tactfully steer this bride to styles and color schemes
that would better suit her, or at least sturdier material, but to no
Well, I made this atrocity and the bride looked even
worse than we expected. She was pretty horrified, too. She
demanded I make the dress tighter. That only made her look like
an over-inflated beach ball. So she has a hissy fit in the middle of the
shop, yelling abuse and profanity, saying it's MY FAULT for not making her
dream dress right. We told her to get the hell out. Next thing
we get a SOLICITOR'S LETTER, saying she is considering legal action for our
"incompetence". As such, we are required to send The Dress
and all documentation relating to an independent dressmaker, who would write
a report on the "manufacturing flaws" which had so spoiled this poor
innocent's life. The verdict? There WERE no
"manufacturing flaws". The other dressmaker's formal legal
opinion was that it was simply a fugly dress, made in unsuitable fabric. The
only legal action ever connected with The Dress was action by us to make
this Bridezilla pay us for our labor.
In the months leading up to my wedding on July 16th, I spent
hours reading your site trying not to have a story that could be submitted, but
unfortunately, I do.
My now husband grew up with a bunch of guys that he is still
close with, and one of them has a mom that is a retired wedding photographer.
She said that she would photograph the wedding as a wedding gift because
"her little *Luke* was getting married". (Name changed) That
should have been red flag number one, but I've seen her work and she's great, so
I didn't think anything of it. Also, as a side note, I should say that she
photographed 3 weddings of people that I know, and not one of them complained
about a thing.
Anyway, the photographer (I'll call her Alice) asked
for a list of pictures that I wanted, and I pulled it out of my file... I was
one step ahead of her. She said they were pretty standard so it wouldn't
be a problem. I asked her how much time to give her to take pictures
for each side, and after she found out how many people would be involved, she
said a half our for the groom, an hour for the bride, and a half hour for
pictures of both. Keep in mind this is Mother's Day weekend - beginning of
May - and the wedding isn't till July 16th.
Fast forward to the rehearsal. Because Alice
watched Luke grow up, she came to the rehearsal to take pictures.
Obviously, I was okay with that, the more pictures the better. Photography
times were announced for everyone at the rehearsal, including Alice, to hear.
Groom's pictures were to be at 11am, bride's at 11:30, and the wedding wasn't
going to start till 1pm, so everything was fine.
The morning of the wedding comes, it's around 9:30 or 10 and
I'm sitting down getting my hair done by my aunt who is a professional hair
dresser (who did a GREAT job!). Alice comes in and says, "Where's all
the boys? The pictures are starting now!" with the BIGGEST
attitude I've ever heard come out of such a little woman. I told her
that pictures weren't scheduled to start till 11am for them, so she shouldn't
worry. She mumbled something about pictures having to start earlier, but I
wasn't really paying attention because there was really nothing to be done about
it now, and my MOH (bless her heart!) stepped in and told her how it was.
Everyone is ready, me, the bridesmaids, and my family are all
sitting in the back room waiting for our pictures to start. 11:30 rolls
around and there's no sign of the photographer, so I sent out a couple of people
to go find her. (My husband and I didn't want to see each other all
dressed up before the wedding) They come back and tell me that
they're still taking pictures. No big deal to me. 11:45 rolls around
and I send more people out, and they come back with the same story. Then
in walks the wedding coordinator (who is actually just a friend of my mom's but
has experience in handling last minute wedding woes) and says some of the boutonnières
are missing and some men have the wrong color roses. All the men were to
have a rose that matched their vests, either blue, purple, or white. I
told her where I put them, and she says they're all gone. Come to find out
later that Alice messed that one up too.
Noon gets here and she's finally ready
for me. We get into the auditorium, and I told her that I wanted all of
the pictures taken outside. She says, no, it's too hot. Because of
everything else going on, I didn't complain, I just assumed I could get her to
go outside during the reception when Luke was around. My pictures are done
in 20 minutes. I had NO sense of time, and it didn't occur to me that she
wasn't taking pictures off of a list. Every 2 minutes someone would ask me
a question, so I had a lot on my mind. After the wedding, same deal.
Sooooo many questions, sooooo many emotions, I didn't have the energy to argue
Honeymoon time comes and I'm sitting on the plane, and I
realize, I didn't get half of the pictures done that I wanted. Every time
I thought about it I started crying because I was sooooo irritated at her.
You only get one day to take those pictures, after that, there's nothing you can
do but buy plane tickets and tuxes for everyone in the wedding to take
pictures again, and that's not about to happen.
We went to pick up the pictures, and guess what. Thirty
two pictures of different combinations of Luke and his groomsmen, and ONE
picture of me and my bridesmaids. I had a couple more of my sisters (who
were jr. bridesmaids) and the flower girl, but that's it. THIRTY TWO VS.
ONE!!!! I was sooooooooooooo mad!!!!!!!!! And, I made it very clear
that I wanted a picture of just me, my mom, and my dad. My parents have
been divorced since I was 4, and I don't have one singe picture of just the
three of us after the divorce, so that picture was really important to me.
She took the pictures, I remember her taking them, but they completely disappeared!
No negatives, no pictures no nothing! And, of course, when Luke finally
convinced her to go outside, she wouldn't go any further than the front door.
So, we have this BEAUTIFUL church, with a BEAUTIFUL field with flowers and
trees, and NO PICTURES OF THEM!
It's no secret who she wanted to take pictures of that day,
and she never brought down the list of pictures to go off of. "I left
it at home", she says. Yeah right. At least I got some good
pictures of Luke and I. That's all that matters.
My sister "Amy" was married in Boston the weekend
after September 11, 2001. It was difficult for everyone involved in the wedding
to show a lot of happiness in the aftermath of what happened the Tuesday before.
Boston was especially hard hit as two of the planes involved originated in
When our family arrived in Boston on Thursday September 13th,
we found out from Amy and "Bob", her husband-to-be, that many guests
had been calling to say that they couldn't make it to the wedding because all
air travel had been suspended. Eventually Amy and Bob let their answering
machine pick up all calls, because there really wasn't much to say as people
called to give their regrets.
The Vendor from Hell specifics involve their photographer, who
came to the house to personally try to talk them out of going through with their
ceremony. She was very upset and kept saying that our country had experienced a
national tragedy and that it was totally inappropriate to "celebrate"
at that time. We considered that possibly this woman had lost a friend or loved
one, but no, she just wanted people to not get married that weekend! As a
vendor, her heart truly wasn't in it; she requested that she be allowed to
finish up pictures early and Amy and Bob agreed that it would be for the best.
Two positive notes in an otherwise difficult day were the
priest who gave a very moving sermon about life and love continuing in the face
of challenge, and the reception food. Amy and Bob had a New England lobster bake
for their meal, and we all got two lobsters since the food had been guaranteed
for the guests who were unable to be there. Also, bravo to Bob's cousin, who
DROVE from Albuquerque to Boston to be there for the wedding!
I was asked to be an usher for my sister's wedding, as was my
younger brother. The wedding was about 2 hours away from the town we live
in (my sister had moved there several years earlier) and the tux shop did not
have a branch near our home. My father, brother, and I went to a local tux
place for measurements, which would then be phoned in to the other tux shop.
The shop assistant was happy to measure us, and even had my dad try on pants and
a shirt to confirm his size (he is a large man). She also measured my
brother and I for sleeve length, but for jacket size the computer just used
height and weight (though we did try on some sort of jacket with stripes on the
sleeves to check length).
Because of the travel time we were not able to pick up our
tuxes until the day before the wedding (School, work, etc.). Guess who's
tux was the wrong size. Yup, mine. My dad's oversize tux fit
perfectly (after he figured out the waist adjusters on the pants), my brother's
fit fine (he is about average height and build), but the only thing that fit on
mine were the pants--because I had told the original clerk my waist size.
The sleeves of my shirt ended 3 inches above my wrist, and the jacket was too
big around (I am fairly muscular, so I am actually slimmer than height and
weight suggest--at carnivals they always guess 80-90 pounds low). The
worst part was, while they could get me the right size, it would not be in until
after I was supposed to be at the church for photos (20-30 min. away). So
for the wedding I made do with what they had, it didn't look too bad, and I
stopped in for the shirt and jacket on the way to the
reception. The clerk mentioned that even that jacket was a little
loose--so I had been measured TWO sizes too big.
The strangest part about the jacket was that the clerk had
measured around my chest, and had me try on the sleeve length thing (which was
the size the computer had said)--and still put me in for the wrong size.
Before anyone says that I should have noticed, let me say that I was mainly
noticing that--for the first time--I had enough room across the shoulders and
was not really paying attention to much else (I figured she knew what she was
I guess the moral is, try to get measured in the shop you are
renting from, or get two measurements. Of course the ideal is to have time
for the shop to send out for the proper size.
I have a story of a absolutely amazing DJ and his horrible
wife. It's a wonder he isn't out of business with that wife of his!!! It started
with a recommendation, he did weddings and was great at them! We met, paid the
deposit, and we happy with our choice. Until...his wife butted in. It started
with her INSISTING that we needed the funky chicken at our $10 grand wedding
held at a mansion and then throwing quite a fit when we refused. Among other she
said we just HAD to have were the macarana, a conga line, the "I like big
butts" song, and various other songs. We politely refused and wondered what
the heck happened to the small list of "do-not-play" songs we had
given at their request. Apparently she saw the list- because she seemed to be
quoting it song for song!!! But we really liked the DJ and had sooooo many
recommendations for him.
The next thing I know Mrs. I-wear-the-pants-in-this-business
started calling, leaving messages, e-mailing, and calling whatever family
member's number she could get and was insistent upon knowing who we were going
with for every other service. She wanted their names, numbers, e-mail addresses,
and when/where they were arriving. I thought this ignorant- but we really liked
the DJ and he said she wouldn't be at the wedding. I nicely told her that she
didn't really need all that info and to please stop. The final straw- she calls
the mansion owners and demands all info they have on my wedding, calls my other
service providers and gives then "itineraries", lets me know that she
trashed my list of what we wanted played and when, tells me to let the
"pros" handle it, lets me know that if I didn't use her
"friends" as my service providers then my wedding would be awful, and
has a temper tantrum when I change florists due to cost without asking/informing
her. At this point- he wasn't worth putting up with the wicked witch from the
west. We fired her and her puppet and asked for our deposit back.
On March 20, 1996 I was elated to become engaged at 23 to my
boyfriend of 3 years. While the wedding was going to be very small, I knew I
wanted the "white wedding" so I wouldn't have regrets about never
having my dream ceremony. Since neither of us was very religious we decided to
have an outdoor garden wedding. The place we found was a very charming place
about 45 minutes from where we lived. The couple that owned the 2 acre piece of
land had once been attorneys and decided to instead turn their land and home
into a place to perform weddings. The scenery was beautiful, a garden path led
to an altar of sorts near a rose garden. There was a white fence with a horse
roaming free and a swing hanging from a huge oak tree.
The wedding was set for September so I had 5 months to get
everything together. Three days after our engagement I went to a florist located
downtown which was near my work. They had delivered some flowers to people in
the building on Valentine's Day so I had seen their work. The woman that helped
me was very sweet and assured me she could duplicate the picture I brought in. I
had clipped the cover of a Martha Stewart magazine months before when we had
talked of getting married. The bouquet I chose was to consist of approximately
50 peach roses all bunched together. It had bits of baby's breathe but was
basically just a huge round bouquet. This was to be the focus since I am large
busted and my dress was going to be plain and I wanted something to draw some
attention. I had no wedding party at all.
I talked to the florist about two weeks later and she said she
had done a mock bouquet w/ roses she had in the shop and it came out perfect.
Things went about as normal and I planned the remaining elements of the small
wedding. I ordered the boutonnière for my husband, peach colored, and two
corsages which were to be deeper peach in color, almost orange.
Three months went by and I called the florist to see if she
could do another mock bouquet so I could come by and see it. I was told she no
longer worked there. I freaked. The girl on the phone said she was the assistant
manager and to come down and we'd go over what I wanted. I immediately went
there the following week. She had the picture I had given to the other girl and
said she would have no problem doing the bouquet I wanted and confirmed when the
flowers would be picked up, etc. I asked her if she would do a mock bouquet and
she said there was no need since she had been in the business for years.
Everything was confirmed with the florist two days before the
wedding. On the morning of the ceremony I was there at 9 AM sharp to pick up the
flowers. What I saw next horrified me. She was working on my bouquet at the
front counter and it looked nothing like what I wanted. She had created a
trailing bouquet of about 20 roses in this holder thing, greenery coming out of
it tons of baby's breath. I started crying and she went on and on telling me how
I should have never thought she could accomplish something a former employee had
said would happen. She started to pull roses out, trying to make it into a round
bouquet in this plastic holder and it was looking worse. The roses were falling
out from the weight and the stems were way too long. She shows me the other
items I ordered and to my horror they were bright pink. I started screaming at
her and she called security (it was in a big office building) who promptly
kicked me out. My soon to be husband was in the car and after relaying to him
what had happened, he disappeared into the building.
He came out holding all the hideous flowers. At this point I
was going to just walk with no flowers or go to a grocery store and buy a
bouquet. I tried not to think about it since I had to go get my hair done. I
called my aunt and asked if she could maybe find a florist to do a quick bouquet
for me. While I was at the salon, the women around me heard me crying and
telling my hairdresser what happened. The girls immediately jumped on the phones
and located a florist that had 14 peach roses in stock. I left the hairdresser's
and went to the shop. I didn't have the bouquet with me so I paid for the roses
and brought them home since we were so short on time.
In the limo on the way to the ceremony my fiancé and I
stuffed peach roses into this horrible plastic holder. They kept falling out but
we kept stuffing them back in. It looked awful. I had pretty much accepted it at
this point as my aunt had been unable to located anyone with peach roses that
had enough to pull together a bouquet for me. We did the best we could and I
just hoped the rest of the wedding went well.
We arrived at the place, dressed, and prepared to walk down
the aisle. I kept hearing the woman who owned the place talking to her father
about "the hay". We were running out of daylight and needed to hurry
so the pictures would be with the sunset in the background. They tell me it's
time and I start towards the path that led to the garden. The path was very long
and as soon as I rounded a corner I knew just what "hay" they had been
All around the altar and on the trees beside is was hay, as in
the kind horses eat. I was so upset. By this time I had realized it was love bug
season. A swarm of them attracted to my flowers were flying around me. I kept
swatting them away and imagining how all my pictures would have these black dots
on my white dress. We went through the vows which the other owner, the husband
side of the team, had messed up slightly and walked to the house for the
reception. We quickly took pictures and I asked my aunt to find out what had
happened that all my pics now had hay in them. She came back and told me that
they had had a western wedding that afternoon and the owner's father was to have
removed it for our ceremony but forgot.
At this point I was thinking my wedding was just a disaster
and I might as well just move on or else I was going to be mad forever. When we
got back from the honeymoon I decided to try to recoup some of the money spent
on the flowers since it was not at all what I had wanted. The place where the
ceremony was held had already given us a huge discount for having a small
wedding so I didn't pursue money from them.
I called the florist and asked for the owner who was not in. I
tried calling for two weeks but she was never in. I asked why she was never in
and how was someone to get a hold of her. I was told she owned the shop but had
a regular 40 hour a week job and rarely came to the shop. I got her name so I
could at least write her a letter. The name sounded familiar and when I went to
work the next day I found out why. She worked on the floor above me at the local
telephone company. I decided not to approach her at work so I wrote the letter
instead. She responded by calling me in which I explained everything in great
detail. She offered me free flowers for the next occasion. I wasn't going to let
her get away with that and threatened to contact the better business bureau. She
said she'd think about it.
Three days later I got a check in the mail for half of what I
had paid for all the flowers. I was partially satisfied but exhausted at trying.
She had flyers up at work on each floor on the bulletin boards and I took every
single one down, making sure people knew why. I showed pictures around of the
clipping (which I got back with my check) of the bouquet I ordered and the one I
got. People were amazed I even attempted to work with it.
Maybe all of this was an omen because I was divorced a little
of a year later. I still want the bouquet of my dreams so next time I get
married I will bring out my clipping once again, just changing the color.
My husband was engaged once before meeting me. According to
him, if was a farce of a relationship, and it led to a farce of an engagement.
He never even proposed properly, he just handed her a ring after they'd talked
about getting married. He knew it was a mistake right from the first minute, but
felt it was too late by then. Luckily, she realized that it was a
bad idea and broke up with him 9 days later. After she moved across the country.
She didn't even have the decency to tell him to his face, or even on the phone,
she just mailed the ring back.
Anyway, a few years later, he met me, and we fell in love
almost instantly. He proposed (properly this time, down on one knee and
everything) and I happily accepted. My FMIL invited my parents over so
that we could all celebrate, and in the evening, we went to Mass so that we
wouldn't have to get up early the next morning on Sunday to go. After Mass, we
stayed behind to talk to the priest, and FMIL mentions that we just got engaged
that day, and would he give us a blessing? To which priest turns to my brand-new
fiancé and says, "You're engaged? Is for real this time?" and then
laughs like this is hilarious. He said this in front of my parents and younger
sister, the people who were going to be my fiancé's in-laws!
We were understandably upset, but too shocked to do
more than just kind of nervously laugh it off in that way that people do when
they are uncomfortable and don't know what else to do. The priest did give us a
blessing, but I can not for the life of me remember what he said. He
did apologize to us later, but he did it in private, pulling us away from both
of our families (when my parents were again visiting) to do it. While I
appreciated his apology, I kind of thought that since he embarrassed us in front
of both of our families, the least he could do was apologize in front of them.
But oh well, at least he did say he was sorry, which is a lot more than some
A quick story about a tacky wedding vendor that I came across
when I was planning my wedding. While looking around for a
place for the reception, a well-known, moderately-priced restaurant in our town
was recommended to us, so we went to check it out. Initially, the owner was very
excited about having our reception there. He made all sorts of promises, that we
could pick the kind of food, that he would close the restaurant to the public
and we could have the whole place to ourselves, it would cost this much and
servers would be included. It all sounded great, the restaurant was lovely, so
we put it at the top of the list.
A few months later, when we called back to book the place, the
same guy was all of the sudden complaining and going back on all of the things
he had promised us. We could only have a small room at the back. He wouldn't
close the restaurant to the public unless we paid an exorbitant amount. We
wouldn't get to choose any of the food, and there would be no accommodation for
vegetarian guests (of which my sister, the MOH would be one). Waiters and
waitress would be extra, and we would have to pay them time-and-a-half. And it
would all cost almost three times as much as what we'd originally discussed,
plus he would be tacking on a mandatory tip. (I myself do not agree with
mandatory tips. A tip is something that is earned for proper service. While I
never hesitate to tip the correct amount (and I will throw in extra for
extra-good service), the person being tipped has to do their job
properly.) Thankfully, we hadn't paid any deposits yet, and so were
able to cancel. My FMIL called to cancel, saying that "something had
come up". She wouldn't let me get on the phone and tell him the real reason
why we wouldn't be using his service. I would not have been rude, but I would
have politely told him why I wasn't using his restaurant, rather than making a
When I went shopping for my wedding dress, I went with my MIL,
MIL's best friend, and my bridesmaids (my younger sister, the MOH, and my two
SILs). Where we lived, there were pretty much no wedding boutiques for miles
around, so we drove down in one van, an hour trip, to one of the major cities in
the area, prepared to hit the street informally dubbed "wedding
avenue", given that there is almost nothing down three blocks but wedding
boutiques down either side of the street. It was a long day, and we must have
gone into about 100 boutiques. Most were exactly what you'd expect, but one
really sticks out in my mind. This was a huge, very beautiful
looking store. It looked like a good prospect to find my wedding dress. We came
in to find that there were only two girls attending this gigantic store. Okay,
whatever, we were really just going to browse (everyone in the shopping party
knew what I basically wanted) and then I might try on a few choices. This
usually worked, but while we were browsing, the two girls were arguing with each
other. You could hear them from across the other side of the store. Very
professional. But we ignored this, as I was on a budget, and most of the dresses
were in my price range.
Then my MIL notices that a bunch of these dresses are dirty.
I'm talking lipstick marks and black shoe marks on the trains. Okay, we're
starting to lose enthusiasm, but keep looking, as we might be able to find
something. Finally, I pick out about five or six dresses to try on. It takes 15
minutes of me standing at the counter to get the attention of one of the girls.
This is with me loudly clearing my throat and saying "excuse me" every
minute. I decide right now that if I'm not going to buy one of these off the
rack, I'm not using this place as I would never trust them to be able to order
my dress in properly. I finally get a change room, but only after a
condescending look from one of the shop-girls. I'm half Asian, quite short
(5'3" in bare feet) and very young looking (I was twenty, but I looked
about 15). Hopefully this doesn't have anything to do with this look that she
gives me, but I'm starting to fume, and wondering if this girl even cares about
earning a commission. None of the dresses were flattering, so we left.
Girls never even bothered to ask if I'd found anything. Having been raised to be
polite, I call out a "thank-you" to the girls as we leave. Though I'm
sure I spoke loud enough for them to hear me, I got no reply.
Thankfully, I found the perfect dress that afternoon, and the saleslady was
absolutely wonderful, helpful without being pushy. But I'll never forget the
girls who couldn't stop fighting long enough to help out a potential customer.
Okay, this one is a doozy, and I have to admit that I was a
participant. Because of the type of work I do, I am a notary public, which
means I can legally marry people in my state. I have a friend who is also
a notary, and he has performed numerous weddings, and often teased me that I
didn't have any weddings under my belt. Truthfully, I am pretty shy,
and wasn't really interested in officiating for anyone, but it was a cute
running joke for many years.
So, fast forward to February 2005. My husband casually
mentions that he ran into a woman he used to know years ago. He chatted
with her for a while and learned that her husband of 17 years had died, and that
she was in a new relationship. Her boyfriend wanted to marry her, and she
was considering accepting his proposal. Hubby jokingly said that I was a
notary and that they should give me a call. He never expected the comment
to be taken seriously. Evidently they took it as a sincere offer.
So, a few weeks pass, and we had forgotten all about the conversation and were
just going about our lives.
We came home from work one Thursday and noticed the message
light blinking on our answering machine, so of course I play it. This is
what I heard (in a very deep Southern accent): "L, this is W!
I want you to marry me! Ha Ha! Actually, I don't wanna marry YOU--I
want you to marry ME! Ha ha ha ha ha!" And went on to give his phone
number. At first, I assumed it was a wrong number-remember, I'd never met
either of them, and my hubby only knew the bride in passing. As I was
about to delete the message, the phone rang, and sure it enough it was the
groom, W. Finally, it became clear. W & D decided that they had
to get married that very evening. They wanted me to perform the ceremony.
I said no way; I don't even know you. He begged. He pleaded.
He called again. He wore me down... Fine, I said. I will
officiate, but I'm not performing an actual ceremony. All I am willing to
do is seal the marriage license and send it in so that they will be registered
as legally married. They'd both been married previously; they didn't care
about a wedding-they just wanted to be married. Ok, fine. I had to
go downtown to my office to get my notary seal and book. Afterwards, I was
to meet them at the bar they had met and become engaged in. My hubby
drives me there, laughing the entire way (he thinks the whole situation is a
riot). I'm nervous and that is NOT helping!
We get to the bar, and I smell the groom before I see him.
He is wearing a half gallon of the strongest, cheapest cologne I've ever
smelled. His front teeth are missing. He has had a couple of drinks
and is very "huggy." He hugs me and hubby several times,
thanking us profusely for doing this on such short notice. The bride, D,
has the marriage license, so I take it & tell everyone to leave me alone for
a few minutes to review it (I wanted to be sure to do it right, being my first
time). Seems simple enough, so I have D sign, then I have W sign, I put my
seal on it, and pronounce them married. That's when the groom says that I
have to say a few words first! THIS I was not prepared for.
Fine, whatever. So, we go over by the pool table, and I have D & W
standing in front of me holding hands. I prepare to read the generic vows
that are (thankfully) printed in the notary booklet. Suddenly, W stops me
and says that we have to have attendants! Say what????? Next thing I
know, he grabs two elderly, quite drunk men from their barstools and decides
that one will be the best man and the other will give the bride away. He
evidently doesn't know these men; and one is so drunk that the bride is
literally holding him up so he won't collapse in a drunken heap on the floor.
We start again. As per the booklet, I start with the groom. When I
get about halfway through the vows, he stops and says he's not ready...start
with her first! Okay, that's fine too. I start over-AGAIN,
this time starting with the bride. She is completely sober and looking
quite lovely. She gets through her vows and I turn to the groom. I
again try to get him to recite his vows, when he laughs and says, "I wanna
get to the kissin' part!" The bride gives him a stiff elbow to the
ribs (pretty restrained, if you ask me!). Finally, he settles down enough
to get through the vows. I pronounce them married, tell him to kiss his
bride, and he takes that as an invitation to give her a long, sordid, sloppy French
That being done, I went over to the bar and had hubby (still
giggling) buy me a drink. The bride & groom then put some money in the
juke box and have their "wedding dance" to some country tune and all
is well. I brought my camera and took a couple of pictures for them.
So, I officiated my first wedding, and now, several months later they still seem
quite happy together. This couple had been dealt some tough blows not
long ago, so I'm happy that things are working out for them. Truthfully,
this is not my idea of a dream wedding, but it is what they wanted and I'm
glad I was able to help them out.
Page Last Updated May 15, 2007