Etiquette Hell = Where the ill-mannered deserve to go


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I just discovered your site and was happy to think that I had never been in an EHell situation. You can imagine my surprise when yesterday my mom described a wedding from EHell.

Some background: My parents run a small, 6-room bed and breakfast in rural Virginia. The gardens are beautiful and many couples request weddings here. As you can imagine, weddings involve a lot of trouble for my parents, and they cannot accept large weddings--usually only very small (around 40 guests) are accepted. This is for many reasons, including the fact that more than 40 people cannot fit comfortably in the inn if it rains! My parents provide only the venue, and do not provide any meals except for breakfast (it's called a bed-and-BREAKFAST, right?). Well, a couple made their wedding reservation about a year ago. It was to be a small wedding, about 30 people, in mid-November. Two weeks before the wedding, the caterer came to the inn to prepare for the wedding. That's when my parents found out that there were now 59 guests coming, instead of 30. The bridal party had not bothered to tell my parents! They were understandably annoyed, but there was really nothing they could do about it.

The bridal party arrived on Friday for the wedding rehearsal. The assistant innkeeper went upstairs to find the MOB scattering rose petals on the bed. In my parents' inn, all of the linens are white, and rose petals permanently stain fabrics. They found this out the hard way, and so they no longer allow rose petals to be scattered on the bed, which is more common than you might think. They've also had problems with guests burning holes in the linens with scented candles and clogging the Jacuzzi bathtub after having bathed with rose petals. Anyway, the assistant innkeeper told the MOB that she couldn't put the rose petals on the bed. Very rudely, she told the assistant that they were silk. No problem, of course we can do that! However, the assistant also caught a glimpse of bags full of candles, and told the MOB that they were not allowed for safety reasons. She rudely complied. After the rehearsal, they started setting the tables in the dining room. My step-father asked them what they were doing. "Can't you see? We're setting up for rehearsal dinner," the MOB explained. What?!? My step-father explained that if they wanted to have rehearsal dinner at the inn, they needed to pay a site fee--they had only paid for rooms and the wedding in the gardens. Well, the MOB went off. She screamed at my step-father, accused him of ripping her off, and even called him white trash! They ended up paying the site fee, but he was so furious that he couldn't work with them for the rest of the weekend, preferring to pay the assistant to come in.

Their wedding, luckily, went off with no hitches. The weather was sunny and not very cold, so despite their lack of an outdoor tent, they didn't all have to cram into the inn. The guests took full advantage of the open bar, and were falling over drunk at the inn (you can imagine the cleanup the next day). On Sunday, there were eight extra people who showed up for breakfast. You can imagine that they were very surprised and vocally unhappy about being asked to pay. They were lucky that the inn had enough food to feed them!

The Monday after, our inn received a call from another local inn where guests had stayed. They too had had a horrible experience. There had been four double-occupancy rooms reserved by wedding guests, and four people had slept in each room. One drunken couple had broken into another room that had not been reserved or paid for and slept there--and the next day, everyone claimed ignorance of the offending couple in the hopes that they would not be charged. Of course the entire group was charged for the extra room.



Years ago I worked as a sports photographer and a colleague of mine, who was a wedding photographer, had a death in the family and asked if I could take a job for him since the funeral conflicted with the wedding date.  Since I had nothing going on and thought that it might be fun, I said yes.  It would be the very first and very last wedding that I would ever photograph!

The evening started with me meeting the Bridal Party at a hotel to take pictures.  I’m not entirely sure why they were at a hotel since they were all locals, but the lobby was decorated beautifully with a huge Christmas Tree decorated in the Victorian Style.  Since it was a Christmas Wedding, I convinced the Bride to utilize the beautiful decorations and staged some gorgeous pictures.  Everything was running smoothly at this point…so smoothly that I was starting to consider taking on some more weddings in the future.  Then I noticed that the Bridal Party was starting to drink.  I shrugged it off initially…after all, this was a celebration!  But by the end of the shoot, some of the attendants were starting to wobble a bit and the bride was starting to get a bit loud.  Again, I shrugged it off, figuring that it was almost time to go to the church for the ceremony and that they would slow down out of necessity.

I get in the limo to ride to the church with the bridal party (part of the job was to follow the bride everywhere she went, including on all limo rides, to ensure that she had photojournalistic style photographs, which had just become the rage at that time).  This is when I discovered that the drink of choice this evening is melonshine that was made by the bride’s uncle!  By the time we got to the church, the bridal party was singing raunchy songs….it was starting to feel more like a bachelorette party than a wedding!  They poured out of the limo and into the bridal room at the Church, much to the annoyance of the priest who was not pleased to see an inebriated bride who would surely not be able to take her vows seriously.  I kept dutifully taking pictures to capture all of the special moments though.

Turns out that the Groom and his fellows had been given a sample of the same aforementioned melonshine and an enterprising groomsman had added hard liquor and beer to their stash, so they were pretty well trashed by the time they arrived as well.  A fist fight broke out between two of the groomsmen roughly five minutes before they were to walk down the aisle, complete with a bloody nose.  Luckily, some of the Ushers (who were sober) were able to get everyone separated, calmed down, and cleaned up just in time to make it down the aisle.

The ceremony begins and somehow they all make it up the aisle without incident.  Things are going beautifully, the priest is giving a beautiful homily, and it looks as if my worries are unfounded….then it starts.  The Groom pokes the Bride in her side while they are kneeling on the altar.  She, in turn, pokes him back.  He retaliates. She proceeds to curse at him…ON THE ALTAR, IN FRONT OF THE PRIEST AND GUESTS, IN THE MIDDLE OF THEIR WEDDING CEREMONY!  It breaks down into a full on fight, complete with yelling and expletives and the priest stops the wedding.  The Bride and Groom are taken to their corners to calm down.  They are finally calmed down and the priest is convinced to complete the ceremony somehow.  One thing to note…as soon as the fight breaks out, I stopped taking pictures.  I didn’t think that they would want pictures of this incident.  The Mother of the Bridge comes running over to me and tells me to keep taking pictures because she wants to make sure that they don’t’ ever forget this.  I figured that it was their dime and kept on snapping.

Its at this point that my agreement to follow the bride everywhere comes back to haunt me as I had to ride in the limo with her and her new husband to the reception site, which was 40 minutes away.  In the limo, they immediate resumed their arguing, this time thankfully sans poking.  Needless to say, it was a very uncomfortable ride for me and at one point the limo driver pulled over so that I could move to the front seat so that I could let them argue in peace.  In hindsight, I should have let them know that I was done and walked away from the job and refunded their money.  I must be a glutton for punishment.

We get to the reception and they seem to have resolved their fight and everyone is happy again.  Extremely drunk, but happy.  The Bride passed out before the first dance could be accomplished (yes…her mother asked me to take pictures of her passed out in her wedding dress to “remind her of her behavior”) so everyone hit the bar and started dancing.  I thought at this point that I could simply finish out the evening in peace and go home.  Peace was not mine to be had however.  One of the groomsmen took a shine to me and followed me around for the rest of the evening trying to convince me to let him take me to dinner.  After the fifth refusal, you’d think he’d have gotten the clue, but I’m not sure that he even heard my responses in his state of drunkenness.  He started getting rather aggressive and hands on, but, luckily, a friend of mine was the manager of the reception hall and noticed that I was being harassed and came to my rescue.  It was at this point that I let the Bride’s mother know that I was out of there and why (in a nice manner), which she had no problem with.  To her credit, she apologized profusely for the behavior of everyone involved and the tip that I received was more than generous.  My evening ended with some of the staff walking me to my vehicle, which I had staged their earlier since I had ridden with the bridal party, which was a good thing since that groomsman I mentioned before was outside waiting to try his luck with me one more time.

The next day I called my friend who had asked me to take the job for him and informed him to take me off of his backup list.  I have not since photographed a wedding.  Oh…and that drunken groomsman?  He had the nerve to track down my name and phone number through the bride only to call me about a month later to ask me for a date!  Needless to say, I gave him an emphatic no.



I thought I had a reception from hell (wedding was just beautiful), but after reading all these horror stories, all I can say is that I had no air conditioning at my reception due to a power outage the night before.  My contact at the reception hall never informed me of this, as he says that he was not planning on canceling my event because I had already paid.  Guests were hot and sweaty, and the floor was getting wet from condensation, as the wedding took place in the summer.  Luckily for me and my new husband, our guests were very gracious and stayed and told us that we would look back and laugh at this one mishap for years to come.




Back in the mid-1990's this girl named Lisa who hung out with the same circle of friends that I did got engaged. Lisa really didn't have many close female friends to ask to stand up for her when her wedding time came. Her sister was her MOH, but she needed 2 more bridesmaids, so she ended up asking 2 of us (my best-friend & myself) out of the circle of friends. Both of us did not want to, but felt bad and so we agreed to help out. We had no idea that we agreed to a drama filled wedding day.

Lisa did not clue us in much on the wedding planning, but we didn't mind and just showed up when we were told too. We just knew which church the wedding was held at and we did not even receive an invitation. On the wedding day we were told to meet up at the church around 9am to go take pictures.

We showed up at the church at 9am, no sign of the bride Lisa at all, so we waited. This was a Korean wedding & so they hired Korean caterer's who also arrived around 9:30am. We were asked to help the caterer place out the food in the church basement where the reception was going to be held. The food was a box meal in Styrofoam boxes, we were asked to place the food out at each place setting. We weren't going to eat until about 3pm and this was a hot summer day. I questioned the safety of the food sitting out for hours until we were going to eat, but was brushed off by the caterer.

It's around 10:30am now and the bride, Lisa still has not showed up. We then receive a cell call to tell us we should go out to meet everyone at these botanical gardens to take photographs. The bride apparently went to Mario Tricoci's to get her hair and make-up done which was a mistake. Whatever they did with her eye make-up it was not pretty. The tried to make the bride's Asian eyes bigger by putting on a thick slash of grey eye shadow, thick eyeliner and way too much mascara. Needless to say it didn't work very well on her, but we didn't say anything because she probably spent around $200 for hair and make-up.

Photographs are going okay, the groomsmen are the groom's best-friends from out of town who are all smart-asses. Bride's nephew is the ringboy from hell who keeps whining, running around and pushing us while we try to pose. The MOH, who is also the mother of demon child does nothing to keep her little brat in line.

We see that the bride and groom rented this huge limo, but none of us were invited to ride in it. The only people riding in it other than the Bride & Groom was the MOH and Ringboy from Hell. We were glad not to be invited, but we didn't even know they rented a limo.

We get back to the church around 1:30pm and we realize that the A/C is not really working well on this hot summer day. I think about all that food sitting in the basement and mention it to the bride. She brushes me off and I say "Okay" I'm not going to worry about it, but I'm not going to eat it either.

When we got back the Pastor came in to check on us in the waiting room and sees the bride. Apparently he does not like her make-up job and insists that she fix it or he won't do the ceremony. He claims that she does not look like a "modest" bride.

The ceremony is supposed to be at 2pm, the bride's parents are divorced and have a very bitter relationship apparently. The Mother of Bride was brought by one twin brother of the bride and the Father is being brought by the other twin. Apparently 2nd twin didn't get directions to the church and got lost, the Father of the Bride never made it on time to walk his daughter down the aisle. Bride was walked down the aisle by an Uncle and she was crying the whole time. The Father of the Bride finally makes it midway thru the ceremony and they seat him, but he makes a big too do about not sitting next to his ex-wife.

By the time the ceremony is over the church is hot and uncomfortable and the guests are sent to the basement while we do church pictures. The Father of the Bride makes a huge scene and refuses to be in the same picture as the Mother of the Bride. By the time we get to the basement it is filled with the smell of food that's been sitting out in a non air-conditioned room too long. I open my box lunch and politely eat some rice...the safest thing.

By the time it's close to the end the bride's brother makes an announcement asking guests to help clean-up, breakdown chairs and tables. He starts handing out garbage bags to all of us and now we're cleaning up! Nice, real nice.



Let me tell out about this wedding from hell I was a part of several years ago.  Really it wasn’t bad for the bride and groom, for which I am grateful, but it was miserable to me!

My dear friend “Amy” lives several states away and called to announce her engagement and ask if I would be a BM in her wedding.  I happily agreed.  Now, at the time I was living alone and making a pittance at my first real job.  I was flat broke every minute of every day, but I figured that in a year, when the wedding rolled around, my circumstances would be different.

They weren’t, but I couldn’t back out.  I didn’t want to upset Amy, and I wanted to be a part of her wedding.  So I bit the bullet and bought the dress and plane ticket, but couldn’t afford a rental car or hotel.  Amy agreed to let me stay at her house till her wedding night, then arranged for me to stay with her MOH, who would then take me to the airport.  (Just to give you a clue how broke I was, on my way to the airport for the wedding I stopped by the bank to get the last bit of money on my credit card as a cash advance so I could pay my power bill, so the lights would be on when I came back!)

Here are some of the things that made this such an awful experience for me:

As the wedding approached Amy acted put-out by the fact that I was going to be staying with her.  I had no other alternative, though, other than to not go to the wedding.  When I got there her fiancé also acted put-out that I was staying there.  I felt bad because I figured they wanted some time alone before the wedding.

The MOH hated my guts.  I don’t know why but at the bachelorette party if we were standing in a group she would turn her back on me.  This progressed to making nasty comments to me all the way through the wedding the next day, when no one else was listening, of course.  I went ahead and made arrangements to stay with Amy’s parents that last night.  (I had practically lived in their house when I was a teenager and they love me.)  I cannot express the relief I felt to not have to stay an entire night with the MOH!

The morning of the wedding all the BMs gathered at Amy’s house to get their hair and make-up done.  We were all instructed to wash our hair the night before and let it go flat, then the stylist would tease, spray, and turn it into a hairstyle.  However, the bride’s stylist spent more time than expected on the bride’s hair and couldn’t get to anyone else’s!  I was terrified that my flat, stringy mop of hair would be forever immortalized in Amy’s wedding photos.  However Amy’s mom came to the rescue and gave me an awesome French twist in under three minutes.

And finally, here is the worst.  A few days before the wedding Amy informed me that she would be giving rose corsages to her stepmother and the groom’s mom, but only a carnation corsage to her own mom.  Amy was hurt that her mom (who is a bit of a gypsy type – with a drinking problem) had not really expressed an interest or offered to help with the wedding.  Well, Amy’s mom, not being one to hold her tongue, was hurt and angry and threw a bit of a fit when she figured out that she was being slighted.  This lead to Amy being in tears just before the wedding, but we all managed to get her calmed down and she went on to have a happy wedding.

I was relieved and elated when I finally stepped on the plane to go home.  I’ll never tell Amy what a horrible time her wedding was for me, mostly because of her evil MOH.  I am just happy that Amy has (mostly) happy memories of her wedding. 



Hi Jeanne! I love your site and wish I knew such things as wedding etiquette 25 years ago. My own wedding was a small family gathering at my parent's home. Nothing special, but that's the way my husband and I wanted it. His oldest sister, on the other hand, wanted the works.    Here's some history to work with. My husband has 3 brothers, 6 sisters. A large Roman Catholic family. During the year we got married, his oldest brother was married two months previous to our wedding, and his sister's was two months after. His brother's wedding had been planned months before ours. We could have waited, but my parents were planning on moving out of state within the year. While his brother had a very nice wedding, we had the budget special. Easier for everyone involved, and my parents moved out of state 2 weeks after my wedding.     

Now for the horror. From the beginning, sister K wanted something monumental and special. And she wanted it in the fall. She wouldn't wait, using my wedding as the reason. "You wouldn't wait".. but we had extenuating circumstances. Okay, fine, the entire family pitched in with their usual enthusiasm. K had 9 bridesmaids, with her G's only sister as her BM. All 5 of her sisters were maids, as well as 3 friends. My MIL managed to cut corners and sew all nine dresses. And despite some wobbly hemlines, they looked great. The family was tight on money, every little bit saved was a blessing to them. But not for K who would try to use any imagined savings into getting herself something grander for her special day, whether it was a special made Spanish veil at a separate (and very expensive) cost from the dress, or beautiful satin and silk ballet slippers to wear while dancing at the reception. She was marrying into money, and the whole family knew it. She was trying to impress them, I think.       

K's FMIL was a single mom, a successful business woman, and a loud-mouth busy body. She carped on the fact that K's family weren't contributing as much as she was to the wedding arrangements, she complained about how poor the entire family was, she had specific ideas herself, which K always found good (and expensive). My FIL's brother (a priest) flew in from out of state to perform the ceremony. He's had throat surgery, and his voice isn't the greatest, but he can still be heard. During the rehearsal, the FMIL constantly corrected his speech, commented that he wasn't loud enough, and that maybe they would have to have him use a different microphone. She generally made people uncomfortable, criticizing a priest for his vocal difficulties.     

On the wedding day, the bride was late, the MIL loud and obnoxious, but once the ceremony actually began, it was beautiful. The reception was held in another city, about 45 minute drive from the church. Once there, the MIL had re-arranged all the seating charts, so that the bride's family had only one table to sit at. One table for 15-20 people, compared to the 20+ tables she had charted up for her family and friends. Granted, the bridesmaids were all supposed to sit at the main table, but it became patently obvious that there just wasn't enough room to accommodate all 20 people in the wedding party at the head table!  Naturally, the sisters were immediately delegated to the 'family table' where they had dates and spouses waiting, making our single table even more crowded. With the added fact that somehow, the bride's family table also was the last table to go through the buffet line. We heard such comments as "here comes the pigs" complete with snorting sounds. It all came out then, from the comments that the other guests were making, that the MIL had told everyone in her family that SHE paid for the entire wedding and reception, that her son was 'saving' this wonderful girl from this poor family of losers. A real life Cinderella.. and K was eating it up like candy. Even the poor priest uncle wasn't spared from this humiliation.      

Well, we committed our own faux pas then. The poor priest uncle was an avid photographer, and he decided to set up a slide show of his recent vacation to the canyons and natural parks of the west. Surprisingly, the hall manager even helped him set up the projector in a nice basement room, and supplied chairs! (I suppose the poor man was being run ragged by the MIL, who demanded more ice, more chairs, better microphones, clear the tables so people could dance...). Most of the bride's family (and some of the other guests as well) spent over an hour watching slides! K the bride finally tracked us all down, and had a fit that we were missing her wedding! (actually, we were missing her reception, but I doubt that the MIL missed us!) 

The bride dragged her father out, insisting that he do the father/daughter dance, and she demanded the rest of us to come upstairs immediately. I think it was for the dollar dance. I don't recall many of her side of the family dancing with her. We left soon after.   Ending note: My budget marriage has lasted 25 years, but hers ended after about 8 years. The Groom, who had remained basically in the background during all that wedding drama, turned out to be a controlling and abusive person. K had children with him, and has had nothing but trouble in court since, even after being divorced for almost 17 years. I guess money doesn't solve every problem.



I have not been to many weddings but this one takes the cake.  It started well enough.   I was asked by the mother of the bride to take Wedding portraits, as I have done the newborn pictures of all the bride’s children.  I went to the bridal shower, and it was a nice simple affair. The place that did the cake put the wrong groom’s name and thus they had to get a different cake.  At the shower, I am told the groom’s aunt, also a professional photographer is going to do the wedding pictures.  I offer to come as a guest as I have known the bride since she was in middle school.  I am told no they still want me to get the experience.  (I am a nature and children’s photographer by specialty. I have never had any interest in weddings because of the stress involved but figured it would be good experience to have.) 

I agree to go ahead and come amid protest of feeling like a 5th wheel.  The mother of the bride confesses to me that the reason they want me there is they are afraid that the bride’s side of the family will not get any of the pictures.  So I am reluctant but agree. 

A week before the wedding the aunt and cousin of the bride, get upset over something and decide not to come.  There were very vocal about the fact they were not going and they were upset with the groom.  Which to me was rude, this is the Bride’s special day, and the last thing she should have to deal with is bickering family.

The day of the rehearsal I know the bride is setting up the reception hall and ask to take a few pictures before the guests move things about.  While we are there I hear conversation about where is the bride’s purse.  It will turn out that her purse and her ID, and her money for the honeymoon are stolen that night. The night of the rehearsal also, the battle lines are starting to be drawn.  The mother of the groom makes is very clear that she does NOT want me there.  Again, I try to bow out but the mother of the bride is insistent.   I tell her I find it unprofessional for me to do this to this photographer.  So I will stay back and just be like any other family member, or friend that brings a camera.  All of a sudden, I am told that the time for me to be there is significantly earlier then I was told.   I need to be there 3 hours before I was told to be there.  Why, the Aunt has another wedding to shoot that day, and has to do these pictures really early in the day.  Of course what this means to me is that I have no time to advise my sitter of the change in time.  I get stuck bringing my 3 year old daughter to the wedding.  Something that was perfectly ok with the families but not ok with me.  I am not a big fan of children that are not related to the bride or groom being at a wedding.

I get there the same time as the photographer.  As per my conversation with the bride’s mother, I stay back.  I let this lady do her job.  I help the mother with last minute preparation, and take some the shots that I felt the photographer should have gotten but was too rushed to get, like the bride and the bride’s maids getting ready.  All in all at the time I found it a wonderful arrangement.  I managed to get a cute picture of the ring bearer and the 2 flower girls practicing walking down the aisle the girls in their dresses and he is not in his tux just yet.  Things she was too busy to see.  Then I get the news that floors me.  After the pre-wedding photos, she is leaving for the other wedding and she is giving a camera to her sister that HATES to take pictures and does not even know how to work the camera.  The lady is telling me, to help her with the after ceremony formals.  I agree, and now feel like I understand why the family wanted me there.  Then in comes the hero.  The son of the aunt that is a photographer manages to arrive from work.  I let him do the ceremony, and his aunt tells him why I am there.  So he is very nice, very kind, and insists that I take a picture after him for every pose.  The mother of the groom, I guess does not like this arrangement because she deliberately looks away or gets down as I take my pictures.  I let it go because I see this storm brewing, and I know that he got the picture. 

We get to the reception, and it seems that everything is going better, but wait where is the cake?  There is no cake.  The bakery did not deliver the cake as promised.  There is much commotion about this.  One person even runs to the bakery but they are closed.  So some members of the extended family go out and buy a few sheet cakes.  The best part of this is that the bride and groom had opted to take a spin in the Limo, and do not know of all the stress at the reception.  The baker claims that he tried to deliver the cake but no one was there.  The bar tender, says that is not true that he was there at the time the cake was supposedly at the reception hall.  The baker claims he called, again the bar tender says not the case. The baker claims he called even during the time we were in the building. Then finally at 10pm as the bride’s mother is cleaning up she hears the phone ring for the first time, it is the baker, asking “Was there a wedding reception there tonight?”  Umm ok, either the baker is wrong or the bar tender is but, I am putting my money on the baker.  The bride’s mother was upset with worry about the expensive cake topper they had on the cake.  The baker is a jerk, about not wanting to give it back. 

Now what wedding from HELL story would be complete with out the guest from hell?  I am afraid that that title must go to my dear sweet (NOT) sister in law.  This is the woman, which at the bride’s son’s first birthday party announced she was only there for the food.   So I teased, why did you invite her you know she is only coming for the food.  Of course that made the bride’s mom chuckle.  It has become a joke between the two of us.   Well she tried to dump her newborn son on me.  Now this is a child that she has tried to use to hurt me since I had a miscarriage two weeks before the wedding.  The wound is still fresh to me, and she is still trying to rub salt in that wound at this point.  This was the one time I was THANKFUL that the bride and her family insisting, I take pictures.  I say sorry, I can’t I have to take pictures.  So guess who gets the child, you guessed the mother of the bride.  Where does my sister in law go, to try to get everyone else to buy her drinks.  (Why she is drinking with 2 small sons to care for and drive home is another issue.)  My daughter and I are having a good time, I am taking lots of pictures, and she is watching me with interest.  My older nephew on the other hand is becoming a walking example of why I hate kids at weddings.  He is getting into things, making messes, and it does not help that mom is no where to be found.  Finally a woman walks up to me and tells me I have to take my newborn nephew.  “Nope make his mother take him. I have one child here and I am taking care of my one child, I will not be responsible for her kids.  He has a mother let his mother deal with him.”  I am sure I upset the lady, but the bride’s mom tells her that I had just had a miscarriage at 13 weeks along, and my sister in law had been rude in the way she tried to force this baby at me.  She even told others she was doing it to hurt me, so I refused to let her this night.  Hearing why I would not take him the woman understood. 

Well it is time to go and my sister in law asks me to keep her boys so she can go get drunk.  I refuse, say I am tired, and my daughter needs to go to bed.  Then she asks the Bride’s MOTHER of all people to watch her 2 kids so she can go “party.”  Umm wasn’t that what the reception was?  She did not have her kids the whole time, so that to me would be a break.  I was so thrilled to hear that she told her no. 

The one thing I have to say is the bride was a gem.  She never turned into bridezilla.  She rolled with all the punches.  She danced with all the kids.  She entertained my nephew.  Her and her mother gave an extra flower corsage to my daughter, which of course made my daughter pronounce later that she was the flower girl because she got a flower.  I happily went to a photo kiosk to get some prints made for the bride’s family because there was a family reunion the next day.  Something I normally would not do, but it was friends, and they certainly had enough bumps on this road. 

Looking back, it has been almost a year.  The family is all on speaking terms again.  The bride’s family did get pictures despite their concerns and the bride ended up with a welcome surprise of a third son due to her birth control being in her purse that was stolen and she couldn’t get it refilled. I of course happily took his newborn pictures.  Her honeymoon was kind of dull because she could not order wine or champagne in the restaurants because she had no ID.  All and all, I am glad that mess is over.  The bride’s mother is just hopeful that her son’s will elope. 



I don't know how much of this is faux pas, and how much is just... interesting. Quite a long tale I'm afraid!

A bit of background: The bride ran away from home aged 16 to live with another family who (up until then) had been close friends with her family. The reason was, basically, that her parents didn't give her enough attention (there were a few younger siblings including a toddler) and wouldn't give her as much freedom as she'd like. I will refer to her family as Fam1 and her new family as Fam2. She literally ran away when her parents were out and then refused to come back, so no talking about it or anything like that, all drama.

She gets a part-time job at a fast food joint and eventually falls in love with her boss.

They decided to get married because the 18year old bride's parents were concerned when they moved in together. The original wedding date was canned, however, when the bride fell pregnant. Not really unusual these days, these things happen.

A few months later, baby in tow they started to think about the wedding again. And the bride decides that the day she must have to get married on is the day another lovely mutual acquaintance (Bride1) has planned a wedding for (church and hall booked etc). If there was a good reason for Bride2 choosing this date, she did not disclose it, and considering no plans had been made at that stage I suspect it was partly selfishness.

Her mother was quite upset, as she had planned on attending the previous wedding being good friends with the Bride1's mother (fortunately no invites had been sent out to the first wedding yet, and Bride1's mother eventually decided not to invite any mutual friends to the wedding to avoid people having to choose - I guess that's an easy way of saving money too!) Bride2 was adamant though, she must have this day.

She assumed her Fam1 parents (who were a one income family still raising small children) would pay for a big wedding for her, and when her parents told her they'd do something lovely but simple as it would be more appropriate to her circumstances and their budget, she refused to let them help her at all and instead had Fam2 help her with all the planning, preparations, and sewing of the dresses etc. She should have let her parents have more input - the end result might have been classier!

Bride2 and her FH wanted a church wedding (as they are both Christians), but all of the churches required the couple to have some pre-marriage counseling, which they didn't want to do, so they finally settled on a small chapel in the city - by small I mean seating 100 people at a squash - which was non-denominational and didn't have any requirements. They then proceeded to invite twice as many people as could fit into the chapel.

According to the invitations (which were cut-and-paste jobs in black and orange Halloween colors), the wedding was to be hosted by the new baby ("XX wishes to invite you to the wedding of her parents" etc). Furthermore, each invitation specified at the bottom a particular dish that the guest was to bring. This is obviously how she could afford to invite so many people. Pot-luck meals were common in this circle (but not for weddings! Just as social get- togethers!) so I doubt anybody minded too much, knowing how poor the couple are. It would have been nice if they'd specified "No presents" though - of course I would have brought one anyway most likely, but it seems rude to tell guests to bring their own meal and assume they'll bring the customary present as well.

The bride gave separate invitations to each of her Fam1 siblings (mostly toddlers to primary school aged), and when her Fam1 mother asked why she said that was to "make sure she brought a dish for each member of the family". Her mother was surprised, as of course she would bring enough food to her own daughter's wedding, and was used to catering to her large family!

The bride decided that her Fam1 sister, aged 3, would be a flower girl, along with a Fam2 little girl. She also included the two youngest boys from Fam1 and Fam2, but excluded her Fam1 10 year old sister as it would make the party uneven and she didn't have time to make a dress for her. (She had decided to sew the bridesmaid's dresses herself).

Up until a week before the wedding, the father of the bride had no idea whether or not he was expected to walk his daughter up the aisle or if her Fam2 dad would be given the honor.

The bride was one hour late to the wedding ceremony (which would have allowed guests to attend Bride1's ceremony and wish her well too, if they'd only known). The chapel was overcrowded and only those fortunate enough to be early had seating room.

The 10 year old sister had been included at the last minute in the role of carrying the couple's baby up the aisle. She looked thrilled, so that's nice that she was included even if her dress was an afterthought! And dad got to proudly walk his daughter up the aisle, so that was great too. There was no center aisle in the chapel, so we twisted our heads backwards and forwards as they'd send a couple of people from the bridal party up each of the tiny, narrow, side aisles in turn, and nobody knew which aisle the bride would be appearing from!

The bridesmaid's dresses were made out of that cheap faux-satin in dark, bright shiny PURPLE and ORANGE. The were in a tight medieval style that was particularly unflattering on the plus-size bridesmaid.

The ceremony was nice, plenty of jokes from the celebrant and songs sung by friends of the couple.

On to the reception. As the wedding had been so late starting, the reception was pushed back too. Also considering that the reception hall was a good 90min drive away out in the country. The bridal party also had to do photos so once again, there was a quite a long wait before they arrived and dinner could begin.

Due to the kindness of a number of friends of her mother, there was plenty of food at the buffet - people made sure they brought plenty of dishes and coordinated the serving. I guess the bride knew this would happen as she'd seen these woman co-ordinate pot-luck dinners before, still, when I'm invited to a wedding I assume I'll be able to sit with the guests rather than work in the kitchen heating, serving and later washing dishes!

The speeches involved an open house of whoever wanted to jumping up on stage and talking for awhile - they lasted for about an hour (yes, this is despite the fact that there was no alcohol to make people garrulous!) Drinks were cordial and soft drink provided by guests.

The bride also decided to pay tribute to an uncle who had died some years earlier. There was a shrine built to him in the corner of the room, and they made a special speech about how much he'd want to be there, then prayed, sang, and cried for about 30min around it. Bear in mind here that none of the guests knew him except for her family.

The topper of the evening? The bride went into a back room to feed her baby, and her veil caught on a candle and caught alight. Her new husband burnt his hands putting the flames out, and in the end her veil was a pile of ashes and her beautiful wedding dress scorched.

Apart from these bizarre occurrences, I think everybody did have a nice time although the bride was very stressed for the ceremony and most of the reception.

It's just a case of someone not having an understanding of etiquette and failing to realize that certain conventions apply not because they're 'traditional' or the way things MUST be done, but because they're plain and simple good manners and good taste.

Two years later, the bride lives in a caravan behind her adopted family's house with her daughter so she can claim child support. Unofficially, despite living separately, they're still 'together' so I guess that's what counts... isn't it?

Oh, and no thank you notes, of course! :-)



I have 2 half brothers and a half sister. My younger half brother was married when I was 14 (I'm 20 now) . She was a nice girl.....but we knew the real reason my brother was marrying her; her parents were filthy rich. The wedding was held at her step-mother and father's house. 

First off my little sister and I were promised that we'd be in the bridal party, of course that didn't happen. We took the train 3 1/2 hours to go to the wedding. We weren't invited to the rehearsal or anything. Which I find funny because its his dad and step-mother. 

The day of the wedding we were given directions to a church, where we assumed their wedding would be. We didn't see anyone else so my dad called and asked what was going on. Just then one of the bridesmaids pulls up.......the attendants were being made to taxi people back and forth because they didn't want people parking at their house. So we arrive where the wedding was, her step-mother and fathers house. They had a small man-made muddy pond with a bridge over it, they had signs proclaiming that it was "lake Julia" (the bride's name). We didn't end up being in any of the pictures. So its time for everything to start. My dad wasn't included in any of the wedding. The parent's of the bride had hurried to finish the yard for the basically all of our chairs were sinking because of the watered freshly-laid grass. 

In the middle of the service the priest makes a note that there's portapottys behind the house...and that no one is to go into the house to use the bathroom. The bride's dress was beautiful...except for all the flying ants that got stuck in it from close-by construction. Then the mother of the bride (a very strange half-bald woman) got up to sing....opera...and she COULD NOT sing a note. It was horrible. The step-mother of the bride was wearing a white pant suit and no underwear (the pants were see through). 

So we make it through the ceremony..and through this one of the ushers handed out little white boxes containing a butterfly. When we were all told to release them...they all fell on the ground (someone had put a little too much ice in the cooler). Which is sad because they were really expensive. After the wedding we all had to wait 45 minutes for the tables to be set up. When the cake was cut it almost fell over...the mother of bride had to hold it up. When we finally left we had a good long laugh. The best part is that they boasted for months about how elegant and perfect their wedding was going to be because her parents would only let her have the best, and that it would be perfect. We ended up going to a wedding of a friend a month later. They had a limited income but their wedding was 10x more beautiful than my brother's.



This is what the Brits might refer to as a “chav” wedding. Here in the US, “trash” would be the term. This was my partner’s best friend’s sister’s wedding, and took place on the grounds of the best friend’s house. I didn’t care that they were trash. Hey, if you want the wedding canopy decorated with baseball pennants, the guests in Hawaiian shirts, shorts, and sports sandals, and the recessional music to be AC/DC, that’s your choice. Treating your guests poorly though is not.

The cocktail hour was at 5, the ceremony at 6:30, to be followed by dinner. We got there around 5:30, saw that the chafing trays for dinner were already set up and the food was being brought out, so we figured dinner would be served right after the ceremony.

Before I go further, let me give you the setting. It was a beautiful late summer afternoon, dry and fine. The house is gorgeous, but everything for the event was set up outside, including two port-a-johns with a 15 minute line at all times. The tent is set up on the flattest spot on the grounds, but unfortunately is still at quite an angle. Our table is naturally right next to a loudspeaker, and I don’t mean just nearest to the speaker. I was literally RIGHT NEXT to the speaker, so I could barely hear myself think (my left ear is still ringing).

There was practically no food available at the cocktail hour. I ate some cheese and olives. Because the tent was set up on a hill, someone’s olive rolled right off their plate, across our table, and onto the ground. I was not looking forward to eating dinner at this angle later.

The ceremony started on time and was short and sweet. I was ready for dinner. Well, the sun set, and a chill started rolling in from the valley and through the tent. There were no flaps on the tent sides, and we were getting the worst of the wind at my table (along with the loud music, and the lovely smell of manure from a nearby dairy farm). There was no food available, the temperature was plummeting, and there was no indication that we would be eating any time soon. My partner spoke to his best friend who went in to get one of her husband’s sweatshirts for me, thank goodness.

“Fast forward” to eight o’clock. We are tired, hungry, and cold, and there are only cold drinks. Plus we are going deaf. The only saving grace was that there were no bugs out. This was bizarre. Since the cocktail hour had been before the ceremony, and it was too dark to take pictures, we had no idea why they were delaying the procession of events. We decided to go sit up on the porch and we started discussing how much longer we are willing to put up with this before leaving.

On our way up to the house the DJ announces that everyone should return to their seats. Finally, something is happening! On our way back down to the tent we run into the bride. Now we know what the bridal party has been so busy doing… she is way past tipsy and halfway to soused.

Well, the bride and groom have their first dance, followed by a song for the bride’s parents. Dinner is still God knows how far away, and we are quite sure at this point that the “important” people are going to get to go to the buffet before we are, and whenever dinner starts, we will probably be getting our food an hour after that… the leftovers of food that has been sitting in chafing trays for four or five hours.

Then the song for the groom’s parents started, and we realized that even though the festivities started at 5:00, this is going to be a very late night trash par-tay, and we decide to leave. Our plan is to go use a bathroom in the house, drop off the sweatshirt, then return to the tent to say some goodbyes. When we get to the house, we realize that it is PITCH black in the areas away from the tent (where our cars are), and decide enough is enough. After using the bathroom we just left. We of course had been directed to park in the absolute furthest corner of the yard on the opposite side of the house from the lighted tent area, and so had to fumble carefully past a sandbox and trampoline we had passed on the way coming in (keeping our ears out for bears). Thank goodness my partner’s car had one of those security button key chain thingies that lit up the car remotely so we could see it.

We both felt we made the right decision to leave so early. There was no point in staying another two hours to pick through leftover dried out food and eat in a freezing tent with blaring music on a tilted table, and getting home around midnight, likely with headaches, upset stomachs, and bitterness. Unlike many stories on the website where people continue to subject themselves to Hell, we knew when to say enough is enough and that it was best to make a discrete exit.



Saturday, my boyfriend and I got dressed and drove to a church outside of Baltimore. The ride took almost an hour and the traffic was fairly heavy. We left early so as not to show up after the bride. The wedding was scheduled for 3 pm.

We arrived at about 2:15 pm---plenty of time. Parked in a spot that we found out was not legal. I went back and moved the car to the street. Walked around, got some mints...came back at 2:40. The person I assumed to be the minister told us to wait in the Sunday school room. We waited about 10 minutes and then he let us into the church.

The church was small probably would only hold about 100-130 people. At 2:50 about 30 people were present. No bride, groom, or attendants. Organist was playing his stuff. Waited for a while longer---the person who seemed like he was the minister came to the mic and said...if you are parked in the parking lot, be sure to move your vehicle. It does not belong to the church and you will be towed. A few folks ran out.

By this time, its 3:15, no bridge, groom, or attendants. More people came in. Everyone is getting a little antsy. At approximately 3:20, we heard someone say, this wedding isn't going to start until 4 pm. No explanation given. No one went to the mic.

At about 3:50, my boyfriend went outside for a breather --- it was getting stuffy in the little church. My sinuses weren't too happy. Anyway, he came back in and informed me that he heard a lady talking on her cell phone to someone, and she was saying....the bride is still at her house? What? She let him play football? What?

What this translated to was, while we were sitting in a stuffy church waiting, the bride was waiting for her son to finish his football game at the high school because he was in her wedding. So, we were held hostage to a football game. Obviously, this was not well thought out. Guests should not be treated in this manner. I am not happy at all. I asked if I could leave a card with someone and was pointed to a young lady who took it for me. We left. Got home at 4:45. Almost 3 ½ hours and no wedding.



One of my closest friends “Macy” informed me that she was marrying the guy she had been living with for awhile. We knew it was coming and since she was a bridesmaid at my first wedding, she asked me to be one at hers. Of course I felt obliged to accept.

I knew right away this was going to be a mess since Macy is not the most organized person out there.

Even the bachelorette party the night before was a hideous mess.

Anyway, I and my fiancé showed up in a dress she made me have made from a seamstress, which actually came out quite nice. I was 10 minutes late, and I was earlier then most people. Macy and Burt (her fiancé) showed up about an hour after we were suppose to. If that was the worst, I would have been happy. She informed me that she didn’t realize there was a 3 day waiting period for a marriage license, so they couldn’t technically get married.

They were having the wedding in a Polish/American Club. It was decorated beautifully. The Minister never showed up, and I asked if she had one that was suppose to come. She said, yes. So, the other bridesmaid ended up marrying them, since the photographer refused. The DJ still hadn’t arrived so we all walked down the aisle with no music. The ceremony was a laugh, literally, it was so bad we were laughing through it.

The DJ showed up about 45 minutes after the ceremony. SO, we figured we would eat while we waited for the DJ. Food was great, they catered Italian, and it was good. She had bought champagne for a toast, and never did it. She spent $500 on a cake that was never cut. DJ came and played good music for 10 minutes and then played Spanish music for the rest of the wedding. My fiancé and I stayed until 11p making excuses that we were exhausted and had a great time. I felt bad she spent so much money for such a disaster.

My fiancé and I are getting married next weekend. Everything is planned to the tee. The Notary (both our second marriage/notary is my sister-in-law. The DJ, is our computer that we have programmed with about a billion songs, food and everything. This one is less expensive then my friends but at least it will be organized.



 I was invited by a male cousin of mine to be a member of bridal party at his wedding. While I had gone out to dinner with the bride a couple of times I did not know her very well, but she seemed like a nice enough person so I was a willing participant. The wedding was to be arranged in a very short period of time since they had basically met in December of 2003, and were engaged by February of 2004 with the ceremony scheduled for May of that year. 

It seemed strange to my family members that there was a three-hour gap between the wedding and the reception, but I had initially figured that since the arrangements were done in short order, they didn’t have a choice. My folks, also from MA, were forced to fend for themselves for 3 hours as the bride did not provide any alternative for guests who had traveled a distance. As it turns out, the bride informed us after the ceremony that the wedding photos were to be done in a park by the ocean. That would have been a good idea if it were a local park but the location was 45 min away from the church, and the bride did not provide transportation for the bridal party or even directions to follow. The idea was to just "follow the Rolls Royce" down the highway and through several small towns until we reached the park. Lucky for me I am an expert at tracking people in cars but let me tell you it was not easy to drive with a dress that was several inches too long in a compact car, in the middle of afternoon traffic. 

We get to the park and the photographer takes several photos of the bride and groom while the rest of us just stand around in a windy park freezing. There were no bathrooms (and since we did not know until the last minute what the plans were, none of us visited the ladies' beforehand) and nothing to drink or eat (the wedding party including myself had consumed nothing since early that morning). Then the photographer takes a few shots of the bridal party and we are dismissed while the bride and groom take more photos. 

We manage to make it  to the reception hall (again, using pure instinct as we have no directions) and I find my family hanging out in the area below the reception hall. I asked what was happening and they said that while there were cheese trays and such upstairs, nobody was up there to serve or to let guests know that they could be seated upstairs, so everyone was crowded into the bar/vestibule area waiting for someone to let them know what was going on. We waited for another 30 mins or so until the bride and groom arrive. Everyone goes upstairs but the bride insists that the bridal party wait on the stairs to make a grand entrance. We do so and then need to figure out where we are sitting. It is then discovered that most of the bridal party is together, but my husband and I are separated at another table with my brother, the best man and his wife, and a few other cousins. My sister is at the far end of the hall with her husband, my other aunt, and a bunch of people she doesn't know. My parents are at a third table with a different group of people altogether. It seems that the MOB didn't bother to consult with the groom regarding seating arrangements, and so everyone from his side was scattered throughout the reception hall. 

Aside from having the wedding party completely scattered, the bride and groom were at their own table, on a platform elevated several inches off of the ground, as if they were the king and queen overlooking their subjects. (I will note here that my cousin had absolutely no say in the planning of this wedding and looked about as comfortable sitting up there as a canary trapped in a corner by a cat.) The food was served family-style , which I count as a wedding faux pas in my book since you never know how much to take as the plates are being passed around the table by complete strangers. The DJ played almost exclusively music in the style and language of the bride's ethnicity with no acknowledgement to the groom's heritage or background. The topper to the whole affair was that very shortly after their honeymoon, the couple began having marital problems and ended the marriage two months later. The worst part of it all was that the bride did not bother to return any of the gifts (which I thought was the protocol if the marriage ends that quickly) and we have never heard from her again.




About 7 years ago, my 26 year old cousin got married to his girlfriend of 12 years. "Ron" and "Jennie" were very poor but wanted to have a real wedding. At the time, I was 17.

Jennie was 8 months pregnant with her third child. Her oldest child was from another father, but her middle child and the unborn were from the man she was marrying. A seamstress had to add a full yard of fabric to her dress the week before the wedding because she was so huge.

The wedding and reception were held in the multipurpose room of the local center for the deaf. The priest arrived and, having never met the family before, did some interviewing to make sure that he knew enough about the bride and groom before he married them. He was very disturbed at the fact that Jennie was pregnant, and that another child of hers was not the groom's.

Eventually, Jennie made it down the aisle as the guests whooped it up in their cowboy hats and boots. The priest, still noticeably disturbed, stopped the ceremony midway and called for a spontaneous prayer, where he asked (or begged) God to please, please bless these poor people.

The reception began immediately in the same room as the wedding, where the potluck dinner was served. My cousin Alex, a pretty bad singer, whipped out his karaoke machine and provided the entertainment for the evening. People ate and drank - mostly drinking from the one keg that was in the corner of the hall. Then, the bride was asked to do a money dance. But, after the first dance was done, Cousin Alex decided that there wasn't enough money pinned on the bride. So, he proceeded to do three MORE money dance songs for the bride until they the crowd got too restless and started to leave.

Finally, the groom went to do the garter toss. The bride sat on a plastic chair in the middle of the room in her big poofy dress. Ron proceeded to not just grab the garter, but to kneel and stick his entire upper body up her dress. After 20 seconds, we hear a muffled, "I can't find it guys!" - upon which everyone laughed hysterically. Finally, he emerged from under her dress and let out a huge "Pee-eew!" while scrunching his whole face and fanning the air in front of him. "Boy that stank!" he called jokingly, mortifying Jennie.

They are recently separated, but that was a wedding that I'll never forget. I'm not holding out hope for the thank you note that never arrived.



Ok my wedding! I couldn't believe all of the faux pas that occurred before and during my wedding. To begin with one of my bridesmaids (I've been friends with her for 20 years) did not pick up and pay for her gown until the last minute. My bridesmaids had plenty of notice beforehand and had even joined me in my search and they picked out their gowns. I reminded her several times to get her dress. She picked it up at the last minute and didn't even get it altered! So of course she is standing up there with her dress way too long. She showed up at the rehearsal halfway through and didn't even get to practice her part. She had to follow the lead on the wedding day. She then showed up way late to the wedding because she was doing her hair and makeup. I did my pictures with my bridesmaids beforehand and wound up having to wait on her. I was then leaving the sanctuary when guests were already arriving and then had to walk through them in my gown and it ruined the "surprise element". 

She then invited a friend of hers that I had never met. She also sat at the rehearsal dinner making jokes about my father. We no longer speak. My stepsister was angry that my stepfather , her dad, walked me down the aisle and made nasty comments about it to others at the wedding. She complained that she hated my bridesmaids gown and talked about the reception. BTW this is the same girl that has been planning a Harley Davidson themed wedding! Talk about tacky! 

My husband has 3 other sibling and of course they were all in attendance with their respective spouse and children. My sister in law RSVP'd for her husband and 2 children which DID NOT show up to the wedding. Her in laws were also invited because they were close friends of my husband's parents. Because their family is somewhat large, I had to set them at separate tables. I had her sitting with her husband, children , and in laws. Well she did not like that. When she got her place card she threw a fit, a very obvious fit in front of everybody and said that she was going to sit where she wanted to and that the person "assigned" to that seat would just have to move! Our wedding was $50 a head and I lost $150 in her alone! 

I also couldn't believe how many people RSVP'd and did not show. I still had to pay for their dinner and that really added up. During our picture session, my sister wanted a picture of me, her, my dad, and our 2 half siblings. I declined and she started pouting. I have only seen my brothers maybe 3 times in my life and I don't have a good relationship with my father. I also didn't want to get in to taking pictures with every individual family member. And this may sound selfish, but less than 1/4 of the guests bothered to bring presents and NONE of my bridesmaids nor my own sister got us a gift. 

We also had advice cards on the table for people to suggest ways to have a long and happy marriage. Some guests took this upon themselves to make jokes and even some dirty remarks. Towards the end of the reception, our drink manager started collecting all of the left over beer to put away and my sister's friend and her  brother (also not invited) began stocking up on beer to take with them! I have had my best friend for 20 years and she was the one that threw all of my party's and helped with planning and everything. She is such a great person and naturally she was my maid of honor. Well thinking that this was unfair, my sister announced that SHE was going to be the maid of honor and made a point of telling everybody and then walked up with us while we said our vows. 

To top it all off, some guests had brought us cards. Well, at a wedding, you see cards, you can bet that there is money in them. Knowing this, someone in the wait staff decided to pocket them. Of course now I look tacky because I was unable to send those guests a thank you card knowing that they most likely left us a card and I can't call people and ask "Did you bring us a present to our wedding?" That would be WAY tacky! But I will say that I and my wonderful husband loved our wedding and had a great time and ignored all of these people and look back on it fondly.


Page Last Updated May 15, 2007