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Wicked Witches of the Weddings

Momsters, Smothers of the Bride or Groom, SIniSTER/SIniSTERs-in-Law, Bothers/Bothers-in-Law and Dadulas

Jan-Jun 2000 Archive

     I've been a minister's wife for almost twenty years so I've helped plan more weddings and showers than I can count. Most were wonderful but there were more than enough odd ones - one in particular fits the mold of your hysterical page. Ten years or so ago we were in a church in a small eastern state where the whole community was quite formal. There was little in the way of "wrong side of the tracks" mentality - this was a bedroom community of white collar, upper-middle class yuppie types. 

Our church secretary was a wonderful lady with four sons, the oldest had just graduated with a degree in chemical engineering and was looking forward to a bright future. One day, out of the blue, this woman called me and said her son was getting married. We'd had no idea he'd even been dating! In reality, he hadn't been. This was pre-Internet romance, pre-chatrooms and message boards, this guy had been writing back and forth to this girl in his grandmother's town in another state for three years and had proposed! He didn't even know what this girl looked like!

Would I be willing to help plan the wedding and throw her a shower? The mother of the groom would pay for everything, she just wasn't great at making plans. For some reason, despite getting this gut instinct to walk away, I said yes. The plans proceeded without incident and we planned a shower for the week before Christmas when this girl would fly in to meet her prospective groom. Imagine my surprise when the "Alex", a respectable looking young preppie, showed up at my door with the  ugliest young woman I'd ever seen in my life! She was short, lumpy in all the wrong places, cross eyed and covered  with moles. I'm not talking the small beauty mark type, we're talking huge brown growths complete with hairs! Despite it being the early 90's and the bride being 22, she wore her hair in a beehive and was dressed in a sky blue polyester pantsuit. It was an odd match and I did my best to hide my shock. The mother of the groom was hot on their tails with her husband, who didn't look at all pleased. I did my best to entertain the couple while the groom's parents locked themselves in my husband's office and begged him to stop the wedding.

There was little my husband could do about stopping the nuptials, though, as the couple were both of age and we proceeded with the bridal shower because the groom didn't seem to mind the disparity between he and his bride. The shower took place at the church and like I do with every bridal shower, I planned a blow out - complete with a buffet, games, flowers, party favors, the whole shebang. Mind you, the bride didn't know anyone, these were all the groom's family, friends, and people from our church. We went through introductions, played the games, started to eat the food, and everyone was having a great time. Then it came time to open the gifts - I passed "Jill" the first gift and she says "What's this for?" I say, "It's for you, you are  the bride." She looks around and goes "Huh?" Everyone falls silent and looks at this woman like she's an idiot of sorts (we won't even go into how she dressed for the party but the upper crust ignored that). I tell her that this is her bridal shower, the party is for her, didn't she realize that when we pinned the corsage on her and kept talking to her about the wedding? She says "No, I thought ya'll were just really nice." At this point all these Junior League ladies are snickering and rolling their eyes. The mother of the groom turned about twenty shades of red and wanted to crawl under the table. The bride continued to open her presents, now understanding that party was for her, and I let it slide. (Mind you this girl had graduated from high school at the top of her class and was not in any way mentally disabled.

The night before the wedding the mother of the groom calls me in a panic - the two things Jill was in charge of, getting her dress and ordering the flowers, were never completed. Would I be willing to help? Call me a sucker for punishment because I was out in my garden at midnight cutting flowers to make bouquets. The morning of the wedding the mother of the groom and myself took Jill to a local bridal store where another parishioner worked. I explained the situation and asked if there was a dress that could be rented for the day. She had two that would fit the odd shaped bride and proceeded to figure out which fit better. In the process she discovered several "growths" and more huge moles on the brides back and asked Jill discreetly if she'd ever had these things looked at because they looked nasty. Jill shook her head and said "Nope, they're beauty marks, they add character." Terry proceeded to semi-lecture the young woman on the dangers of skin growths and moles because she'd had a sister die from a rare form of skin cancer. Jill stood there nodding and when Terry finished Jill says ,"So, you're telling me they don't make me beautiful?" Despite it being the kid's wedding day, Terry was brutally blunt, she told her, "No, they didn't and she really needed to go see a doctor for them." That seemed to go right over the bride's head and we headed off to the church, dress in tow.

We go to the church and shoe horned Jill back into the dress and dug out the flowers. Jill took one look at them and says "But I wanted roses!". I was taken aback, she knew she didn't order anything and I became increasingly annoyed when she started to whine about not getting roses for her wedding. Finally, I snapped at her that if she'd wanted roses she should have ordered them like she was supposed to. She gave me this dead air look and said, "Was I supposed to help with the plans?" About this time her mother came lumbering in, we're talking straight from the trailer park - curlers still in the hair, runs in the hose, and dress stained and full of holes. At that point I didn't know whether to feel sorry for the bride for having to live with her mother or for the groom for marrying the bride. In any event, the wedding is a whole other story and even worse.  wicked0626-00

This is one of those delightful contributions I get where the sender is actually the person deserving of Etiquette Hell and not the person they are tattling on.  Sent under the subject heading of "Dumber than a box of rocks",  I have reread this story numerous times, forwarded it to similarly minded etiquette mavens, read it aloud to my husband with the unanimous conclusion being this minister's wife and her friends in this "church in a small eastern state" are quite deserving of my placement of them in Wicked Witches of the Weddings category.   Birthmarks, appearances such as weight or clothing or hairstyles are not faux pas.   Being baffled about the theme of  party in your honor (sounds like a communication breakdown to me) is not a faux pas.  Having a poor mother is not a faux pas.  Living in a trailer is not  a faux pas. Agreeing to marry someone more intelligent (or less) than yourself is not a faux pas.  I have yet to figure out what the faux pas is that the teller of this story is accusing this bride of doing.  Even the bride's lack of attention to her wedding dress and flowers is not, in my opinion, as faux pas because the consequences of her actions would have affected only the bride and no one else.  

About 13 years ago, I  was a bridesmaid for my cousin Janie's wedding. My aunt had spent thousands of dollars to make her daughter's special day something to remember. Countless hours had gone into preparations.

And then there was the Father of the Bride, (bitterly divorced from my aunt some 12 years prior). When asked to help out with the wedding expenses, Dad manages to come up with $100 to make sure his daughter has only the best. Well O.K., Dad shouldn't have to help if he doesn't want to.

But then, when it comes time to give the bride away, Dad is supposed to say, "Her mother and I do". Instead, he decides to improvise with, "I, her father do". You could hear the gasps from the attendees, and my poor aunt (who is a gracious lady) was stuck with a frozen smile on her face-Dad managed a smirk. I was horrified, this man who chose to have as little to do with the wedding as possible, then chooses to hurt and humiliate my aunt. Then at the reception, Dad and his wife make it a point to avoid everyone, and just sit at their table alone. We all made it easy for them to ignore us by doing the same to them.    ewicked0629-00

Story #1:   Four years ago my 31 year old daughter became engaged to marry a 34 year old dentist.  Bob's mother certainly seemed to be a nice enough woman and upon meeting her, it was evident within five minutes that she was extraordinarily proud of her son.

Since the couple had decided they wanted to have a formal wedding in just four months, plans got underway immediately.  "Jeannie" and I found the perfect dress only a few days after the engagement. While visiting the bridal shops, we examined dresses for bridesmaids and pondered whether "the mothers" should wear long or short dresses.

Imagine Jeannie's shock when the next day Bob told her that his mother had also been out shopping and that she had announced her purchased of a LONG, WHITE LACE dress to wear to the wedding!  Jeannie became upset upon hearing of her future mother-in-law's plan to wear a white lace dress to the wedding.  She was incredulous and somewhat hurt that her future mother-in-law would even consider committing such a gaffe as to choose a dress that so closely resembled a bridal dress.  I suggested that perhaps the woman really doesn't know any better, that she (Jeannie) just tell Bob to let his mother know that no guest (let alone the mother of the groom) should be choosing to wear white lace to a wedding, that white is reserved for the bride!  And I assured Jeannie that this would surely solve the problem.

Guess what?  When Bob approached Mom, she threw a fit, cried, and spat out the words "Well, I like this dress and if I can't wear this dress to the wedding, I just won't come!"  At this point, Bob, not knowing what to do now, called Jeannie and turned the problem back over to her.

The next day Jeannie and Bob went to Mom's house where Mom proceeded to take Jeannie by the hand and lead her up to her bedroom to "look at the dress".  Jeannie looked at the dress and said "Yes, it's real nice -- it looks just like a wedding dress!" and turned around and walked out of the house.

Bottom line: The future bride informed the future groom that only one woman at the wedding would be wearing white lace and that he needed to do whatever it took to see that there would be a BRIDE at the wedding!  We never did learn what was said or done, but Mom did manage to get herself another dress--a long BEIGE lace dress!

Story #2: As a partial contribution to the cost of the above wedding, I hired the limosine, making arrangements for the charges to be billed to a credit card.  As the day of the wedding approached, the mother-in-law realized that the bride, the bridesmaids and the bride's mother would arrive at the church in the limosine from the bride's home, and that she would "not get to ride in the limosine".  She pitched such a fit about this that my daughter called the limo service and specified that after dropping off the bride, the limosine then go to pick up the mother-in-law at her home, only 15 minutes away from the church.  This was done, the woman seemed placated and the ceremony went well.

After the ceremony photos were to be taken at the church.  Jeannie and I had agreed that the family shots would be taken FIRST so that elderly family members could go ahead and leave for the reception rather than hanging around the church for photos for such a long time.  This went off without a hitch and after cautioning the Bride and Groom not to keep their guests waiting too long, we left for the reception.

An hour and a half later (!!) the bridal party finally arrived - all looking quite preteubed and beelining it to the bar for a drink.  When I asked where in the H--- they had been all that time the reply was "Waiting for the limosine to come back and get us!"  Guess what?..... the mother-in-law liked the limo so much that she HIGHJACKED the limosine from the church, ordering the limo driver to take her on up to the reception and then come back for the bridal party!  It turns out the driver got caught in traffic and the bridal party came out of the church to ..... NO LIMOSINE and no way to get to the reception!

As if this was not enough, later on, during the reception, this woman's daughter came and tapped me on the shoulder and LOUDLY announced "THE LIMOSINE DRIVER IS OUT THERE LOOKING FOR YOU TO PAY HIM!"  When I quietly replied "I already made arrangements for that.", her answer was "Well, he said it didn't include his tip, so he wants you to come out to tip him." At that point I was speechless -- but perhaps that was for the best under the circumstances!

Fortunately, I have only had to be in the same room with either of these women a very few times since the wedding......and, of course, my daughter avoids them as much as humanely possible.   ewicked0710-00

My husband and I got married 2 years ago. I have a large extended family with which I am reasonably close - we are all always invited to each other's weddings and other ceremonial occasions, and we get together at the beach every summer. My husband is not close to his extended family at all - in three years of being together, I had never really heard him mention any aunts, uncles or cousins. I had just met his one paternal grandma.

On a holiday a couple months before the wedding, by which point we had more or less finalized the guest list, my then-finance's mother came over to our place for a get-together...bringing her brother and his son, of whose existence I had not previously been aware. They stayed for a little while, and as they were leaving, Uncle X said "See you at the wedding!" Fine. My husband's side of the wedding was pretty small compared to mine anyway, I figured this would balance the numbers.

Little did I know that Uncle X also had five additional kids. OK, fine. Aunt X was the real kicker. Our wedding was a civil ceremony, because my husband and I are neither religious nor inclined to do things a certain way due to family pressure (which we didn't have, anyway). If anyone but Aunt X had a problem with this, they kept quiet about it. She, however - please remember that she had had no contact with her nephew in years, and had known me for all of one hour when she said this - felt compelled to pull aside a groomsman whom she had never met, and tell him that we needed to make our union "right with the Catholic Church." If I had been within earshot of this, you can believe I would have said something, but I didn't find out until months later.      ewicked1117-00

My sister Kelly got married almost 2 years ago. Mom and Kelly have a strained relationship and the wedding seemed to exacerbate the situation, although I also had a falling out with Mom a year earlier due to her outrageous behavior. Despite my best efforts to mediate, my mom was still able to accomplish the following

- commandeered the hostessing of the rehearsal dinner. Stated to us that she was (and I am quoting) finally going to be "the Big Cheese" and that this was her "moment to shine". Imagine that last comment being delivered while throwing her arms open like that famous scene from "The Sound of Music".

- at said rehearsal dinner at a Mexican restaurant, announced to everyone after the check came that she would not be paying for "booze".  The groom picked up the tab and to this day has not been reimbursed.

- stated that she would not help me coordinate the bridal shower without being formally asked. Ditto for my aunt. I did ask them both to help and they showed up for 1 hour to help prepare the food. They insisted on baking the cake. After putting cake in oven they left because THEY needed to eat and get ready for the shower. They left me there with my sick baby and a ton of food to finish. After the cake came out of the oven and cooled it fell apart due to the amount of eggshell in it. At the last minute I had to hunt down a cake and found one at Baskin Robbins.

- at the shower, Mom and my aunt sat "holding court" while I labored to prepare the room. They refused to help decorate because they "had their time to do showers, now it was someone else's turn."

- implied that I lied about the demise of the cake.

- showed no interest in her grandson's illness (he ended up being sick the whole weekend).

- sulked throughout the wedding and reception, even making the snide comment at the reception "Guess I'm the wallflower again," even though she put her own place card in that corner in error. She refused any help in interpreting the seating chart.

- insisted on giving a speech that included the admonishment that though she was happy for the couple, the groom never bothered to ask HER permission to marry my sister.

And let's top it all off with her choice of wardrobe for some of the events

- for the rehearsal, a cheap black blazer and stretch pants.

- for the bridal shower, a blue turtleneck (2 sizes small) and faded

black stirrup pants.

- for the wedding, a cheap rayon 2 piece dress in coral (keep in mind she was MOB and should have been dressed more elegantly).

Well, I will wrap it up here. Can't wait for my wedding next year and more of her fun loving antics!   ewicked0911-00

A few years ago, my stepson decided to marry a girl he'd been dating for a few years.  His mother didn't like the girl and told her and my stepson at every opportunity that the girl wasn't good enough for him.  Because my stepson and the girl were so young,  they didn't have a lot of money. 

His mother insisted that the wedding reception be held at her home.  No matter that this would be uncomfortable for my husband's family, since she and my husband had been divorced for over 12 years and the relationship was poor, to say the least.

At the shower for this girl, my husband's ex-mother-in-law met me for the first time.  She began by telling me how happy she was to finally meet me, the woman who made my husband happy, what a fine man he is and how stupid her daughter was to ever let him go.  This went on in increasingly strident tones.  She went on to loudly exclaim that her daughter's new husband (they'd been married  for 12 years by then) was terrible and that he had a thing for her, the mother in law.  I was terribly uncomfortable, and even though I don't like my husband's ex-wife, felt a little bad for her.

When the wedding day finally rolled around, we found out the guests hadn't been told how to get from the wedding to the reception, which as I said, was at the groom's mother's house.  When we finally made it there, we discovered that she had locked her doors and would only wedding party members in.  In order to accommodate guests bathroom needs, she rented porta-potties! 

This wedding happened on the hottest day of the year.  The bridesmaids got lost on the way to the reception, and the guests were left to swelter in the heat (watching the ice sculpture melt), while the groom's mother sat in her air-conditioned house.  The bride's father finally had enough and told her we ought to just get on the reception.  She screeched at him that those girls were just out to ruin "her" day and everyone could just wait.  The girls finally showed up and she berated them for being unable to follow directions.

The wedding party was finally all introduced.  Considering the both the brides and the groom's parents were divorced, and remarried, this meant there were 4 sets of parents to be introduced.  We had all tried to talk her out of this, but again, she stated this was "her" day and no one would take it away from her.  What we didn't know was that she told the photographer not to take pictures of my husband (the groom's father) and I, as she didn't want the day spoiled by that!

We ended up having a lovely time in spite of her.  I don't think she ever found out that a lot of the men used her rose bushes instead of the porta-potties!    ewicked0913-00

My new husband's brother got married about 10 months before we did. They had a $40,000 wedding with about 450 to 500 guests, financed entirely by her parents. My husband and I paid for our wedding ourselves, but his mother constantly compared our wedding to my sister-in-laws and kept saying how elegant it was, how glamorous she is, etc. etc. She hated our church - felt it was too "modern" and that we should look for a "nice, elegant church like "Fred" and "Wilma" had at their wedding. My dress was too modern and I should look for an "exquisite" dress like Wilma's. My bridesmaids' dresses (which were silver) were too contemporary and I should consider a traditional color, like pink (guess what color Wilma's dresses were?)

She was late to my shower and then criticized the location in front of all the people who had worked so hard to plan it. She wanted us to put pew bows on every pew with the date on them, because Wilma's mother did that. And on and on and on...basically she insulted everything I did during our entire engagement. She even criticized my "thank you" stationery and the stamps I mailed them out with! She was late to our rehearsal and then left early because she said it was boring and not like Fred and Wilma's rehearsal.

And now she wonders why my husband passed on the mother/son dance at the reception? By the time everything was over, I couldn't even LOOK at her without feeling either trashy, poor, or otherwise worthless. It's 6 weeks later and I have come up with every excuse possible to avoid her.


I have a wedding guest hell for you, the guest was my mother's most recent husband (I *GUESS* you could call him my step-father).  He was in charge of the videotaping of my wedding, and he did do so, I thought for ONCE in my life he would be a gracious person.  This man has never been anything but a lazy jerk that has never liked me.  But I though for once, just once...

Anyway, wedding went great, nothing was wrong, or so I thought.  I had both sides of my divorced parent's family there, including my biological father.  He walked me down the aisle, and was standing near me througout the whole ceremony as I had wished.

We watched the wedding video a couple of days later and LO AND BEHOLD my own father was cut out of EVERY SINGLE shot or panning of the camera.  My step-father felt it wasn't necessary for him to be in the picture.  As if that isn't upsetting enough, my family was supposed to dupe a tape for me and send it soon after I returned home from the wedding, (I lived out of the country), and to this day I STILL don't have one (It's been nearly 3 years)!  By the way, I am now divorced, so what's the point, huh?

I've got the one to top them all Not being given to telling adult women a generation my senior what to wear, when I got married, I just sent my fiance's mother pictures of the wedding and attendant's dresses, swatches of the fabrics, and the information that my mother had elected to wear navy blue.  I figured that I had provided enough information for her to select an appropriate dress for the wedding. I should have listened to my beloved when he warned me that I ought to actually select a specific dress for her . . . she showed up in HER wedding gown, with veil!   ewicked1205-00

My husband's name is Aaron.  Right after college, two of Aaron's college friends got engaged and set a wedding date.  Dan and Sheila were both right out of college, and so had no money of their own.  They were both from relatively poor families as well, so they knew they had to have a bargain-basement wedding.  They invited all their college friends to come to the wedding (I believe the invites themselves were Xerox copies of a "Let's party!" nature). 

When Aaron and the other college pals showed up for what they believed to be the wedding itself, they were out of luck.  They were each handed brooms and vacuums and sponges and mops and other cleaning tools and told forcefully to "Get to work!" by the groom's father, Mr. Shaw. The wedding and reception were all to be at the local fire hall, and Aaron and the other unsuspecting friends had been told a time about four hours EARLIER than the actual time of the wedding so that the friends could "spruce up" the site in time for the wedding and reception.  Mr. Shaw supervised his clean-up crew with all the warmth of a Marine drill sergeant.  Aaron tells me that they got this dingy fire hall looking as good as they possibly could, with an hour or so to spare before the REAL time set for the wedding ceremony.

As if that weren't enough (and gosh, don't you think it oughta be?!!??), Mr. Shaw didn't bother to thank any of them for their hard work (which they'd all performed uncomplainingly and IN THEIR NICE CLOTHES, thinking that they were dressing for the wedding, not for toilet-cleaning duty).  Mr. Shaw then proceeded to hand out several lists to the assembled friends, asking each of them to drive to a grocery store not far from the fire hall so that they could buy the food for the reception!  Aaron and two other friends had to pick up beer, potato chips (yes, it was that sort of reception food) and sundry other junk food.  They were handed no money and given no thanks when they returned with all this stuff, which Mr. Shaw then asked them to lay out on the buffet tables.  Mr. Shaw even chewed out one of the guys who'd been asked to get beer because the guy hadn't thought to get ice to go with the beer!

This is all pretty bad, of course, but it does actually get even weirder.  At the reception, Mr. Shaw is three sheets to the wind and starts to berate the bride's parents because "I paid for everything here and the bride's family is supposed to do it!"  Never mind the fact that he has, apparently, paid only for the use of the hall, as he'd forced the college friend guests to buy all the food for the reception.  He is lecturing and hectoring and generally being obnoxious and finally the bride's father stands up and says, "FINE.  We'll have ANOTHER reception at our house next month."  He proceeds to make the rounds of all the guests and invite them to a second reception at the bride's family's home.

Like an idiot, my husband Aaron agrees to attend this second wedding reception.  When he gets there after a 200-mile drive, he finds that he is the only non-family member to attend (all the other college friend guests got smart except him, as he likes to tell it).  There is beer.  There is more beer.  And there are, of course, potato chips and pretzels.  That's it.  So everyone is standing around drinking too much beer and feasting on salty snacks when--apropos of nothing at all--the bride's father says to Aaron, "You like fire trucks?"  My husband is a little startled and says, "Uh, sure."  The bride's father slings an arm around Aaron's shoulder and says, "C'mon.  You and me's gonna go see our new fire truck."  The bride's father, who works as a volunteer fireman, then proceeds to drive Aaron to the local fire station, where he and Aaron stand around and admire the town's new fire truck for the next half hour.  Then they get back in the car and return to the reception to drink more beer and eat more pretzels.  Unreal!    ewicked1229-00