Etiquette Hell = Where the ill-mannered deserve to go


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My wife and I met many years ago whilst I was dating one of her friends. At the time she didn't like me very much as she thought I was being nasty to her friend. Her friend and I split but stayed very good friends.

About two and a half years ago I went somewhat apprehensively to my ex's engagement party, knowing that her friends didn't like me. Anyway the long and the short of it is that this particular friend that didn't like me and I fell madly in love with each other which resulted in our marriage two years later.

As you'd expect I asked my older brother to be my best man, having been the most excellent brother anyone could have ever asked for. He accepted graciously and said it would be his honor etc. However his recent acquisition on the girlfriend front, was a little selfish and insecure to say the least. She has always done her best to extract my brother from the rest of the family much to the chagrin of the rest of us not least of all my little sister.

My brother putting his foot down in some attempt at regaining a little freedom from his woman and rebuilding some bridges between himself and my sister said that he and his other half would take my sister to go and buy her outfit for my wedding and actually spent quite a bit of money on her (spoilt little brat;)) My little sister was very happy that she had got what she wanted and was going to look stunning at her big brothers wedding. So you can imagine how she felt when she turned up on the day to find out that the woman that had taken her shopping for outfit had gone out and bought exactly the same thing directly afterwards. My sister looked a lot better in those clothes but still, incredibly selfish don't you think?

Unfortunately this was not the worst of this woman’s antics. The night before my wedding I had invited a few people round for last minute drinks as it were my brother and his girlfriend being to of the company. When my brother turned up he had three enormous gouges out of his face. When asked what the hell he'd been doing he leaned in close and said in a jovial manner "some advice little bro, don't ever say another woman’s name." so the bitch had scratched his face the day before my wedding because of some stupid mistake. I'm sure there are some people out there saying he deserved it for his insensitivity but the day before my wedding photos? Fairly selfish huh?

When I pointed this out to him she got up and said she had to check something in the car and left my house and didn't come back in which meant my brother had to go out and find her then go home and not spend my last single night with me.

Then at the wedding she decided that she wanted him to sit with her and not at the top table where he's supposed to be with me. It took a long heated debate before he finally told her that he was either going to sit on the top table or send her home.

Witches 0804/03

My mother in-law has always been kind of a prankster. She loves a joke (on someone else) and told us it was a good thing she didn't know where we were staying on our wedding night because she would have pulled some pranks. (Basically, she would have ruined it). During our wedding reception she conspired with the groomsmen to smash cake into the groom's face. (Her son). They all said they had a big surprise for him and basically attacked him and pounded him with cake in front of all of our guests. He was covered from head to toe and has bruises from where they hit him. We have her on tape really whooping it up, (she was the only one), and making a complete ass of herself laughing. She was literally screeching when she laughed and sounded like the wicked witch from the wizard of oz. No one thought it was funny but her. A wedding is not the place to show how insensitive and classless you are. Love your site, never thought I'd be on it!     Witches 0815/03

I have so enjoyed reading your site which I discovered by accident a few days ago - timely though, I might say. I am now 2 months away from my second wedding to a saint of a man and all is going well (with a few bumps).... but my first wedding...that's one for the record books. Let me first say that I accept my role in this disaster, and my divorce was a serious "lesson learned." That being said, here goes....

My ex-husband and I were raised in 2 very different families. His family was blue-collar, 9-5 working people, and my family are all doctors and dentists. This means absolutely nothing to me...I have seen many wealthy jerks in my time. However, it was DEFINITELY a bone of contention with my FMIL and my FOUR FSIL's. They often referred to me as "the snob E is marrying" (I live with my grandparents who are regular, run-of-the-mill, worked for everything they have people). Even though I sensed their distaste for me, I tried very hard to get along with them.

When I walked into my bridal shower (hosted by my MOH and her family), I was told immediately by my FMIL to "hurry up and open the gifts, we don't want to be here all day." That was the FIRST thing she said to me! My MOH and her family went all out - I was overwhelmed by their thoughtfulness and generosity with all the beautiful decorations and delicious food, which, I never really got to enjoy because of the FMIL Monster. Ok, so whatever - I start to open my gifts. As I opened a gift of beautiful crystal champagne glasses from my aunt, one of my FSIL's remarked loudly from the back of the room "damn snobs, breaks like any other glass." This went on and on...and my friends and family were gracious enough to politely ignore their comments for my sake.

On to the rehearsal dinner, hosted by my in-laws. Sub sandwiches and a keg - so very glamorous...but I thanked them all the same. Just before I left my in-laws to go home, my future MIL pulls me aside and informs me that because I don't HAVE a mother (my mother and I have been estranged for 15 years at her choice, and as you can imagine, it is a VERY sensitive issue with me) SHE intends to be the last one down the aisle before the wedding party, instead of my MOH's mother who I had asked to do the honor of walking in my mother’s place. Um, no, I don't think wedding...and that was it. We fought, my ex-husband fought with her...and she did not talk to me the ENTIRE wedding or reception (blessing in disguise). At the wedding, her delightful family stole a potted tree (who does something like that?), not to mention numerous bottles of alcohol from the bar we had to pay for in the end. A month after we married, she informed me that she forgot to mention that my ex-husband had nearly $40,000 in credit card bills that she was turning over to me to make sure got paid. My grandpop, seriously concerned, agreed to make a loan to my ex in the amount of $25,000 to get some of the debt down.

Well....3 weeks after that my ex husband stayed out all night and had a seizure the next day - brought on by drug use. I am the child of 2 substance-addicted parents...and drugs have NO place in my life, which he knew. Regardless, I asked him what we needed to do to help him get over this, and his response was, "let me do drugs...that is what you need to do." Needless to say I kicked him out...and his mother called me and said "can't you just let him do it when he wants?" ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME???????? That's it, divorced - all within 2 months of the wedding. He never paid back the money, and we found out later that $10,000 of that debt belonged to his mother. I still pray to God every day to forgive me for being that stupid. Fate is an interesting thing, though...I am now engaged to the most wonderful man from an equally wonderful family (5 years later), and my ex husband had another seizure from drugs after we split - this time behind the wheel of his car, and broke his neck. Lord knows what happened to his mother.... but every dog has its day.     Witches 0822/03

I've been reading on your website that people are appalled when someone wears white to a wedding, but in my case, my family was shocked and stunned that my new sister in law wore red! Here is some background to give you some idea of how much this girl belongs in "etiquette hell". She married my husband's brother a year or so before our wedding. At the time, the motto of their wedding was give us money and make it fast! In fact, she returned all the fine china they received (and registered for) so she could use the money to pay off some of the wedding. She was angry to find out she would only receive store credit! Oh, but it doesn't stop there. We were not very close, and had she maybe been my now husband's actual sister, rather than his brother's wife, I might have attempted to have a closer relationship. At their engagement party, I had more than one person approach me to "console" me because they had heard I was upset because "she was getting married first." - funny, I didn't know it was a race. And then, a month before the wedding, I was asked to be a bridesmaid, because one of the other ones had "dropped out." No problem, I showed my class, and graciously accepted the honor.

Fast forward to my engagement a year later. She was very excited and wanted to help me plan everything, so she could have the chance to "re-do" her wedding. Gee, so much for me enjoying the fun myself. Miraculously I managed to avoid her when the planning started. When it came time for bridesmaids, I choose my sisters and very close friends at the time. I did not want this bossy woman bossing me around on the special day. A week later my soon to be Mother in Law informed my fiancée that she was upset I hadn't asked my new "sister in law" to be a bridesmaid. I kept to my choice, and did not bend to allow an "extra" bridesmaid, simply for the benefit of my future Mother in Law's feelings (and probably my sister in law's feelings as well.) I should have learned.

In the weeks before the wedding, my sister in law had announced that she found the perfect dress - mind you, she was a rather large woman, so it was something I was sure she was concerned about. I was not really paying attention, and was glad that she was happy. She continued to tell me about this wonderful dress, and wanted to make sure that I approved - apparently it was the same color and style as the bridesmaid's dresses (almost as if she wanted to blend in with the wedding party.) I told her it sounded great, but that I would prefer she got it in a different color, so as to look different than the bridesmaids (call me a bridezilla if you want, but I really didn't want to give this woman any special honor of attempting to includes herself with the bridesmaids.) Well, she showed me... she bought a different dress - in RED! My cousins and bridesmaids were appalled with this choice, and told me it took attention away from the me the whole day. I didn't care either way, until I saw the photos. My "loving, new" sister in law proceeded to stand next to me in every family photo in her RED dress, and unfortunately the glare of her dress made my beautiful white dress look pink in all the photos. What's worse, the dress was a short sleeve, tank style, above the knee dress (remember, she is a big woman, really big) with which she wore white tights and black paten shoes! Can we say, TACKY? So now after my experience, when I go to a wedding, I avoid wearing white and red, and I definitely don't wear white tights in June, with black paten shoes!


Five years later, my sister in law has lost some weight, but apparently hasn't gained any etiquette values. My husband and I started having children and became pregnant with our first child before his brother and his wife. I heard through the grapevine that she was depressed because she wanted to have the first grandchild, but again, I didn't know it was a race! They got pregnant a few months later, but kept it a secret, as most people do, during the first trimester, only having told close family, us included. A few weeks later, not only did she throw a tantrum and accuse me at my own baby shower of telling friends she was pregnant before she told her mother, she had the nerve to announce her pregnancy to everyone in the hospital moments after the birth of our child! (Why she was there I'll never know, but when you're in labor, you don't really care who is there) Talk about stealing my thunder! Of course, my family was appalled because on our day of joy, it had to be all about her once again. I didn't know about the announcement until I went home the next day. Fortunately I have the grace to laugh about it. I will not forgive her for yelling at me at my baby shower though, and accusing me of spilling her secret. She ruined a wonderful party for me, at a very special time in my life. Fortunately, most of my friends and relatives were already used to her behavior, and helped me get over it at the time!

Witches 0822/03

After four years of marriage, my husband and I got divorced. This was, by and large, my decision, and my husband's family was not happy with me as a result. We didn't have many belongings, so we worked out a pretty straightforward split - he took the car, I got to stay in the apartment; he got the electronics, I got most of the furniture. Really, there wasn't much of value, so it was all fairly amicable and simple. A few months later, I got a letter from a lawyer representing my husband that included a strangely specific list of household items that he wanted - a crystal candy dish, a blender. I couldn't imagine why he wanted those things in particular. A friend solved the mystery. Apparently, my ex-mother-in-law had pulled out the guest list from the wedding and had called everyone on "her side" of the list to ask what they had bought for us so that she could make sure my ex-husband got the presents back! Can you imagine what these poor people - all her neighbors and distant relatives - must have thought when they got those calls? Four years after the wedding!

Witches 0904/03

I'm not sure where this would go, but I just needed to write it because the situation gets me frustrated just thinking about it. I LOVE your site, and it is preventing me from getting anything done. If I don't get my Ph.D., it is because I spend my time reading your stories...

I was married in summer 2003. The ceremony and reception were wonderful and we received much praise and compliments. My fiancé and I are in graduate school, with not a huge income. My parents are not rich, but frugal. We each paid for half of the wedding costs.

My only problem/concern with our wedding was with the in-laws. They live in a semi-isolated area about 1000 miles away from where we were getting married. I have visited them once in their house, and my FMIL barely talked to me. She is a nice person, though shy. I am also sort of shy around people I don't know. But I do try to acknowledge people.

Two months before the wedding, we attending his sister's college graduation. This was an all day affair, as we met my in-laws around 5:30 in the morning and did not part until around 5 in the afternoon. My FFIL gave me a hug and my fiancé’s siblings said hi (they aren't the most outgoing people, either). Any welcome from the FMIL? No, she did not even acknowledge me once. I stood next to my fiancé while they talked, until I realized that I was not included in the conversation, and sat down on the sidewalk. There were no questions regarding the wedding, which was two months away, in which they had no interest in planning. Anytime we would ask them for input, they would simply say, do what you want, it is your day. I realize that is great, and I would not like someone who is overbearing. But they were just totally nonchalant about the whole occasion. And my fiancé was the first one of all of their children to be married!

So, after the "fun" time at the graduation, I complained to my fiancé, who told his father, who told the mother. Her excuse was that she didn't realize that she hadn't acknowledged me. Hello! This was the second time in three years that she has met me, and I am getting married to her "favorite" son in two months!

Fast forward to the wedding. They did not contribute one cent to anything. I know that they are not well off at all, but just the token offer would have been nice. They assembled the favors, which turned out great. But we had to send them a check for a couple hundred dollars to buy everything. And our present from them? NOTHING! Not even a CARD! Supposedly, they are going to give me a piece of furniture, which they promised to me through my fiancé a year before the wedding. Have I seen it? No, but they did ask for money to transport it down where we live.

Witches 1016/03

I had done so much for my sister for her wedding that I had never planned on, but I was honored to be asked to do. No good deed goes unpunished. Three days before my second marriage, Darling Sister calls while I am out, leaving a message to ask if she can bring her goddaughter with her. Who is that? I didn't know she had a goddaughter. I call back and wind up speaking with BIL, who says she has gone to bed for the night and that they need to bring Clarissa, as the girl's father, (who, on the weekends when he has visitation with this child, dumps her on my sister and BIL) can't watch her that weekend. This brat is the child Darling Sister decided needed to be an extra Jr. BM with my daughter in her wedding, in case my daughter "decided she didn't want to do it" (where she got this idea from, I'll never know.) The same child who sat in the back seat with my daughter on the way home from the Jr. BM dress selection, telling her how at TWELVE YEARS OLD she was French-kissing boys in the hallway at school and already had a boyfriend, and Sister tells me, "she is so much more mature than your daughter!" The same child who got kicked out of being in the wedding because of behavior problems in school! I despise this little tramp...

I inform BIL that I am sorry, but the head count had been turned in that day, and I couldn't add anyone, and that no other children had been invited; dear friends (whose children I ADORED) had expressly not been invited to bring THEIR children. He assures me she won't eat. I told him I couldn't possibly not feed her! After a little grumbling, he hangs the phone up on me! I spend the next three days worrying: will she not come because of this? Will she come and bring this little tramp with her? Will she make a fuss? Not the stress a bride needs before her wedding...

The rehearsal comes. She does not come up to stay with my parents as planned. However, my brother, who is famous for being pretty much unemotional towards anyone human, and who cried more at the death of his dog than our grandmother, attends. He has a sweet daughter by a girl he was living with who claimed she couldn't get pregnant (she miraculously became fertile after she realized how financially stable my family is...); needless to say, they never married, and their breakup was a surprise to no one.

Back to the rehearsal. As my sweet father, whom I adore more than words, is walking me down the aisle, I am overwhelmed with love for him, emotion at my upcoming nuptials, and I am radiant... until my brother yells over to me in the dead silence of the atrium-style church, "YOU'RE NOT WEARING WHITE TOMORROW, ARE YA?!?" Flabbergasted, all I managed was a tight, "Screw you!" Not classy for a bride, but I was so shocked, my indignance won out over my judgment and made my mouth say it! On the way out of the church on the way to the rehearsal dinner, I am face to face with him and all I can think about is his moral judgment of me in a white dress. I take the opportunity to put him in his place and point out to my brother, "At least I was MARRIED to the person I had MY children with! You wanna get technical with me? We'll get technical!" Again, not very classy on the part of a bride, but some people don't understand any other way. Mom witnesses this and later pulls me aside, saying that brother didn't really mean it, it was "just a joke." I spent my childhood at the end of "jokes" like this and didn't need another one at this point, or at this age!

What really took the cake was not the fact that my sister did, indeed, bring her tramp-daughter with her, but on the way back to her seat after giving her reading (the same reading she asked me to give at her wedding, so I assumed she like it), she was caught by several members of the audience rolling her eyes, grimacing and gesturing with her hand like someone holding a puppet, as if to say, "yap, yap, yap!" Two of the people who witnessed this were dear lady friends who are deacons' wives! I still don't know if she was mocking the minister or the Word of the Lord! I was mortified...

How I wish I could show up to her baby shower with an uninvited, obnoxious guest in tow, and poke fun at her on HER day! All I can say is, at least I know now how my siblings REALLY feel about me.

Witches 1025/03

Take these "red flags" that I encountered both prior to and during my former marriage as a warning:

A FMIL who informs you that HER daughter will be your MOH despite your not knowing her.

A FH who does not say "no" to his mama for any reason and formulates reasons for you to "understand what she really meant by that" will always continue in the same vein. Next was the FSIL that decided what dress she would wear to the wedding no matter what your wishes, styles, or chosen colors, nor does she show up on time to help you dress, make-up or do your hair.

Let's not forget the FOTB could not be invited due to being a cheap, abusive drunk; who later shows up at your second reception and ruins it single-handedly. Then we have the FFIL who makes disparaging comments about his own son ruining the "pictures of the buffet" by being in them. A picture of the food is so-o-o-o much more important than a picture of the bride and groom.

Then, of course are the Groom and his IL whom all "forget" that you are the one whom has paid the down payment on the house and well over half the total cost of it and decide you "only want to spend their hard earned son's money". The FIL's who make snide little comments "because they didn't expect to have to compare their "cheap" wedding gifts to such "extravagant" ones from your family members." No doubt all FIL's were informed you'd be divorced and it wouldn't ultimately matter, but failed to inform the brides family of their plans to see to just that.

Ah, yes, lets not forget about the FIL's inviting and showing up with unwanted guests at a very small wedding and taking extra food home. The FSIL who decided it would be great entertainment to pick "your" wedding song and surprise you by playing guitar and sounding like dying geese warbling in an oil slick at an inappropriate moment in the festivities- such as during "you may now kiss the bride." A best man who offers no toasts, decides it is his mission to get plastered and stay late on your wedding night and must be told to leave. FIL's who open all the doors and windows during your ceremony in November in a northerly climate while people are trying to eat.

No music; the bride has paid for the house, the furniture, and can't afford it. Everyone else is too cheap to bother.

Further into the marriage, there is the s**t fit the MIL throws after you've just had a home birth by coming in and saying, "we don't approve of this, you know" and then proceeds to wonder why you decide to let an aunt be the first one to hold the baby. The same MIL who throws a hissy fit and decides to leave because she didn't get to hold the baby first, never mind your Aunt flew 1500 miles to take care of you and console you while your new infant was in the hospital with severe jaundice and you've been told she needs transfusions.

Later the same MIL and FIL will make light of your having a gall bladder get impacted stones, and your needing emergency surgery while they ignored your pain for a weekend they insisted you spend at their home. These same people will fail to see your daughter gets to see a doctor while you are on vacation and nearly cost the child her life.

The topper? Not one of them can figure out why you divorced their son and ran screaming!

Thank you so kindly for allowing me the opportunity to get this off my chest; it is deeply appreciated. I also wish to say my second marriage was made in heaven and I am delighted with my second family and my second husband is one in a million!     Witches 1027/03

This is not as hellish as some of the stories on your site, but it had me plenty ticked off! My stepsister, J., has never been a particularly reliable person, and we are not close. However, I felt obligated to invite her (along with her boyfriend and her son) to our wedding, because we have a brother and sister in common. They were both part of the wedding party; my sister, B., was a bridesmaid, and my brother was an usher.

J. was exceptionally flaky about relaying my messages to B., who lives with her. I told her repeatedly that I NEEDED B.'s dress measurements so I could order the dresses, but she neglected to take her to get measured. (B. is in high school and couldn't drive at the time. I live almost two hours away, so I wasn’t able to help.) Eventually, I told B. to take her measurements herself, which she did; thankfully, the dress ended up fitting!

When I called J. to ask if her son would like an adult meal or a children's meal at the reception, she informed me that her boyfriend's daughter would be coming, too. She didn't ask if this was OK...she just told me that the little girl (a notorious brat) was coming with them. I was shocked but said OK. However, when I called B. to relay some last-minute details the day before the wedding, J. answered the phone and said that she might not be coming to the wedding -- her boyfriend might have to work, and she didn’t feel like driving by herself. I told her, "I don’t care who you bring -- I can't subtract any meals at this point, so just bring a friend if you don’t want to come alone."

She didn't show at all. Not only did I pay for four uneaten meals (one of which SHE added), but I have yet to receive any kind of apology, or even a congratulations.

Witches 1029/03

My cousin (the groom) recently got married this past year. He and his fiancé were not exactly financially well off and initially decided on a civil ceremony. Because most courts aren't open on the weekend it was to take place during the week. Well, to her disappointment, the bride's mother just cannot make it because she would have to take off work, and she just wasn't going to do that. So, feeling badly for the bride, my family decided that they would pay for the wedding to be held on a Saturday so her mother could be there. We found a nice, small location that was all inclusive, ceremony, decorations, clergy, and a room for a reception in the back. Planning went well, we found a very inexpensive dress for the bride that was lovely and looked great on her. We provided the flowers, food etc. We didn't ask for much from the bride's family, knowing they weren't too well off financially. Anyway, when the bride asked for her mother for a few small things, it was always met with resistance. Then a few days before the wedding, the bride calls us up crying because her mother, who had agreed to pay for a specific amount of food, was only going to pay for 1/2 of what she'd agreed upon. We of course told her not to worry, that it would be all right.

When it came time for the ceremony, the bride's mother showed up 5 minutes before the ceremony was about to begin (as well as most of her wedding party). The only one decent enough to show up and help her get dressed was one other bridesmaid (not even her sister) and her very preggers hairdresser. The ceremony went well, but when it came time for the reception, there was absolutely NO help from the bride's family or friends. Our family had to run around setting out food, etc. I was in and out of the reception hall chasing the kids around, when I over heard the bride's mother and her friend saying something like, "man this is the best kind of reception, the kind you don't have to clean up after". Of all the nerve! They didn't lift a finger to help with the set up, clean up, planning of the wedding, NOTHING. Then of all things the bride's sister came up to my aunt after it was all over and said, "my mom feels really bad about all this." I mean the very least she could have done is lend a hand, something. All she did was shell out a couple bucks for proper undergarments for the bride and 1/2 what she said she would for the food. Ironically, a few months after the wedding, the mother inherited a good amount of money from a relative. Still to this day, she has never said Thank You or anything. Oh yea, her sister is getting married soon and mom's paying for it all.

Witches 1031/03

As a wedding photographer, I encounter many different types of family relationships from the very good and healthy, to the strained and "you-know-they-need-counseling-before-getting-married." As I walked into the wedding hall of one such affair, I saw a photo-op with the bride and her grandparents. The window behind them had beautiful lace curtains and made a natural frame for the picture. Of course I realized that without a bit of fill flash to brighten the faces of the subjects, the light from the window would render them as silhouettes. Before I could begin to pose the trio, the Mother of the bride was in my face, "Are you doing that right? Isn't there too much light coming from the window?, etc etc" Very politely, I informed her that I had done this a time or two before, and to be assured that I knew what I was doing.

Fifteen or twenty minutes later, as I was photographing the bride and her attendants, a small commotion arose in the back of the hall. The cake lady had just completed her installation of the pastry creation that was to represent the wedding dreams of the happy couple, when Mother lit into her about the "stability of the four columns" and the "slipperiness of the frosting" and "oh, are you sure it won't topple?". The bride who had had just about enough of this well-meaning but very controlling Mother, stamped her foot very solidly on the wooden floor, and said in a very loud, strident voice, "Mother! You are beginning to piss me off!" Mother skittered into an adjacent room, and was heard from no more...

Witches 1103/03

My brother, who is four years older then I am, met his future wife in a college computer class. She had three young, and sweet, children from a previous marriage which suited my brother fine. I don't think he would have done well with diapers. But he has been a wonderful father to "his" kids, who are now high school aged. Despite traditional sisterly teasing, I was very happy that my brother had found a good woman. He needed looking after. *grin* I was very much looking forward to his wedding. Until I met her family.

Her parents are traditional Mormon and insisted on everyone being involved. Her Mother spoke to me several times about participating while I gently tried to refuse. I have a decent singing voice, and I love to sing, but I am not a performer. Major stage fright. However, after much persuasion on her part, and misgivings on mine, I acceded. After all, it was my brother's wedding, and I really was honored that the bride's family wanted to include me. Although I would have been much happier just being a spectator. Her mother chose a song for me to sing during the ceremony, sent me the music, and asked me to pick a song to sing at the reception. I practiced and practiced and tried to alleviate the terror. For the reception I decided to do an Irish love song with vocals mixed with flute, which I also play with average success.

This was not a HUGE wedding, nor ultra formal, which helped my courage. Although I cannot remember the wedding itself at all. At the reception, my hands were shaking so badly I almost couldn't play. I finished my amateur performance, and sat down to polite applause. Then the bride's sister got up with a gentleman and proceeded to sing beautiful duets for about an hour. Turns out she is a professional singer/actress and the gentleman was one of her usual leading men. I felt like a child. The sister of the groom being allowed to put on her cute little performance before the REAL singer gets up. Why the hell did they put me through that torture? I was so embarrassed. But, it was my brother's wedding and I put it behind me and endured the reception.

A year later, we were at their home for a Mother's Day dinner. He and she proceed to put in the wedding video, since we hadn't seen it yet. I watched eagerly, anxiously waiting to critique my own performance, hoping it wasn't as bad as my vivid imagination painted it. The ceremony was beautiful. The bride had her two young daughters as flower girls and her son "gave her away". As the tape approached my song, I held my breath . . . it wasn't there. The person taping, from the Bride's family, had shut the video off while I was singing and cut back in when I was done. They skipped my song completely! And at the reception, they had waited until I was done to start taping. You could hear the applause after my song when they cut the tape on. After all the fuss the Bride's mother had made about me being in the wedding, all but forcing me to sing, they went out of their way to exclude me from the video!!

Perhaps I'm over sensitive, but I took that as a personal slight. After that, I stopped even trying to be fond of the Bride's family. Getting along at Christmas and such is the best I can do. And only for my brother's sake.
Witches 1115/03

My brother "John" was dating a great girl, "Sally." Sally's father is a piece of work, there are no other words to describe him. He's just awful and everyone in his family knows it, and is embarrassed by him and his behavior. Anyway, he never liked my brother because of some incident that happened well before John and Sally even started dating (my brother and Sally's brother are good friends, which is how the two met) in which Sally's father is convinced that John said something insulting about the family. Everyone who was there knows that it didn't happen, but there is no convincing this man of anything. So after dating for over 3 years and putting up with the stress of being hated by Sally's father, John proposed and presented a beautiful engagement ring. Sally accepted his proposal but asked if she could have some time to try to get her father's blessing. John knew this was important to her so he agreed. Sally put the ring in a safe deposit box and began to work to improve relations.

After six months, she realized that it was not going to work, so she took the ring out and started wearing it and planning their wedding. The father then realized that the marriage was going to go ahead with or without him, and decided to go ahead and give his blessing so that he could be a part of Sally and John's day. He also said he would pay for the whole thing, as is tradition. We were all shocked and a little wary of this, but hoped that all would go smoothly.

The wedding they planned was going to be lovely, with about 100 guests, country club reception, musicians, DJ for the reception, and the works. Sally's parents had total control over the plans, but seemed to be doing a lovely job and Sally wasn't really complaining about anything they had decided. We were all very excited. I was a bridesmaid and we had picked out lovely navy blue dresses and Sally's dress was gorgeous and looked great on her. Well, we should have known it was all too good to be true. About 7 weeks before the wedding, right before John and Sally were about to mail out their invitations, Sally's father got mad at something or other that Sally had done or said, and said to her, "I don't know where you get the idea that I'm paying for all of this." They were devastated. It was 7 weeks before the wedding. They had no time to save up the money for this wedding that he had clearly said he was paying for, but they also didn't want to wait even longer to get married because they felt that they had already wasted enough time dealing with his nonsense. My parents offered to step in and help, but we couldn't get the country club unless Sally's father signed over the room to us, as he had already paid the deposit and the room was his for that evening.

So, this is what we did. We trimmed the guest list down to roughly 40 people (luckily no invitations had gone out and no showers had been planned yet so we didn't have to un-invite anyone) and rented chairs and an aisle runner and candelabras and decided to hold the wedding in my parents' living room. My parents were able to change what would have been the rehearsal dinner on Friday night into the reception on Saturday night and expand to allow for all of the wedding guests. Sally's brother, who was a groomsman, was planning to walk her down the aisle, as we weren't even sure if her parents were going to show up to the wedding, or if we wanted them to!

Well, about 3 weeks before the wedding, Sally's father called her and apologized for getting angry and doing what he did, and asked if they could go ahead with the wedding as they planned. Sally explained that it was now 3 weeks out and it was too late to send out invitations, plus my family had gone to all this trouble and expense now and she wasn't going to mess with anything (plus, who knew if he would keep his promise this time or not?) But he did offer to pay for the chair rental, the aisle runner, plus the florist and photographer, as well as half of the reception, which John and Sally took him up on but fully expected he might back out.

The day of the wedding arrives and everything goes fine. The one glitch was this photographer that Sally's father has dug up from who knows where. His battery pack died right before we all walked down the aisle and we had to do it all over again after the ceremony was over (complete with red eyes and runny noses from crying during the ceremony) so that he could get pictures for their album. He also asked my father to get him a ladder so that he could stand on it to take some portraits after the ceremony - my father had to go into the garage in his tux and get this hapless photographer a dirty old ladder, in the middle of his son's wedding celebration! But he got it and was gracious about doing it. The reception was nice and a good time was had by all, although Sally was disappointed that there was no way to have dancing, and therefore no first dance to "their" song.

A couple weeks after the wedding, we all got to see the proofs of the pictures and we all filled out the forms to order our pictures, which surprisingly had turned out pretty well after all, in spite of the seemingly bumbling photographer. We turned in our orders to Sally's parents who were going to place the order and then collect the money from all of us. And now, get this... that was the last that anyone ever saw of the wedding pictures! No money was ever collected and no pictures were ever delivered. It has now been 7 years and the only photos John and Sally have of their wedding are the snapshots that people took. We don't know if her father is holding them, as a way to keep her from severing all ties with him, or if the photographer was to blame and her father is just ashamed to tell anyone that the photographer that we HAD to use was a flake, or if her father just refused to pay the photographer. We don't know. Sally has confronted him several times over the years, but he refuses to discuss the topic at all. No one even knows the photographer's name, since Sally's father had arranged it all. We thought a few years back that if we could find him and pay him whatever money may be owed, that John and Sally could finally get their wedding album. But we have had no luck so far.

As you might guess, relations with Sally's family are always very strained and we only socialize with them when we ABSOLUTELY have to and only for her sake. As a result, when I met my husband, it was really important to me that I got along with his family and he with mine, and luckily that is how it turned out for us.

Witches 1121/03

After spending 8 months on planning my wedding, out of state (where neither I nor my husband were from), I was quite tired. During this time, I had advice and little items of help sent to me from both sides. However, there were various mishaps that were generated mostly from my in laws side.

First of all, my MIL held a couples shower that listed my maiden name incorrectly. Not just spelled wrong, but a completely different last name! Her defense was that she had another person create the invites. Ok, you win some and you lose some!

My husband and I planned to go to the place we were going to be married three days prior to the wedding to obtain the license, meet with the Reverend and do whatever else needed to be done. However, my MIL decided that she wanted to follow us there too. Not too bad, considering that I informed her that he and I needed one day to ourselves to accomplish all this! She agreed then continued to phone us three times that day to find out when we would be done!

She assisted many others in decorating for the reception. I had advised her during this full 8-month period that I detested tulle. However, this is what she used to decorate the chairs for the ceremony, laughing about it afterwards.

Fast forward to the wedding day, a few minor miscommunications but with the prize in view...nothing else mattered! At the reception, that was held on the other side of the fountain from where the ceremony took place, all was going great! Except for myself, having to play commander with the pictures. We opted for no photographer to cut cost, so I was the one left yelling for all together for pics, and you would think that a party of 30 guests would be listening to the lady in white!! :)

After making sure that all pictures had been taken, I got some food and headed to the wedding husband was out passing out champagne. After awhile my father joined me at the head table where we watched my MIL toast her son and her family. Guess I need not be invited. She stated later that she could not find me. Once again there were only approximately 30 guests (including the wedding party) and I was the only one in white!

As the night goes on...I hear how one of my new family has to tell the MIL to "shut up" because she is crying that her baby son just got married.

And the real kicker was when I saw my husband and his mother standing in the dark near the gift table. I went up to see what they were looking at, and lo and behold they were looking at her wedding him! She created a scrapbook from the time he was a baby till the time he graduated college.

To me....guys usually aren't interested in scrapbooks, as my husband kept saying...this is really nice mom but it is dark out here, lets dance! Second of all, I was under the impression when two people got married that you give wishes to the TWO of them, whether it be in the form of a gift or a card it is to be aimed at the married couple, not part of the wedding couple. I did enjoy seeing my husbands early years, however, that gift would be more suited on a birthday, not a wedding.

Witches 1106/03

A good friend of mine, Belinda was marrying her long-term boyfriend Jake. I had met Jake's parents a few times previously, and despite many attempts at conversation to get to know them, had always found them quite cold. I thought perhaps it was me, but I noticed they were never particularly friendly to Belinda and other mutual friends have found this when talking to them also.

After the wedding, as I entered the reception and greeted the parents of the bride and groom, I said to Jake's parents, "Congratulations on a beautiful wedding Mr. and Mrs. ___. You must be very proud." Jake's mother looked at me without smiling and said, "who are you?" I realized she must not have recognized me, despite meeting me about 10 times before, perhaps because I had had my hair styled for the occasion, so I said pleasantly "Oh Mrs. __, I am ____. I have met you before with Belinda, I am one of her good friends." Jake's mother glared at me for a few seconds before turning to someone else and began talking. I was a bit shocked at this, but determined not to become upset. They both ignored me for the rest of the night.

During the toast, Jake's father was giving a toast. When he came to the part about Jake proposing to Belinda he said "So Jake gave Belinda the ring and without saying thank-you she immediately called her work and quit. Without even putting it on she got in the car and drove to the nearest shop and had the ring valued. She then went and organized the most expensive wedding that Jake could afford. Yes Jake has his hands full with this one! I don't think he'll be giving up his job soon - Belinda has his nose to the grindstone!" This story of course, was completely untrue. Everyone was laughing, although I was quite horrified that Jake's father would think this was an appropriate toast to the bride.

As I was leaving I tried again to be polite and wish Jake's parents’ goodnight. After I thanked them for a lovely night, Jake's father stared at my top (the reception was formal and I was wearing a fitted top with shoestring straps and a full skirt - very similar to most dresses at the reception. I am also quite a small girl with a small bust) and said "well love I've noticed YOU"VE been popping out all evening!" I really didn’t know what to say although I am sure Jake's mother won't forget me next time after that comment! I really thought their behavior that evening was very tacky!

Witches 1107/03