I found the letter! Edited some mineutia for length. The reviewer's comments are in blue
LOVE the recent additions! I spent DAYS reading through all the great wedding stories, but thereís one that just rings false to me. Itís the Faux Pas of the Year Titanic Golddigger story. I donít doubt the author used some true elements of a bad Bridezilla experience, but the bulk of it reads like pure fantasy. I studied film and folklore in college, and it is absolutely brimming with both cinematic framing devises and classic fairy tale plot elements.
My cousin was to be married in September of 2000. She announced her engagement to a man I will call William. He is an ex of mine. We parted on good terms since we realized we had grown to be basically friends, and over the years lost touch.
Jennifer has always been greedy beyond all reason. She broke up with a boyfriend in high school because he could not afford to buy her a-get this-Corvette convertible at 16. Since then, she somehow made herself desirable by being so "selective" in her choice of boyfriends, and let it be known her sexual prowess in bed was something to envy. All before age 18.
One of her criteria was that any boy who wanted to date her had to "bid" for her with a pre-selected gift. Her first selection was a particular ring she wanted, a one-carat diamond. Whoever wanted to date her had to buy it for her. We live in a fairly rich town, okay, very rich, so it wasn't long before one young man decided to "buy" her. Now why her parents didn't object came up only recently-if she married rich, she would be able to support them.
[This sounds like a classic Ďcomeuppanceí set-up. Itís Wicked Stepsister and stepmother from Cinderella.]
This continued for several years. She even got a house from a past boyfriend while in college, a "mini"-mansion. She reminds me of a courtesan in the olden days, where it was a thing of prestige to bed a certain lady, often at a very substantial cost. That's Jennifer. In our small, rich town, it's known that those who can be with her have money, and who doesn't like to show that off?
[The small town where everyone knows everything about each other - the standard set-up for a tale of humiliation-as-punishment. Iím a city person, honestly, so I donít know much about everybody-knows-everybody small towns, but Iíve always found moneyed people to be somewhat self-isolating.]
Anyway, back to her engagement. William designed something, which I will leave unknown because he is a good person and I don't want him embarrassed (and it's nothing technological either), and made millions. He had left town before her "transformation" and met her while he was on a vacation to Italy. She "charmed" him, and he proposed before his visit to Milan was over. It was an extended trip, and she was on it with another boyfriend, who was trying to "win" his way into her panties. She had not had sex with him, but did with William. Within the month she claimed to be pregnant, and he is too much of a man than to run or question his obligations. So he did what he felt best-proposed. They left Italy together soon after that.
[Heís a perfect self-made man, a worldly, romantic traveler and a gentleman tricked by evil stepsister. He is, shall we say, a prince. (Literally? IS he Prince William?) Iím also suspicious of the time frame - OK, I know technically you can go from not preggers to preggers in two weeks, but Isuspect the time frame nonetheless.]
We are at June 2000 now, and they decide to marry before the baby is born. They decide on September.
When I first saw William again, before I knew of his fortune, something sparked in me, but he was my cousin's fiancť. And it pained me that he was going to marry someone like her. But she is my cousin, and he is someone I once loved.
[True love rediscovered. She loved him before he had money, so itís pure. Love vs. Money/Her vs. Bride - the central conflict is already set up.]
She told everyone that she wanted a Titanic wedding, complete with the final dress, the Heaven dress, as her wedding dress, which she expected her talented sister to make for her, and guests in Titanic fashions, held on a ship in the Atlantic. She wanted a replay on the movie basically. And all guests were to wear Edwardian clothing ONLY. William was at a loss, but did not want his child to grow up in a home with one parents and the other on visitations only, as he had growing up. She wanted him to finance it, but for her parents to contribute at least $50,000, "like good parents should." I don't know what her parents were thinking at this point. But they mortgaged their house with the intent of filing bankruptcy and living off their son-in-law. Jenn made clear that she expected large gifts.
So plans started underway, and William had little choice but to pay the accommodations and transportation for over 200 people. When he tried telling her he wanted to offer to help she had a fit, saying any money guests had to spend on that is less that they'll spend on a gift. So he relented, to calm her down as he did not want harm to come to his baby. We were all still expected to furnish period-correct garb, no matter the cost.
[Ever been on a ship capable of staging the wedding she says is being staged? Not small. Not cheap. Not bookable for private parties, in another country, in two months.]
At the beginning of September she picked her bridesmaids, and told her sister to add those dresses to the "order," but the order one Heaven dress and four of the dress called the Dinner dress was too much, and Lilly had to ask her design school friends to help, who did so for their friend. Lilly paid for the materials as her gift to her sister. I was one of maids. Her maid of honor. I had the honor of being terrorized. I planned her bridal shower, as elaborate as my budget could afford. I spent more than I could truly afford because she pulled her old trick-having a fit and causing concern for the baby. I did not want the child to suffer for this, so I complied.
She requested a copy of the guest list, most of which she gave me to begin with. I just added relatives. She went through the list without telling me and sent follow-up cards, dis-inviting some people, and assigning gifts for the rest to buy. Yes, assigning them!
At the shower, she was angry because it wasn't elaborate enough and the food wasn't exactly what she hoped, even though she gave no input, saying it was my work. She sulked around, insulting people for not wearing period clothes, which I did not plan on. These poor people would be wearing them on the ship! When she opened her gifts, she started throwing things because some of the guests deviated from the "assigned" gift to what they could afford. She stalked out of the hall and broke a window on her way to hailing a cab, leaving many gifts unopened and all the guests in shock. We recovered and gathered the gifts up, the shower ending earlier than planned. Among things unopened were a crib from Little Miss Liberty of Beverly Hills our grandmother bought (those things are more than the typical monthly salary!) and crystal. We took everything to her home, and were lucky the housekeeper was there, or maid as she says and William hired and pays for. She we left the gifts in the front hall.
The next day I drove over to see if she was okay. But I did not stop. All the gifts were shattered and broken on the lawn.
[This episode is supposed to illustrate her total evilness. Itís not just that she seeks security with a rich man, she is, in fact, a bad person to everybody. Her greed canít be sated, and it is publicly displayed (on the lawn.) Plus - howíd she hail a cab in a small town?]
Once in England, we were to be there one night before departing for the ship the next day. However she was already there as planned. In that time she found new dresses she wanted everyone to wear. And she expected us to foot the bills. Like we had money to spare after our wardrobes for the trip. I ran out of the hotel room so hurt and cried and tried to get lost so she couldn't find me. At the elevator, I nearly hyperventilated. The doors opened and there stood....William.
[Cue romantic music.]
I tried brushing away my tears. I couldn't let him see me crying. We'd talked briefly here and there the last couple of months, and I still had feeling for him, which I doubted he returned. But he looked as haggard as I. He asked if I wanted to go to the courtyard and take a breather, and of course I did.
[Now Iím wondering what hotel in England they could be in. a) The ones that have courtyards or gardens are usually guest houses too small to have elevators and b) she hasnít said where theyíre departing from. London? Harwich? Southampton? Thereís a huge difference.]
For several minutes we just sat in silence. He spoke first, and began spilling how he did not want to marry her, but his child needed a two parent household. The conversation turned over the next couple of hours to several topics. He said he'd buy the dresses since everyone was already out so much, and since he could afford it it was the least he could do, and asked the store name. But the way he looked at me told me he still felt something for me. I jumped up, stated the name, and ran back to the elevator, up to my room.
[Does this passage sound at all realistic? In real life, people donít tend to remember details like who speaks first in an awkward silence, or sprint away when someone looks at them *that way*. People awkwardly try to wiggle out of uncomfortable situations with their exís - not fly romantically across a garden.]
At about six that evening, my roommate and I were napping, exhausted from the redeye. But there was a knock that woke me up. It was him. He had gone to the store and asked to buy the dresses on hold for the X party, and he was delivering them. My roomie cried out of relief. She just couldn't afford another dress.
[Where Bridezilla is cruel to underlings, the Prince is kind and worthy.]
The next morning we boarded the ship and were given cards with our staterooms on them. The bridesmaids, myself included, were actually given rooms made over to look like maids' quarters on Titanic. With as little space as well. The guests, with few exceptions, were placed in "second-class" and "steerage," depending on how much she liked everybody.
The wedding was the next night. The current night was the rehearsal.
[Not just hired a ship, but redecorated? Who did this, when, and how?]
The rehearsal was actually fun, and went as one should. She wore the Jump dress and I wore a fashion I'd seen on a website of old fashions. Some of the guests were dressed more period than others, but only those in the first-class and "servants" quarters were allowed this night. The rest ate in respective dining rooms. The night drew to a close and I thought the good would come, if tonight were an indicator. How very wrong I was.
The next morning dawned bright and early. I was not the only one with the idea to walk to deck to watch the sunrise. Jennifer slept until just a couple of hours before the ceremony, which was fine with all of us. We played old games and talked, and in general acted like we were in 1912. Until Jennifer woke up.
We knew she had when she stormed out of her stateroom and onto the deck, looking for her sister. She began screaming at her, as she had decided only a week or so before that she wanted her dress to be Swarovski crystal, not the glass beads her sister bought. She screeched on about her sister ruining her wedding day and that she is out of the party, and invited the first woman she was to replace her. Lilly ran off in tears, the rest of us again in shock. How I wished William could see this and avoid the biggest mistake of his life. She snapped at me to get inside and help her dress.
She began on how the ship wasn't big enough, and her shoes too plain, etc. Nothing satisfied her. Her greed had reached such a peak that nothing would do. I did her hair, hoping to have time to do my own, and set her Swarovski tiara on her head (she loves Swarovski). Not good enough. She swept her hands through it, knocking the tiara to the floor. I tried again, still not good enough. She yelled at me to get out and get her mother. I only hope her mother was spared the yelling.
[Sheís so evil, even the satisfaction of her greed doesnít make her happy. Sheís. Just. Evil. Itís very cinematic= Long shot - narrator works on hair. Medium shot - Female Dog bride Female Dog, sweeps hair. Quick close up - narrator tries to catch tiara. Close up - tiara landing on floor. Thud. Close up - narrator looks at bride, sad. Medium shot - bride continues Female Dog. Close up - narrator looks wistfully out window.]
The next time I saw her I was dressed and outside the doors while waiting for her to get there so the ceremony could start. She arrived, and I will admit she looked gorgeous, and at ease finally. He mom whispered into my ear the words Sleeping pill in her drink. YES! Maybe she'd be calm now! Jenn was drowsy and the wedding was a replay of the rehearsal, lovely.
But the reception......
The medication wore off and she began swearing like never before, at her new husband, us, the band. She had such a sinister look on her face as I'd never seen. I went to the deck to take some air, where there were several others, her husband as well. I stood by him and he told me the cost of this affair (I nearly fainted) and how he wishes he had never met her, because he could tell he'd be miserable. But his concern was, as always, his baby. We who were out there remained for some time, and regretted going back.
[REALLY iffy timeframe between drug (mixed with alcohol!?) takes affect and drug wears off.]
In the meager half-hour she was drunk off her rocker, standing by the cake, with a bottle of whisky almost gone. William and I, as well as several others, ran to get. She was about to fall on the cake. William was in disbelief, and asked her why she would hurt the baby. Here's the worst of it. She responded, hiccupping:
"There never was a baby. I just wanted a rich hot guy to marry me."
[The big reveal! Big, public, unlikely. The big public "reveal" is a cornerstone of urban legends, not to mention soap operas and most drama in general. But in real life...letís face it, they donít happen. And when they do happen, they happen in situations where everyone isnít up to speed.
(Bystanders donít know whatís going on, so they just keep walking. I.e. Big movie kisses in the public square donít result in passersby clapping.) No matter how drunk she is, if sheís so cold and calculating, sheíd never say so. And if golddigging was so part of her nature, sheíd never see it as golddigging, any way. But no, this story requires the villain to be shown beyond villainy to a gasping public.]
I don't know which went through me first or harder-that he will probably divorce her and I could pursue him, or how hurt he must be. Then she turned on me, calling me a whore, that she saw us from her room in the courtyard talking and how I couldn't have him. The band stopped playing, the guests stood in the usual shock. Nothing should have surprised us by now. But something did. She threw her arm through the cake and started to fall. No one caught her, but she did bellow. Then William....laughed. Laughed!
[Not only does the bride get the "big public reveal" as evil, she gives us the "big public reveal" of the narrator as her enemy (and therefore, the embodiment of good.) No one else takes a verbal beating - the narrator gets to stand alone in front of the crowd as the "good" one. So after everything, this really boils down to narrator vs. bride, good vs. evil, love vs. greed.
And then Queen Female Dog gets a pie in the face, and all those who feared her laugh at her.]
And exclaimed his intent to get this marriage annulled, how relieved he was, and let is all come out about how he only married her for the baby. She tried biting back about getting money from him, but not so fast. They aren't from a community property state. But this story has a good end.
[Pre-nup? Nah. The villain gets nothing but punishment.]
William swept me up in a circle and planted one on my forehead. When Jennifer came to being sober the next morning, she felt like the biggest bacon-fed knave, so embarrassed she stayed in her room the rest of the trip, refusing to see anyone but her mom.
[...and then their pure, true love gets a big public reveal, too. (Do people ever really suddenly sweep girls off their feet?) And then they sail off into the sunset. No mention of what anyone on the boat did for the, by my count, 6-8 days of travel left. I doubt this Bridezilla could keep quiet that long.]
The annulment was filed within days, and granted quickly. Jennifer went to stay with her grandma some states away, leaving William to pursue me, or me him. We were married ourselves in April. In a normalish wedding with a Titanic undertheme (who says she's the only one who loves Titanic?) in which guests could dress as they'd like. But did their old clothing ever come in handy! She was sent an invitation. But her grandma (this is the one we do not share through our moms, who are sisters) sent a short letter with a small gift saying Jennifer has shamed herself into the ground, is truly expecting now without knowing the father, and that she declined.
[#1. The narratorís Titanic fetish in re. her own wedding makes me extremely suspicious of the earlier Titanic wedding as a whole. It seems to be her wedding by proxy - sheís the hero of it, after all; she wants the Edwardian stage set completely, with the boat and the costumed guests, but doesnít want to have her character force it on others. So she gets both - her Edwardian wedding, but without the pushiness and guilt.
In a fairy tale sense, they are essentially one wedding - even the costumes stay the same. Bridezilla is pushed out of the picture, the prince takes narratorís hand and then flash forward (think the end of a Disney movie - they kiss and the camera pulls back to show theyíre now at their own wedding) and itís their wedding and theyíre married. Bells ring, doves fly, etc.
Honestly, after that earlier nuttiness over those dingdangity dresses, why would she, or especially Prince William, ever want to see them again?
Final fairy tale plot point: Villain is exiled, evil character traits are reversed for poetic justice (the girl who sleeps with no one sleeps with many; the gold digger is forced to live with grandma - what happened to her 8,000sq.ft. mini-mansion???), humiliation is total. She even admits and accepts her humiliation (by proxy) - something people NEVER do. "Oh, no, I canít come because I once embarrassed myself in front of you." Suuuure. And now, the pat, crisp moral of the story...]
Mis Jeanne's Reply
It does read like a good novel, doesn't it? Sometimes I can detect a fake story, sometimes not. When I use a story in the media or in a book, I do obtain written grants from the contributor so I know exactly who wrote it and some idea to its veracity. I don't think I was able to contact this storyteller which leaves a great deal of doubt as to the story's reality.