I have a mild horror story of my wedding that, while it pales in comparison to some others I've read, still might provide a little perspective for impending brides. A little (okay, a lot of) backstory: To give you some perspective, my parents were married in the local Catholic Church. My mother wore her sister-in-law's ill-fitting wedding dress, and the only guests were her widowed mother, the priest, the sister-in-law who owned the dress and doubled as bridesmaid, and my father's brother-in-law, who was also his best man. The bouquet was picked from the front garden. They had a cake from the local supermarket and one bottle of cheap champagne. And that was it. Total cost: $50.
My parents' proposition for our wedding was to hold it in the local JP court--yes, in the Judge Judy-like courtroom!--and get a cake from Randall's, a local grocery store. The reception was to be in the courthouse lobby, right next door to the sheriff's office: cake, Coke, no decorations, and no music. When I called my FH, hysterical at what might look like a shotgun wedding (I was and still am very proud of my hard-earned, undisputed right to wear white at my wedding), he promptly came down to our city (a long drive, as he lived in another city), visited my parents and informed them that, if their concern was money, he could alleviate it; we could hold the wedding in Maine, in his parents' front yard, and we would have a barbeque reception--and my parents could let it be known that they didn't want to spend money on their older daughter's wedding. My husband is a "gentle giant," normally not an aggressive man, but he knows how and won't hesitate when he feels it's appropriate.
So we were given a budget of $2,000--a very difficult budget in the city where I lived. I'm not one to look a gift wedding in the mouth, so FH and I quietly agreed that we would cover anything above that. That was when I started living on coffee and adrenaline. I looked for the least expensive options available. The ceremony took place at a local country club, officiated by my MOH's employer (a federal bankruptcy judge), and the reception was held at a favorite Chinese buffet restaurant (which is always beautifully decorated, and the owner is a doll!). The cake came from a lady who does beautiful cakes as a side business, and the dress from an online wholesaler. (It fit beautifully off-the-rack, which is difficult to find for a tall girl with no figure to speak of.) The wedding and reception went off beautifully, except for one hitch.
My co-worker "Karen", a wonderful lady who listened patiently to my exhausted complaints and panic attacks during this process, referred me to a florist/wholesaler. Mom and I visited her shop, and we were tremendously impressed by the arrangements we saw. I told "Sally" that my wedding colors were royal blue, sky blue, silver, and white (which wound up not happening because apparently royal blue was not a fashionable color that year), and she knew immediately which flowers to use, and even recommended ways to work silver into the arrangements and bouquets. She totaled up the modest number of arrangements we wanted, and it came out at less than $200. Great! We gave her the money and told her where and when.
Comes now the wedding day. I'm back in the ladies' locker room at the country club, getting ready. My hair is behaving, my makeup is good, and my dress is frankly gorgeous. My MOH (not my sister, who begged off because of severe social anxiety) suddenly vanished, along with Mom and my sister, and my DH's wonderful sunshine-in-law hovered around me, showing me the pictures she'd snapped of my groom coming into the club. (Those are still some of my favorite pictures!) When the other ladies returned, I sensed the tension in the air, and I wanted to know what was going on. They told me it was okay, don't worry about it, they'd take care of it, and all the other usual noncommittal reassurances. Well, they'd forgotten that I can handle disasters without turning a hair, but my overactive imagination will take over if I don't know the details. So I started panicking, and I demanded (a bit shrilly) to know. Turns out that the flowers, intended to arrive at 9:30 for our 11:00 wedding, had not arrived. Mom had called at 9:45, to be told that, oops, the order slip shows they were wanted at noon. Mom told them no, that they were needed for an 11:00 ceremony. So here we were at 10:45, still waiting for flowers, and not knowing what was happening.
11:00 comes and goes. My FSIL goes out to explain to the guests what's up. 11:15 passes. At 11:30, we decide that the flowers are not coming, and we're not going to make people wait any longer. So we proceed. Everything is great, even though my MOH and I have no bouquets. But fortunately, I'd insisted on putting some lovely silk florals and silver Christmas ribbons (excellent bargain for a January wedding) on a wedding arch for the ceremony, so we had those, and everyone claims they didn't notice the lack of flowers. Ceremony concludes, with no flowers. Receiving line; no flowers. Signing the license; no flowers. Guests leave for the reception while wedding party stays for pictures; no flowers. Bride and groom get ready to leave and realize that the best man left with the car keys; no flowers. MOH returns, having left her street clothes, and gives the bride and groom a lift to the reception; no flowers. It is now 1:00.
Best man and usher return to the club from the reception to retrieve groom's truck so bride and groom don't have to hitchhike to their honeymoon; no flowers. My mother tells me she called the country club the next day to be told that no florist appeared to ask for them. She then called the florist to be told: "Oh, gee, we got the wrong order." They claimed that there just so happened to be a funeral the same day, in the same area (this Texas city is comprised of many a borough with its own name), and amazingly, the deceased had the same last name as my family! They reviewed their records and told my mother flat out that they had no order form for our wedding! (I guess "Sally" must have thought we said I was getting "buried," not "married." It would account for the odd looks she kept giving us...)
What's worse, they refused to refund the money, stating that they'd never received a dime! That was a dumb move, because my parents had paid on their AmEx card, not with cash. I guess they really must not have kept any records, or they wouldn't have pulled that nonsense; I often wonder how the little operation dealt with American Express falling on them like an avalanche. This all happened a little over a year ago. I'm still good friends with the co-worker who referred me (it wasn't her fault), and the wedding was still the best day of my life! I'm so glad I have such wonderful family and in-laws! (And yes, we came in under budget.)
I apologize for sending you two separate e-mails on this, but after I looked back over the story I sent you, I realized I'd left out a couple of crucial pieces of information that otherwise make me look like a spoiled Bridezilla (which I have been assured I was emphatically not by many people): 1. My parents offered to pay for our wedding, right from the start, because it is traditional and I had no money (being tapped out from law school and without a lawyer job due to overgraduation of students). However, they reserved all right to make the decisions in this matter. 2. My husband's major bone of contention was not so much that they were "holding out" on us, but because most of our guests were coming down from Maine--a welcome vacation for them because it is a warmer climate down here and they'd never been anyway. He was not about to have his family come all this way to watch us get married in a courthouse and then stand around in a courthouse lobby eating cake and drinking Coke for an hour while the police fanned by. He wasn't going to do that to his family--MY in-laws--and was quite serious that if this was the best my parents could do, he would take me to Maine to marry me. I realize that fitting this information into the previous e-mail will be a bear. If you want to use the material I sent you, please let me know so that I can edit it properly--and slice it up if you like into smaller portions. I'm very sorry for not getting it right the first time. Thank you for letting me vent!
Okay, I'm sorry - but even her "clarifiation" at the end did not stop me from thinking this person is a horrible, spoiled brat. The paragraph I highlighted with bold just struck me as horrible! It sounds like basically, the parents offered to give them a certain type of wedding, they were not satisfied so her husband threatens them with humiliation if they don't cough up more dough. Horrible!
And even when she sent in the second email "explaining", the story doesn't change. What her parents were offering wasn't good enough for them so they made them change it. I couldn't even concentrate on the vendor story after reading that 2nd paragraph.