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They're armed, they're unprofessional and they're going to ruin your wedding day if you aren't careful.  (And stories of victimized vendors.)

Jan-Jun 2000 Archive
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Jan-Jul 2003 Archive


I recently attended my father's wedding. This was his third marriage and my new stepmother's second. Because of that, they chose to have a very small affair with just close family, and to throw a subsequent party for all of their friends to celebrate. My fiancé and I were pleased to attend the ceremony.

The ceremony was to be held at a church a short distance from the bride’s parent’s home, and a short reception for those in attendance would be held at their home following the ceremony. Everyone gathered informally at my stepmother’s parent's home and my stepmother and my father got dressed and we all traveled together to the church.

We arrived to find the doors locked, and no sign of the minister who was to marry my father. Everyone talked amongst themselves as we waited patiently, sure he would appear any minute. After about ten minutes people began drifting back into their cars, as it was a very warm summer afternoon. After another ten minutes, my soon to be stepmother borrowed a cell phone and called the church secretary. The church secretary got in touch with the minister’s wife, and the minister called ten minutes later to say he was on his way. Fortunately, he lived nearby and arrived ten minutes after his call, in all, he was forty minutes late.

He explained to us that he had forgotten to inform his wife that he would be performing a wedding and had himself forgotten and fallen asleep on his couch. I think he was rather a forgetful man overall. He forgot my father’s name and had to be reminded of my stepmother's name as well. He also had forgotten which home the reception was to be held in; he arrived late to the reception and informed everyone that he had mistakenly gone to the house across the street, much to those homeowner's surprise.     Vendors 0813/03

My favorite musicians and I do historic re-enactments, and we’ve performed a plain ol' dance at one event for the past couple of years. This year the organizer and his fiancée are getting married at the event, and the dance will be their wedding reception.

Trouble is, they forgot to tell us of the moved-up time frame. They want my buddies to play music for the wedding ceremony, which takes place in the same area but about 90 minutes earlier. What if we'd arrived at 6:30 to set up for the 7:30 gig?

Fortunately (!!) I visited the event website, and mentioned to my fiddle player about playing for the wedding. It was news to him. (Fortunately this is still a month off, so we have time to get things squared away.) Moral: get a contract. In writing. Whether you are the provider of talent or the happy recipient of same. Do not assume anything!

Vendors 0821/03

Recently I went to a wedding held at a beautifully restored mansion that did weddings and private parties. The bride and groom obviously had invited more than the place could comfortably fit because after dinner (but before cake or coffee) a very cross waitress came up to the table I was sitting at (along with about ten other people including the brides aunt and uncle) and informed us we had to move because the table had to be moved so they could make a dance floor. There was no other table for us to sit at so I had to eat my cake and drink my coffee in my lap, in a folding chair against the wall, which is where they placed us. I left soon after, and wished I hadn't even been invited, because obviously they had no room for me!

Vendors 0831/03

When looking for a DJ for my wedding, I acted on glowing reviews from several brides in my city and interviewed (and hired) the DJ that they suggested. I had heard story after story about how this man and his associates were the height of professionalism and did a fantastic job.

On the day of our wedding, the DJ's equipment cut out several times during the first dance, my dance with my father, and then didn't play the one song that was most important to us (it wasn't a good "first dance" song) - because he was afraid that if he changed the CD that was in his equipment, the equipment would quit on him. He said that another one of his DJs had used it before him and apparently hadn't charged it well enough.

Other than this, the DJ did a pretty good job.      Vendors 0906/03

When my now-husband and I became engaged, we faced a very difficult decision. Our respective families live more than 2000 miles apart - we realized whichever locale we chose was going to make for hardships for one side of the family. After much agonizing, we chose to have the wedding in my hometown, where my family’s floral business has helped to forge many invaluable contacts among wedding vendors. Everything went off beautifully - the first time around. Upon hearing that we were having the wedding out-of-town, my future in-laws graciously offered to host a second reception after we returned from our honeymoon. This way, those relatives who found it too burdensome to travel to the event would not miss out on all of the festivities. We returned from our honeymoon and barely had time to catch our breath before the next event arrived. Given the whirlwind of activity and travel leading up to the wedding, we did not have the chance to meet the DJ until we arrived at the reception. We sought her out to give her a CD and our very simple instructions. Neither I nor my husband are "love-the-spotlight" sort of people. My husband is, in fact, quite painfully shy, and our first reception catered to this. Thus, we asked her to simply be sure to play our wedding song and two others that had special meaning for us at some point during the day. We asked that there be no announcements or singling-out. She nodded vigorously and purported to understand completely. Things were going swimmingly. I was making conversation with some distant relatives of my husband's when the DJ's voice, requesting my presence at the front of the room, cut crisply through the air. I looked up in shock to see my husband, one arm firmly trapped in the DJ's grasp, gesturing frantically towards me with his free hand. I made my way up there only to have the DJ chirp out that it was time for a special dance for the new bride and groom. The horror I felt paled in comparison to that on my husband’s face. Unable to think of any other graceful response, we trooped obediently to the center of the dance floor and waited for the familiar strains of our wedding song. Instead, the beginning bars of "The Rose" tinkled through the speakers ("Some say love, it is a river..."). I have never liked this song, certainly did not request its cloying presence at the reception, but SHE singing it?!?! Yes, the DJ herself was crooning out the lyrics. Not knowing what else to do, we swayed uncomfortably while our friends, well aware of our proclivities, snapped pictures and muffled laughs. The best (worst) part? At the point in the song in which the original lyrics read, "I say love, it is a flower," she put in our names, "I say love, it's Todd and Julie." The pictures developed later are priceless - my husband’s flushed cheeks, the anger in my eyes. We've discussed it at length in the months following and have drawn the conclusion that this must be something she does at every wedding reception she plays (given that the syllables in the names work out, I suppose), regardless of the brides' and grooms' specific wishes and instructions. Oh and our REAL songs that we gave her ahead of time? Never heard them. Vendors 0911/03

Unfortunately all of these vendors from hell stories took place in one wedding, my sister's.

1). Wedding dress: We went to a reputable boutique in our area. My sister is a traditional sort of woman, who likes classic A-line dresses. She had a general style she wanted, and a price she wanted to pay for it. The saleswoman started out being very helpful, showing my sister various dresses in the style my sister described. Then, the saleswoman suddenly clapped her hands.

"I have just the dress for you. We got it early this week! It is beautiful! I'll go get it".

She returned with a dress that was so far off the mark of what my sister wanted, we could only stare in amazement. I won't describe it for fear of offending anyone who likes this style, but suffice it to say, it was not my sister's style at all. The saleswoman INSISTED my sister try it on, which she did reluctantly.

"Oh, it's just beautiful on you!" the saleswoman cried, "This is your dress!".

My sister took it off, and politely stated that though the dress was beautiful, it was not for her (not too mention it was about $1000 out of her budget). Somehow this salesperson took offense and refused to help my sister for the rest of her visit. Just walked away, and didn't come back. Twice I had to ask this woman where something was, and she acted like I just asked to move Earth from one corner of the universe to another. It was ridiculous. We left the boutique soon after.

End note: Unfortunately this was the only store in the area that carried the dress my sister fell in love with. She did go back, but made it clear she did not want the original saleslady helping her and stated why. To the store's credit, they were very apologetic. But the original saleswoman was there when my sister made her return visit, and glared at my sister the entire time.

2). Bridesmaids dresses: We went to a different boutique for these. The woman took my measurements and declared I would need a size 20 dress. Now, I'm not stranger to being an attendant in a wedding, and I do know most attendants dresses run in junior sizes (for no fathomable reason I can think of, since most attendants are grown women), but a size 20! I'm a 12 normally. She also insisted, to the point where she would not order my dress, that I needed "extra length". I am 5'7" for goshsakes! I really wanted to make a stink, but for my sister's sake, I kept my temper in check. Of course, it cost me an extra $25 for the "larger size" and $50 for the extra length.

The dresses came in, and you guessed it. It was WAY TOO BIG, and WAY TOO LONG. And, of course, it had to be drastically altered to the tune of $120. And no matter how hard I bitched, they refused to issue any sort of credit for either the dress or the alterations, stating they ordered it according to the size chart. Riiiiggghhhhtttt. This bridal shop is no longer in business.

Geez...I wonder why....

3). The photographer: He did beautiful work but was very unprofessional in regards to appointment times. He was 1/2 hour late from the appointed time the day of the wedding, forcing us to scramble to get dressed for pictures. He stood my sister and FBIL up several times during the pre-wedding meetings. And afterwards, it took well over a year for them to get their reprints and wedding album.

4). D.J.: This guy was a jackass. My other sister and I had prepared a funny, but touching speech to be read after the best man's toast. We told the D.J. ahead of time that we wanted to read this speech. He said, fine, he would announce us after the toast. Well, the toast came and went, and he never announced us! Just went on to something else.

We went to him later, inquiring why he didn't announce us. His answer stunned us.

"Well, I didn't think it was that important. I mean, everyone really wants to hear the best man's toast anyway. That's really the highlight of the evening." And to think, I've been to so many weddings, and have never considered the best man's toast to be the highlight of the evening, above even the cake-cutting and first dance. Silly me...

He also did not honor several requests my sister made for music selection, only honored my FBIL's. He only played requests taken by male wedding guests and none by the female guests. Can you say "misogynist"? Too bad for him. I'm currently looking for a D.J. for my upcoming reception, and he certainly will not be it.

5). Reception hall: It was beautiful. The staff was wonderful, or so we thought, until the following morning, when my other sister discovered $205 missing from her purse. Now, some of your may be wondering why she was carrying that much money to begin with, and I certainly agree. If I had known that, I would've made sure she left it in a safe place. Though my sister made several phone calls, the management of said hall denied any responsibility. My sister then called the police. She later found out that a member of their staff was a suspected thief. The hall had several instances of guest money and even wedding presents disappearing whenever this person worked. But they refused to fire this person, stating they were a "good worker" otherwise, and no concrete proof existed of this person actually stealing anything.

Gosh, don't you think, if several people have complained of theft, and you have a suspect, that you would do some kind of surveillance on this person? Unbelievable.

With weddings being such big business, and the competition being rather fierce, I would think businesses in this type of industry would go out of their way to ensure the couple has nothing but good things to say about their organization.

But despite these pesky vendors, my sister's wedding was beautiful, she had perfect weather, and three years later, she is still happily married, with a baby on the way. And in the end, that's all that really counts.

Vendors 1007/03

I was the maid of honor for my close friends wedding a few years ago. Since her fiancé was from overseas and they didn’t want much fuss, they decided to have a very small wedding with just her immediate family and closest friends. They spent only about six weeks organizing it and were having trouble finding a celebrant who was available for the Saturday wedding. When they called X, they were pleasantly surprised to find she was available and, after meeting with her, decided to use her.

The lead up to the wedding was pretty smooth since it was being held in a hotel and the reception would be lunch in the hotels very classy buffet restaurant. The time of the wedding rolls around and everyone is there except the celebrant. The bride is getting pretty worried that she won’t turn up but everyone is relieved when she finally does, 15 minutes late with no apology or explanation. (She later mumbled something about being stuck in traffic, but since most of the guests were coming from the same direction and all managed to turn up on time, it was hard to believe!) There was no wedding party, as such, just me as MOH and the bride’s brother as the other witness. While the bride and I were waiting in the hotel room for the wedding to begin, X demanded that the bride’s parents sign the marriage certificate as witnesses, which they weren’t, and this was before the wedding had even taken place! This was especially crucial since the groom would soon be applying for residency and all documents had to be above board. She tried to give it back to them with the wrong signatures whited out! So now we’re starting to have serious doubts about this woman. During the ceremony, while the couple faced the congregation, X kept loudly reprimanding me for not standing directly behind the bride. I wanted to actually WITNESS the wedding, not spend it looking at the back of the bride’s head! She also berated the soft-spoken groom several times for not speaking loudly enough, even though everyone could easily hear him.

After the ceremony we all relax with some cool drinks (it was a stinking hot day) before lunch. X had stayed for a drink as well along with the young man she brought with her who we assumed had driven her there. It soon became obvious that while we wanted to move into the restaurant, she had no intention of leaving. I have never heard of a marriage celebrant expecting to stay for the reception, especially one that they barely knew. For some reason she assumed she was invited to the reception and had brought her friend along as well!!! It was a TINY wedding, the bride didn’t even invite her grandparents and this virtual stranger thought she was invited. The bride’s parents were great, though, and quickly organized two extra places at the table to avoid a scene. Well, X proceeded to monopolize conversation all through lunch including making several comments that began with "if the maid of honor had been doing her job properly…" which made me what to scream, but, of course, I just ignored her as much as possible.

The couple had organized some beautiful candles as gifts for the guests, and they had been placed on the table for them but of course not for her, though it was obvious she assumed one was hers. This was after she was already given a beautiful bouquet of flowers, a free meal for herself and her "guest" and had, of course, been paid for her services. If she’d gotten one then someone else would have missed out. The bride’s mother put her foot down on this and ensured the gifts went to the intended recipients. Then as lunch was winding down she made one last trip to the buffet, which included lots of fresh seafood, piled her plate high with prawns and then wrapped them all up in a cloth napkin and announced she was taking them home to her cat. The bride and groom were mortified! It would have been one thing (though still very rude) if it had been a catered event, or if they had been leftovers, but this was a buffet restaurant and she was basically stealing food from them. As we were leaving she was standing outside the hotel waiting for a cab and her friend was nowhere to be seen, it seems that he was just some guy she invited along for a free meal and served no other purpose! I guess the moral of the story is make sure you do your homework very well before choosing a celebrant, and if they seem to be too good to be true, they probably are!

Vendors 1013/03

As usual, I have been spending ALL of my time reading the new updates on your wonderful site! It makes me appreciate my own wedding all the more. My story concerns my wedding gown. I was living in New Mexico when I was looking for a wedding dress for our Dallas wedding. There weren't many options in New Mexico so I ended up looking through magazines and online for dresses that I might like. I found one particularly spectacular dress and called the company to find out where I could see the dress. Nowhere in New Mexico, but as luck would have it, a store in Dallas was expecting one any day. I sent my mom to the store to see the dress and give me her opinion. At the store, Terry Costa, a well known bridal and ball gown store, the saleslady told my mother that the maker had run out of the material for this dress, there were 6 other people who wanted this dress, and this was the last one they would be able to get. It was a size 10 which seemed like fate since that was my size! My mom called from the store, assured me that the dress was beautiful and told me the whole, this is our only chance for this dress story. The saleslady assured us that it was a true size 10 so my mom bought it on the spot.

Fast forward to a month before the wedding. I was getting a graduate degree at the time and couldn't travel to Dallas often. But that didn't seem to be a problem because the dress was my size, right? We thought it might have to be altered so we dragged the dress to a seamstress. I put the dress on but noticed I couldn't zip it, at all. I walked out of the dressing room and the seamstress gasped. She said there was NO WAY the dress would ever fit. It was WAY too small! I immediately burst into tears. I assumed I had somehow gained a bunch of weight. My mom and I hopped in the car and hightailed it to a discount bridal gown store. We started looking through the dresses when a saleswoman comes over to help us. She asks me my size and I tell her the whole dress debacle. She then tells me that wedding dresses, as a rule, come 2 sizes smaller than normal dress sizes!!! I had no idea! I later called around to other stores to make sure this was the case. I even called Terry Costa and asked about the size thing. Yes, this was the hard and fast rule. I was lucky enough to find a beautiful dress for the wedding that I realized was more "me" than the other dress anyway. Meanwhile, we find out that the Terry Costa saleswoman had lied to us about not being able to get another dress. Of course, the store refused to take the dress back and would not believe a word we said. They stuck by their employee and saddled us with a $2500 dress that we could not use.     Vendors 1013/03

I was amazed to read the story of the plus-sized girl in story merchant205-03, because I had almost exactly the same experience with a woman in a dress shop in the early 90's. I was shopping for a prom dress, and wore, at the time, a size 10, although I have a large top and some things had to be altered. The woman saw me walk in with my mother and screeched - just like the woman in the story - "none of those will fit you!", and proceeded to show me a baby blue "batwing" dress, size 22, that my great-grandmother or QEII wouldn't have been caught dead in. I just got mad and left. I should have reported her, like the girl in the story. If she was the same evil person, maybe she would have been fired sooner!

Vendors 1015/03

After I got engaged on New Year's 1999/2000, my college roommate (my MOH) and another bridesmaid accompanied me on a dress-shopping trip in the area I lived in. My MOH flew into town for the occasion -- she was attending law school at the time and this was a huge financial and time sacrifice for her to make the trip. I still love her for coming out for that weekend.

We had a whirlwind weekend of small and large dress shops, and went to a national off-the-rack chain (I am sure you know who I mean) to try on styles in my size (size 4, nothing complicated) off the rack to help narrow down the search. At David's, weirdly, we found THE DRESS. I had not expected it. The dress was unlike anything I had ever seen. It fit me perfectly, it fit my personal style. It was IT. (And then it turned out to be on megasale!) I took the dress home and began planning a ceremony around it. When I bought the dress, I made the appointment to bring it back for the complementary 'check'. Since they sell off the rack, they offer complementary fixes of loose beads, etc. I took the dress home and made a note of every loose bead and sequin. The dress was in great shape for a try-on store, but I was highly specific about the locations of any little loose piece. My fiancé (now my dear husband and father of my baby girl) took me back to the store to drop it off for the check/fixing. I received a call when it was done. I went to the store, went back to the tailoring area, and claimed my dress. I insisted on checking it out before I took it.

Jeanne, the dress was a disaster. It looked like a cat had slept on it. Covered in hair! It had ink stains all over it, more loose beads... and it was torn. The bodice had organza overlay in parts, and it was SHREDDED. I was in shock. I am normally a ‘tough chick’. I let out a strangled scream of "you TORE my dress!" and burst into hysterical tears. The dress wasn’t expensive, but it was MY DRESS. I started yelling. That got their attention. The seamstress area was right near the fitting rooms, and there were lots of brides getting fitted, curious about why I was screaming and crying. They assured me the store manager would order me a new dress. I ran from the store crying, in front of lots of newly engaged women whom I can only hope chose to shop elsewhere. I called the store manager on the next business day, and she had no idea what I was talking about. Well, after a diatribe wherein I threatened to call the BBB and the state attorney general's consumer affairs office about their no-refund policy since they had DESTROYED MY DRESS, she paid attention and said she would order me a new dress.

A few weeks later, I got a call saying the dress was in. I went to the store to look at it. Turned out the idiot who called me had no idea what she was talking about. There was no dress. I yelled that I was getting a lawyer (an empty threat, since this was probably just a small claims matter at best) and stormed out of the store. I heard whispers of "lawyer???" from other women in the store.

The next day the manager called me and said that the new dress had arrived and she personally investigated it and discovered that the organza overlay was defective. "So since this is a special case, I will refund your money." I informed her that the shenanigans of her incompetent staff, and the fact that my gown had obviously been mishandled on the first occasion had cost her the business of my bridesmaids as well.

Because of scheduling, I then had to go shopping for my new dress all by myself. Thankfully, I found an amazing store with a fantastic owner who personally helped me try on dresses, found things for me in the store, and was just *super*. I wound up spending 6 times as much on a completely different dress, which changed all my plans for the bridesmaids, tuxes, and flowers. In a way I guess it was all lucky. My dress was amazing, it was the perfect piece to plan around, I looked great, etc. And I can't imagine getting married in anything other than the gown I wound up with. But the whole experience was so traumatic I still can't believe that the big national store put me through that. Vendors 1031/03

My, oh my, could I tell some tales about our tacky wedding vendors. My husband and I got married on November 16, 2002. It was his second wedding and my first, but his first wedding was very simple. I decided that we’d have a fairly nice ceremony, so I planned our wedding at a local college campus in the Shenandoah Valley. Many members of my family either worked at or graduated from the college and quite a few of them lived nearby.

Our first trouble came when I hired the organist, who happened to be a friend of the family. She wanted $275 to play for the ceremony, a fee that I thought was excessive, but I agreed to it because I had heard that she was the best. She was also a snob. When I spoke to her on the phone, she told me about her dinner parties and talked to me in a very patronizing voice. I could tell that working with her would probably be difficult. But I was planning to use simple hymns for our music—except for the processional, which was a piece that she had never heard of, "Highland Cathedral". We ended up having to hire a bagpiper to play that piece with her and the organist seemed determined to talk me out of using it. Of course, I was determined to use that piece of music and for $275, I was going to get at least that much. She and the piper did a beautiful job, but during the rehearsal, I thought my mom, who is a professional organist, was going to wring her neck for flubbing the hymns. And it did take the musicians awhile to get the processional right! At first, it sounded like a traffic jam in New York City!

The florist was, by far, the most offensive of the vendors, which was a pity because I had heard wonderful things about her work (and she did do lovely work despite her disposition). We went to see her in April, to find out what types of flowers were available in November. She told us to make an appointment in September—meanwhile, she would send us an email with samples of her work (they never came). I spent days trying to arrange an appointment with her, but I could never get her on the phone. Then the one time she called and missed me, she told my husband it was my fault because I never made myself available for her during the hour she said she would be able to call me (as if I had no life). I was tempted to find another florist at that point and asked the organist if she could recommend one, but the organist talked me into giving the florist another chance because a lot of people had died and the florist had been extremely busy with funerals. I decided to cut the florist a break. So when my husband and I saw the florist in September, we still weren’t quite sure what we wanted at the wedding because we still didn’t know what was available. The florist told us that we should have gone to a different florist and decided what we wanted before coming to her! And I wondered to myself, "Why should we waste another florist’s time when we’re paying you to do the job? If we’re going to talk to another florist, we might as well hire that person." But the real kicker was when she found out who our organist was and started to criticize our choice! I wanted to tell the florist that the organist had convinced us not to fire her for being so rude to us and that really, she ought to stop being so critical! On our wedding day, the florist showed up looking for me as I was trying to maneuver myself into the bathroom while wearing my dress for a last minute pit stop. She wanted to know where the cake chef was because the wait staff needed his cake moved and they didn’t want to touch it. This happened thirty minutes before I walked down the aisle! I told her, "I don’t know! You’re going to have to excuse me!"

Our photographer was mostly great. The only thing she did that was tacky was unfortunately really tasteless and it happened right before my husband and I said our vows. My father-in-law hadn’t eaten before the ceremony and we had soldiers serving as ushers. In an effort to look as straight and proud as they did, my father-in-law tried to stand up tall and locked his knees. He ended up fainting dead away just before my husband and I were about to take our wedding vows. What did the photographer do? She took pictures of the incident like a paparazzi! We have several shots of my father-in-law passed out—and various relatives crowded around him as he struggled to regain consciousness. There’s also a great shot of me glaring at the photographer through my veil, which is when she finally got the message that she should stop immortalizing the embarrassing event!

Then, on the big day, the caterer missed our wedding because she attended the big football game the school was playing against its rival. She left her second-in-command in charge and he turned out to be a real dud. Apparently, he didn’t handle business in the meticulous and courteous way his boss did. We had brought twenty-four bottles of champagne which we had been told we were allowed to bring. The assistant manager told us that we’d have to serve it ourselves because we didn’t purchase it through them. I found someone to help serve the champagne and then we were told they’d serve it after all. But then they only opened and served six bottles. We had hoped to make more available to our guests! We still have champagne left from our wedding, one year later! At our reception, we had to contend with a nasty waitress who rushed us through everything! She and her co-workers were in such a hurry to get out of there that my mother-in-law didn’t even get to say goodbye to my husband and me because the waitress had ordered her to clean out the fridge of champagne and wedding cake! And the caterer had told us that she would pack a lunch for my husband and me, but of course that never happened. I called and complained to the caterer the next business day, although had sent us a very nice card apologizing for missing our reception (she must have sent it beforehand). It was the first wedding reception she’d missed in 14 years and she had felt bad about it. I told her that I didn’t blame her for taking the day off, but that I hoped she’d have a talk with her staff and remind them about the importance of other peoples’ wedding days!

The last tacky vendor we had to deal with was the court clerk in the town where we got married. In our state, you have five days to file your marriage license after the ceremony is performed. Our minister, who had come in from Kentucky to do the ceremony, had put the license in the mail directly after the ceremony. A couple of weeks after the ceremony, we waited for a certified copy of our license to arrive so that I could take care of some legal stuff. When it didn’t arrive, my husband called the court clerk, who informed us that the document had never arrived at the courthouse. My husband spoke to the court clerk several times and he was told that there was nothing that could be done. Legally, we weren’t married, but we were married enough that we couldn’t go to another courthouse and have the ceremony performed again! Moreover, because the documents had not arrived within the five-day window, even if they arrived, the court wouldn’t honor them. My husband finally called our minister, who spoke to the clerk and asked him to fax a copy of the license to him. He signed it and mailed it back to the courthouse. My husband was not convinced that the matter would be expedited, however, so he contacted our state legislators—basically the court clerk’s bosses to be sure that the matter wasn’t sat upon over the Thanksgiving holiday. We later received a nasty letter from the clerk which had also been sent to the legislators. It accused my husband of being rude and abusive and the clerk took credit for coming up with the solution to the problem (which he did not do). By the way, my husband is almost NEVER rude and abusive. If the clerk wanted rude and abusive, he could have dealt with me and I would have gladly shown him rude and abusive treatment! Anyway, we were finally recognized as legally married on December 5, 2002, almost three weeks after our wedding!

Despite all of the tacky vendors and the terrible weather on our wedding day, we did have a lovely ceremony and we’re very happily married after our first year. We fully expect to remain so for the rest of our lives!

Vendors 1101/03

My husband and I had a several vendors with no sense of timing.

Immediately following the ceremony, our videographer elbowed his way to the front of the receiving line to inform me that the sound system in the church hadn't worked properly - no one could hear the minister and "the whole wedding video is ruined." Sadly, this was true but there was nothing I could do about it at the time... except burst into tears - which I did. Moral: Brides are very emotional -- bad news can wait until tomorrow.

In the middle of dinner, the banquet manager pulled me aside armed with a calculator and a thick file of papers. It seems we had more guests than expected and he felt it was vital to renegotiate the invoice right there on the spot.

Later in the night, my husband and I decided to say our good-byes and head to the honeymoon suite. It was very romantic, everyone gathered around for our last dance and threw flower petals as my husband jokingly swept me up into his arms and carried me out of the ballroom. As we left the room, we saw the DJ hurrying to catch up with us. We worried that perhaps we'd forgotten to pay him or something. But instead he thinks this would be an appropriate time to ask for career advice. "I understand you guys work in the IT industry, I'm trying to get into that too. Do you know anybody who's hiring?" It's been over a year and this loser still e-mails my husband periodically to ask if he has any job openings.     Vendors 1103/03

This is pretty minor compared to MOST of the stories on this site, but I was annoyed enough that I'll NEVER use this store for my wedding!

I was MOH for a dear friend (1 of 6 attendants) and to save money for all, she chose David's for our dresses, shoes and wraps. Dress try-ons & orderings went ok - although they were out of most of the styles/sizes I needed to try on. But when it came to the shoes - their disorganization was incredible!

First, I went to try on the shoe style my friend selected - one that came in wide widths which I needed. Of course, they didn't have any of the wide sizes in stock. But after numerous inquiries and lots of waiting, I was told they could get them from their other store (about 45 minute drive away) within a week and would call me when they come in. So a week goes by and I hear nothing. After a few days I call and am told that the shoes are in.

A few days later I get to the store and NOBODY can find these shoes. One salesperson tells me that they probably haven't come in (so why did they tell me they WERE in over the phone???). Another tells me that they NEVER get items from another store unless you pay for them - so she doesn't know why they told me they could get them anyway! After 30 minutes or so of salespeople looking for the shoes, calling the other store (which no longer had those sizes), and disappearing - I finally just guesstimated my size and placed my order - thoroughly annoyed with their lack of organization and professionalism.

The kicker is that a few weeks later, someone from the store calls me and says they've been holding these shoes in the back for me for weeks and am I ever going to come in and buy them?

Vendors 1106/03

I am in the "joyous" process of planning the wedding of my future husband and myself. During this planning process, some services were easy to reserve and not unreasonably priced. I used to work as a DJ for weddings, so I have a roundabout idea of the goings-on and all that is required. However, as my fiancé and I have discovered, many vendors have every-day prices, and "wedding" prices..... which are usually inflated from 5%-300%...In our case we're paying, so our $$$$ means a lot to us (not that it wouldn't if our parents were paying!!!!!)

Anyway, since our ceremony/reception would be held at the same beautiful location and we could bring in any caterer as we wished; soon after the engagement, we began caterer researching. Since we are in the Washington DC/Metro area, we realized that many of our services would be pricier than say in, Iowa. We also didn't want to work with anybody who had cake cutting/corking fees and other expensive ridiculous additions. So we researched and researched. We set our budget and went on a search to get everything we wanted at the price we wanted.

After meeting with many caterers, it seemed the "average" price range for this area was between $7000-$8500 price range for food/rentals/service of 100 people, we felt this was still TOO HIGH for a one-day event (no alcohol or cake included), no matter how nice their packages seemed. When I thought ALL hope was lost, I came upon Mr. Deeds Catering (name changed to protect the livelihood of the hard working employees of Mr. Deeds). Mr. Deeds advertised a dinner package (Buffet OR sit down, no cake or alcohol, all the food including large shrimp cocktail, filet mignon - YOU NAME IT) for $6500. This was also his highest priced package for 100. My fiancé and I thought, "Wow! We can do that!!! We can have everything in that package, at a superior quality for less!!!!" We were wrong.

Mr. Deeds Catering called me one evening at home to set up a tasting and appointment at our home to discuss the details of what we wanted, so he could then have a proposal drafted. One of the first questions they asked was, "What's your budget?" Normally I prefer to ask this question (What's your average buffet meal PP cost? No cake no alcohol for about 100 people?), just so I don't waste a vendor's time in meeting with them and saying, "sorry! You’re waaaaayyyy out of my price range" So, I put the question back at her. She refused to answer. But we discussed what my fiancé and I wanted and that we were impressed with the "dandelion package priced at $6500 for everything" and we wanted to stay there price-wise and food/service wise. We set an appointment for the next month.

The evening of the big-to-do with this caterer, my fiancé was chanting, "I don't like this. Why does he want to come to the house??? Hon, I don't think this is going to be in the price range we want.... it’s going to be more, A LOT more, I can just feel it." His instincts were right on. It's easy to get caught up in the fluff of wedding planning. As Mr. Deeds spoke, he told us how he has trucks with kitchens in them so the food is always fresh, how he only works with angus beef, and so on. His pictures were beautiful too. Even my fiancé relaxed a bit. We told him what we wanted, a harvest theme, fall menu. Everything seasonal. No seafood, less hors d'oeuvres. He assured us we would fall into the Dandelion package price range - maybe less because we weren't having any fish/seafood and less appetizers. Anyway when he left our house, my fiancé re-expressed his concern. "Hon, I don't like it. Don't get your hopes up. If he comes in at $7000 (including everything + tax) MAYBE we can make this a priority, but don't get your hopes up.

A week later the proposal arrived in the mail. Now remember, he ADVERTISED $6500 including all wait staff, food, equipment and tax based upon 100 people. When I opened it I nearly choked..... the price had gone from $6500 - our original budgeted price range (the MAX range) to.... $10,000 for 100 people for six hours of service two hors d'oeuvres, chicken and beef. Needless to say, we were a wee disappointed. We had hoped, but oh well. So, as a courtesy, I emailed the catering service back the next day, saying, regretfully, we could not use them. It was not a decision based on quality, but solely on price - for we would have booked with them on the spot if the proposal was reasonable.

Mr. Deeds' assistant called me back an hour later, hostile inquiring (and she sounded shocked we refused their "deal") as to exactly why we couldn't work together. I told her that their service was the MOST expensive proposal we had received. $10K for food for one day - not even the whole day was preposterous. Now here is where it gets "good."

She then began to belittle me. She asked if I had any clue as to how much these events cost in the DC area. I told her "YES" for we had received many proposals all in the $7-8500 range, and the reason we contacted them was because they advertised a package of $6500 for everything. This assistant then told me that .... and I love this ..... "We Are Not A CHEAP catering company, to expect a package of $6500 for everything is unreasonable" Also, the reason why the price jumped so high was due to the EXTRA rentals that were needed, that Mr. Deeds should have informed us of, but didn't such as:.... sterling silver hors d'oeuvre trays, the truck rentals for the food, tuxedo rentals for the staff, ensuring an English-only speaking staff (no, I'm NOT kidding on this)...and the list of "incidentals" went on and on. My fiancé thinks the visit to the house helped them decide upon their pricing standards - for we may not be millionaires, but we aren't close to the poor house either.

Needless to say, we did not do business with them. We got everything we wanted PLUS some seafood for hors d'oeuvres for less than 6K with a different company, and they treated us like clients, not brain-dead weds-to-be. But it just stunk to go through that and to be treated so rudely by a vendor, when we were upfront and honest with them to begin with.    Vendors 1222/03

Earlier this year my husband's Aunt was married for the first time. Her husband was a widower, and as such they were entitled to the full Catholic services. The day was beautiful, the bride was lovely in her formal gown and everything went as well as could be hoped for. The only problem was the Priest. It seems he was either unfamiliar with the Bride and Groom, or only had one stock "marriage ceremony" which he could not or would not change.

We sat though a very long sermon about Communist Russia (?) and then were treated to an even longer sermon about the joys of children and how they are the foundation of married life, the reason for blessed unions and an admonishment to raise their future children in the loving arms of the Church.

What made it such an uncomfortable sermon was that the Groom was in his mid fifties and the Bride was 57! I'm not sure how many children the Priest thought this post-menopausal lady was planning to have, but it sure seemed to be a pointless waste of 20 minutes (that's right he went on about having children for 20 MINUTES!) and a very embarrassing moment for the family. You could hear the whispering all over the church.     Vendors 1224/03

While planning my wedding, I found a website specific to my city that included a database of local vendors and different brides' experiences with them. It was a great help, and I used it to hire my photographer and my DJ. The photographer was the best hire I could have possibly made. The DJ, well...

The first half of my reception was done by the president of the company, the one who I had met with. His equipment lost power during the first dance, as well as the father-daughter dance. About midway through the reception, he pulled me aside to apologize, explaining that the "associate" DJ who would be taking over the second half of the reception hadn't charged the equipment. He also explained that we wouldn't be getting the last dance we wanted (which was important, since it was "our song"). Apparently, if the DJ changed CDs, the whole setup would just quit on him, there was so little power left.

In spite of this, that DJ got people who I'd never think would dance to get up and have fun. I viewed what had happened as minor, and didn't stress about it too much. (I was too busy stressing about the fact that the wedding planner that the reception site had promised us was in the kitchen getting drunk. Thank God for our photographer, or else we would have had no idea of what to do when.)

After the wedding, I posted my experience on the aforementioned database (there was a rule that if you used the information, you had to post your experiences, too). I was very honest. I briefly mentioned the power problem, but gave a glowing review overall.

I got an email two days later from an EXTREMELY angry DJ, saying that my post had led to 3 brides canceling and asking for their deposits back. I responded, pointing out that I had given them the best review possible and that what other brides did was out of my hands.

I ended up getting 4 emails in total. The first one I've already mentioned; the second was to tell me that even more brides had canceled on him because of me, and included a rant about how I MUST be trying to ruin him. The third had him crying, threatening suicide and accusing me of trying to starve his employees’ children, and the fourth had expletives. I had to threaten him with a harassment charge to get him to stop emailing me.     Vendors 1228/03

A year ago you could have never told me that I would be married today, but I am to the love of my life and all in all we had a wonderful wedding. We wanted something smaller and I’ve always wanted to get married in Vegas. So we rented out the chapel in the pyramid there and everything was going well for 5 months of planning. That is, except for the brides maids dress. Well I only had one bridesmaid so I figured that it wouldn’t be that much trouble to find something that she loved and I was cool with. I had the whole mind set, that I wasn’t wearing it so it didn’t really matter what it looked like. My BM has very good taste anyway. So we took a trip to David's (a major chain) and she found a beautiful dress. We ordered it and everything was well. The dress came in with plenty of time to spare so all was well. We went to go try it on and the thing was 4 inches shorter on one side than the other. It wasn’t supposed to be, it was a classic floor length dress, not some fashion piece. So my BM went back to David's the following day to talk with the seamstress. She wanted to take it up 5 inches all the way around. Ok, this might have worked on most women but my BM is 5'11" and this would have made the dress look like it just didn’t fit. SO they promised they were going to express order a new dress. No problem, still plenty of time. The dress was due in 1 week. I called after one week and it still wasn’t there. I called after the second week and David's had the top but not the skirt. Called the third week, they said that they had lost the order. I calmly explained my experience with them and they over nighted the dress over (just shows that the nicer you treat people the more you can get done, you don’t have to be mean to make them do it right) so my future MIL goes and gets the dress and mails it to my BM (she’s going to school in another state) the BM gets it and guess what? The top has a stain on it. A huge stain right in front. So I go back to David's and find a manager right away. I’m done with this store, and everyone should be, they have caused nothing but problems for everyone I know...and I actually find a nice competent floor manager that over nights the dress top with a free shipping sticker to my BM right away. The wedding was perfect my husband is amazing, I have THE BEST in-laws in the face of the earth, but I could never imagine having to buy more than one dress there. Thankfully my dress came from somewhere else

Vendors 1001/03