Etiquette Hell = Where the ill-mannered deserve to go


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Weddings From Hell

The Whole Thing from start to finish is a disaster

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This one is interesting on many levels. I was the MOH for my best friend’s second wedding recently. She and her fiancé lived together for six months prior to the wedding, so they had some minor experience with one another’s families, but obviously not enough. Her parents live out of state, so they weren’t much involved with the planning. His, however, live about 40 miles away, which is far too close. She planned the majority of their budget wedding with little input, because he wasn’t interested in the process – she booked a beautiful Victorian home for the ceremony and reception, arranged for a friend to cater, hired a photographer and arranged for a DJ. The only things she asked for his input on were the JP and the schedule of events. Of course, the JP they booked canceled a week prior, but not to fear – his mother knew a Greek Orthodox priest who might be able to fill in. Neither of them being religious and the bride being less than thrilled about his mother to begin with, they met with the man and discussed the ceremony. It seemed reasonable and simple to her, more of a non-denominational thing, so she agreed.

This guy showed up in formal Orthodox robes, sang the entire ceremony in his tradition, and, it seems, had arranged with the MOG to stop for a "reading" in the middle of things. She picked the biblical passage about going forth to procreate and the one about a wife submitting to her husband. The bride was facing away from the audience, but I got to see her turn a deep red that contrasted beautifully with her shiny white dress. She was furious. The bridesmaids (self included) couldn’t stop giggling. The guy wound things up and everyone filed into the reception room. The groom’s sister, "Lila", had set up to tend bar (her profession) in one corner, as a wedding present to the couple, and the BM and I had contributed $200 of alcohol, cause a dry reception appealed to no one. "Lila" had put out a tip jar with a sign saying proceeds would go to the bride and groom. Needless to say, the jar was full, there was plenty of alcohol left over, and she disappeared with both. To top it off – the bride’s maiden name was Brown. The priest couldn’t spell it properly for the certificate and had to write it over twice.     Wedhell0118-03

Almost a year later, I am still in shock about a wedding I attended with husband. We'll call our friends John and Jane. We weren't best friends, but belonged to the same social group and attended a lot of functions together. Throughout John and Jane's engagement, Jane would often tell me about various social events she was planning (i.e., her bachelorette party). Their wedding was set for late April.

No invitations for Jane and John's wedding ever arrived. It seemed that Jane wanted to home-make her own invitations and could only make very few. These few were scattered to people so randomly selected that not even her future mother-in-law could decipher the madness. No family member received an invitation, and no invitation was sent to the church (it can be printed in the bulletin so that you can avoid sending out 200 invitations separately). It wasn't until I was at the Wednesday Night Church session three days before their wedding, did I overhear three high school seniors talking about Jane's upcoming bachelorette party. Mind you, we are all in our mid to late 20s and these girls were no more than 17. Jane wanted to go to a male strip club for her bachelorette party and had "forgotten" to invite anyone in her old social group. One of the high school girls saw me and told me I could come to this 'event' but I declined. I hadn't been invited by the bride or her MOH or a bridesmaid. I was simply told by a youngster that I could tag along....(no thanks). I later found out that the party couldn't take place because the club they had chosen was a 21 and up club. Even the bride's sister could not make her way in, so the party was cancelled.

Three days later, the blessed event was to take place...but since no one had received an invitation, no one knew where or when it was taking place. My mother had heard at the bridal shower for Jane where and when and that it was an 'open invitation for all who want to come'. My husband and I decided it would be a nice gesture to go.

It was an outdoor wedding in a small park in a suburb of Houston. Jane and John were getting married in a lovely little gazebo. Since no chairs or tables are available at the park, Jane borrowed 75 metal folding chairs from the church. Needless to say, the boiling chairs burned everyone's rump as they sat down to wait on the processional. Some people were lucky, however. Since Jane and John had not opted for invitations or response cards, they didn't know how many people to expect. 75 people were seated and then 100 or more stood in the boiling sun.

As the wedding started, everyone was snickering. Instead of having a traditional wedding party processional, Jane decided to have everyone "dance" down the aisle like little fairies. (She said she liked dance...) Anyhow, Jane appears by the outdoor bathrooms with her father and everyone stands. She makes her way down the aisle to guitar music (not bad). We then are seated again and you could actually hear everyone's skin being burned by the metal chairs [again].

During the ceremony, the guitarist kept picking at his guitar for no apparent reason. During the prayer he started playing chords (not planned) and clearing his throat. Soon enough, the blessed event was over and it was off to a reception at an old airplane hangar...but not before each guest was instructed to help take the chairs back to a truck to be driven back to the church.

We arrived at the hangar, and since no one could park on the street and there was no parking lot, everyone had to maneuver their cars onto a grassy lot adjoining the old retired hangar. (Glad we were in a truck.) We make our way inside to a small, cramped, poorly decorated hangar and waited for the bride and groom to arrive. When Jane and John arrived, they insisted that everyone stand in line to get food. Only about 30 people back, my husband and I get up to the food table and there is nothing. NOTHING. No fruit or shrimp. No veggies, chips or dip. It was a barren mess of dirty plates and plastic silverware. It seems that the caterer hadn't received his full money for the event and cancelled. Beer and sodas were served, but ran out quickly. A bridesmaid's father ran to a local grocery store and got some more sodas and water and another keg of beer. The bride and groom were toasted with plastic cups of beer while dancing on a concrete floor, made slick by an ever-rotating bubble machine.

The cake was then cut. It seems that when the caterer cancelled, so did the baker. The cake was made by a bridesmaid who is in culinary school. It is very apparent that the poor girl needs a few more lessons on delectable desserts. The cake was dry and gritty and terrible. (And we were wondering how long the Leaning Tower of Wedding Cake was going to stand.)

Another couple was seated at our table asked if we would like to leave and go to dinner with them. As we left, we were bombarded at the doorway by a haze of smoke. The whole bridal party was standing outside, puffing away (including the groom) and hadn’t ventured further away from the door.

We heard the next day at church from Jane’s mother-in-law that Jane and John hadn’t thought to get a passport to travel to Puerto Vallarta. They made mad dashes back home (across town), missing their flight, finally to find their birth certificates. I guess it’s equally tacky that we never sent a gift for their "event".


A couple of years ago I attended the wedding reception of my now husband’s boss, held at the Groom’s own home in London. A lavish buffet was served and the beer flowed freely. Indeed everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely, until somewhat later in the evening when things went suddenly and horribly wrong. A fist fight erupted in the hall way of the home over a ‘family matter’ which ended abruptly when the Groom, in his immensely drunken confusion, let fly with a wild swing - landing squarely in his new step-daughter’s face!! The police were called by the also very drunk (and now quite furious) Bride, however when they arrived the Groom was nowhere to be found… in fact he was not to be found that night… or the next day… or the next!! It turned out that rather than be arrested, he’d gone straight to the airport and jumped on the first plane to Ireland - without telling anyone, on his wedding night!! He returned somewhat shamefaced about 4 days later… the marriage didn’t last much longer…    Wedhell0130-03

My then-fiancé and I were brainstorming for a May wedding when we found out I was pregnant. At the advice of my sister in law, we didn't change the date, but to keep my mother happy we went to the courthouse as soon as we were able. That didn't happen for several months because he had some trouble finalizing his divorce! He and his ex had filed several times but the papers were always denied due to errors. Four months later I was livid, and probably over-reacting due to pregnancy hormones and demanded that they go to an uncontested divorce lawyer (instead of doing the paperwork themselves as they had been.) They did, everything was nice and legal, and they skipped out of the office with their arms linked, happy to have everything over with.

So, we get married a week later, I call my parents to let them know. Hubby and I decide to just have a nice little party instead of the event we had been planning. My father has a fit! I'm his eldest daughter and he all but demands that I have a "Real Wedding." He sends me a check to start the planning, and tells me when he can fly out. I have one month to plan a wedding to please him. We decide on a nice little gathering in the back yard. Men in kilts, women in medieval styles dresses (most already had these!), no actual attendants, the reception dinner consisted of large slabs of meat, stuffed mushrooms, homemade bread other various sides and plenty of beer. It ends up being a community event, because all of our friends want to help out (we gladly accept this in the place of any presents!)

Here's what went wrong: *My father shows up a week before the wedding and decides to landscape the yard for the event, so I'm plant shopping with him instead of getting everything else ready. This took forever because Dad and I are from the Midwest, but I now live in the Southwest desert and we had no idea of what plants to choose. I had previously spent about $300 on landscaping, only to have everything die a few days before dad arrived.

*My stepson gets so ill I have to hire someone to clean my house so I can care for him, since I can't leave his side for a moment.

*I "finish" my and my stepdaughter's gowns at midnight the day before the wedding while hubby is at a stripjoint for his bachelor party (financed by my father).

*The day of the wedding, everyone insists that I go to my father's hotel and relax while they set up the pavilion. Hubby, being the gracious host that he is, opens the keg well before the wedding. Many men, including hubby, were slightly tipsy by the time I arrived.

*The ceremony is about an hour late to start because my stepson spiked a fever again as I was being sewn into my dress.

*The official performing the ceremony had no practiced, or even looked at the ceremony I had planned. All he had to go on was my hand written notes, which was only the bare bones- I told him to add an intro of some sort. He read only what I had written so it only made sense to me and hubby.

*The dinner was late, and the food came out in bits and pieces as it finished cooking.

*I end up cleaning the kitchen alone, putting away the food, etc...and an entire stock pot of tomato sauce spills down the front of my dress.

*My father was drunk out of his mind at the reception (bonfire, toasting circle) and kept apologizing to everyone there for the horrible job he did as a father, and how wonderful my mother was- they have been divorced over 20 years. He also confessed to me privately about all the affairs he had while married to her.

*My father (remarried) was shamelessly hitting on my boss in front of her fiancé, who were both too drunk to notice, luckily.

*The toasting circle consisted of a lot of medieval songs, but my boss' fiancé decides to break out his amp, microphone and harmonica to drunkenly serenade me in a tacky lounge singer style...loud enough to be heard by the entire neighborhood. And to top it all off:

*My ex boyfriend shows up stoned, and hands me a love letter telling me how hard it was for him to be there, and how he thought he would always be "the one". (Keep in mind I am *8 months pregnant*!!)

*AND my hubby got so intoxicated...well, let's just say I might as well have slept alone on my wedding night. Wedhell0202-03

One summer while I was in college I worked as an actor at one of the Newport, RI mansions. As a way to earn a little extra cash we were given the option to work as butlers, coat checkers, etc., for the special events that the mansion had been hired out for. One wedding I work has been burned into my memory forever!

The wedding was the joining of two police officers. As the guests arrived those of us working the event began to notice some of the fashions that the guests were wearing. This was a late afternoon wedding and some of the guests wore tuxedos, but none of them were black. Theses colors were a mix of burgundy, powder blue, lavender, purple, and lime-green. Because both the Bride and Groom were cops, many of the guests were quite obviously "packing heat," (more on that later).

The ceremony went quite smoothly in a tent in the backyard of the mansion. The reception was all set to go in the ballroom of the mansion. Part of the wedding package at the mansion was the use of the Master Bedroom for the bridal party. After the ceremony the bridal party went up stairs to change and the guests filed into the ballroom for hors d'oeuvres and drinks, a lot of drinks!. About an hour later the bride's maids show up en masse in the ballroom, but still no bride and groom. Dinner is being held by the caterers waiting for the Bride and Groom to arrive at the reception. The Caterers are running out of hors d'oeuvres and the wait staff is beginning to grumble, but the guests are getting very loud as they continue to drink. Now 2 1/2 hours after the ceremony ended the a disheveled Bride and Groom sneak into the ballroom. The bride grabs the microphone at the head table to apologize to a now rather drunk crowd for the delay in dinner as they had been upstairs in the shower "consummating their marriage!" The crowd now starts to whoop, cheer and holler. The Groom is immediately surrounded by male guests giving high-fives and pats on the back, while the women are shouting out their congrats to the bride in all sorts of colorful language. Dinner is finally served. The glasses start to be rung for the couple to kiss. The bride upon hearing the call for a kiss, gets out of her chair, straddles the groom in his chair and proceeds to get hot and heavy, just short of being a fully clothed lap dance. This spectacle is greeted with more whoops and hollers from the guests. This "show" happens a number of times during the dinner portion of the reception.

After dinner, the dancing commences and now thing really begin to get interesting. The bride and groom are now asked to come to the dance floor for their dance. The couple start starts off tamely enough but soon evolve into a Lambada style grind to the delight of the crowd. The parents of the bride who might or might not have been embarrassed by their daughters behavior convinced the newly weds to get into their limo and take their libidos back to the hotel.

Now the evening really kick into full gear. Remember all those multi-colored tuxedos? They got on the dance floor and begin to get down. As I also said many of the guests were carrying. As the dancing continues, now and then there is a "thunk" on the floor as a gun falls out of an unlocked holster and hits the floor and skitters under the feet of our drunken guests. Now and a group of dancers start to topple over as the owners of the loose weapons drunkenly go scrambling after their guns. The evening ended with an ambulance ride for a guest who had fallen and broken her ankle and the local police breaking up the party.     Wedhell0210-03

Hi, Love your site! This story happened to some tenants of a fairly up-scale townhome apartments where I was the assistant manger. As you entered the front office, there was a rec room with silk covered couches, and a fireplace. this area looked out over the pool area and was really quite pretty. We offered it for use for tenants functions for a $100 cleaning deposit. Well, the whole complex had witnessed the Bride (we'll call her Dixie) and Groom's( we'll call him Chip) courtship, As it occurred poolside, loudly and drunkenly, over the course of the summer. Dixie was the one who lived in our complex, she was 35+, had 3 kids who were little hellions, and more tattoos than teeth. She bragged that she made her living off soaking 5 different guys for child support for her (3!!!) kids. she wore a bikini to the pool to show off her tanning bed tan and full compliment of tattoos. Enter 'Chip', 18 years old, son of a minister. They met at the pool while he was visiting a friend from college, and soon were inseparable.

Cut to 12 months later, 'Chip' has moved in with his amore, and she refers to him as her 'fee-ounce'. Ew. I was working in the office on a bright Saturday morning when in waddles 'Dixie', very pregnant, asking about reserving the rec room for her 'reception', I said, of course, what date had you planned on?' She looked at me as if I were dense and said 'well, duh, TODAY".

 Ooooooooooookay! We had no other people reserving it so I agreed, and she said she would be back from the wedding in an hour and a half with her guests.(Hour and a 1/2?!! The hell? lol) I saw her waddling toward the rec room later, in spike heels and a mini skirt, 7 months pregnant with twins, dragging this terrified looking boy behind her. To his parents credit, they came, and only looked slightly ill. They asked if the food had arrived yet, and I said "I don’t know' (I was not going to be a creep and inform her guests she'd only reserved the rec room 2 hours ago. People filed in with gifts, there was no food or drink, she directed her guests to help themselves to the coffee in the office ( a 10 cup maker, which I did try to keep brewed) for about 25 guests.

Her children were ripping open the gifts and actually broke several as she laughed and watched. Enter a man in a delivery suit and a cap, looking for Dixie. I assume he's bringing food and let him into the rec room. Get Ready...He's a REPO MAN there to collect her furniture from a rent to own store. New FIL writes a check right then and there, While Dixie loudly says, "Well, At least we get a better wedding present now'. I was so appalled. I wanted to pull the FIL aside and assure him if I had had any idea what that man wanted I would have been more discreet. They left without cleaning up, her $100 deposit check bounced high and wide, and she was moved out in a month. Thank God for small favors. Wedhell0210-03

I have read your site until my eyes ache, and laugh and cringe along. I am helping two people plan their weddings currently and we all use it as a reference. You are saving the world from bad manners a little at a time (Hopefully not so much so that you run out of material, though I doubt that.)

Well here is my story...... I was finishing up college when my only cousin on my father's side asked me to be a bridesmaid. I should have seen the red flags when she worded the request something like this, "Well, I was going to ask one of my other cousins (on her mother's side of the family) but I couldn't pick just one, so will you be the family member in my party?" Um, sure, when you put it like that who can resist?

This cousin and I used to look at bridal magazines all the time as kids, dreaming up amazing weddings with millions of flowers and fairy tale dresses. I assumed that it would be a beautiful wedding. As the only child of a well-off family she had the financial resources to do just about anything she wanted.

I didn't hear too much about the planning, but that didn't bother me too much because I knew that my cousin was the sort who wanted things her way. I would have loved to help, I am an artist and love to do crafts, but she wasn't interested. We didn't talk about dresses at all, though she did say that they would be something we could wear again. I figured that a June wedding would mean a nice sundress of some sort. One evening her family was over for dinner when she whips out a choral dress catalog, the type that school choirs use to buy matching dresses and cummerbunds. She was thrilled because the dresses were less than $100, and you will see why. The dress were 100% polyester in a "hunter" green. The green is very difficult to describe, but it was obviously the wrong color for an afternoon wedding in June. The dresses had a princess waist, bell sleeve and were tea length (mid-calf). I cringed, but nodded and smiled to make her happy. When the dresses arrived I was mortified. I am a "big girl" and it made me look like a blimp. The fabric was coarse and uncomfortable. I don't think that it could have been any more unflattering. The other bridesmaid was larger than me and a fiery red head. So we two bridesmaid's and the MOH made a motley crew.

The bridal shower consisted of a pot luck, which is fine with me. But there were no games and we mostly sat around and watched her painstakingly open her gifts. Heaven forbids you should actually rip the wrapping paper! She decided that she already had set up housekeeping, so her registry would have a garden theme. She didn't register for anything, a few random utensils, and 4 sets of those plastic corn on the cob holders. (She got 6 sets, tee hee)

The favor making party was held at her parent's house. They had those little metal bells that we tied ribbon and a little tag on. The idea of these bells is that you ring them at the reception to make the couple kiss. Except that every time we rang the bells, not excessively mind you, she glared at us and said they had kissed enough. (Maybe a half dozen times) But I am getting ahead of myself.

Her bridesmaids gifts were a cheap set of gold earrings and matching pendant with a chain that was far too short, I had to switch it with a longer one. It looked like the kind of jewelry sets that you see in drug stores. We were expected to wear this for the wedding. I cringed again because I wear all silver jewelry, but wore it because that is what she wanted.

The wedding day arrives and I put on the necessary undergarments to hold myself in the dress and not look totally horrible. You ladies will know what I mean, I felt like a sausage in an ugly green dress on a hot June day. Oh, and the shoes, black flats and black hose for a summer wedding. Ekk!

We were supposed to be at the church an hour before the wedding. No hair or nails done, so my mom was kind enough to braid my hair. I didn't know that the hair thing was a big deal, but it still doesn't bother me it would have been one more hassle. We get lined up at the church, which is decorated with six potted plants on the windowsills. The flower girl is screaming and being a brat and her mother is on the verge of a breakdown (the redhead) We are handed our lackluster bouquets (yellow flowers, green dress, red carpet.....gag) The ceremony goes off ok, the bride delivers her vows like she is reading lines in a play, with all of the sincerity drained out.

The wedding party goes outside after to have photos taken and my father pulls me aside to say that he has worked with the photographer before, in another line of business. But he knows that the photographer shoots nude-y calendars and has a very creepy vibe. I kept waiting for him to tell us to lick our lips and look sultry! (Which he did at the reception when the bridesmaids and MOH took a "fun/seductive" shot with the groom) But he was a cheapest photographer and this wedding was anything is cheap. He also walked down the aisle backward in front of the bridesmaids snapping pictures.

The reception was fairly nice, except for more of the creepy photographer and the kissing. The food was very good and the cake was excellent, everyone had two pieces and there was plenty to go around. I was the lucky soul who caught the bouquet, which was ugly artificial flowers. Of course this meant that I had to have the garter put on me. I was terrified!! The bride is a size 0 and I, well, I am certainly not. Thank goodness for elastic!

There is more to tell, but this could go on for pages. I survived it, hopefully she enjoyed her day and will have many fond memories, and your readers and I can have a few good laughs, and hopefully learn a few lessons.

K and I dated each other for 1½ years before we got engaged. Still, both families were completely stunned by the engagement. Since I'm Jewish and he's not, they just assumed our relationship wasn't serious. Although we were young and very poor, we decided to plan and pay for the wedding ourselves, to minimize family quarrels, and because neither set of parents was exactly being supportive. Beside, none of them had offered a dime, or asked if we needed help; they only told us what we were doing wrong. 

We got engaged in January, and wanted to marry in April. My mom insisted we were not providing enough notice to allow out of town relatives to make plans. The out-of-town relatives said they could not attend until the school year in New York ended (six of them were teachers). So, we planned the wedding for mid-June. Only one of the teachers attended. Parental advice: My mom's advice to me the morning of my wedding? "Remember, if it doesn't work out, you can always get divorced." My FIL's comment to his son, "She earns more than you. I don't give it a year." We spoke to my family's rabbi about conducting our ceremony. He would only do so if we swore an oath that we would raise our children Jewish. (20 years later, with no kids, I'm glad I didn't swear a false oath.) We found a rabbi who did not make such demands. We asked that the ceremony be conducted either entirely in English, or with translation provided for any Hebrew used. He seemed to understand our situation. We explained that our sisters (ages 18 and 19) would be bridesmaids and our brothers (ages 9 and 10) would be groomsmen. The rabbi said he would bring the chuppa (Jewish wedding canopy), and the brothers and sisters could hold it up. He didn't say the poles on the chuppa were only 3 feet long, so that my brother had to stand on his toes with his arms over his head to hold it up (the best man helped him).

One friend, young and poor like ourselves, had as her gift arranged for her brother, a limousine driver, to pick us up after the wedding. Unbeknownst to us, when he arrived my mom decided we hadn't mingled enough and told him to come back in an hour. He was doing this on his own time, and was late returning the limo because of mom!

Post-Wedding frustration: the day after the wedding, my MIL called my mom and complained about the "Jewishness" of the ceremony. She hadn't told my 10-yr-old BIL that a yarmulke is just a hat-he thought he had betrayed his religion by wearing it, and his mom didn't correct him. Eventually, when I learned of this, I explained to MIL that the rabbi had not followed our agreement about explaining the ceremony, and that it wasn't my mom's fault. Still, my folks and K's have never really become friends.

Final Insult: K's boss/best man was supposed to be on vacation in Hawaii the week after our wedding, and said we could honeymoon (and apartment hunt) at his house. Through no fault of his own, he had to return after 2 days, so we honeymooned in his tool-shed (bare light bulb, toilet, and cot). Blessing of starting out with nothing: Everything we have and are, we built together.

Hello! I am definitely an avid reader on your website. I applaud you for keeping up a site which undoubtedly serves to help prevent etiquette blunders on many people's part and also may provide salvation to many already in etiquette hell. I don't know whether to attribute this story to "weddings from hell" or your "wicked witches" or "bridezillas" category...but it is the story of one unbearable wedding from start to finish. A person I was connected to in college (I won't say how as to keep our relationship anonymous, but I'll call her Fran) was planning her wedding, which was held a week after school was over.

First was the shower. It was being held in her hometown halfway through the semester was over, about 2 1/2 months before the wedding. Not only were there 2 different places they were registered at (not a flaw, I am registered at two places myself)...but there was also a card in the envelope saying that we needed to bring a gift in the 10-20 dollar range for a specific time of day that we were assigned (i.e. if you had 8pm you might purchase a movie, or if you were assigned 12pm you would bring a picnic basket, something like that.) For a college student this is a lot of money, and I couldn't attend anyway as this shower was scheduled in a town a few hundred miles away and I would have had to pay for a hotel room and everything. Mind you, none of us were invited to her bachelorette party or anything else and both me and my FSIL were what she always said were some of her "best friends at college". I did not attend and sent a card to her shower, figuring that just because I was invited did NOT oblige me to send a gift as I had no money for food let alone a shower gift. Later at the wedding I would receive a comment from one of the girls throwing this shower when she met me that "Oh, you're the one who didn't send anything to the shower!"

So Fran asks me to come to her hometown with her for a few days before the wedding as her personal guest to "keep her sane" with everything before the wedding. A few weeks prior to the wedding she actually ends up asking me to only come on Thursday before the wedding as she will be busy. I understand this, and actually instead of going down to see her at the beginning of the week I went to visit my boyfriend, who proposed to me. So it all worked out, no hard feelings. I get there on that Thursday and talk to her to make sure that it is absolutely okay with her mom and dad that I'm there. She assures me that it is, etc. Her cousin decides that she wants to go get her finger and toenails done so I go drive her to the nail salon. Since she doesn't have money to cover it I lend it to her, and then drive her back in time for dinner at Fran's house. In front of her entire family, Fran's mother (who is not necessarily a nice person all the time) asks to see my new engagement ring. She grabs my hands, acts like she has to strain to see it, and then announces loudly that "Oh, I can't see THAT without my glasses." I am left sputtering and blushing furiously.

The next day is the rehearsal. I help Fran and her mother run around, get balloons, set up, and everything. We eat dinner before the rehearsal, everything's fine...then comes the church part. My friend wanted her pew bows to have silk flowers in them, and so myself and two wives of 2 of the groomsmen agree to help fix them up the way she wanted them. The bride's family (mother, father, etc) and bridal party are at the front of the sanctuary on the left hand side while those of us making these pew bows are at the front on the right hand side. Mind you, we are not in anyone's way at all making these, and as we are putting together the pew bows for HER DAUGHTER, she comes up and rudely snaps "The front of the church is for the wedding party. You can take whatever it is you're doing to the back and do it back there." I don't say anything, but start moving all the supplies back there. These "supplies" are six heavy boxes full of bows, five plastic bags of silk flowers, and wire cutters. One of the wives helping me was outside the sanctuary at this point quieting down her crying son, and the other one was pregnant. I pick up all the supplies, making several trips (and I couldn't use the middle aisle so I had to walk all the way around the sanctuary), and doing this all as quietly as possible even though, inevitably, the plastic bags are going to rustle. She yells at me in front of everyone: "Could you please do that quieter?"

After I finish moving everything, finish making the bows, I put them all ON the pews as well. I get chastised by Fran for not putting them on right. I sit quietly and watch her wedding rehearsal. During the rehearsal, I get upset (My fiancé was going to be away for 6 weeks with the military and the vows and stuff were making me sort of emotional.) I quietly excuse myself and go outside the church. No one even notices me leave. By the end of the night I am so so tired of her mother's antics (and hers as well, but she wasn't even that bad that night.)

We go back to her house to get her fiancé’s things and her mother loudly states (knowing that I am staying there that night) that she TOLD Fran that she didn't want ANYONE in the house that night. I should mention that I am doing Fran's hair the next morning (at 7am). The closest hotel I could afford was about twenty five minutes away and was $80 a night. So I am saving her and her mother a lot of money on her hair (because boutiques around there are so expensive.) But still I get a complaint for it. I should also mention that I made Fran's ringbearer pillow for her as her wedding gift which is another reason I was there in time for the rehearsal.

The next morning I wake up at around 5:45 to get a quick shower (so I won't be in anyone's way since no one else was awake except Fran's mother.) I throw on my outfit for the day, put on my makeup, and do my hair and am out of everyone's way by the time they wake up. I do Fran's hair (which everyone later tells me turns out beautiful). Her mother of course just makes a face and says "Is that all that you're doing to it?" At this point I go pack up all of my stuff to get out of the house. I help Fran get into her dress and everything and the limo shows up for the bridal party. Fran's mother starts handing me things to take out to the limo: favors for the reception, the bridal portrait for the gift table, and Fran and her Fiancé’s suitcases for their honeymoon getaway. She doesn't ask, she just hands stuff and points. Then, out at the limo she starts taking cameras from the girls (BM) who want pictures with the bride and hands them all to me. She, of course, doesn't move to help me, just once again hands and points at me.

When I get to the ceremony all of the friends that Fran has invited from school (they are all mutual friends) get there. Rather than be able to sit with them, Fran's mom hands me a huge stack of programs and orders me to hand them out...and also to only give one per family, etc.... She doesn't ask. She just hands stuff to me.

Finally comes the reception. We all get there about fifteen minutes early. The reception was three hours long. Me and my FSIL (who of course is there too) sit at the table with all of Fran's other "college friends". An hour into the actual reception, Fran and her bridal party arrive. They are introduced, sit and eat, do the first dance, and then leave again. All told they are there for twenty minutes. They come back in forty-five minutes later. They cut the cake and do the mother/son and father/daughter dance. They do the dollar dance. They leave again for twenty minutes. They come back in and visit all the tables, but skip over the table of their college friends, all of us who had come at least 50 or more miles.

At the end of the wedding, Fran comes up to me and gives me a quick hug and says "thanks for everything." She says hello to everyone at the table except my FSIL in law (who she is really really jealous of because FSIL is pretty, skinny, nice, etc), who she tries to ignore. FSIL hugs her (basically forces it out of her) but Fran says not ONE word to her the entire time. This was obvious to the rest of the table as well and by the end FSIL and I are both fuming. I should also mention that about a month back, she had said right in front of FSIL that I could bring my boyfriend but did FSIL really have to bring hers because Fran doesn't like FSIL's boyfriend. This is coupled with about a million other pre-wedding insults from Fran to my FSIL but I won't go into those here.

A few weeks after the wedding Fran tells me that everyone loved her reception and that it was the best reception she's ever seen. When she started dishing out HER ideas for MY reception, I felt like saying "well, if your ideas involve attending a total of 40 minutes of my three hour reception, treating your friends horribly and taking advantage of them, then fine, Ill take your ideas. Keep in mind that SHE asked ME to come to her house and help her, I asked a million times if I should get a hotel room or if I'd be imposing and she INSISTED I stay with her. I asked her the day of the rehearsal when her mom looked really stressed if I should just leave and come back the next morning. I paid for my own food, I bought the materials to put her hair up (bands, hairspray, bobby pins, etc.) I still have yet to receive a thank you for anything: her pillow (which I spent $50 on top quality materials plus time to HAND STITCH together rather than machine stitch), helping her, doing her hair, setting up the pew bows, or anything. Maybe I'm being too sensitive, and if so you can make ME the "friend-zilla." But the whole three days spent before her wedding was an experience that I don't really want to remember too much of.

I’ve been in the position of volunteering enormous amounts of time and energy to wedding preparations and usually it is the mother of the bride who can’t seem to resist talking to me in that condescending manner and treating me like hired staff that can be summarily ordered about or dismissed at whim. One answer to that dilemma is to calmly inform the slave mistress that her manner of speaking to me is rude since I am not aware of having accepted employment as the defacto slave for the day. If they wish to speak to me in that manner, the privilege of doing so will cost them $XX.XX amount of money for my professional slave services. (I am a very expensive slave, btw.)  You don't have to scream it, yell, it, say it snottily or with curse words to get the point across.  

Or I've been known to hide in the church office or Pastor's office, have a quick cry or muffled scream depending on the circumstances and then proceed as if nothing had happened other than vowing to myself that the next time I ever coordinate an event for that person, it will be a reception in Etiquette Hell upon their arrival.

I guess this one would fit in many categories but since the whole thing was pretty awful I'll submit it to this one. A cousin of mine got engaged over a year ago. Up until Thanksgiving they hadn't set a date (in between they had a baby together and didn't seem in any hurry to get married). At Thanksgiving last year they told my dad (who is an ordained pastor) that they'd like him to do their wedding in February. So he agreed and waits on them to get him details. January comes and he calls them. They still haven't found a place to hold the wedding but they will let him know. They finally found one in a downtown section of the city they live in about 3 weeks prior to the date. It's small and up a steep flight of stairs (with no elevator) so her older sister's fiancé won't be able to attend as he is handicapped. They also worried about our grandmother as she doesn't take stairs very well either.

So the wedding date approaches. No one in our house received an invitation, we weren't about to take it on faith that since my dad was doing the wedding that we were all invited. So Wednesday before the Saturday wedding I get an email from her saying that Grandma had been over and informed her that we didn't think we were invited and we certainly were (along with my fiancé). She didn't send actual invitations out to anyone at any point, only a few emails here and there. So I email her back telling her I'll be there.

2 days before the wedding my dad called to ask some more details. Asked if they would be having anyone stand up with them. Her response, "well, we could..." So he gets the bare minimum of knowledge that he needs from her to feel like he's going to have a somewhat decent wedding.

Forward to the wedding day...we all get there (there are about 40 people which is pretty much the capacity of this room which to be fair, is pretty nice). Most are members of his family and their friends but there is one table of our family members. People hurriedly put decorations on the tables and then at some point the wedding party (my cousin, her fiancé, his dad and a friend of hers) go to the front of the room with my dad and just stand there and wait for us all to stop chatting and notice they're ready to start. She didn't have her dad give her away even which is not looked upon very well in my family but it's her wedding.

So my dad gives a really nice message (definitely the best part of the whole ordeal) and they are married. While they were kissing at the end of the ceremony a member of his family (in true redneck fashion) hoops and hollers. Then an impromptu receiving line, they just stood there and waited for us all to come congratulate them. During this my aunt made a really classless comment, "we got the first one, hehe" which meant that her daughter is the first of all my 1st cousins to get married. Let me also mention that while they were engaged and hadn't set a date I became engaged and set my date immediately for July. Being the nice person I am and not wanting to ruin anyone's day I just smiled and laughed. What I wanted to tell her was that my fiancé and I had discussed December but wanted all family and friends involved, we have many who will be coming a distance and didn't want weather to be a factor. And on top of that, we could've thrown together something way less tacky in much less time.

But on with the story. They had the cake cutting at which point she and her new husband smear cake all over each others' faces, hair and clothes. We had been told that as the wedding started at 4 we needed to be out of there no later than 5 due to increased prices for the room after that. It didn't happen and people were there after 5. Thankfully we had another engagement so we were able to disengage rather quickly after the "wedding". Apparently after I left, my dad asked her older sister when she and her fiancé were getting married (they've lived together 4 years and have never been in any hurry) and she said, "May or June, whenever you want to do it". So now she's picked a date for the end of May and I'm looking forward to something equally as tacky if not worse than the first girl's wedding. And I'm really starting to wonder why the hurry for either one of these gals except from my aunt's comment I know, it's because they want to get it done before my wedding in July and throw it in my face. If I get another comment at the second "wedding" I will not be so nice. :)

I love your site! It reminded me of my brother-in-law's wedding, several years ago. I should have gotten a medal for everything I did for that wedding. He is no longer my brother-in-law, as I divorced his brother, so I can tell this story with no guilt. My brother-in-law, let's call him Ted, decided he wanted to marry the girl he was living with. I can't remember her name, although I'm sure it started with an L, as all of his girlfriends' names were in the 'L' family. So let's call her Lisa.

When Ted proposed to Lisa, we were very happy for them both. My ex-husband did jewelry, so we got them the rings they wanted wholesale to save them some money. The first date for the wedding came and went,...Ted had paid for the reception hall and JOP, but the wedding didn't occur then, because Lisa couldn't be bothered to go get a wedding dress. So, a second date was set. I was asked to be a bridesmaid this time, but politely declined. (Lisa was a very slender, tiny girl, and so were her friends. I've been affectionately called "amazon". I could see dress-disaster in the future.)

Ted asked that we show up an hour early to help with chairs. Since he was paying for this himself, I was glad to help. So, my ex and I show up an hour early. To my dismay, I saw that no decorations had been put up. The wedding itself was to take place outside, in a 2 X 4 'gazebo', to use the term loosely. The building itself was for the reception. Nothing had been done,...other than the cake had shown up. Also undecorated. The family of the bride-to-be was meandering around inside, staring at their feet. My mother-in-law had decided she would pitch in, so she had bought streamers and balloons, and a helium tank. But she wasn't going to put them up.

So, I took over.

I had the bridesmaids and groomsmen blowing up balloons on the helium tank, and told them to cover the inside ceiling with balloons. Fortunately, I was in jeans, as I was expecting to help, and just brought my dress to change into later. So, my ex and I spent the next 30 minutes blowing up balloons and putting up streamers on the outside gazebo. Actually, he was already in his dress clothes, so he didn't get to climb up and down the ladder. Or hang from the rafters, trying to affix balloons in the growing wind. When the gazebo looked semi-presentable, I went inside to check on the progress for the reception area. Never leave teenagers in charge of helium. Two of the groomsmen had almost passed out from inhaling balloon gas, and the ceiling was maybe half-covered. I changed their duties to 'table decorations'. (A clear vase with blue pebbles and one silk flower. Not too challenging.) I took care of the rest of the ceiling in a matter of minutes. Next, I checked on the kitchen area. The glasses were the plastic champagne style, which is fine,...if they are assembled. Two table decorators were moved to 'glass assembly'.

The best man had just shown up, with his gift...unwrapped. To his credit, he had brought the wrapping paper with him. One bridesmaid was sent to the kitchen area to wrap the present, while I sent the best man back out for ice. Lots of it. The drinks were to be served out of galvanized tin tubs, full of ice...but no one had bought ice. This wedding was starting to resemble a bad prom or a frat party; I'm not sure which. On to the cake. The decorations were live flowers, some assembly required. I assembled. It came out very well, but there was no cake topper. Ted started panicking...there HAD to be a cake topper. One of the gifts had a nice pewter plaque with the name of the bride and groom engraved on it. The gift was denuded of the plaque, and that went on top of the cake. Ted calmed down.

Then I found the boutonnieres. I chased around after the groomsmen, grabbing them to attach rosebuds to their collars. I found the groom, in the back room, trembling. I attached his boutonniere, and gave him a pep talk, patted him on the head, and went out to tackle the next crisis.

I discovered a unity candle on the gift table, which the bride and groom had bought for the wedding. Since the wedding was outside, and there was NO table outside, and the wind was turning into a high gale, I thought we could skip the candle. No, the groom started panicking again, we HAD to use the unity candle. I sighed heavily, and told him "okay, you are getting your present early." My ex and I had bought them silver candleholders and candles. These were duly unwrapped, and placed beside the unity candle in front of the wedding cake. I convinced Ted that this would be a touching part of the ceremony before cutting the cake. Then I noticed we had no knife to cut the cake with. I grabbed the best man, who had since returned with ice and filled the tubs, and told him to find a knife. And a lighter. I wonder if he was confused.

About this time, I decided I had to change. I discovered the bride and bridesmaids and various other women in a back bathroom changing. I was told, "you can't change in here". I told the scrawny maid of honor to go dunk her head in the galvanized tubs. I changed among the snotty glances, and went back out to check on the rest of the ceremony.

By this time, the hour of the ceremony had come and gone, and the JOP was saying, "This better get started soon, I’ve got another ceremony in an hour." I dispatched the groom and the JOP outside, and gathered all groomsmen and bridesmaids. I hid the bride in the hallway. Then it started RAINING!

All the guests moved under the awnings of the building. The groom was holding the JOP by the gazebo, probably to keep him from escaping, and yelling, "keep going!" The universe must have been amused, because the rain then stopped, and the guests reseated themselves. I told the groomsmen and bridesmaids to start the procession. They started arguing. No one could decide who went first. I shouted at them, "OKAY! Who is standing next to the bride? And next to the groom? And next to..." and so on. Having sorted out the order, I sent them down the aisle. I then searched for and found the bride, who had wandered off to another room. She was escorted to the aisle, and sent on her merry way. No music was provided, but I couldn't do everything.

I have no idea what was said in the ceremony. I'm sure it was touching and thoughtful. I was trying to catch my breath. I was also staring at the poor younger sister of the bride, strapped in some kiddie girdle, and stuffed into a dress one size too small. (These dresses would have made Audrey Hepburn look hefty; I was glad I had bowed out.) I checked on everything inside. Suddenly, I realized it was rather warm. I checked the AC. Some genius had cranked it all the way up. The AC had stopped, probably out of protest. So, I opened up all the windows, trying to get in some air. The wedding ended, and everyone came inside for the cake. I nudged the best man to light the candles, but NOT the unity candle. I then stopped a helpful person from shutting all the windows. Then the rain started up again, in force. All the groomsmen and available able-bodied souls were shanghaied into gathering the outside chairs, quickly. They were fabric covered, and the groom wanted to see his deposit again.

I dimly recall having cake, and watching the happy couple dance. I also remember the groom coming up and saying "God, everything was perfect, wasn’t it?" with a happy, glowing face. My final gift to him: I smiled and didn’t say a word.     Wedhell0405-03

Some people are so scatterbrained in their planning and they need those of us who can pull it together like magic!  But the groom was so sweet in seeing the day for what it was, a marriage between him and his beloved, rather than a series of snafus.  

After reading your site, I knew I had to send in my story-- unfortunately, I must find a higher caliber of weddings to attend, since I actually have several etiquette blunders to offer up to you.

I'm going to leave out stories of inappropriate guest clothing, drunks and other run of the mill horror stories, and concentrate on the two that stand out in my mind the most: The reception from hell, and the bridal shower of smug self-righteous people.

My husband (then boyfriend) and I attended the wedding of one of his cousin's in the mid-90s that was a debacle from start to finish. She had met her now husband while he was at home on leave, and they became engaged while he was stationed in TX (we all live in CA). They are from a small town, and her reputation wasn't the most stellar, but she is a nice person, if not a little dense at times. First problem: bride has a male "friend" who is tapped to be their entertainment for the reception. He pointedly sings love songs to the bride all night (and, the groom didn't sock him-- he's a very calm man). Second problem: The groom's father got sloppy drunk, and spent the evening hitting on me (he's married of course), going on and on about if he had a woman like me, he'd marry me in a heart beat, wanting to dance and grope (I got out of that one ASAP). I then decided to go out and bum smokes off people, and I don't smoke. That lead to the final big problem: The ILs were out writing messages on the bridal car in soap and lipstick-- and some of the words to describe the bride started with "C" and ended with "T". I found some sympathetic souls to help me clean off the car, and were verbally attacked by the goons doing the vandalism.     Wedhell0407-03

Here's a story for your site about the loooong wedding I went to last week. I went with my boyfriend to the wedding of a friend of his from work. We had theatre tickets for that night, but since the wedding was at 2pm, we figured we wouldn't have a problem. We could just go straight from the reception to the theatre in our nice clothes, and would probably have plenty of time.

We knew ahead of time that this was a Catholic wedding and that it was at the Cathedral in the middle of town, so we were prepared for a long and conservative ceremony. However, not only was it a full Catholic mass, including communion, but the priest performing the ceremony, an old friend of the bride's family, had been in Mexico for years where he ran a mission. He was used to performing weddings in Spanish, not English, so he kept getting misdirected in the ceremony, sometimes just being silent for several minutes. It went on for at least an hour and a half. (I'm not kidding.)

As a side note, to my horror, not only did the ceremony include the reading about "the woman should be submissive to the husband, as the husband is submissive to God", but the priest's homily started with, "Marriage is a cross". He actually said that he thinks God wants you to have conflict in your marriage, because it makes you stronger and helps you develop good communication.

When we finally got out of the cathedral, we drove over to the reception, which was being held in the community center of another church, in a nearby suburb. I assume this was the church the bride's family usually attended -- why not have the wedding there? Of course, most of the out-of-town guests got lost and were delayed. But I have no idea what happened to the bridal party, as I believe we sat around in the lobby for at least 45 minutes before they appeared. We all had to wait in the lobby because the bride and groom were expected to make a grand appearance and come down the ramp or something, and we were supposed to be there to watch. Eventually they arrived and we all proceeded into the reception room. After that long ceremony and the wait, I would have liked to have a glass of wine, but there apparently was no alcohol available (I wouldn't have minded paying at a cash bar!), although there were champagne glasses on the table, so we figured there would be some eventually.

The reception dinner was a buffet, which was fine (actually the food was very good), except that at the end there was a pasta station. One caterer was there, to put together a pasta dish for everyone that wanted one. The guest picks out ingredients, and she puts it together in a pan and cooks it up. Since it took a few minutes to prepare each one, it took forever for everyone to get through the line. (I gave up, ate the other food, and went back later for pasta after, literally, everyone else was done.) This caused even more delay.

About the time everyone had gotten through the buffet line, the photographer asked that the family all come outside for photos, as she had been there several hours already and needed to leave soon (I would guess that she also had evening plans that she had thought would not conflict with a 2pm wedding). The rest of us sat around munching and listening to the dreadful easy-listening music (I'm talking The Carpenters, Celine Dion, etc -- I don't think they played a single danceable song the whole time we were there). Apparently the DJ was also grumbling about wanting to get going, but "could stay a little longer".

To pass the time, another friend of my boyfriend's entertained us with horror stories of his first wedding (including he and the bride trying to maneuver a houseboat to the wedding location, taking out several docks in the process).

My boyfriend and I had decided that we would need to leave about 6:30 to get to our play on time. At about 6:28, champagne was passed around, the best man and father of the groom gave speeches, and the bride and groom finally got around to cutting the cake. We stayed for a few minutes to watch that, but then had to leave before getting to eat any cake, see the bouquet toss, dances, etc. We couldn't believe we'd been at that wedding for more than four and a half hours already and yet half of the reception stuff hadn't even happened.

It's kind of long, but this story may even qualify as Faux Pas Of the Year, instead of just "Weddings From Hell". Although dubbing it "From Hell" would certainly be appropriate. A couple of years ago I was dating a guy named Tay, and he told me that some friends of his that I didn't know were getting married, but they'd invited him "and guest" so would I like to be his date? He'd take care of the gift, since I didn't know the couple. He said I'd find them somewhat strange, but how strange could a wedding be, I thought. (DUN DUN DUNNNNN.... ominous music) I said I'd be delighted to go. Big mistake.

It wasn't just a tacky wedding. EVERYTHING about the wedding was downright HORRIFIC. One disaster after another. I shudder to think about it even now. To start off, the wedding was held outdoors. In the dead of night. On a full moon. In front of a CEMETERY. AAAAAHHHH! There were even no decorations in the wedding area. The closest thing there was the flowers scattered throughout the cemetery. Most of the guests wore black. Some even had black hair and makeup. Even male guests. I couldn't believe it. And one woman wore a floor-length (or ground-length, I suppose) white gown. Another guest was carrying a cat, another was carrying a SNAKE..... you get the idea.

The bride and groom had hired a string quartet, they were dressed all in BLACK LEATHER and didn't play anything that wasn't in a minor key. Even the "here comes the bride" music sounded like a dirge.

The wedding party, that's where I finally admitted to myself it wasn't going to improve. There were two male and two female groom's attendants, and two male and two female bride's attendants, too. There was NO clear MOH or BM. The groom's attendants all wore purple shirts and black pants, purple lipstick and black eye makeup and white face paint, and carried one white candle. The bride's attendants all wore white shirts and black pants, black lipstick and eye makeup and white face paint, and carried one purple candle. No flowers, pants on the female attendants, and makeup on the male attendants.

THEN came the couple. The groom wore leather pants and boots, and a white, open-necked shirt. In any other setting, that shirt may have been nice, if a bit nineteenth-century. Needless to say, it may have been the highlight of the event. Anyway, he was wearing a LEATHER COLLAR, five earrings, and an eyebrow ring, and the same makeup as his attendants, and his hair was purple to match it, his attendants, and the bride's attendants' candles. And the bride's gown.

The bride... where do I begin? She was about a foot taller than the groom, she wore white face paint and black lipstick and eye makeup that swirled onto her temples and cheekbones. And combat boots. No veil, no train, no flowers, nothing. Her gown showed off her arms, back, and some of her legs above her boots. It also showed off the tattoos she had all over those parts of her body. Her (black) hair was pulled back to show off the seven rings in each ear.

I don't know who told these people that this was acceptable at a wedding. The pastor was old, he looked about five minutes away from disintegration. The blessing was unbelievable, he said the most appallingly inappropriate things, like how in just a few short decades they would be buried here in this cemetery, side by side, six feet under, in matching coffins, rotting together for all eternity. I remember that part word for word because it was in the Addams family. I thought I was going to be sick. (Not at the imagery, but at the fact that it was being said as nuptials.)

I only stayed because I wasn't sure I wanted to be seen leaving early by these people. Needless to say, I spent most of the ceremony reconsidering dating anybody who'd have that type as friends.

We all had to walk to the reception which was at a big old house three blocks away from the ceremony. The leather string quartet came with us to provide music there, much to my dismay.

It didn't get better away from the cemetery. The house was dimly lit and full of cobwebs. There was no champagne, instead they had a lot of red wine to drink and toast with. I didn't recognize a single one of the dishes in the buffet, and a lot of them were cold. There was no planned seating arrangement, they barely had tables. A lot of people had to just stand around holding their plates in one hand, with their wine glass on a nearby sideboard. Or else sit on a sofa with their plates in their lap. Tay managed to get us seats at a table, but then I had to work to avoid making eye contact with anybody.

Since there was no best man, nobody made a speech, and most of the guests who tried to dance didn't have partners. All the gifts had been given earlier, and they were on display on a table. Not a one of them was an appropriate wedding gift. Only one person had even given money, and HE had folded a check up and put it in a puzzle box. Tay pointed out the gift with the tag that said "From Tay and [my name]". It was a pair of hip flasks, one with a dragon on it, the other with a skull and crossbones.

So I wrote two notes, one saying they should be disgusted at what they're doing to the tradition of marriage, and another breaking up with Tay, and then went to the bathroom and climbed out the window.  Needless to say, I've been screening my calls ever since.    Wedhell0524-03

OK, so about three years ago (right after I graduated from highschool), a former classmate of mine (18 years old) was getting married to a guy a few years older. A close friend of mine was invited, and I went along with him, since I knew the Bride from high school. The invitation my friend received was fairly nice; it was a "fairy tale" theme, complete with a picture of a purple (their color scheme) castle. Not my style, but whatever. The invitation indicated that there would be a pool at the site-so "bring your swim suits." I saw the etiquette hell signs immediately!

Well, when we arrived at the site of the ceremony/reception, we had to walk through this dirt path with all kinds of weeds and rocks and crap underfoot. I should also mention that this site was off to the side of a very windy, rustic road and was difficult to find, especially since we didn’t receive decent directions.

Before we were seated, we walked through the reception site which was just feet away from where the ceremony would take place. The reception area consisted of several dirty, plastic white table and chair sets with piles of candy with purple balloons tied to them. There was a water hose strewn on the ground in the middle of these tables. To the right of the reception area, was the earlier mentioned pool.

The ceremony site itself was a gazebo with a bunch of plastic white chairs lined up for the guests. We took our seats, and watched as some relatives prepared the gazebo for the ceremony. They had this white paper like material that they used for a runner. They had no tape or anything to hold it down to the concrete path, so they came up with these small busts (you know, statues of heads!) to hold down the runner. This went on, much to our amusement, for quite some time.

Then came the Bridesmaids. Their dresses were actually quite classy. Then the Bride. She is very pretty, and her dress was way out of place. I don’t think that it very expensive, but definitely nicer than the rest of the wedding itself! It was a princess type dress, with tons of tulle. Her father, wearing a zoot suit, walked her down the aisle. As the officiant (who it turned out was the Bride's brother) asked, "Who gives this bride?", her father was engaged in conversation with one of the guests. The Bride had to turn around and say, "Dad!" He finally went, "Oh, I do!"

The ceremony went fairly quickly and then it was time to move onto the reception site. We sat at one of the dirty white plastic tables and waited for the lunch to be served. When it was, we were lead into the small building on the site where there was a buffet table featuring, among other things, lasagna. It looked kind of gnarly. Then, as we were in the buffet line, we watched a relative of either the Bride or Groom walk in with a box of lasagna, fresh from the microwave, and dump it into one of the chaffing dishes on the table.

After lunch, there was a toast. A young girl passed out plastic champagne glasses and another came by with either champagne or sparkling cider (as the majority of guests were under 21-as was the bride). She poured us our cider, and as we drank it, the bottoms of the plastic cups kept falling!

After the toasts, it was time for the first dance, which took place on a section of cement surrounded by a black iron fence. The cement section was really, really small. The DJ and the couple could barely fit let alone dance! We left as they began the dance. A couple months after the wedding, the newlyweds had their marriage annulled.


 This wedding took place when I was 17 (almost 4 years ago). It was the wedding of the son of friends of my father. My father's friends make good money and are very classy people, but wouldn't put serious cash into this wedding because of the woman ("Mary") their son, "Carl" was marrying. "Mary" had a lot of problems, including alcohol, and a past of abusive boyfriends. She was a very nice girl, but not very stable. Carl was always a nice, responsible guy, but after getting involved with Mary, he also became kind of a loser.

Mary and Carl eloped about a month before the wedding they had for family and friends. Carl asked my dad to be in the wedding party. They did not rehearse the ceremony or anything until the day of, so no one knew what the hell was going on. The ceremony took place in some sort of cafeteria-like building, complete with a stage. The guests sat at picnic tables that were lined up to serve as both seating for the ceremony and reception.

Well, as me and the groom's parents and my dad's girlfriend watched the wedding party rehearse, my dad started fighting with the minister about where everyone should stand, etc. The men in the wedding party were all over dressed (including my dad). They all looked great, wearing these very nice tuxedos. The women in the wedding party also looked pretty nice, but their bridesmaids dresses were a hideous color. There was no color scheme or even much decor in this wedding, by the way.

The bride's side dressed in jeans and t-shirts. The groom's side was better, most wearing very nice suits and dresses. The bride herself wore a dress that didn’t even look like a wedding dress. It looked like some sort of costume from the Salvation Army. As her father and stepfather walked her down the aisle, a folding chair crashed to the tiled floor, totally interrupting and killing the mood. The ceremony was quick and painless; now it was time for the buffet. I cannot remember the food for the life of me, but I think it was OK. I remember most everyone getting really loaded (and if I were old enough at the time, I would've been to!).

A thirteen year old relative of the bride was the DJ. He played music basically when he felt like it, and there were often lapses of time between songs, so people would have to stop dancing and wait for the next song. The groom's parents were heartbroken the whole time because of who Carl married.

At the end of the evening, the bride, groom and wedding party went to a hotel to "celebrate" (basically smoke pot and drink more). After their wedding, their marriage shockingly didn’t last more than 6 more months.


This is a story about my nephew and his new bride: First, we will start with the engagement. My nephew gave his girlfriend a ring (she was only 17 at the time) for her birthday, which she took as an engagement ring. Mind you, the ring was a sapphire, so maybe she is just color blind. Immediately the big fat pig starts making wedding plans. SIL is planning the bridal shower (evil tyrant woman she is!) and informs me that since I am an Aunt that I must partake in giving the piglet a shower. Greeeat. So the day of the shower comes...... not only did I need to bring a dish to pass, but I also drove 2 1/2 hours. The bride (piglet) FORGOT to mention to the other bridesmaids that they would have to help pay for the shower. Because of that, it ended up costing around $70 a piece. 60 people were invited...... 20 attended, and 12 of us GAVE the shower. One of the brides maids DID offer to chip in, but was told not to, since she had driven so far. Being the inquisitive person that I am, I asked the girl where she came from. Turns out that I drove further.... WHATEVER. I was fuming, but no sense in ruining someone's day. I am blew up when I received the thank you card.... "THANKS FOR COMING". Gee..... your welcome?!?!? Good grief. Oh, and she did invite me to her bachelorette party.....which was a sex toy party. I just couldn't bring myself to go.

So now here comes the wedding. Ever heard the tune "hear comes the bride fair fat and wide?" I couldn't stop singing it to myself the whole time!!! Well.... the bride was drunk at the ceremony, she continued to drink at the reception, spilled a red shot down the front of her white dress, literally RAN up and down the hall. Back and forth, back and forth, at lightening speed. She then threw herself onto the dance floor and began HUMPING the floor. She was also grabbing the groomsmen’ "packages" She also managed to drop her glass on the dance floor and fall on top of the broken glass. She got back up and continued dancing like a fish out of water. This was truly the TACKIEST wedding I'd ever attended.    Wedhell0619-03

My now fiancé and I went to his friend's (Tim) wedding to (Mary). My fiancé then boyfriend was the best man.

Tim and Mary had a nice ceremony at a church. Their reception was to be held at a community center shortly after the ceremony. Tim and Mary took some pictures but it was a very small wedding so they were finished fairly quickly. Mary insisted they go with small bridal party to Tim and Mary's hotel room. We stayed there for an hour and 1/2, while Tim and Mary made out in the other room, because Mary insisted that the bride and groom always show up late to their wedding. They arrived about 5:30.

The reception went okay. It was catered by family and friends. People came up buffet style to make their own sandwiches and such.

At about 9 o'clock Tim and Mary left, because the bride and groom always left early. This left the bridal party and close friends to pack up unused food, wash dishes, put away the tables and chairs, and mop the floor of the community center.

No surprise my fiancé never got a thank you for being the best man, nor did we for our gift.    Wedhell0620-03

 I've submitted a few stories recently, but those were all weddings I attended as a guest-this one I worked on as a caterer very recently. The bride and groom were very unorganized from the beginning. They selected an entree to be served at their reception very early on. They didn’t ask to try it or anything. The groom insisted on having NO hard liquor served; which is fine, but the bride wanted a bar and her controlling fiancé just said, "No-it's MY wedding." They also did not have a DJ. (Also okay, but they also did not have a plan for music without a DJ!) When my boss asked why they didn't have a DJ, they just said, "Oh, do you think we need one?" They did end up hiring a DJ at the last minute (more on the DJ later!!) 

The day of the reception I arrived to our site, which had been half decorated by the bride's family. A half string of Christmas lights were hung behind the head table and they'd tied balloons to one of the chairs. I was setting up their tables and arranging the linens and napkins and utensils, etc., when a young woman related to the bride showed up. She had with her three boxes of stuff, including homemade centerpieces. The centerpieces were glass vases to be placed on mirrors surrounded by candles in little glass candle holders, and flowers were to be placed in the vases. All the girl had were the vases, mirrors and candle holders. She said she would soon return with the flowers and candles. Well, at 4 o'clock (three hours later--bear in mind the ceremony was taking place at a church at 3 o'clock), still no sign of this girl, the flowers or candles. I had put out the half-done centerpieces anyway, in hopes that they'd show up before the guests arrived with the missing items. 

When the DJ showed up, we asked if the couple had give him a timeline of activities-you know, the cake will be cut at 7, or the first dance is to this song at 8...the DJ says, "No, I never received anything like that-I don’t even know the groom's name-how can I announce them?" We were anticipating disaster! 

Well, a couple arrived first, before all the other guests. They were very strange, and went up to another caterer and said, "We're hungry. We didn't have lunch-is there food here?" The other caterer politely explained, that yes, dinner would be served but not until everyone else-including the bride and groom-arrived! They still went up to the buffet table and looked around, even though we already told them there wasn't food yet!! Then, before other guests and the bride and groom arrived, they just left!! Next thing you know, about 15-20 guests arrived, and here comes the girl with the flowers!! She starts running around, placing these white flowers in the vases as guests are sitting down. (I should also mention that their color scheme was red, but their centerpieces consisted of white flowers-whatever!) 

Then another relative runs up to my boss/mom and says, "Where are the candles?? We left them here for you! Where are they??" She told them there were no candles left for us (as I also assured them; I checked every one of their damn boxes!!), and that if there were, we would have put them out and lit them!! The bride's relative wouldn't let up. He insisted we just forgot to put them out and lost them. He was going on and on, ranting and raving when another relative of the bride walks up with the candles, saying she'd left them in her car, making the guy look like a total jack ass. It was much too late to put out the candles, though, as almost everyone had arrived. We got the names of the bride and groom from a guest so the DJ could announce them, and we pretty much ran the whole thing, even though that's not really our job-if we hadn't, who else would've done it? 

But things went pretty smoothly, however we were told the wedding reception was to go until around 11 p.m.; by 8:30 the place was nearly cleared out as they had done every important thing (garter/bouquet toss; cake cutting; etc) very early on, one after another. So everyone just took off after the cake was served. The bride and groom took down their own decorations while their irresponsible relatives who couldn't manage to get the site decorated right in the first place partied. This wedding is a perfect example of why I am going to be a wedding coordinator!! Also-this isn't bad etiquette, but it's funny-a very large chested bridesmaid came right out of her strapless dress during the bouquet toss-revealing EVERYTHING!! I felt kind of bad for her, but it was sort of fitting for this wedding! Wedhell0623-03

Several years ago a very close friend of mine Ian who had been a roommate for a few years and was member of a fairly close knit group of friends, picks up with this girl Bobby. Ian is a stick figure of a man and Bobby was behemoth of a woman. This in itself is no problem but it is a somewhat relevant fact for later in the story. Ian and Bobby had been dating for a year when Ian announces to his friends that he is getting married.

"Great" we all say..

"When?", we all ask.

"In a month" came the fateful reply.

This in itself was also not a problem we were all well used to the impromptu nature of Ian and figured it would be a low key affair with all of us making an effort to make the very best with what was available. We were also aware that neither Ian nor Bobby could afford a lavish wedding and no one's parents were willing to assist, as the parents were either unhappy with the arrangements or just didn't see the point I guess.

Ian then tells us that whilst this will be a registry office affair he wants all the stops pulled out and would even go so far as suit hire and flowers. We all agree, this sounds like a grand plan and arrangements made. Bobby was approached by a friend of ours who is a seamstress and they agree that Christine will make a dress and that it will be a wedding gift so as not to add any debts as we are well aware that Ian and Bobby are doing this as "cost effectively" as possibly but still want a "Happy Day". We are all very understanding of this. Christine buys yards and yards of fabrics, she takes measurements, she drives miles upon miles to do fittings and make sure that Bobby is as happy as she can be with everything about the dress. Christine spends long hours late at night to make sure it's all done in time for the big day.. in fact it's actually done a week before the big day.

Well it's three days before the wedding... I am (at that time), working as a graphic designer for a small firm who are jut about to land a huge contract with a Japanese client. These clients are coming to the offices that day to "inspect" both the premises and the staff. This is the norm and everyone knows the "rules", no smoking, clean nails, nice clothes and tidy hair. Our boss at this time however was being particularly "odd" about having as many people in the office as possible and even drafting in "extras" to bump up the numbers. Well I was sat there, when the phone rang, it was Ian. "Tom?" "Yes Ian." "I have some news." "What?" "The wedding has been moved." "Oh" I thought.. maybe the parents have decided to chip in.. maybe they want an extra week to sort something out. "When?," I said.  "Today, in about 2 hours, We would like you to be there."

Well I had two choices. Piss off my friend who I had known for years and years even though he was asking for the proverbial moon on a stick. Optionally I could offend my boss, who I had known for 1 year. I told my boss about the impending wedding and said that I was going to attend but that I would be back before the end of the day and that I understood his position and would accept not being paid for the day if that was his call. What he said was "You have a choice you either go back to your desk and do as your told, or you can go to the wedding and never come back.". This was the red rag I needed... I was on my way to the wedding 15 minutes later. This, with hindsight, might have been misplaced loyalty.

After stopping quickly off at home and changing into a 3 piece suit. I met at the registry office expecting to meet Ian and the rest all in their finery. Well I was partially right. All the guests were dressed in suits, dresses and such. The groom was in an "Iron Maiden T-shirt, jeans and shoes that had one shoe lace between them. I even said "Bobby is going to show you up, dressed like that.". Ian mumbled something and went inside.

The service started, and Bobby enters, and everyone gasps, not at the site of the beautiful dress that Christine had made, but at Bobby, dressed in Spandex (remember her description) pants and t shirt that says "The bitch is back!". Well Christine was almost in tears and many of us wondered why we had made such an effort when the Bride and Groom couldn't be bothered. After the service was over , and since I had no job to go back to, we all went to a makeshift reception at a local pub. No one was drinking as everyone had driven (rather quickly) to get there. Me and another guest ran down to the bakery and bought a cake and had hastily the words Congrats Ian and Bobby iced on it. When we got back we again find Christine in tears. It seems not only had Bobby decided not to wear the dress, she had hacked into shreds in a "mood". We consoled Christine and took the cake out to the bride and groom. The bride having no knife proceeded to pick up the cake and take a huge bite out of it. We all laughed.. the kind of uneasy laugh people make when they are looking for the exits.

Ian and Bobby are still married. We and the rest of the wedding party don't see them much, Christine refused to ever speak to either of them again. The rest of us just avoid the hassle as this day was to mark the start of a trend. It was upsetting to lose friends in such a manner. I guess however that with friends like these... Wedhell0624-03

When I was 15, my cousin got married. She had a small, fairly tasteful ceremony at a local church, which was kind of surprising. But then came the reception...

It was at a local VFW hall which is an old bomb shelter. First of all, laying in the middle of the decrepit walk up to the building was an engine block to a rusted out car which was sitting 5 feet to the left. So you had to walk around the engine block in the mud (on a nice rainy day). Still, this wasn't her fault, they had to throw together a hasty wedding due to some insurance glitch at her future husband's job. 

When we got inside, the place was thick with smoke already. The entire wedding party had lit up upon leaving the church, though, so I wasn't surprised. All they could afford was a cold cut dinner, which was fine, I've been to really nice weddings where cold cuts were served. But, this wasn't even a buffet, it was sit down service. Each person got 1 sandwich, 1 spoonful of macaroni salad, 1 spoonful of baked beans, and a small sliver of cake, which was pre-cut so the bride and groom don’t have to "mess" with it. Which was probably for the best, because they had 200 people crammed in this tiny hall and there was barely room to turn around. 

Less than 10 minutes after we were served (barely enough time to choke down the sandwich) they started folding up chairs and tables to make a dance floor. And I could see why they had to skimp on the food. They had splurged on 8 kegs of beer!!!! This was for a reception of 200 people, about half of which left immediately after dinner anyway. Less than a half hour after we got there, they had run out of all soda, but they had plenty of beer! As I was underage, I didn't stay much longer. My parents and I left, but my older brother and sisters stayed on to dance and drink.

And now for the capper. At three AM, our phone rang, waking the whole house. My Dad picked up the phone, listened for a few minutes, then started laughing about as hard as I've ever seen him laugh. Apparently after the reception hall shut down, the bridal party and about 25 guests decided to head up to a local bar (still in their wedding clothes, and with 6 remaining kegs in tow). You should know that this bar is a total dive, and it even has a dirt floor. So after a few more hours of partying, all of a sudden the bride just walked up to the groom, and without so much as batting an eye, punched him as hard as she could in the face. No one had any clue why she did it, as they had been getting along really well all night. The groom was knocked out cold, and the groom's Mother decided to take revenge for her son. Before you know it, there is an all out brawl, men ripping their rented tux's, my cousin rolling around on the floor with the Mother of the groom, tearing and soiling her big, puffy dress all to hell, and the whole time this is happening inside, some unknown persons were stealing the remaining kegs of beer off the grooms pickup truck.

Everyone went to jail (my brother included, hence the three AM phone call), and in fact my cousin and her husband spent their first 30 married hours in their ripped, dirty wedding clothes in separate jail cells. Not surprisingly, both were jailed again about a year later when they were busted for growing marijuana in their basement. What is surprising is that, 16 years later, they are still married. And still getting into bar room brawls!

I have enjoyed your site so much! Here's one that happened more then 50 years ago, but I'll always remember it:

Many of the girls I knew in high school got married in the summer following graduation, as girls used to marry much younger than they do these days. One of them was my best friend, Caroline, who asked me to be her MOH. We were very young, as was the groom, and Caroline must have had her doubts, through she concealed them. The day of the wedding, which was a beautiful, end of the world perfect affair, the mother of the bride had been seated, the flower girl and ring bearer had proceeded down the aisle without a hitch and I was paying close attention to catch my musical cue so I would step off next. Just as I stepped forward, something grabbed the back of my beautiful pink taffeta dress, very hard! Caroline hissed, "Don't go, I'm not gonna DO it!"

And she did not "do it". Her father tried to urge her forward, she would not budge. Her mother was summoned from the front of the church, she could not make Carolyn move. The music played, then played again. "Here Comes the Bride" cycled to another song, then back again, then played some more, the confused organist, along with the entire congregation and the groom peering at the young bride, who stood her ground at the back of the church.

Eventually, after everyone had a try at persuading Caroline to get married, her father announced to the wedding guests that there would likely not be a wedding that day and they should all adjourn to the reception site, which was a pub he owned. He was a frugal and practical man, and all the food and the band was waiting there, so why waste it?

To telescope this story a bit, everybody had a very good time at the reception, not counting the incident where the non-bride stepped between two combative drinkers and got herself a black eye for her trouble. The young lovers eloped a week later, living happily ever after... er, until their annulment within the year. I left that town to go away to college and lost touch, but as far as I know, Caroline never did get married again.  Wedhell0714-03

By way of background, my sister and I were young girls who grew up in a rural state and had moved to the big city Southern California, where, as we soon learned, almost anything goes.

One day as we were driving, we saw a quaint little church at which a wedding party was just emerging. It reminded us of our home state and, being curious to see the wedding, we pulled over and parked in front of the church, waiting to see the lovely bride. Perhaps that was rude since we were not invited and didn't know the people, but we were fresh from the country and like most young girls, were very interested in weddings and the like. My sister happened to have her camera with her and she thought it would be fun to snap a photo of the couple as they came out, so we exited the car, but still stayed at the curb so as not to mingle with the wedding guests who were coming out of the church, since we were neither invited nor dressed appropriately. (At least we knew enough to do that, naive as we were!)

Suddenly we became very aware of two things: the bridesmaids were incredibly large and ugly and people were staring at us in a very unfriendly way! Just then my sister aimed her camera at the bride and groom as they stepped from the church, only to realize that they were both men, one of them in a large, very fluffy white bridal gown and veil. By now several people had begun to march toward us very purposefully, so we decided it was time to make a quick exit and ran back to the car. Trying to redeem the situation a bit, as we pulled away, my sister leaned out of the window and wished them every happiness.    Wedhell0714-03

When my sister got engaged, she wanted a very small, very simple wedding, but her future mother in law insisted that they have the traditional wedding and reception and that they get married in her soon-to-be hubby's home town which has about 1,000 residents and is in the middle of no where Nebraska. My sister agreed to this just to keep the peace. The planning went easily enough as she didn’t have a lot of options. Everything was done well in advance and we were to show up two weeks before the day just to set everything in motion.

When we got there, we learned for the first time that the florist had gone out of business and moved away a few days earlier. This florist was also in charge of the tuxes. My sister scrambled and found a florist who could put something together, but not what she originally wanted as no one in Nebraska had Gerber daisies available. Sis also found a tux shop that the tux order could be transferred to, but ALL the tuxes showed up the wrong size. The florist who had originally ordered the tuxes didn’t measure anyone correctly. They all had to be reordered, but again, they weren’t the ones Sis originally wanted.

Also, her future mother in law’s fence wasn't done being built because of freakish early summer rain so they had to move the ceremony from her backyard to the church. My sister had opted not to do the ceremony in the church in the first place because at the front of the church, where everyone would be looking, was a ten foot, horribly tacky, carved wooden Jesus with a lamb on his shoulder. It was truly ugly. We actually had to tell the wedding photographer to try and "downplay the Jesus."

Of course, the reception had to be moved from the back yard to a VFW club that smelled like smoke and had horribly water stained, cork board walls. We did our best to decorate it, but the only decorations available were streamers and balloons. My sister’s reception looked nothing like a wedding reception and everything like a two year old’s birthday party.

It gets worse. The pastor that was supposed to marry them and whom they went through counseling with was asked to leave the church just days before the wedding because the directors of the church had found out the pastor had, years earlier, been a cocktail waitress in a nearby town.

My sister was actually very upset that the church would not forgive the pastor for a past indiscretion but days before her wedding was not going to try to launch a reform of the church so she quickly met with the new pastor and went through another round of very quick counseling sessions.

It gets worse. On the big day everything looked like it would be fine until the DJ didn’t show in time to play the processional and no one in the church could play the organ or piano. The "new" pastor just happened to have his daughter’s processional tape (she had just been married) in his car and there was a tape player so my sister said fine, she’d use it. Two problems, the pastor’s daughter had about 14 bridesmaids and five flower girls so the tape was too long for my sister’s small party, and the music was horrid, a lot of bells and chimes and very religious sounding. After the last of my sister’s four bridesmaids and zero flower girls walked down the aisle, we all waited what seemed like an eternity for the music to change to Here Comes the Bride. After waiting and waiting, the pastor finally walked across the front of the church and fast forwarded and rewound the tape to the right place.

Okay, my sister is finally down the aisle and we’re half way into the ceremony. She has to walk up some steps as part of the ceremony and she steps on her skirt hem and you hear this very loud tearing sound. She screams, "OH MY GOD!" To this day we don’t know where the dress tore, we could never find it thankfully, but it was ever so lovely that my sister took God’s name in vain in her loudest voice in the middle of the church. It is a classic part of the wedding video.

It gets worse. By the end of ceremony the DJ had arrived. Great you think, he got there in time to play the recessional. He does, but because he hasn’t been able to check his volume, the noise practically shatters the stain glass windows and everyone has to cover their ears.

Okay, fast forward to the reception. The only person in town that caters also does the school lunches. The reception food that Sis was told would be nice turns out to be crock pot nacho cheese and corn chips, and stacks of white bread, American cheese and packaged ham and bologna with jars of mayo and mustard.

The only liquor my sister drinks is wine. The VFW doesn’t serve it, only beer and hard liquor with no mixers. We have to sneak in the only wine they have at the local liquor store, Boones Farm Strawberry Hill! We drink like lushes to try and forget the whole day and develop horrid, cheap wine headaches.

What about the photographer, you ask? He did a lovely job, the photos are great. My sister is overjoyed with his professionalism. He is leaving the reception and she loves him and wants to shake his hand. He reaches across the table and knocks over the toasting glasses she carried on an airplane all the way from San Diego to Nebraska (this is before the toast). The stems of both glasses snap in half. The way awesome photographer is mortified and runs off to one of the three local bars to try and borrow champagne glasses. He returns with the two ugliest wine glasses in the world. Hey, at least they hold the champagne my sister so desperately needs at this point. 

The worst part of the evening -- her hubby gets drunk, ignores her through half of the reception and instead spends the night catching up with two ex girlfriends. He and my sister go back to the hotel after the reception. Sis takes off her dress. He picks it up, throws it in a corner, and yells that he wants a divorce. She spends the night with us bridesmaids in our hotel room.

Believe it or not, after all of this, they are happily married, have a beautiful five year old girl, and had a beautiful baby boy a few weeks ago. It just goes to show, you shouldn’t pin all your hopes and dreams on one day.

This is not so much an etiquette story, but a wedding disaster story ... though, in hindsight, I wonder if I might have been somewhat a villain ... My fiancé and I didn't date long prior to becoming engaged; really just a few weeks. When we decided to get married, we had planned to do it about 6 months into the future; however, I have a daughter from a previous marriage, and considered it an absolute necessity for her to be there (and stand by that still). Well, her mother moved about 1000 miles away following our divorce, and was absolutely relentless with visitation; if it wasn't laid out in the order, I wasn't having it (and frequently not even what was in the order).

So, we set about to plan the wedding around our visitation schedule; The only time we could really do it was December, so that is what we decided to do. The point here is to illustrate why we did (could) not reschedule the wedding later ...

A week prior to the wedding, I am in the ER with truly the most unimaginable back/abdominal pains. Kidney Stone. Wait, it gets better ... my ureter is collapsed around the stone, so I have to have surgery immediately, or risk the kidney. "Oh by the way, we are going to leave a stint in, to keep the ureter open while it heals, and you will be in the hospital overnight, at most."

OK, so I have the surgery. We didn't reschedule the wedding. Surgery goes fine; I stay in the hospital overnight, because I am a sissy, and really want my Demerol.

So, I get out of the hospital the day before the wedding. "Oh, by the way, a sting is a rigid plastic tube from your kidney to your bladder." Do you know why kidney stones hurt? The ureters contract like your esophagus (peristalsis); so the stone is a non-malleable object in their way, which causes severe, acute "cramps"  in one place, where the stone is. Imagine that same "cramping" the entire length of the ureter ... Trust me, anyone reading this who has passed a stone is probably in tears thinking about it...

So, anyway, I come out of the hospital in *much* greater pain that when I went in... They have given me a codeine based pain killer, which might as well have been a sugar pill.

We still don't cancel the wedding.

We had planned on a very short, minimal ceremony, conducted by a Justice of the Peace; which is exactly what we had. I had a trash can just around the corner, in which to vomit, which I did, 9 times during the events leading up to the wedding, and the wedding itself (< 30 minutes). A family friend is an MD; he informed me that I could safely take twice the dosage of the Codeine, as well as twice the dosage of the morphine based pain killers I had been given prior to the surgery, which I did.

I was throwing up from the pain.

In all of our pictures, I was pale, and you can see sweat beads on my forehead (and obvious pain in my eyes). I bailed after the ceremony, and showed up at the reception about an hour late. (They came and got me for pictures).

The funny part is, I was telling this story to my Divorce Attorney, and her response was that, due to the pain, and the drugs, she could get me an annulment if I wanted (She is quite a character; I am not certain, to this day, if she was serious or joking).

My wife loves it; she thinks that it is great that we have an interesting story to tell about our wedding, and that it is that much more memorable because of it! In hindsight, I wish that I had had my father or someone announce something to the effect that I was Ill; I wonder how many of our guests thought I was just nervous and rude...

And I can honestly say that marrying her was the most painful experience of my life :)    wedhell0725-03

Ten years ago, I was engaged and planning my wedding, when the engagement fell apart. I was dealing with personal trauma, and advised my fiancé to leave and find someone who was of sounder emotional health. (He did). Some weeks later, one of my friends (I'll call her Rosa) told me she was going to get married and invited me to a bridesmaid.

At that point, I'd have rather shoved pins into my eyes than taken part in any wedding, so I politely declined. However, I accepted Rosa's invitation to attend her wedding. I didn't want her to think I was bitter, and I was happy for her and her fiancé. Two other friends from college were part of the bridal party, and told me stories I couldn't believe. Rosa had chosen her bridesmaids, named her maid of honor (her sister), picked her flower girl and the ring bearer (her little sister and her nephew, natch), and had proceeded to make the entire wedding party (sans ushers) follow her from one boutique to the next to choose a gown. We lived in Southern California, and I can vouch that there are a LOT of boutiques to choose from. NONE of the gowns, according to my friends, suited Rosa, and she was quick to announce what she didn't like about them.

So, after two months, Rosa finally chooses a place and demanded to have a custom-made gown. Apparently, the owner of the shop permitted her to pick what she wanted from a catalogue--Rosa chose the sleeves from one gown, the bodice from another, and the skirt and train from another, then picked out the fabrics, and handed over a deposit. Once again, the bridal party had to all come along to watch the fitting. Rosa's custom-made wedding dress was made of hand-beaded silk and Chantilly lace, and it cost $10,000. That's not much nowadays, but back in the early 90's, it was a sum that made us all gasp.  (Whoooosh...that's the sound of Miss Jeanne's wind tunnel gasp in 2003.) Especially as Rosa's parents were paying for the wedding!

I received my invitation in due time--a beautiful, silvery stationary; unfortunately, it had black and gold wedding bells on it. I have never seen that pattern since. As Rosa had decided to let the bridal party off when she chose the invitations, my guess is that once again, she found a store and had a custom set printed.

Flash forward to six months later. My friends wouldn't talk to me about the wedding, only grumbling that, "You were SO smart not to be a bridesmaid." I started wondering what was going on. I bought a nice blue summer suit (it was in June), and showed up at the church an hour early because I had no desire to be up front and be seen. The event brought back some bitter memories, and I decided I'd sit in the back, wrestle my demons, and be happy for Rosa's sake.

Well, I entered the church and just gaped. I began to have an inkling of what my friends had carped about. The church was small, with a nice vaulted ceiling, elegant woodwork, and stained glass windows. Swaths of white cloth had been draped in enormous swags between the windows and over doorways. I don't mean ribbons of cloth; these drapes looked like jumbo-sized tablecloths that had been sewn together and glued to the walls. Beside each pew were tall flower stands with bouquets of white and gold daylilies and gardenias--and the fragrance from them was overpowering. By the time I sat down in the back, my head ached, and I could feel my nose start to itch. It would have been a good time to leave and plead an allergic attack, but again, I didn't want to seem rude. Besides . . . I had an idea I'd miss a real train wreck if I did.

The church filled up, and the musicians set up in the nave. Yes, Rosa had hired a full-piece band to play at her wedding. Unfortunately, they were tucked away in a corner, close to the side door, and had trouble hooking up their electrical equipment. (I'm not going to say Rosa went cheap here, but these guys certainly didn't seem to know how to set up their own amplifiers!) As it turned out, they didn't need them. The acoustics were great in the church. So great, in fact, that my headache slowly grew until I pressed my ears closed to drown out the sound.

Parents arrived, priest arrived, the band started playing. In came the flower-girl, Rosa's little sister, wearing a poofy white lace dress, white pumps with big lace bows on the sides, and a white lace mantilla. She carried a little basket with rose petals, and instead of strewing them on the carpet, she flung them at the guests. Few of the guests found this cute. Then came Rosa's little nephew, who was only 3 years old, carrying the pillow with the ring. Only he took a few steps forward, stopped, then turned and ran back out. His mother jumped up, raced down the aisle, and had to pick him up and carry the pillow, with the kid screaming, "I DON'T WANNA GO! I DON'T WANNA GO!" at the top of his lungs. Once she deposited him at the front, with a smack to the seat, he sat down on the floor and cried. Great omen, y'think? 

So in came the ushers and the bridesmaids, and I FINALLY got to see what my friends had been complaining about. I don't know what the guys were thinking, or if Rosa picked their outfits. The ushers were wearing light grey tuxes trimmed in black (this was a late morning wedding) with ruffled white shirts and black cummerbunds. They looked like theater ushers--or maybe '50s bandleaders. And the bridesmaids wore black and gold gowns. The bodices were black velvet with leg-of-mutton sleeves, and the skirts were gold lame with huge ass-widening bows. The crowning touch (maybe the coup d'etat?) was that every bridesmaid wore black patent leather pumps with gold stripes painted on them. My friends told me later that Rosa boasted of having her sister paint each pair of shoes the night before the wedding!

The bridegroom actually looked elegant in a grey tux without a ruffled shirt (a nice flat starched shirt, vest instead of a cummerbund, nice pleat to the slacks). Then came Rosa. Her father led her down the aisle, but you could hardly see the guy, because Rosa's skirt was so wide it nearly swept the aisle on both sides. Her "custom" dress looked like it had been pieced together from different dresses, because none of the parts made a pleasing whole. The sleeves were huge leg-of-mutton with lace windowpane inserts. The crystal bead embroidery was heaviest on the sleeves and bodice, whereas the skirt was silk with an overskirt of lace. The train was satin and lace, and was about six feet long. (I've seen longer, but Rosa was so petite, and the dress so big, that it looked like someone had trimmed the gown to fit as well as it could and then tacked on the leftover fabric). She also wore a tall tiara set with rhinestones, with her veil (more lace) draped over her head. It looked like Glinda the Good Witch's wedding gear!

I sat through the ceremony with a pounding headache. I attended the reception for base reasons--to get some alcohol, some food, and commiserate with my pals on those Godawful gowns. The food was good, and there was an open bar, so I had a Scotch and was feeling much better when Rosa approached, STILL in that gown and headgear. I thought I'd be polite, so I said, "Wow! You look like a fairy princess!" (Out of a Disney nightmare, I thankfully didn't add.) She beamed and said, "Isn't it great? It went off so well! Not a problem at all!" I gave her my gift, pleaded work (I was working a night-shift job at the time), and beat a hasty retreat.

The next Monday I happened to meet a couple who attended the wedding. They asked if I was feeling all right, and then started in on the wedding. "Do you know how much her parents PAID for that monstrosity? $15,000! If it had been MY daughter, she'd have paid for it herself! All those ~pinche~ flowers, and that stupid dress!" To my shock, as I met many of the other guests later in the year, none of them had a good thing to say about the wedding--except to gossip about the cost and gasp over her dress. It might have been Rosa's intention all along.

By the way, Rosa has recently filed for divorce, after three kids, one house foreclosure, and one too many affairs on her husband's end. wedhell0725-03

I could have sworn I sent this in a few years back but I didn't see it so here it is again. Since it could go under a number of categories, I'll let you pick where. And I attest that every word of it is the absolute truth, no matter how unbelievable it seems.

My husband got a call from his 17 year old second cousin that he had not seen in 4 years. Seems her dad was in jail, she was getting married and she needed someone to give her away. Next week.

She told him to meet her at the rehearsal dinner at Outback Steakhouse that Friday night at 7pm and would go over the details at that time. We showed up at 6:55 and nobody was there except the usual Friday night throngs of people waiting an hour to get a table. 7:15 rolled around and still no sign of the wedding party. Finally, at 7:40, the groom walked in. He went up to the hostess and asked for a table for 26. The hostess said it would be a minimum of an hour. Seems that nobody had bothered to reserve a section of tables in advance.  

At 8:50, we were seated. When the waitress arrived to take drink orders, the bride started directing her on how to break up the bill so each couple could pay for their own drinks and meal. When we needed lo leave to be back in time to get our babysitter home, our food still had not yet arrived. We paid our check anyway (including the automatic gratuity for large parties) and the bride told the waitress to box up our food so she could take it home. My husband asked her about the "details" they were to discuss. She then told my husband to wear his own tux and meet her at the chapel at 3pm the next day.

When we arrived at the "chapel", it was a room about the size of my master bedroom closet. There wasn't even enough room for two people to walk beside each other down the isle so my husband had to walk in front of her, leading her up the isle (about 3 steps). The actual ceremony was short and sweet, with most of the guests craning to see in the chapel from the next room since it only seated 12.

When we moved into the next room for the reception, I saw a woman dressed in a Santa Claus suit. This being November 15, I didn't think a lot about it. Then I found out it was really the mother of the bride disguising herself. It seems she had lost custody of all of her children and had restraining orders against her by several of her children that were also attending. She was handing out AVON chapstick and AVON catalogs and announcing to everyone that selling it was her new career and if we wanted to place an order, there was an order form in each catalog.

When the food was brought out, it consisted of cheese nips, pretzels, a cooler of beer, Wal-Mart cola, dinner mints and a bowl of salted, mixed nuts. The cake was cut and promptly shoved into each others faces. This started a war between the bride and groom that caused them to utilize every bit of cake that was for guests in their food fight. They looked so charming with frosting and cake all over their faces, clothes and hair! How classy....

I was begging my husband to get me home when the MOB (aka Santa) approached him about giving her away, too. Seems she met a hunky 17 year old high-school classmate of her daughter a few weeks prior and wanted to get hitched that same day while the official and chapel were already paid for. My husband politely declined.

When the bride found out that mom was moving in on HER wedding, there was a physical brawl that led out into the parking lot. Bottles of wedding bubbles were thrown on each other and the chapel and the chapel owner threatened to call the police. That got the mother's attention. She went inside, took her gift and left with her 17 year old stud.

The bride and groom went back in, sat down and started opening gifts. When the grandmother told her it wasn't like a birthday party, that the gifts should be opened later, the bride told her to go to hell, it was HER wedding and she would open them now. After all, they would need money to stay up there for a few days for their honeymoon. I was so disgusted that we had anything to do with it that I grabbed my free chapstick and left. We never did hear from them again.    Wedhell0722-03

My boyfriend had made friends while working "up north", meaning redneck/lumberjack country. One of his friends, a woman, was getting married and asked if he could do the music for them. Well, by that time he had moved in with me 41/2 hours away in a big city. He told her not a problem, as long as someone can supply us with transportation-meaning a truck. They call us a week before the wedding to set up the plans. 

The uncle "Joe" and the aunt "Jean" were going to go in separate vehicles. I was to drive the car with the Aunt "Jean" (as her eyesight was failing) and her step daughter and boyfriend (very nice polite teens) and my boyfriend "Don" was to drive with the uncle and the equipment. Turns out the aunt wanted to leave early to get there to decorate. So I did. Keep in mind in this whole adventure I knew NO ONE and I've never been to that town before. 

So we get there and the whole family is sitting around getting drunk at the hall/church not really decorating. We all ended up furiously decorating for about an hour. Price of decorations: $50. Now, "Don" still hasn't shown up so I go to hang out at the bridal shower. (this is the day before the wedding) and finally about 11 @nite I find out Don's at one of the other uncle's house. We finally meet up and he is just livid. Turns out the boyfriend of the mother of the bride came up with them in the truck and this guy was drunk out of his mind. He slobbered all over him and threatened to start a fight a few times and basically pissed off "Don" A LOT. My boyfriend has got a lot of patience but he's also quite sizeable and was just itching to punch him out -so he wouldn't have to hear him anymore. But he didn't-as it was his friends moms b.friend. 

The next day me and Don go to set up and at the end we go to the grandmother's house to change for the wedding -across the street. We left our jeans and shirts in a bag by the door as we were staying at a friends place that night. The wedding was okay. They ran out of food -since they had made all the food themselves and chicken legs are not going to feed a lot of people. Cost of food $100 (if that). I had my drink tickets stolen (that was our payment for doing the music for them ) Cost of music $0. But there was free wine on the tables and that's good enough for me. 

So at the end of the night we pick up our stuff put it in the trunk of an aunt "Sarah" and headed out to her house first to drop off some people, then to our friends. We wake up in the morning and realize that we had left our change of clothes in Aunt "Sarah’s " trunk. We get there-nothing. All the houses are turned upside down and we can't find it anywhere. Well, Aunt "Sarah" (great lady) says to us, let me check some place. She comes up from the basement and showed us our jeans and asked if that was ours. We said yes, where did you find it. She says with a sad shake of her head "In the bride's mothers room."....there was NO way our clothes got down there unless the mother (a pill popper) and her alcoholic boyfriend took it down there. Cost of the bride's mother trying to steal our clothes: priceless. 

But the best part...was that on the Saturday (as we came in on Friday )the day of the wedding the Aunt "Jean" I drove up with said she'd like to stay an extra day and that "Don" could leave a day early with her husband. ?? !! So, what she was saying was, since I have to drive them, I have to stay an extra day with total strangers while my boyfriend gets to drive back a day early!! I decided I was going to make alternate plans, and when aunt "Jean" heard about it she immediately changed her mind. She wasn't impressed but after all that's happened I don't care. Her husband was very nice and when he dropped us off he gave us a cooler with about 30 beers. It wasn't much-but it's the thought that counts.     wedhell0731-03