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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Jan-Jul 2003 Archive


My fiancé and I decided to marry at 19 years of age. This is very common in my family. My fiancé and I had a somewhat embattled relationship--we had been engaged previously, but I called it off, as he did not want to inform his parents. This was just about the only intelligent thing I did in the course of our relationship. (I admit that I am ashamed now to think of my odd behavior while in this relationship, but at least no one has doomed me to Etiquette Hell as of yet!) Both my fiancé and I were in junior college in a very small town at the time. My fiancé suddenly decided that he wanted to move to another state and live with his aunt, uncle, and their three children (that is another story entirely....). He had long wished to attend the university near his aunt and uncle's home, and he wanted me to come with him. Stupidly, I agreed. (I must commend his aunt here, even after some of her egregious future behavior, for taking in her nephew and his girlfriend, whom she did not know.)

We had only been living with his aunt and uncle a number of days when his aunt began nudging us toward marriage. Even though the family was of no discernible faith and did not attend church, she felt it was wrong for us to be living together "in sin" under her roof. We did not wish to cause her any discomfort, and we did plan on marrying in the future. After a few weeks of his aunt questioning my morals, my boyfriend and I decided that we might as well go ahead and get married. My boyfriend seemed to be planning some special kind of proposal. When we had been engaged before, I wore the ring, but we did not let on to his parents that it was actually an engagement ring, and because it was not of a traditional style, they either assumed we weren’t actually engaged or they didn't press the issue. When I broke the engagement off, I had given the ring back to my boyfriend. Imagine my surprise, after we'd moved states and decided to get married, and my now fiancé (again) is giving subtle hints about a romantic proposal, when my FMIL calls and says I left my ring behind! That should have been sign number one that things were not going to go well.

Even after the slight ring debacle, wedding plans progressed. After all, I’d get my ring at some point, no big deal. We started planning--wait, let me correct that--I started planning a July wedding in the area. I couldn't get my fiancé to pay any attention to the details. Okay, I reasoned, it's just not a guy thing. Once I started talking about wedding issues, he would pick up his guitar and start practicing chords, then insist that he was listening to me, even though he wouldn't offer any opinion on the matter. There was no time that he "felt like" doing wedding things, such as looking at rings or registering. I ended up registering for our wedding alone! I began talking to my mother about wedding plans and ultimately, decided to have the wedding in a small, Victorian-themed town near where my family lives. At that point, since my fiancé and I hadn't been able to establish residency soon enough to attend the university, my fiancé decided that he wanted to move back to his home state and try to go to school there. We told his aunt and uncle and started preparing to move again. Since it was nearing Mother's Day, we decided to stop at my mother's house on the way back and visit with her for a few days.

While at my mother's house, we had a huge fight. My fiancé went to the car and calmly started taking my things out of it. I panicked and began sobbing and literally throwing myself at his feet, begging him not to go. He explained that we weren't breaking up, that he was going to go home and find apartments and jobs for us and get us enrolled in college, and that I should stay here and finalize wedding plans. We talked and reconciled, and I calmed enough to give him directions back to his home state.

It was no problem for me to find a job, as my mother was managing a supermarket deli/bakery that I had worked in before. I worked at night and planned in the day. I was paying for everything myself, and even buying groceries for myself and my little brother, as my mother was out with her boyfriend most of the time. No one, not my fiancé or anyone else, was helping me with the wedding, though my mother had purchased a dress and headpiece for me at a secondhand store.

The dress. Oh, the dress. I have nothing against secondhand dresses. But this dress was not at all what I wanted, and I found myself near tears the first time I saw it. It was mostly lace, which I had not wanted, and had what is referred to as a Queen Anne collar. That is, the sides of the neckline come up around the neck, and then scoop down and out, creating a sort of keyhole effect. That was the prettiest part of the dress, actually. The dress was empire waisted, which is not a style that is kind to large-busted women (it tends to make us look pregnant) and had odd sleeves, ones that were lace from the shoulder to just above the elbow, where they became sheer and puffed out. They had the effect of a tight T-shirt layered over a blouse. The odd sleeves ended in frilly cuffs, which I hated. The empire waist had an overlaid skirt effect--two pieces of lace trimmed the sheer fabric, making an inverted V that started below the dress' waistline. After all the ornamentation on top--the weird, frilly sleeves and the abundance of lace--little attention was paid to the bottom, creating a fairly plain train. The headpiece was one of those 80s beaded, inverted-V headband-style, with a veil pouf at the back and then a longer piece of veiling attached (it was also highly uncomfortable). I decided to forego the headpiece, maybe detach the veil and reuse it with a headpiece of my choosing, cut the weird sleeve bottoms off and attach cut-out lace flowers to the train. In the end, the dress, although not what I would have chosen for myself ended up being something I could live with.

Of course, doing all of the work and planning myself began to get to me. It was getting dangerously close to invitation-mailing time, and I needed serious assistance. I asked my mother for help, and she agreed to help me with the invitations and the RSVP cards. Even though I was young and didn’t have much money, I was determined to make this wedding nice, and adhere to proper etiquette as best I could. I bought pretty paper from a wedding supply store and paid some friends of my grandparents to print the invitations on their computer. They turned out beautifully. I had also purchased some business-type cards in the same pattern at the store, but since they were individual cards and not part of a sheet, they couldn't be printed. I have very neat handwriting, and I wasn't worried about the RSVP cards, since my mother had agreed to help, and her handwriting was even prettier than mine. That night, my mother went out with her boyfriend. "I’ll be back to help you," she promised. I sat alone in the house, addressing envelopes. After a couple of hours, I was finished. No mother. I was miffed, but there was nothing I could do. I began filling out the RSVP cards. My mother finally arrived, with her boyfriend and his brother in tow. Mom was drunk. I was somewhat curt in my greeting of her and her company. "Why are you being like this?" she snarled. I calmly directed the question back at her and kept filling out RSVP cards. The boyfriend and his brother, sensing a bit of tension, left shortly thereafter. My mother chewed me out for being rude, then proceeded to sit down beside me and start filling out the RSVP cards--drunk. I can't begin to tell you how awful they looked. I tried to get her to stop, but she just yelled at me for starting without her when she’d told me she was going to help. She asked me what the problem was, and since I am very non-confrontational and feel ill when I say something that might be perceived as confrontational, I very carefully considered my words before I replied. I told her that I was just very stressed with the wedding planning, and work, and helping her--at which point, she backhanded me. I burst into shocked tears, then turned back to my cards and got to work on them, silently crying all the while. (She shamefacedly apologized to me at work the next day, after I spent the day avoiding her and not speaking directly to her.)

I got the invitations in the mail and began final preparations. I had, of course, been speaking with my fiancé on the phone, and found out that he was not having any luck with the job/apartment hunt, and he seemed to want to get out of his state and away from his parents, which I understood, as during our relationship, I had been exposed to their poor treatment of him many times. He was routinely referred to as fat, lazy, stupid, and worthless. They alternated between liking me and treating me poorly as well. The funny thing is, his younger sister was held to be the jewel of the family, and her boyfriend, who was her senior by at least ten years and was one of her dad's friends, was considered part of the family, as they had been together for quite some time. (And if my fiancé was 19 at the time of our marriage, you can guess that his sister, being younger than he, had some delicate legal issues in her relationship.) My fiancé was planning to come up two weeks before the wedding to help with last-minute preparations. All was smooth sailing.

The "blessed" day finally arrived. The rehearsal and dinner had gone well, and I had high hopes for the next day. I had told my MOH and oldest bridesmaid to meet me at the reception site and we would decorate. I'd had several coworkers and cousins volunteer to help me decorate as well, so I figured on decorating for about an hour, then taking my MOH and bridesmaids to the church to get ready, leaving everyone else to finish. My mother and I got to the reception site, with my grandparents following us with the cake and punch (my mother made the cake, and although she "surprised" me with a cake that was nothing at all like the one I'd requested, I liked it).... and found no one there. No one else showed up to help with the decoration. Mom, Grandma and I began dashing around, setting up the cake table and decorating the other tables. My MOH and oldest bridesmaid showed up when we were mostly finished, and were going to have to take pictures in an hour. I told them to go on to the church, and I would be closely behind. I stopped to use the restroom and found a lovely surprise. Down one pair of expensive pantyhose. Thank goodness I had backup hose. I went out in my mother's car to get the candelabras I'd rented for the ceremony. They didn't fit in the trunk, so I had to put them in the backseat. When I returned, my brother, a friend of his, and my stepsister were there and had sent my grandparents on to the church, leaving my mother's car as the only vehicle. We, and my mother, filed out to the car to try to figure out how we were going to cram five people into my mother's car and get to the church. The car wasn't in the space I'd left it...apparently, I hadn't set the parking brake, and it had rolled into a van. Luckily, no damage was done, and we sped off toward the church--with me in the passenger side floorboard. In July.

When we got to the church and I extracted myself from the car, we saw my in-laws to be. My FMIL was wearing a halter-top and shorts. I almost convulsed. She had been very anti-wedding from the beginning, and I took this to be the final protest. I hurried inside, not wanting to see anymore. I had literally ten minutes to get ready before we were to take pictures. I managed to get myself dressed, de-sweated, and made up, and we took pictures (later on, I discovered that my elbows, dirty from leaning on the counter to apply makeup, were black). Luckily, FMIL had brought appropriate clothing. My fiancé’s aunt and uncle and their children had made the trip, and my fiancé’s aunt was loudly screeching about her son not having a boutonniere. Never mind that this child played no role in the wedding. She kept loudly demanding a boutonniere for her son. I no longer remember what we did to pacify her.

The ceremony was without incident (amazingly), only I was astonished to find the church nearly empty when I walked out. Seventy guests had RSVP'd that they were coming. Around 30 actually showed. Oh, well, not a problem. We got to the reception site, and I didn't know what to expect. We had hired a karaoke DJ, but he hadn't shown up by the time I left for the church. He never showed. (Later on, we found out that he had a dire family emergency, and he apologized all over the place for not calling my mother to let her know, but given the situation, it was understandable.) Thankfully, we had my portable CD player, which we had used in the church for the processional and recessional. We just played CDs, which skipped horribly. I had planned on the reception lasting for a while, so I was very disappointed when, after 30 minutes, people began to pack up. There was nothing I could do to keep them there, of course, but some of them, since they were from out of state, wanted us to open our gifts before they left, so we did (which I now know is a big etiquette no-no). After about an hour, everyone was gone except the same group that had started the day decorating the site! I cleaned up after my own reception.

I try to be a fairly good sport and took most of the disasters in stride, but the final straw was about a month or so later, when the best man told my husband and me that after the ceremony, my new MIL had come up to him and asked "so how far along do you think [my name] is? About five months?" Well, lady, that's got to be a record-setting gestation period, because over 4 years and one divorce later, I still haven't had that kid! Unsurprisingly, the marriage didn't last, and while I hold no real ill will toward my ex, I sure harbor negative feelings toward his family.

Thankfully, my wedding to my first love, held last summer, went off smoothly (it was a dream!) and I now have fantastic in-laws, and a husband to whom I am better suited. And my mother was not closely included in the wedding planning, but she did provide the cake, and this time, she stuck to the plan I’d given her.

WedHell 0905/03

I am an attorney, and have often been asked for professional advice, but I never expected to be asked about legal matters at a wedding. At least, not the way I was.

The summer after Doug and I got married, we attended a disastrous wedding. The groom's mother was a close friend of my mother in law Ruth. Doug had met the groom a few times, but they weren't really friends, and Doug had never met the bride. I never saw a copy of the invitation -- it was mailed to Ruth, who accepted on behalf of all of us (Ruth, her husband, her daughter Rose, Rose's boyfriend, Doug and myself.)

The groom was Jewish and the bride Italian, and apparently there had been some strife throughout the planning because it was a "mixed marriage."

The plan was for the couple to get married at a local country club, where they would also have the reception. The ceremony was set for 4:00, but the reception would not begin until 7:00. Doug told me that we'd spend the intervening hours at the groom's mother house.

When Doug and I arrived at the club, we were asked "which wedding?" This question came out of the blue, because this club advertises in the newspapers and the ads indicate that there's only one wedding at a time. It seems that there was a wedding reception in progress inside the catering hall, and our friends' ceremony was scheduled to take place outside, on the lawn. We walked around to the back of the building, where chairs were set up for the ceremony. The area had been beautifully decorated. But it was so close to the golf course that I feared a stray ball could accidentally hit one of the guests! (I need not have worried. The ceremony did not take place out of doors.)

The invitation called for a 4:00 ceremony. The bridal party arrived at 4:20 or so. Then disaster struck. The bride realized she had left the marriage license at home! Someone was sent to fetch it. The ceremony was delayed.

At 4:45, it began to rain. This would not have been a problem if the marriage license glitch had not happened, as the bride and groom had planned a short ceremony. But since the ceremony had not begun, it would have to be delayed until the rain stopped. We all went into the clubhouse.

The clubhouse consisted on a lobby area, a bar where the members could drink after playing golf, and a catering hall. The catering hall was a huge room, which could be subdivided with a folding wall. When the room was subdivided, the smaller section could be set up as a chapel. Our friends were told that in the event of rain, they could use the chapel. However, on the day of the wedding, our friends learned that the other reception was very large, and that the caterer used all available space -- including the space for the chapel -- to set up tables.

So we all stood in the bar. Eventually we realized the rain was not going to stop. The officiants (a judge and a Rabbi) had to leave, so the ceremony was performed in the bar, with all the golfers present. There was no place for the musician to set up his keyboard, so the ceremony was conducted without music.

Because the ceremony was so late, we never did have time to go back to the groom's mother's house before the reception. Instead, we watched the staff clean up from the previous reception and set up for our party. I couldn't believe it when I saw the wedding cake being wheeled through the bar, but fortunately, no mishaps occurred.

Finally it was time to go to our party. As I understood it, the club was to provide all services necessary for the reception -- the music, the food, the flowers, the photographer, everything. For the most part the party was ok, but ... the band showed up an hour late. The floral centerpieces were way too large for the tables, making it difficult to see others, and the tables were so crowded I felt the plates would fall off! The other side of the room was served their meal, and the dishes were already being cleared from the table, before our side of the room was served. It took so long to serve us that we were joking about stopping at a diner on the way home. And I never was able to confirm this, but I believe the photographer was drinking quite heavily during the reception, and I can only imagine what the pictures must have looked like.

At the end of the evening the groom's mother asked me if she had grounds to sue the club. I don't know if she ever did, though.    WedHell 0907/03

My mother-in-law disliked me from the beginning simply because her darling youngest son liked to spend his time with me instead of at home with his parents. We bought my engagement ring about a year after we started dating, but we wanted to keep it a surprise until my fiancé actually popped the question. But mother-in-law took it upon herself to open his mail and saw the bill for the ring. Then when we announced our engagement, she looked all smug and said she knew it was coming.

Over the course of the next year mother-in-law would frequently remind us that we didn't *have* to get married, that we could *always* change our minds. When my fiancé’s nieces called me "Aunt," mother-in-law would remind them that I wasn't their aunt yet. When mother-in-law's friends and relatives would comment on the upcoming wedding, she would whine about how hard it was going to be for her since we so inconveniently chose to set the date for two weeks after the due date of her third grandchild (though we set the date before the child was conceived) and how she would be SO busy with the rehearsal dinner and the grandchild ... not to mention that her last child (age 25) was leaving home, and how would she ever cope with it??? BOO-freakin'-HOO.

I had five bridal showers (church, my side of the family, my college friends, his side of the family, a "honey do" shower my aunt felt like hosting). Mother-in-law was invited to three of these showers (the other two were young-people-only), as was my mother. My mother brought a gift to every shower; mother-in-law never brought a single gift. Not one. She had bought a cookware set and a stainless steel silverware set about 20 years before for each of her children. We got this, but she didn't wrap it or even present it as a gift. We just lugged it out of the closet after we were married and took it home. It wouldn't have taken that much effort to slap a little wrapping paper on it. But she was the one who made herself look bad; at all the showers, people would look at what my mom gave and ooh and ah and then ask what mother-in-law brought. And I would shrug and try to play it off, but it was obvious she brought NOTHING.

When fiancé’s brother and one other groomsman found out that the tux rental would cost $84, they both flipped out. Fiancé called me saying they thought it was too expensive and that the tuxes from their weddings (almost 10 years previous) only cost $50. Fiancé even suggested he could help his brother with the cost of the tux. I said, "NO FREAKIN' WAY!" My bridesmaids had to pay for their $120 dresses and hadn't batted an eyelash, so it wasn't fair for his dumb brother to get his tux paid for.

Then there was his sister. Her baby was due two weeks before the wedding, but she insisted she had to be a bridesmaid anyway. I talked to the bridal shop, and they told me there was no way of knowing what size she would be post-pregnancy and that there wouldn't be time to order another dress at the last minute (not to mention, she'd have to eat the cost of the wasted dress). I told sister-in-law what the bridal shop said (they didn't sound optimistic) and that it wouldn't hurt my feelings if she decided to back out. She didn't take the hint. Fortunately, she only gained 12 pounds during her pregnancy and fit beautifully in her dress (though she was a bit top-heavy from the nursing!).

Speaking of dresses, mother-in-law waited until the last minute to look for hers. She asked what color my mother's was, and I told her it was lavender. Then she picked out two dresses, one of which was lavender. And of course the one she decided to keep was lavender.

Mother-in-law decided that she would cook the rehearsal dinner herself. We set the time for the rehearsal dinner at 6, which meant that one of my bridesmaids and one of the groomsmen had to take off work early and haul it to get ready and to the church (out in the boonies) on time. Lo and behold, mother-in-law served dinner a full hour late ... all because she was waiting on her world-famous homecooked rolls to get ready.

Then came the wedding. Somehow -- in spite of frequent reminders -- my fiancé got mixed up about what time he and his family were supposed to arrive for the photos. He and his family were supposed to get there at 1 to take their photos, giving me a little extra time to get my hair done. My hair lady took forever, so I was a little behind. I called the church, and they said my fiancé had just arrived a few minutes after 1 with his dad. They were wearing jeans! His mom was still at home finishing getting ready, and SHE had the tuxes. I was FURIOUS!!! By the time she got there and they got their pictures done, we were an hour behind! People were arriving for the wedding while we were still finishing up the pictures.

Of course, sister-in-law missed out on half the pictures because she kept having to duck into a Sunday school room to nurse the baby. She also kept yelling at brother-in-law because he had no idea what to do with a screaming newborn. Why oh why didn't she just let her mother-in-law keep him that day like she offered???

My parents paid for the photographer, yet both my sisters-in-law had the nerve to get mad that the photographer didn't take their family portraits. Sister-in-law #1 insisted that the photographer take photos of her with Flower Girl #1 (her daughter) and also several pictures of just Flower Girl #1. There are no photos of just Flower Girl #2. Sister-in-law #2 wanted a picture of her whole little family, since her 1-year-old son (who was not in the wedding) was dressed up with a mini-tie on. She didn't ask for the picture, though -- only complained later that she didn't get it.

The wedding and reception both turned out really nice (even though all the groomsmen promptly changed into the most casual clothes they could find), and I was happy. Then came the getaway.

My fiancé knew that his brother was planning something for our getaway, and we didn't want his new truck damaged, so we brought his old truck and didn't tell anyone that we were REALLY taking a limo. In the past, people had put baby powder in the vents and smeared Vaseline on the windows, so we wanted to avoid that. They decorated the old truck with shaving cream, saran wrap, etc. We went out and looked at it and had our picture taken with it. Then we changed out of our wedding clothes into nice getaway outfits. The limo pulled up, and we did the whole garter/bouquet thing. As we headed for the limo, fiancé’s brother and another groomsman moved in. These were the same two who complained about the price of the tuxes. They had a bucket of ice, and they tried to pick my fiancé up and turn him upside down to pour the ice down his pants (this is what people did to brother-in-law at his wedding). I find none of these little pranks even remotely amusing. In fact I hate them, and I had told everyone so. Fortunately, my fiancé put up one hell of a fight (even busting the lip of the groomsman), and they finally just dumped the bucket of ice on his back.

I was standing back being pissed because I was getting half-trampled in the scuffle, and I was worried about my fiancé’s nice outfit getting ruined. When I saw that he got off pretty light, I was okay, but I shot brother-in-law some evil death glares first.

Arg. My wedding was mostly good, but I hope I never have to coordinate anymore efforts with the tacky in-laws. WedHell 0915/03

I can't describe this wedding reception in detail, as it would get me banned from association with the family if they discovered I posted this story, but I'll try to get across to you what I found so tacky and hellish about this reception. It was a series of bad ideas on the part of the bride's family. (As a note, the bride is really a sweet girl, her parents are just clueless.) We'll leave the wedding out of this for now.

Bad idea#1 Put on the invitation that the reception for a December evening semi-formal wedding will be held at the bride's family home, right after the wedding at the church. Don't mention that it will be outside in the yard. With no heaters. It was the mid-South, true, but the temperature was easily and not unexpectedly 45 degrees at dusk, and falling. There were elderly people attending who were turning blue.

Bad idea#2 Ask everyone to RSVP, but don't provide enough tables (or have extras for overflow if you suspect you may have that), and leave the guests to scrounge for extra lawn chairs themselves. Have no place cards or seating charts, so that members of the groom's close family find themselves seated on plastic chairs with no tables, at the edge of the lawn.

Bad idea#3 Provide no good lighting over the buffet table, so that guests go back to their seats to discover they've poured gravy over Jell-O salad, not dressing. Of course, by the time half of the guests get through the line, it's all stone cold anyway.

Bad idea#4 Serve the meal on paper plates with plastic utensils. Sawing cold meat on a paper plate balanced on a lap will provide some real challenge. Have no one hired to pick up the plates - put out barrels for the guests to bus their own tables.

Bad idea#5 For drinks, provide beer and sodas in coolers full of ice. Have no servers to retrieve them, and no glasses. Let the guests squat down and rummage in the ice water until they find what they want, then drink from the wet, freezing cold cans or bottles. Don't serve coffee or hot tea. Only cold drinks.

Bad idea#6 Although the groom's family, for the large part, drinks unsweetened or artificially sweetened non-alcoholic drinks, and contains a card-carrying diabetic, provide no drinks that aren't alcoholic or full of sugar. When the diabetic finds you in the moving crowd and politely asks if she could just have a glass of water with her meal, tell her sure, then disappear - for the remainder of the meal.

Bad idea#7 Even though the young newlyweds are both lifelong members of a conservative church (which frowns on drinking alcohol, by the way), and the crowd is largely church members and old conservative relatives, have the young self-satisfied DJ play, for the first song, a high-school-type obnoxious and overt sex song. The kind drunk young boys like to sing at parties. Have him play it really loudly.

Bad idea#8 Don't have a receiving line, and don't encourage the new couple to visit the tables. Don't introduce yourselves or any of the bride's family to any of the groom's extended family, some of whom drove 2 days to be there. (I blame the bride and groom, and his family for this one too, although I admit they were floundering with the rest of us).

This wasn't everything, but you get the picture. After enjoying all this food and hospitality and turning into an ice cube, as soon as the cake was served, I ran down the couple to wish them well and drove off into the black, cold night with my heater blasting. I am so glad you have this site so that I can get this off my chest!     WedHell 0922/03

I have to tell you about a Wedding we went to last weekend.

We show up and were told to go directly to our tables for the reception where the Bride will be out to make a statement (both were held at the same place).
OK, what happened... We did not see any Groom!!!!
Wedding was to be at 4:30, snacks at 5:00, Dinner at 6:00pm...
We drink and eat until 6:00pm

Everyone in Wedding party introduced, Bride comes out crying...
"Please excuse me if I read from this paper, it's notes I made so I can keep my thoughts straight while talking."
Groom is British. Got Marriage license. Met with INS, got approval, but Visa papers not in yet.
Best Man is British friend. 1 week before wedding on Saturday night, Groom says: "What do you want to do while you are here?" Best Man answers: "I want to go to Canada."

They get into Canada, but when they try to come back into the US......
Family and butt load of lawyers fly up to Toronto. Can't do anything.
Groom gets shipped back to Great Britain...
Bride gets pictures taken on Golf Course with no Groom.
Bride hates getting dressed up.
Groom has yet to see his Bride in wedding dress looking so beautiful.

Groom has the Best Man read a letter. Guests throw fruit and rolls at Best Man.
Groom calls and reports that he is at his parents house in England cutting the grass.
Everyone drinks and eats and laughs at idiot Groom while consoling Bride.

Groom is stuck in England until Visa papers are mailed to him. -Maybe in 3 months....

...And they lived happily ever after...

WedHell 0916/03

There once was a Bride and a Groom, who asked the G’s father (a minister) to perform their wedding in his church. Plans are going along very nicely until the B suddenly decides she is no longer going to speak to her future MIL. She’s obviously majorly upset about something, but won’t tell anyone what it is, and makes no attempt to try to reconcile things. G is just as evasive (considering he lived with a woman and her son before meeting Bridezilla, and asked the entire family to keep mum about it as the bride was supposedly a virgin and would never consider marrying someone who ever lived with anyone else, it is the general consensus that he’s the culprit…he obviously lied to her family about his family and, as was found out recently, lied about his family to her family…very strange…)

Moving forward…the FOG (the minister) has had other commitments planned for months the evening the B&G have chosen for their rehearsal, but offered to have someone stand in for him or explained they could change to the day previous to that one and he could be there, neither of which was acceptable to Bridezilla. It’s her way or no way. FOG is never told what they are planning to do, but has the church opened and available for them for their rehearsal to take place. The MOG, at this point, is so fed up with Bridezilla’s behavior, she announces she is boycotting the wedding and will NOT attend, which doesn’t help things.

Running into Bridezilla and G the night before the wedding, they are asked if they are ready for the wedding, and the reply is that they are ready, but that the FOG might be upset. When asked why, G states that they have arranged for ANOTHER MINISTER to marry them in the FOG’s church!!! Now, it’s customary for ministers to call each other when this kind of situation arises, but as you will see, this OBVIOUSLY didn’t happen.

Knowing the father is probably hurt and upset, he is called and asked if he would like to sit with the rest of the family during the ceremony…he stated he couldn’t because he was performing it…THEY NEVER CALLED HIM!! It’s the day before the wedding and neither of them had the nerve to even tell him he wasn’t going to be performing the wedding…which was in his own church!! When the situation was explained to him, he was deeply hurt and agreed to sit with the rest of the family.

The day of the wedding arrives; the FOG and family arrive to find that there have been no seats reserved for them. The wedding was totally freakish. The B, who has no adult friends of her own, has her students (something like 15 of them) aged 5 to about 16 as her attendants (the 16 year old being her sister, and the oldest girl in the wedding party). There are only 5 groomsmen, and when they process into the church, they turn around towards the audience and pose in specifically chosen areas throughout the front of the church. It was totally choreographed and people’s jaws dropped NOT because it was beautiful, but because it was just so bizarre. Adult men surrounded by all these little girls.

Then the bride walks down the isle…what a sight!! She wore this HUGE gown that puffed out like a big marshmallow, and it was obviously SUPPOSED to be floor length, but missed by about a 6 inches!!! Her ankles were showing!!

After the wedding, the reception line is formed and when the FOG approaches, the FOB PULLS him out of line and proceeds to chew him out…IN HIS OWN CHURCH…IN FRONT OF THE GUESTS! The FOG, who is a very gentle person, just let him make himself look like an idiot.

Speaking of wedding fashion…The MOB also wore the most hideous, BROWN business suit to this wedding…she did not dress up at all…it was as if it were another day at the office! We were totally shocked!! She is a story all unto herself. The SOG’s son was their ring bearer and has ADHD. The boy, who is maybe 5, starts to cry because he doesn’t want to stand in this long receiving line. The SOG thought it best to take him home before the reception explaining to the MOB that she didn’t feel receptions were the place for children (oops…she must have forgotten that there was nobody in the entire wedding party but children!! Her faux pas!) AND that his medication would soon be wearing off and she didn’t want him to make a scene. The MOB says (between clenched teeth), "No…you…will…NOT! We have a seat reserved for him at the head table!" As the SOG and her husband are standing outside in the rain, discussing the entire family’s horrendous behavior and debating whether to attend the reception themselves, the MOB strides up, overhearing the conversation, with the crying RB in tow, and says, "You don’t HAVE to…here’s your son!" We, who witnessed this, were TOTALLY appalled!!

When they arrive at the reception, the family of the G found that theirs is at the very back of the room…keeping in mind there were members who had traveled 4 hours to get to this fiasco! One of the uncles though…to his credit…had $1000 in a card for the B&G. When he had seen all the things that went on and how his family members were being treated, he opened the card, and took everything out but a $10 bill!!

The ending of this story? G and Bridezilla ignored everyone from the G’s side of the family from the moment they walked through the receiving line to this very day…    WedHell 0925/03

A few years ago, I drove to California to see my older brother get married. It was an absolute disaster. I have never seen so much go wrong at a wedding, like this massive comedy of errors with seemingly no end.

My future SIL ordered her dress from a well-known bridal shop. Three days before the wedding, we arrived for her final fitting to discover that the shop had lost her dress. They searched high and low for it, but could not find it anywhere. She cried hysterically until another customer happened to phone in and say that she had just been sent home with the wrong dress. Luckily, she brought it back in and it was our bride's gown. I told her that every wedding has its snags, and that since she had just hit hers, her wedding day should be snag-free. I was SO WRONG.

The wedding party was small and intimate: her two sisters, and me. She didn't care if we had matching dresses or not, just so long as they were all baby pink and long. Her older sister, angry and resentful that she was not yet engaged (or even dating anyone for that matter, since she had just been dumped two weeks before), showed up the morning of the wedding in a hot pink and red short dress. It was the tackiest thing any of us had ever seen. She was trying to upstage the bride, and everybody knew it. Their mother began to shriek "OH MY GAWD!!! GET THAT SLUTTY THING OFF!!! YOU LOOK LIKE A SLUT!!!" But big sister said she had exchanged the baby pink long dress for this one, and that’s all she had to wear.

The bride got upset and fought with her sister, screaming "HOW CAN YOU DO THIS TO ME?!?!" She had an absolute panic attack, and asked her mother for a glass of wine to help her calm down. Her mother rushed to her side with a glass of white wine, and she guzzled it and took a deep breath. She removed her clothes to get into her wedding gown, and we were shocked to see that she was absolutely sunburned. You could see the outline of her bikini top and straps in white, against her now red and slightly blistering skin. She cried into her second wineglass as we tried to carefully put her gown on. The back was exposed behind strands of beading, and you could see the outline of her sunburn in the most awful way. Her jealous older sister was sure to point this out, and that only made the bride cry more. Which made her mother pour her more wine.

By the time the ceremony was to begin, the bride was DRUNK. As was the older sister, who's ex boyfriend was in the wedding party as my brother's best man as well. He had arrived with another date who was much more beautiful than my soon-to-be SIL's older sister, and she drowned her sorrows too.

We lined up outside two double doors to walk out and begin the ceremony. As we all began to march down the aisle to the bride's favorite Enya CD, people in the room where the ceremony was being held complained that they couldn't hear the music. So the bride's mother grabbed the speakers and put them under her arms, and proceeded to try to run into the main room with them so everyone could hear. (They had been previously placed in the doorway). She ran too far with them, and yanked them out of the main board. There was a sudden silence, and no one seemed to know how to fix the problem. The bride had to stagger drunk down the aisle to no music, with her drunk older sister shouting out "YEAH! YEAH!" for no reason that we could fully comprehend.

When she and my brother went to light the unity candle, the flame went out. Three times. And when he had to jump on a wineglass covered by a cloth in front of the Rabbi, he tripped into the Rabbi and missed the glass entirely. Each time something went wrong, a drunken "YEAH! YEAH!" would emerge from her big sister in her flashy hot pink and red gown.

At the reception, the DJ was hysterically screamed at by the bride's father, when the very first song that he played (and dedicated to the new couple by the way) was "You've Lost That Loving Feeling". The bride broke into sobs as he dedicated it to them and began to play it, and her father ran over to the DJ and let him have it. Her sister staggered up to her ex boyfriend and his new girlfriend, and began to pull his new girlfriend's hair. She was removed from the reception and sent to one of the rooms in the hotel to lie down and rest. I never saw her again for the remainder of the reception.

The DJ then proceeded to eat TWO of the main entrees ordered for the guests, without anyone's permission. There was exactly one entree ordered per attending guest, each plate totaling $80. So he ate $160 worth of food, and two guests had to go with no dinner. Then the bride's father refused to pay the DJ the remainder of the money owed, and demanded the deposit back. The DJ fought with the bride's father in front of everybody, and my brother suddenly lost it. He began screaming at the DJ and everyone stood there in shock. Finally everything calmed down a bit, and apologies went out to everyone who had to witness this. People began to leave left and right, much earlier than intended. The bride was so upset and so drunk by this point, that she threw up on her dress, and passed out cold for the night.

She and my brother got divorced two years later. They still reside in California, and have a daughter named Chloe with whom they share joint custody. My brother has had a new girlfriend for two years now, but refuses to ever get married again.

"You've lost that luuuuuvin feeeeeeeeelin... now its GONE... GONE... GONE...."

WedHell 1008/03

When I tell people what happened at my wedding, they can’t believe it. I’m not making a single bit of this awful story up, though I wish I were. I never wanted to have a wedding, but we ended up going through with a semi-traditional ceremony to please my mother’s ultra-religious family. In retrospect, we should’ve just gone to Vegas. Well, here’s my story . . .

My husband and I met at a dance club where he was working security, 6 months before he finished college and went into the Navy as an officer. We decided to give the long-distance thing a shot and, obviously, it worked out. We couldn’t really afford a wedding until we realized that military personnel who are married but live separately make almost twice their usual salary.

We went to a justice of the peace in secret and then set a date for later in the year, saving up enough money to get a dress, cake, church, etc…

When we announced our engagement to his family, my husband's father told me that I was "the best girl he'd ever brought home," and that he'd be "proud to call [me] a daughter-in-law." I thought this was incredibly sweet since I hadn't been too sure if his family liked me or not. We'd only met a few times and, with my now-husband spending so much time away with the Navy, he preferred to be exclusively with me during downtime and not traipsing all over the state visiting people.

My husband had told me stories about his step-mother, most of which were benign, but a few that made me think he was skewing the story a bit to make her look worse. Little did I know how true those things were.

At our co-ed bridal shower, his stepmother took me aside to tell me that she "felt sorry" for me and that my husband was a "real handful," that she'd never been able to get along with him and she wished me luck "dealing with him."

I'm not the world's most polite and soft-spoken gal - I'm pretty loud and outgoing among friends and, based upon the amount of colors my hair has been, one might think I'd be brash and outspoken. I was so shocked by this statement, however, that I couldn't even respond to her. I just walked away from her but heard my maid of honor say what a great guy he actually was and that maybe the step mom should get to know him better . . .?

After the shower, my husband got an email from her, stating that she was "really unhappy with the way things had gone." When he asked her to explain, she refused, just stating that we should all be aware of how upset she was. We just let it go.

The night of the rehearsal, however, was MUCH more fun. After being informed that I was rude to my future brother-in-law's girlfriend, I was told that she felt I should have been more attentive to her. This, of course, was the first time I'd ever met her and, needless to say, I'd been a little nervous that night.

In the hotel around midnight, my husband's brother called, drunk, asking if he could come over and "talk." My bridesmaid that answered the phone said sure. He came to my room and proceeded to tell me that my husband was, basically, a loser who couldn’t commit. He said that any man who would go out with his friends and leave his fiancée at the hotel alone was awful.

Lots of trash talking before he just made a pass at me, trying to kiss me on the mouth, neck, and shoulder. I rejected his advances, at which point he stumbled back into the hall after and got into a fistfight with his girlfriend (and mother of his children). The best part was that I was on one end of the hotel and they were on the other, but we could hear them screaming at one another in the middle of the night. Very Jerry Springer.

The wedding, itself, involved my husband's father. On that morning, I came out of the suite where I'd stayed the night with my bridesmaids and started on some coffee and a cigarette (trashy, I know). His father came out of the room (coincidentally, it was right next to mine) and sat down. He took a long look at me and said "So. Why is it that your dad's such a [f-ing] loser that he can't keep a job and pay for your wedding?"

Of course, my mouth fell open. My father had been diagnosed with a benign brain tumor on his optical nerve which, though not malignant or cancerous, does cause him to go blind for short periods of time and caused him to lose a job, which he was currently trying to battle legally.

My husband and I had told his family about this, which was why I was upset, but mostly, I started crying because he said this to me on the morning of my wedding, which I thought was incredibly thoughtless and tacky. I stated stonily, "My father is ill and I'm old enough to pay for my own damn wedding," then I went into the suite and bawled.

When I got to the site of the wedding, I was met with a note that the woman who was heading up the signing of the guestbook would not be joining us a she "had a headache." This woman's disabled daughter - with whom I'd worked in a social services setting for over eight years - and fifteen year-old son were both in my wedding, but she'd decided she was displeased with me. As best as I could tell, it was because I was getting married and she thought I wouldn't work with her daughter anymore.

The actual ceremony went smoothly. Luckily, we'd written the entire thing ourselves, not just our vows, so there wasn't any of that "If anyone here objects" stuff. Who knows how many people in his family would have stood up and shouted?

A couple of days after the wedding, my husband was called back to base as a result of the September 11th tragedy. We had no honeymoon and I was left alone, receiving emails from his stepmother chiding me for accusing my brother-in-law of hitting on me. Of course, I hadn't spoken a word about it to anyone. As it turns out, my husband's brother told someone and rumors started flying. The stepmother also explained to me that my family was very rude to them and that they were disappointed in the entire affair.

The step mom also explained to me how she felt we should never have gotten married at all and that she was sorry, but she figured things wouldn't work out between us, so she just hadn't said anything all along. Sooner or later, she said, we'd realize what a terrible mistake we were making, but she couldn't believe we made it all the way up to an actual wedding.

When I told my husband all of this on the phone one night, he confided to me that his best man had experienced the following: after the rehearsal dinner, the stepmother had pulled the best man aside and pleaded with him to talk my husband out of going through with the wedding. She wanted him to take my husband to a strip bar, get him liquored up, pay for some lap dances, and make him see the error of his ways.

Eventually, I sat down and wrote a long letter to that family. Of course, I went through many versions - the angry, hateful version, the sad, pleading one, the fuming, swearing one. I eventually settled on expressing my disappointment and apologizing for things for which I didn't actually feel responsible, but wanting to patch stuff up for my husband's sake. I told them that we all needed to accept half of the blame and that, for every one thing I'd done that they felt was terrible, they should realize what terrible things they'd said to me. The letter didn't go over well and I haven't spoken to any member of my husband's family in almost three years.

My husband and I decided to let him have whatever kind of relationship he felt comfortable having with his family and, as long as it didn't intrude on big plans we may have made, I would step quietly aside and find something else to do.

To tell the truth, I prefer it that way.
WedHell 1012/03

Just this past June I was in my fifth wedding. Always a bridesmaid and never a bride they say...

Well, my friend was only 18 years old, marrying a guy who was 20. His family was very well off and was insisting on paying for the majority of the wedding. It wasn't a huge deal, but something that infuriated the bride's parents. There were numerous disagreements over who should be paying for what and a lot of things were bought twice ( i.e. wedding favors and WHOLE stocks of invitations).

The guest list was a mess. Both sets of parents were insisting that various people be invited...some of which my friend and her fiancé had never heard of before. Out of the total 250 guests that were invited, only 20 of them were actual friends of the bride and groom.

The wedding party was another disaster. The bride was unsure of who to have for her maid of honor, seeing as how she's equally close with me as she is with another of our friends. She solved the problem by having her cousin who she'd only met once as her maid of honor. The bride's sister wasn't even being considered for the bridal party, since my friend was still bitter that she had not been the maid of honor at her wedding...but she eventually did end up in the bridal party.

The rehearsal did not go well. At the last minute, one of the groomsmen said that he couldn't make it, so the groom had to call some of his distant relatives and ask them if they would stand up for him. After finding another groomsmen, the rehearsal continued, but not very well. The bride and her mother began to argue over the song that we should walk up the aisle to, her father started lecturing the groom on his mannerism, and the two sides of the family began arguing over which person was getting the most rotten deal; the bride or the groom.

The wedding day started out at the hair salon where we all had to get the same hairstyle. My hair is quite long and it was impossible for my hair to be done the same as everyone else’s. The bride ranted and raved that it HAD to be the same, which left the hairdresser frazzled and my hair looking like I had purposely done it up in a rats nest. The tiaras that were to worn in our hair were too small for our heads and gave us severe headaches long before the ceremony began. The hairdresser, trying to make up for my bad hairdo, began to make everyone else’s look the same. It resulted in the lot of us back at the bride's house completely redoing out hair...after paying a handsome fee to have them done in the first place.

The bride was in a terrible mood that nothing was working out as planned and was taking it out on everyone else. The paper flowers that were to be put on the cars were still sitting in their bags as we were ready to head out to the ceremony.

We purposely left the house 15 minutes after the ceremony was to be started, because my friend wanted to be 'fashionably late'. We waited in the back of the church for the music to play...just as the bride's ex boyfriend shows up and begins to chat with the bride. Her father told him to take a hike, and the ceremony began.

I began to walk down the aisle with one of the groomsmen, but just then the father of the bride ran down the aisle. He had forgotten the bride's wedding band. My friend was livid and began yelling at him. She refused to use a dummy ring, and insisted that he go back to the hotel...half an hour away...and get the ring. The groom had already taken his place at the front of the church, with his back to everyone, waiting for his bride to walk down the aisle. Well, he stayed that way for an entire one told him what was going on! And he didn't want to turn around out of superstition.

When we finally had the rings, the rest of the ceremony went off without a hitch.

Off to get the wedding pictures...but only after a container of bubble liquid was spilled down the front of my dress...right in front of my chest...which made me look like I was lactating. All the wedding pictures capture that the chagrin of the bride. The place where we had wanted to take the pictures was no good...someone had forgotten to cut the waist deep grass. We drove around looking for another place and finally found a nice park. Another wedding party was there, and we had to wait around for them to finish taking theirs.

We were 2 hours late for the reception...with all the guests waiting rather impatiently...since they had had strict orders that they were not allowed to come to the picture taking session...I still don't know why.

The speeches were awful...the father or the groom talked for 20 minutes...the entire time it was about the bride. If he had been trying to make it a secret he had a huge crush on his now daughter-in-law, he had then blown it. The bride's family talked only of her older sister, and what a great husband she had. No mention was made of the bride herself.

After a painful few hours, the happy couple changed into their going away outfits...the bride's being an old dress of her mother-in-laws that absolutely did NOT fit was entirely too big.

They had rented a Mustang to drive away in...only a few short blocks to the hotel they would be staying in for the evening...the of course, got in a serious accident on the way there. Needless to say, they were so exhausted and upset to enjoy their wedding night.

As for the rest of us...we were glad it was over.     WedHell 1113/03

Troy was marrying his long-time girlfriend Rhea (names changed). The ceremony itself went off fine, but the reception was a horror to behold. First of all, when the bride and groom arrived, the DJ made a big deal about introducing them. He made all the guests stand in two lines so the bride and groom could run in between them (presumably getting high-fives all the way). On the microphone, just was the bride and groom were about to make their entrance, he announced them with the completely WRONG names. The bride got very angry and yelled the correct names from the other end of the hall, calling the DJ a moron in the process.

Next up, the caterer was a woman operating out of her home and she was 90 minutes late. For that entire time, there was nothing to do but drink, so most of the guests were extremely drunk by the time the caterer burst into the door of the hall. She quickly set up the buffet, and then the idiotic DJ announced that the food was ready, so "come and git it!" so we all did. The bride ran in front of the buffet table waving her arms and yelling, "no! Wedding party first!" But she was literally run over by the drunk, hungry hoard of 300 people who had been staring at their hands waiting two hours for the food. When I finally got my plate of roast beef, green beans and rolls, I was shocked by the fact that it was freezing cold! Apparently the caterer was in such a rush to get the food out, she had neglected to heat it.

Now this wedding was in the middle of July on probably the hottest day of the year. The air conditioning in the hall broke about an hour into the reception, so the garage door at the end of the hall was opened as were all of the doors. Still, everyone, including the bride, was sweating through their clothes. The bridesmaids were fluffing her dress, trying to cool her off, but showing all the guests her underwear in the process. The father of the groom turned up in a wife-beater and some spandex shorts (his tux having been shed due to the heat) having purchased all the electric fans located in a 10 mile radius. The fans were set up, but that precipitated a new problem as the paper mache decorations began to blow apart and fly around the hall.

A little while later, the alcohol ran out and so most of the guests departed for a local bar, located about a block away. The bride again took matters into her own hands and tried to stop the departing guests at the door. She became angry with some and started yelling at people outside of the hall as they walked away. We left soon after this.
WedHell 1119/03

Your site is great and thanks for helping trying to maintain SOME veneer of civilization in a world that's fast losing it.

Thought you might enjoy the story of a "Tres Tacky" wedding I went to in 1982. My roomie and worked with "Lucy" who was dating a total loser named "Ken." We all thought she could do better (which wouldn't have taken much with this guy) but when she became enceinte there wasn't much we could do but wish them well and pray hard.

Lucy's mom had paid for her sisters' weddings and grudgingly agreed to do the same for Lucy, but on HER terms. Ken was out of work (again) and couldn't help at all, so her mom had carte blanche to call the shots. Lucy's sisses had gotten church weddings (albeit modest) but she claimed she was tapped out by those and had come up with an alternate location: the bar where she worked. Her boss had agreed to let her have the ceremony there after hours.

Lucy isn't really happy about being married in a bar, but oh well. Mom says she can't afford a wedding gown, either, and sends Lucy to the consignment store.

Lucy turns down a lovely, tasteful pink ball gown in favor of the traditional white. The problem is, the only dress that color is a skintight, strapless sheath dress. Lucy's pregnant belly looks like a basketball beneath it and when she tries to dress for the wedding, the zipper gets stuck. She sucks in her gut but no good. Her sister tries to force it and busts the zipper.

Lucy is in tears. Finally somebody loans her a metallic (this is the 80s, remember) gold shawl with long fringe to drape over herself and somebody else loans her a butterfly brooch.

Outside, Ken has already begun to celebrate and is quite drunk. He tells everyone how tight his tux is and how choked his "twins" are. He says it's a good thing he's already going to be a father, because he's sure his juice is being choked off. The poor dear has to grab his crotch every six seconds to rescue his poor smothered jewels.

Finally, this horror show really gets going. Lucy wanted the bridal march, but her mom says no, just pick a love song out of the jukebox. She'll start it up, then cancel out the song when Lucy gets to the "altar" (the JP is standing on the dais, in front of the absent live band's equipment). Lucy and Ken have picked the country-western song "Just You and I." So it starts, and Lucy, who can barely walk in this dreadful dress, manages to wriggle up there. Mom tries to stop the jukebox, and only succeeds in getting the record stuck. The jukebox is whining "Just You and I, Just You and I, Just You and I" and people are starting to giggle while mom shrieks Anglo-Saxon words. Finally my roomie runs over and pulls the plug out of the wall.

The wedding proceeds. Ken, when asked if he "does" loudly says, "Well, hell, I guess so!" and cackles. The best man, who's equally drunk, pops him one.

They were supposed to walk back down the "aisle" to "I Wouldn't Have Missed It For the World" (roomie and I were certainly wishing we had) but the jukebox is still unplugged. Roomie runs over and plugs it back in. Mom makes everyone wait while she does this. Lucy and Ken walk grandly to the other side of the bar where the cake table is (about fifty feet) but mom is afraid the jukebox will stick again so she makes them stand there with stupid grins until the song finishes completely.

The wedding cake comes from a grocery store. Drinks are free, but you have to tell mom what you got so she can ring it up on the cash register. The bar's owner will bill her for it at the end of the night.

With no money to spare for a honeymoon after this lavish affair, Ken and Lucy are supposed to go back to his trailer for the night, but somebody passes the hat and they head off to the Holiday Inn for their wedding night. Ken has told everybody in the bar that if Lucy wasn't knocked up before she definitely will be in the morning. He lifts his leg, massages his aching twins, and laughs uproariously. Nobody else seems to find this funny except Lucy. Nobody has told her about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and she's pretty soused now too.

Ken leaves Lucy three months before the baby is born. Seems he had been spreading his seed around freely and he is expecting a second child. He thinks this mom is a more attractive model than Lucy. The divorce is final a week after Lucy's child is born.    WedHell 1224/03

First, let me commend you on this site! I spend several hours at a time reading these wedding horror stories and they are truly entertaining. I think it's a great idea to let women (and men) who are dealing with wedding disasters know that their situations are not the end of the world.

But on to this "wedding". When I was in college, two of our friends, "Danny" and "Sandy", who had been dating for quite sometime decided they wanted to make their relationship official and get married. He proposed to her at one of the major campus events, on stage, in front of nearly 2000 people. It was breathtaking for the audience and more than exciting for us, who were all happy for them and anxious about wedding plans. Well every time any of us asked about the wedding date, they said they hadn't set one yet. Which was fine--we just assumed they would wait until after they graduated, which would be in August of that year (he proposed in February). In the meantime we oohed and aahed over the ring, talked about how happy they would be together, etc.

Well a few months later on my way to class, one of my friends stopped me and said "Oh yeah did you know Danny and Sandy are getting married in the Activities Center tomorrow? I'm not sure of the time, but just check the scheduling board." My mouth hit the floor. The Activities Center was a building with several meeting rooms, where mostly organizational meetings and study groups were held! Please note there IS a non-denominational chapel on our campus that is also free of charge, so it isn’t as if this was the only option they were faced with. And I was BAFFLED by the concept of looking up a wedding ceremony on a campus scheduling board. Naturally the news had spread like wildfire by the time I got home from class. We weren't sure if this was a joke or what. So the next day all of the guests met in the scheduled meeting room. The chairs were arranged facing front, complete with overhead screen and projector sitting idly in front of the room, as is standard when you book one of the meeting rooms in the Activities Center. There were 2 sections of chairs, forming an aisle in the center. Mostly everyone was wearing Sunday attire but some people were in jeans and casual clothes. No one could really blame them because NOBODY knew what we were walking into. There was a CD of instrumental wedding songs playing on a boom box set up at the back of the room. Also on the back table were souvenir napkins and ribbons with their names and the date. The "wedding party" entered consisting of the minister and groom, the best man, and the bride's sister who was the maid of honor. Then the bride entered escorted by her father. Everyone in the wedding is DECKED OUT in formal wedding attire. The guests are fully expecting there to be Candid Cameras planted in the room and for everyone in the wedding party to turn around and reveal the joke. They exchange rings (no wedding bands, just a gold nugget ring for him and her engagement ring), kiss, and even toss the bouquet while they are standing at the "altar". Then all the guests are dismissed--no receiving line, no reception pending, no explanation or anything. In the days to come, we all congratulate them and wish them luck on their life together.

Fast forward 6 years and 2 kids later. I happened to run into Sandy and we were catching up on old times. I inquired about how married life was treating her and she said, "Well, you know Danny and I still haven't gotten married, right?" HUH?! I wanted to ask what that was we were invited to 6 years ago, but I could only stand there with my mouth open. I swear, if it weren't for the souvenir napkin that I still have I would think I had been in the Twilight Zone.    WedHell 1226/03

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 other’s 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 was 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 mothers 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.

WedHell 0722/03

This is a long story full of faux pas, but mostly my shock and awe at the regional differences in weddings from the south (where I am from) to the north (Queens, New York). I hope you will be amused!

My husband’s cousin was getting married in August 2001, so the family decided to make a vacation out of it. Me, my husband, my in-laws, and my husband’s sister, husband, and baby daughter were to make the trip. FIL even paid for the plane tickets, and we were to be there for about six days, arriving the day before the wedding. We were to stay at a hotel the first two nights we were there, then stay in the bride’s bedroom at her parents’ house beginning the night of the wedding and for the rest of the trip. (The bedroom is a large attic room. Important later in the story.)

The day before the wedding, the day we got there, we were invited to attend the rehearsal dinner, which was a very informal affair held at the bride’s parents’ house. Everything went fine until the next day.

The day of the wedding it rained ALL DAY LONG. The bride and her attendants were to get ready at her home; the bride and her father were to ride to the church in a horse-drawn carriage and the attendants were to follow in a limo. I think the rain had a profound effect on the nerves of the bride and her family. Fortunately, the horse drawn carriage had a top that could be added on and they arrived on time at the church, which was only a few blocks from the bride’s home.

The wedding was at 5:00 PM. The bride’s mother was escorted to her seat, indicating the beginning of the ceremony and she is wearing…. Black. FP#1 – MOBs do not wear black to their child’s wedding. In looking around, some of the other guests must have thought the wedding was very casual – I saw shorts, tube tops, flip flops, denim skirts. The soloist had a beautiful voice, but the people playing the organ and the trumpet were terrible. The bridesmaids had gorgeous dresses – strapless long gowns with a fitted bodice and A-line skirt in an elegant champagne color with matching long satin gloves. Sounds beautiful… until they were all in place at the front of the church with their backs to the congregation… and their racer-back bathing suit tan lines showing. FP#2 – if you are a bridesmaid in a strapless gown, you make sure no tan lines are visible. Lots of products out today that can take care of that. Okay. Music swells, time for the bride to walk down the aisle with her father. Mother does not stand, but rather steps into the aisle with her camera to take a picture (FP#3). Instead of waiting for the actual music, the bride and the FOB race down the short aisle during the wedding march’s introduction and stand there like idiots while the remainder of the march is played. (FP#4) The vows are said, the priest says his homily, etc. Time for communion. Consecration is complete. Communicants line up and approach the Eucharistic ministers… and have to weave their way around chairs set up at the front in which the bride and groom sat during the homily. Very awkward. Ceremony concludes, bride and groom kiss and are presented, everyone’s happy. On to the reception.

Reception is held at a "banquet hall," which I have never heard of before, but is a really good idea. But wait! Before the actual reception, there is a cocktail "hour" from 6-8. Open bar. Neither me nor my husband are big drinkers so we order soft drinks and help ourselves to some appetizers. Fruit, veggies, stuffed mushrooms, linguine with clams, ham and rolls, meatballs. About one hour into this cocktail party, the wait staff begin passing hot appetizers – pizza, chicken fingers, shish kebab. Great food but wow – a little elaborate. The real reception hasn’t even started and I’m full.

About a half-hour before the reception begins, as family we are summoned by the MOB for a picture in the actual reception area. We all gather. (Preface to the remainder of this part of the story – the bride’s family dynamic is explosive to say the least. They communicate by yelling and screaming at each other instead of being civil. This is completely foreign to me. Sure, I have had arguments in my family, but have never sworn at my parents. These people are constantly bitching and complaining to one another, loudly.) So we assemble for the picture and someone notices… so-and-so is not here (bride’s cousin on the other side). Someone mentioned he went to his car to get his jacket for the picture. We wait and wait, about 15 minutes. Bride’s mother goes to find out where he is. While she’s gone, FOB starts grumbling about how hungry he is, hasn’t eaten all day, paid all this money for food he’s not getting to eat, etc., grumble, grumble, etc. (I am sitting in a chair on the front row and FOB and B are standing right behind me.) Suddenly, I hear the bride scream at the top of her lungs, "SHUT UP! JUST SHUT THE F**K UP!" Then loud boo-hooing that was the fakest cry I ever heard. Then she summons the wedding coordinator (or catering manager, whoever) and screams, "GET HIM SOME FOOD!! ANYTHING TO SHUT HIM UP! I’M SICK OF HEARING HIM COMPLAIN!" All the while the groom (God bless this man, he is already a saint in my book) is quietly trying to calm her down and console her. Oh, I forgot to mention, this young lady is the biggest spoiled brat on the planet and her parents had to go into all kinds of debt to pay for this wedding, which I am sure cost several years’ gross income.

Enter the bride’s mother; bride is still boo-hooing. MOB, in her THICK accent, loudly demands to know, "Why the tears? No tears on your wedding day! Just tears of joy!" No one has seen the cousin so the picture is taken without him. (I have yet to see this picture. Not sure I want to.) Bride explains why she was crying. MOB chastises FOB in front of everyone, loudly and cursing profusely, asking him why he can’t keep his mouth shut on his daughter’s special day.

If I had ever spoken to either one of my parents in this manner, under any circumstance, I believe I would have been knocked into next week.

We return to the cocktail hour side of the banquet hall until we were summoned to enter the reception area. We are seated at tables with pre-set salads, but we can’t eat yet. DJ says so. So we sit there looking at our salad until the room darkens and becomes a disco bar, lights flashing, music blaring, in preparation for the presentation of the wedding party. Then they proceed with the first dances. (This is done down south as well, but it is done with much less fanfare, and once you are seated you are certainly allowed to begin eating your pre-set salad.) This done, the lights come on and the DJ tells us we can eat our salad. (Time: about 8:30 PM) Half an hour after this, lights go down and the place becomes a disco bar again, with lights flashing and music blaring. People get up and dance for about a half-hour. DJ tells everyone to sit down; it’s time for the pasta course. (Time: 9:30 PM) Half hour after that, DJ tells all the PARTY PEOPLE to get up and DANCE! Disco bar time again. Half hour or so passes and DJ tells everyone to sit down again and the servers will TAKE OUR DINNER ORDER!!! (It is 10:00 and we have yet to "order" dinner.) This takes about 20 minutes. Then, you guessed it, DJ tells everyone to get back up and dance in the disco again. Needless to say, I was so shocked at all this I just sat there in disbelief and watched as everyone else did what the DJ said and got all yucky and sweaty before they’d even had their dinner. While we’re waiting for our dinner, a guy comes by, shoves a microphone in our face, and tells us to look at the camera (What camera? All I can see is this glaring light.) and offer the bride and groom our congratulations. Of course we mumble something about love and happiness, blah, blah, blah. About 11:30 dinner arrives. ELEVEN THIRTY PM and we are eating dinner. I am typically in bed by 10 or 10:30, tops. So I eat to be polite, even though I am not hungry because I have been eating for the last four hours. But the food was good.

Around 12:15 *AM* it is time for the bride and groom to cut the cake. WHAT CAKE??? I never saw any cake… until they wheeled it out from the kitchen on a cart. In the south, the wedding cake and groom’s cake are a focal point of the reception on a beautifully decorated cake table, people ooh and ahh at the cake in anticipation of it being cut and served. So finally it is time for the couple to cut this cake that has mysteriously appeared. Then the DJ says, "Everybody! The bride cuts the cake, the bride cuts the cake, hi-ho-the-derry-o, the bride cuts the cake" to the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell." What is this crap? The bride cutting the cake by herself to this ridiculous song? But wait, it’s not over… the groom has to cut it, too, to the song, and then "the bride feeds the groom…" and "the groom feeds the bride…" I was mortified and was nearly laughing out loud at this custom, so foreign it was to me, but everybody (else) seemed to be getting into it. In the south, the bride and groom cut the cake together and feed each other simultaneously to symbolize their first meal as husband and wife and of their commitment to caring for one another (though sometimes this custom has disastrous results). They wheel the cake back into the kitchen so the staff can cut it and serve it. Hundreds of dollars spent on this wedding cake and cake top for it to be seen for exactly five minutes.

Now the time is about 12:45 am. Room is thumping once again. I’m looking at my wedding cake and at my server who is also setting down a plate full of cannoli, rugelach, and other pastries and asking me if I would like some coffee. I wearily say no thank you and that there is no possible way I can eat another bite. He says, "Well, I can bring you a box. It’s paid for and you can take it all home." The box arrives, I fill it up, and we leave around 1:00 am. The place is still thumping and jumping with no end in sight.

We arrive at the bride’s family’s home exhausted. (The SIL, her hubby, and baby arrived much earlier, since it was too late to keep a baby out. They were staying in the other attic room.) The room is a disaster – this is where the bride and bridesmaids dressed for the wedding. There are bras, athletic shoes, panty hose wrappers, socks, gym bags, dress bags, hangers, etc., strewn on the bed and the length and breadth of the room. We get out our pajamas and begin to undress for bed, clearing things as we go. I was just beginning to remove my bra when in bursts three of the bridesmaids. I cover myself with a look of horror on my face at these young (YOUNG) ladies who barely say a word except they have to get their stuff. We just sit there speechless as they plow through the room. (Why didn’t they get their stuff together BEFORE the wedding and arrange for someone to get it to them later?) Finally they leave and we are able to settle down to bed. Not one of them apologized for the intrusion.

I have never experienced anything like this before and hope future weddings I attend will be the civilized affairs to which I am accustomed. Not to say in the south we don’t dance and have fun, but things follow a reasonable schedule: dinner (all of it), cake cutting and toasts, first dances, everybody dance. People who need to leave early are able to offer their thanks and congratulations before departing. Dinner is not eaten at 11:30 at night. Brides don’t scream obscenities during picture taking.

Thankfully the remainder of the trip was a lot of fun with no mishaps and we had a wonderful time in New York. (As a side note, we realized later with some sadness that we visited the World Trade Center on August 11 – just one month before the terrorist attack.)

WedHell 0904/03

I feel bad telling this story b/c I like the groom so much as a co- worker, but his wedding sucked! Sad thing, he's very aware of it & has been getting grief from relatives and other guests about it ever since he got back from the honeymoon.

I got a verbal invite for myself and my boyfriend 2 weeks before the wedding. Although I know this violates wedding etiquette I was not bothered by it as I'd only been working with the groom for 6 weeks and was flattered to be invited at all. We get to the wedding and realize there are WAY too many people for the place. The wedding and reception were being held in a rather small swim & racquet club building, which was basically one larger room for all the guest & two smaller rooms for only the attendants & immediate family, which we were not allowed. There were about 120 people and I'd say that was 50 more than the fire marshal should allow in this place. It was so cramped. It was also a very hot day in August in the South and the room was crowded and stuffy. The air conditioning either wasn't on or wasn't on low enough to make a difference. A groomsman had to go find a lifeguard from the swim club to come & crank the A/C lower as the control was locked with a key, so there's a 16 year girl flouncing around in her bathing suit with all the guests. There were 3 rows of chairs, with a space up the middle for an "aisle," maybe 40 chairs in all, and all these chairs has "Reserved" signs on them. No one knew who was going to be sitting in those chairs, so guests stood b/c it didn't appear we could sit in those chairs. The groomsmen just milled around, not seating anyone or telling anyone where they could & could not stand. The bride was 1 hour late, which I found out later was a blessing as she'd been 2 hours late to the rehearsal dinner the night before. Meanwhile the groom & his groomsmen are sweating terribly in his full tuxedo with vest in the stuffy room. So we're waiting for an hour for the ceremony to even start, no one can sit. There are many elderly relatives there, all of whom could've used a chair. When the bride did finally show up the attendants (10 each for both the bride & groom!) rushed down the aisle and gathered in a clump at the front of the room. The bride was supposed to the enter through these two French doors at the back of the room, but no one thought to open those door or even unlock them until the bride tried to enter. It took a groomsman and the DJ to finally unlock the doors & actually let the bride into her own wedding. The bride comes down the aisle, then all the attendants go and sit in the chairs with the Reserved signs! They only take up about 1/2 of the chairs, but by now the ceremony has started so the remaining 20 chairs sit empty for the ceremony. There was an elderly woman with an oxygen tank who resorted to sitting on the hearth of the fireplace for lack of anywhere else to park it. By this time my feet are killing me. During the ceremony the bride appears to be very out of it. I know she had OCD and an anxiety disorder and chalked up her being late & acting spacey to that, or perhaps a someone had given her a tranquilizer or something to get her through this day. During the prayer, while the groom and many others bowed their head, the bride winked, waved, and grinned at the guests, then turned completely around to check herself out in the mirror behind the minister. She also grabbed a bottle of water from her mother & drank from it during the prayer. At one point a bridesmaid jumped up from her chair & noisily clip-clopped out of the room in her high heels for some reason. Lord knows. Anyway, thankfully the reception started immediately after the ceremony & I scouted around for a place to sit as my feet were throbbing from being forced to stand the whole time in dress heels. No such luck. The seats occupied by the attendants during the ceremony were then picked up & put at tables reserved for the wedding party & immediate family. I went out to the patio of the building where other tables were set up, only to discover a total of 40 more seats were available. So basically there were about 80 seats combined for about 120 guests. I never got to sit down the entire 3-hour reception. I ran into the groom and the he complained that timing of the events for the reception (cake cutting, first dance, garter & bouquet tosses) were supposed be handled by his groomsmen and family members, but they were too busy getting drunk. The bride's family was no help as they were too busy hovering around the spaced-out bride. My BF & I stayed out on the patio b/c, frankly, it was cooler outside than it was in that crowded room, and we wound up missing the cake cutting and the garter & bouquet tosses because the DJ didn’t announce them. I caught a glimpse of the first dance through a window, that was about it. The only thing that redeemed the whole night was the food was exceptional and in generous portions and the groom personally went around & apologized to almost everyone for the lack of seating, the air conditioning not working, and no one organizing the reception events.

When he came back from his honeymoon he spent the first few days of work fielding phone calls from outraged relatives about the bride’s winking during the prayer & the overall disorganization. He told me, "If I ever, God forbid, get married again I am eloping!"

WedHell 0909/03

My friends had a bachelorette party for me the night before my wedding at my own house. Much alcohol was present, and I got really drunk and passed out. My friends were also drunk and started to play pranks. They bleached and shrunk all of the clothes from my suitcase while I was passed out.

I woke up late the morning of the wedding with a terrible hangover. I did not know what world I was in. My friends helped me dress. This included slipping a pair of size 7 Keds on my bare feet that were laced with crazy glue. I felt so bad that I did not notice the glue until I tried to pull them off at the church. My friends also gathered my wedding gown, etc. for me to change into at the church. They laced the undergarments with itching powder sometime before I put it on.

WedHell 1110/03