Things don't always go as planned, even if it's an important event like a wedding. These brides share what went down at their wedding when things started to go downhill. Content has been edited for clarity purposes.
“My husband and I were very young (19 and 24), but we had been together for several years and knew from the start that we would end up walking through life hand in hand. We might have waited longer to marry, but we were sick of being in an international long-distance relationship, so we decided to go ahead and get married. Our original plan was to do a quiet ceremony with our closest friends and family, but my mother-in-law wasn’t having that. We both love her, so we agreed to let her plan a wedding. The only complicating factor at that time was the requirement for us to marry and get my application for permanent residency sent off within a couple of months, so we were kind of pushing it.
My mother-in-law had a friend design my dress, Tony’s tux was tailored, she contracted for catering with a fine dining restaurant, and booked the church for the ceremony and an old farm for the reception (maybe not a great choice). She ordered the insane-tiered wedding cake, arranged for an open bar, and sent out 120 invitations. Meanwhile, my father-in-law, a contractor, was working night and day to build us a little three-bedroom starter house for us, as a wedding gift. The house was completed in mid-August, and everything else was ready with just enough time for us to marry before the time was up – we’d have about a week to spare.
Hurricanes are part of life here, and the vast majority either dissipate, change course, or land as minor storms, so we weren’t super worried about the forecast. We were an hour north of New Orleans, and there was no real sense of worry here until my lingerie shower a day or two before the wedding. We all still thought that it would be fine, but as I was at my bachelorette party the night before, the rain and wind kicked up so hard that we had to leave – yet we still thought that it would be over when we woke up.
It wasn’t. We were living with my in-laws until we were married, and that morning we woke up and realized that fallen trees and power lines had trapped us in that little neighborhood. The storm started kicking up again and around the time that I was supposed to get my hair done, the power went out. By the time of the scheduled ceremony, we heard a weird sound getting louder and louder, so loud that we could hear it through the storm, and then the trees across the empty field just started snapping like twigs. We ran inside and hid from the tornado, and when we ventured back out we saw that the path of destruction led right toward where our new house was sitting.
It was all over by early evening, so we went to sleep on mattresses in the little man cave my father-in-law had added to the garage because the one working generator we had could power that window unit. So yeah, I spent what should have been my wedding night sleeping in between Tony’s parents and sister, on two giant Saints pillows. It was three days before the power came back and the roads were cleared, but we still had to get married. A relative owned a gym, and we didn’t know at the time that she was refusing to take refugees in until we had a chance to use it to host a reception. My mother-in-law convinced the pastor to do the wedding even though the power was still out at the church, and since the cell network was down. We called the guests with a corded landline and drove around to spread the word.
The cake was obviously not coming, and neither was the food. In fact, the vendors had boarded up and left, and so had the dry cleaner who had my dress and the tuxes. My mother-in-law insisted on a real wedding, so she drove through four parishes until she found a Walmart that was open and sold fabric. She and her sister-in-law sewed me a beautiful and simple dress in one day. They even made basic belted sheath dresses for my bridesmaids, and as the real flowers we had ordered had gone the way of the cake and the food. So we borrowed the fake ones a cousin had used at his wedding. A friend made several cakes, and some relatives got their big pots out and made enough jambalaya for everyone. Tony spent 1,500 dollars on all the Cirocthe gas station had.
It was confusing and overwhelming, and I was still trying to process the loss of my first house, the one I never got to live in, but Tony’s mom was like a general. She told me where to be and handled the rest, she even got a friend to come to do my hair and makeup. She couldn’t access her tools because her house had flooded, so she teased my hair with a fork. As odd as that whole experience was, and as irrelevant as the idea of a big wedding was to me, it melted my heart to see all these people take time out from repairing storm damage to get me married. Everyone worked so hard, and they were relentless enough to accomplish the impossible: We had a wedding, as soon as the first crews came through and cleared the major roads.
Our luck changed when the power and A/C came on in the church right before the ceremony, and though many guests had evacuated the area, most managed to attend. I think half the guests were in borrowed clothes – including my groom. People couldn’t get to their own homes, and the groomsmen wore black pants and white shirts because we couldn’t replace all those tuxes in so little time. Lovebugs were all over my white dress, but it really looked amazing.
The reception took place in a gym, with jambalaya on paper plates and sheet cake – oh, and Ciroc in Solo cups. But we were successfully married before the deadline, and I will never doubt that my in-laws wanted me to join the family.
So yeah, Hurricane Katrina almost ruined my wedding day.”
Ugh, Car Problems
“I was 24 years old marrying my high school boyfriend. Believe it or not, back then people were not that obsessed with wedding details like they are now. My mom has amazing taste and I was thrilled for her to make most of the decisions.
I married on my parent’s farm in the front yard with a reception in the backyard. It was 98 that day so we had industrial fans set up for the guests during the ceremony. In the backyard, we had professional lighting in the trees, everywhere. We had a tent with a band setting up, and we had a trailer with potties and sinks that were really nice and not gross. But things started to go wrong.
The car that was supposed to take my father and me to my wedding died. And since we did not have cell phones, no one knew we were stuck. And once we got across there, the transformer blew because all of the power we were pulling (and we had electricians beef the system up). Then we ran out of drinks- and we had a lot.
But in the end, the head of the electric department happened to live across the street and saw it happen. He had it fixed in a little over an hour. He was laying in a lawn chair in his front yard waiting for the fireworks show (my dad has retail fireworks stores). Another friend owned an adult beverage store and was more than happy to go and get more.
And in the end, everyone had fun, had a ton to drink, danced the night away and I successfully married my husband – which was the end goal anyway.”
The Hotel Lost Everything
“It all started going wrong the day before the wedding. My husband and I got married at a stately home hotel in Northumberland, United Kingdom, a week before Christmas 2010. My mother, bridesmaids and I were staying there the night before.
We arrived and asked for the bridesmaid dresses and shoes, which had been taken to the hotel a few days before, along with my wedding dress, table plans, decorations, favors, etc. One of the bridesmaids had come from the United States and she needed a last-minute dress fitting. But they couldn’t find the dresses.
I stayed calm, knowing they’d turn up, and decided to not stress and give the staff more time. The dresses were found by the time we returned, but no shoes. These were finally found at 10 pm. So at least I didn’t go to bed stressed.
The morning of the wedding arrived. The first clue I had that anything was wrong was the wedding planner turning up at my room with complimentary drinks to ‘apologize for what was happening downstairs.’
I asked, ‘What?’
My bridesmaids had been trying to keep me in the dark, but basically, nothing was ready. They couldn’t find the table plan or decorations. The hotel’s master of ceremonies was missing and my nephew and sister had been setting tables, as nothing had been done by the staff. My maid of honor expressed her dissatisfaction to the wedding planner and was met with rudeness from here.
While all of this was going on, my husband had arrived (he’d been staying at another hotel nearby).
He arrived at the receptionist desk, telling someone on the phone that there was ‘a huge wedding on today and it’s going to be a nightmare.’
He said he was the groom and asked where the flowers were since they’d been delivered earlier. No-one knew. Turns out they’d been dumped in the conservatory. He found them and sorted buttonholes, asking for my bouquet and the bridesmaids’ corsages to be sent up to my room. They lost those too, on the way.
We were supposed to get married in front of a Christmas tree. I walked down the aisle – no tree. They played the wrong music when we came back down the aisle as husband and wife. The photographer got his time cut short by the hotel staff as they said the food was ready. Result? No photos of my side of the family. Only to find out, the food wasn’t actually ready and we sat 20 minutes waiting for starters.
In the evening, they did not cut our wedding cake for the guests. They lost our gifts, the bridesmaids went to take them up to the bridal suite and they were gone (later found in the manager’s office). It began to snow, so a few guests who were coming only for the evening party couldn’t make it in the snow. Their rooms were already paid for, so we asked if other guests could stay in them instead of getting taxis home and they wouldn’t allow it. Turns out the staff slept in them as some couldn’t get home.
Before we left, I explained I’d be making a complaint as it had been a series of mistakes that, separately would have been insignificant, but together mounted up to spoil our day. We ended up having a meeting with the General Manager a few weeks after the wedding. He compensated us a percentage of our wedding costs and also gave us a free weekend break to another one of their hotels in the Lakes, which we took in the Spring.
Despite all that, it was still one of the best days of my life.”
Worst Father Ever
“My father didn’t want me to get married. He actually said I couldn’t because there wouldn’t be anyone to cook or clean if I left. I left a week early to be sure he didn’t pull some last-minute stunt to keep me from getting married. We got a phone call from the State Park we had reserved for the ceremony, that the father of the bride had called to cancel. There wasn’t the name on record, so who do they send the returned deposit to? They luckily hadn’t filled the reservation yet so we were able to get it back, but when we began calling around.
We soon found out my father had canceled the reception hall, cake, caterers, music, and anything else he could think of. My dad pocketed a couple of thousand dollars in deposits from the wedding and honeymoon even though he hadn’t paid for any of it. Two of my bridesmaids were underage and were told by their parents they couldn’t go. One was my sister who was away at school and decided it wasn’t worth it to come home for my wedding because my dad wasn’t going to let it happen. The one bridesmaid who did show up was my husband’s soon-to-be ex-sister-in-law who insisted on being in the wedding party because I wanted her daughter to be my flower girl. She had gotten the dress for her daughter, but hadn’t liked the dress I had ordered for her so we had to go get a new one the day before the wedding. We also had to get everything else we needed the day before the wedding. We got a friend ordained online and wrote a script for him. We mixed a CD with music downloaded or copied from ones we owned to entertain as the guests came in, I walked down the aisle and exited. I made bouquets until early morning. I left a note on the table for someone to please order a cake from the grocery store before I went to bed.
We got to the venue and even though my bridesmaid, flower girl, and I were an hour late, (they had thought they would be nice and let me sleep), there were hardly any guests there. My father had called everyone who had RSVPed and said it was canceled. He was there gloating over the failure he assumed it would be, with my mom, my grandmother, and my younger brother. My in-laws, two of his four brothers, a handful of friends, (most of who had been roped in to be part of the wedding, groomsmen, photographer, CD master, etc.), were there. Seventeen people out of the hundred and fifty we invited.
At the beginning of the ceremony, there were more deer in the amphitheater, than people. In the end, the entire back row was filled with tourists who had invited themselves to watch. My father insisted on being in nearly all the pictures and kept telling everyone how this wasn’t a real wedding because he wasn’t asked to give away the bride.
We realized the limo had been canceled and not rescheduled so we caught a ride down to a park where we planned on taking over a table or two for the reception. We stopped to change into less formal clothes because we were tipped off that my new brother and sister-in-law planned to spray us with drinks and birdseed. We realized that we hadn’t gotten any drinks so we picked up some sparkling cider and soda when we got the cake, veggie platter, cheese platter, and chips at the grocery store. We had a very casual party with another mixed CD for dancing, and we got sprayed and pelted with birdseed, which gets everywhere and sticks. Our friends had chipped in to get us a new honeymoon, for a night at least because we hadn’t gotten that far. It was just a room near the beach, ten minutes from home, but it was enough.”
“My younger daughter got married in August. The ceremony was in Seattle, Washington at a lovely venue on the water. My husband was hospitalized two days before the wedding, with sepsis in Denver, Colorado. Having to call my daughter and tell her that her dad might be dying and that neither of us could attend her wedding was one of the hardest things that I have ever done. She sobbed her heart out. She was worried about her Daddy. She was devastated about us not coming. Luckily, Steph has an older brother and sister.
Her brother, Andrew would do the duties of the father. And her sister, Michelle would be ‘Mom’.
Everything was going well, aside from a couple of little issues — Steph forgot her wedding gown on the other side of town, but my sister was able to get it.
The bachelorette party was having a lovely time drinking. Stephanie was to bring her diamond wedding ring to the ceremony so Kevin could put it on her finger. Only trouble was, she had nowhere to put it. Now, let me just say that any plan that is devised by a bunch of girls drinking is sure to be doomed.
Michelle, the ever-helpful maid of honor offered to take the ring and hold it for Steph. Now Michelle is a bit of a free thinker. Yes, you guessed it. She decided to stick the ring on the top of her Spanx. What could go wrong?
Off the girls went to a local beach for pictures. They were still sipping drinks and having a wonderful time.
Halfway through the photo session, Stephanie declared, ‘I’ve really got to pee.’
There were no bathrooms available, so she went to pee behind some bushes. This, apparently couldn’t be done, in a fitted wedding gown, without assistance. Who knew? Michelle, tipsy as could be, helped Stephanie pull the gown up to her waist.
Then Michelle thought, ‘Well, I have to pee too.’
Once the display of rumpled chiffon was completed, they headed back to the venue, twenty minutes away. They were almost there when Michelle realized the ring was no longer in her Spanx. She clasped a hand over her mouth, in horror. Her eyes filled with tears.
One of Steph’s friends noticed and whispered, ‘Michelle, whatever is wrong, just say it out loud so that we can fix it.’
She said, ‘The ring is gone.’
Steph’s head swiveled around so fast that her up-do was in danger of taking flight.
Step yelled, ‘What!’
They rounded up the bridesmaids and their husbands/boyfriends. With directions to look for the pee spots, in the bushes at the beach, they set off. In meantime, the ceremony should have already started thirty minutes ago. So I called my son.
I asked, ‘Andrew, What’s the delay?’
He said, ‘Nothing, Mom. We are just working out one last detail.’
Meanwhile, the guys arrived at the beach. They got down on their hands and knees, in their suits and wingtips. Ties dragging and pants cuffing full of sand, they searched. They sifted through many, many damp spots, by numerous bushes. Sweating because the sun was beating down on their backs. Luckily, one of them found the ring. They raced back to the venue.
The ceremony began and everything was marvelous, except for the absence of her parents and her sandy ring.
No one told us about the Great Ring Caper until days later.”
Uh-Oh! They Booked The Wedding On The Wrong Date
“I was only 20 years old when I got engaged. My mom was still smarting from her and my dad’s divorce and told me she didn’t want to help me plan the wedding. I had no idea what I was doing. An artist friend gave us the gift of camera-ready art for custom invitations. They were on a mauve stock with dark navy ink. Looking back (to the ‘’80s), I still think they were very pretty and were exactly what I wanted. My mom was horrified by them, partly because they only had one envelope and partly because she and my father were not mentioned. These were very informal invitations because we were having a very casual wedding.
My mom also almost insisted that I have Italian creme cake because it was the most popular thing at the time. I didn’t like it then, don’t like it now, but I had it at my wedding.
The morning of the wedding, I went to get a manicure. I had chosen a really cool polish, white but very iridescent, very ‘80’s, and my mom told me no. She said it looked like a corpse’s fingernails and that I should have pink. So I had pink.
My husband and I lived in Austin, Texas, and we wanted an outdoor wedding. We set the date between our birthdays in the summer. Summer in Austin? Yeah. It was hot. But we chose a venue on a hill, where there would be a nice breeze, overlooking a big park with a view of downtown. It was really lovely.
And then I got the bad news. One week before the wedding—one week, mind you—Parks and Recreation called and said they had received my seating arrangement, but they had us scheduled on a different day. The next day. The wrong day. Invitations had gone out weeks before.
Parks and Recreation offered us two other venues, both air-conditioned. One was just too ugly and plain, so we chose the one on the water. It had a little bandstand right on the lake—great for the ceremony—and a hall for the reception. And air conditioning. Except the air conditioning didn’t really work.
I was absolutely devastated about the venue mix-up. I wanted to throw in the towel and elope. But my mom encouraged me.
She said, ‘Your grandparents are coming to visit this weekend. Come down here and bring your invitation list. We will all work together and send out a nice-looking notice so people will know where to go. And on the day of the wedding, we will go and tack notices up on a tree by the original venue, with directions to the new place.’
And that’s what we did. The new locale on the lake was hot. The wedding was at six pm which was still about 100 degrees, even next to the water. Inside, it never got below 80.
My mom was late to the ceremony, because, as I found out later, she was having a total emotional meltdown back at the hotel with my sister (who was also my only bridesmaid), who managed to get her calmed down enough to arrive 10 minutes late. I had to pluck a friend from the guests to get me into my merry widow (an undergarment sort of like a bustier that hooks all down the back—couldn’t do it alone.)
The ceremony was fine, except I could not get the ring on my husband’s finger, as he was swollen from the heat and maybe a little excited blood pressure?
And finally, it began to rain just before we got into our car to leave.
My mom came in and said, ‘Come look!’
I said dejectedly, ‘I know. It’s raining.’
She said again, ‘No, come look!’
I stuck my head outside and saw a big rainbow in the sky. We took that as a very positive auspice. And it was. We left for a lovely honeymoon in Cozumel.
I was just glad the whole thing was over, and I swore never again. Elopement is underrated.’
The Legal Process
“My nephew was about to get married to his longtime girlfriend. They’ve been planning their wedding carefully and lovingly for almost a year. They selected a beautiful venue in Portugal and invited 100 people, of which at least half were traveling in from other countries since the groom is Franco-American and the bride is Portuguese and they live and work in London. They chose the dress, the suit, the menu, the decorations. Everything was set to go except for one little tidbit of paperwork. My nephew needed his certificate of no impediment, which proves that he has not been previously married, and is part of the publishing of the banns.
He filled out the application forms with plenty of time to spare, and sent them, as instructed, to the French consulate in Portugal. This actually makes no sense since he doesn’t live there; the point of banns is for people to see them and possibly recognize someone they were married to or knew to be married already, so it would make more sense to publish them in his hometown. It is, however, the correct legal process, but the French consulate in Portugal thought he should get the certificate in London, so they sent the file over to London by diplomatic courier. But then nobody could find it on either end; it disappeared. Days and weeks passed.
The banns in France have to be published for 10 days before a wedding can take place, so he kept bugging them. But three weeks before the wedding, the groom discovered that in Portugal the banns have to be published three weeks before the wedding. But he still didn’t have his certificate. Angry phone calls to the consulates resulted in his file being located, but he rejoiced too quickly: they told him it would take days to prepare the certificate.
He asked if they couldn’t hurry it up.
They said, ‘No.’
He asked what on earth he was supposed to do.
They said, ‘You can change the date.’
‘Oh, sure,’ he said, ‘And tell 100 people to cancel all their travel plans, and lose the deposit on the venue.’
They couldn’t care less. They told him there was no possibility for him to wed his girlfriend on the planned date.
Well, what to do?
After a discussion with the family, they decided to keep their wedding as planned, and have the bride’s beloved brother pronounce the wedding service, exchange rings, and vows, and celebrate together with everyone. It would be a lovely wedding – just not legal.
Two weeks after the wedding, they were planning a short vacation in the United States, and it turns out that at least in our state, you don’t need to publish the banns at all, and all you do to get the certificate of no impediment is raise your right hand and swear. You fill out a paper with your name and address, wait three days for a marriage license, pay 50 bucks to a local justice of the peace, and bingo. Who knew it was so much easier to get married in America?
So I was going to be attending a wedding that wasn’t a wedding, and the unmarried married couple would go and get married again.”
Picture Time Gone Wrong
“It was a very hot summer day in Mexico. Our pictures were going to be taken before the wedding ceremony at a government building. The photographer was to make sure he had all the permits and such. As we were getting close, we noticed the street to the building was closed off by traffic police. We asked why it was closed, and not only was the street closed, but also the building where we were going to take our pictures due to a city event. Oh my gosh, and we couldn’t park there either.
So we got out of the car to wait for our photographer, who by the way was an hour late. So there we were, standing in the middle of downtown under the sun, with my big wedding dress, high heels, and long veil. Husband to be with his tux. We had to improvise the pictures in another location. Okay, that wasn’t so bad.
We arrived at the church and realized that we did not have a planner who would organize the order in which everyone would walk down the aisle. Everyone knew that the groom walks with his mother and the bride with her father. But we had to tell a friend to tell my mother to walk with my brother-in-law since the father-in-law was not at the wedding. Then the maids of honor and then me.
For some reason, this was not done. My mother ran in alone, followed by my brother-in-law running after her kind of laughing. My bouquet girl arrived late and was just in time to snatch the bouquet from my sister and almost walked down the aisle with sunglasses.
Finally my moment. I stood there with my dad, waiting for the ‘here comes the bride’ music, which never came. So I was standing there as everyone was looking at me waiting for me to walk in, with normal church music. Then walked up my eight-year-old son and six-year-old stepson to ask where they can sit. I was so upset because my moment was being ruined. I told them to just go sit down, while I started walking down the aisle with a ticked-off face. As soon as I saw my husband-to-be smiling at me, I relaxed.
After the ceremony, we went to the reception and the only thing that kind of went wrong was that the cake was tilting over. But the bakery reacted fast and took it to the kitchen while they placed a fake cake for the pictures.
After that, I had so much fun. I forgot about everything and enjoyed our night and honeymoon afterward.I wish I would have reacted differently, you can see my clenched jaw in the pictures.”
“We got married in March 2018 in the United Kingdom which happened to be the week of the worst snowstorm in decades. Now it doesn’t snow very often in March so it took us completely by surprise. Unfortunately, this meant about 24 of our guests were unable to make it, including my maternal grandparents who I’m extremely close to. So at the last minute, we were inviting local friends who we knew were coming to the ceremony to come to the reception as well so that we didn’t have 24 meals going to waste.
I’m a wheelchair user so the snow also made it quite difficult from a logistical point of view and trying to keep my dress clean and away from the wheels of my chair was a bit of a nightmare.
But one of the biggest things that went wrong on my wedding day was the zip on one of my bridesmaid’s dresses completely broke, a few minutes before we were due to be at the church. So we had to scramble to find a solution. In the end, we used two of the shawls that I’d bought for the bridesmaids to keep them warm and safety pinned them at the back to cover where the zip should’ve been which worked at keeping her decent and comfortable. We ended up being 40 minutes late to the church but thankfully my groom was still there waiting for me.
Despite all of that my wedding was a beautiful, special day and I got to marry the love of my life. The rest of the day went much more smoothly and although we didn’t get many photos of just the two of us, the photos that we did get were amazing, especially with the snow in the background. The only thing I would change is having my grandparents there but we were able to live stream the ceremony so that they and others who couldn’t make it could watch.
A couple of the outside photos we were able to get before freezing to death.”
“I was due to walk down the aisle, and about a nanosecond, after I’d heard a very distinct ‘POP-POP’ and felt the release of something important ripping itself free from the back of my dress.
Now, because whatever it was was on the back of the dress, I had no idea how bad or how fixable the damage was. Thank the Lord, my perfect maid of honor was there, and she quite literally had my back. She pulled me rapidly into the tiny bathroom right behind us to assess the damage.
Fortunately, the sound and the tearing sensation were only caused by the tearing of the tiny clasp at the very top of the zipper, and not by the entire back busting wide open, as I’d feared. A bit of quick hiding and maneuvering, and two minutes later, no one but my brilliantly beautiful maid of honor and I were the wiser.”