Some people shouldn't be in charge of planning anything, especially a wedding!
All posts have been edited for clarity.
“We Still Laugh About It”
“My mother-in-law’s friend was getting married, and she lived in the same city as us. My MIL was flying in to attend the wedding and staying with us. The bride insisted my partner and I (as the child and partner of her friend) attend because we lived in the same city. This was fine.
We received a formal invitation two days before the wedding. The wedding invitation stated – ‘As you will be paying for your own meal, please don’t feel it necessary to bring a gift.’
I shrugged. Money can be tight for people, and I respected her for making it clear that we would be paying to attend. I still didn’t feel comfortable attending without a gift of some sort, so we checked with one of the organizers and were told the bride would be delighted with a card.
I purchased a beautiful card and popped some vouchers for a popular home store in the card.
The big day rolled around, and the location turned out to be an old bar.
As we entered, one of the ‘ushers’ diverted us past a wishing well (a receptacle set up for us to place money in) that had been set up to raise funds for the bride and groom – to cover the costs of the wedding. I raised an eyebrow at my partner, but we shrugged and dropped some money in the well.
We were then walked to the table by the same usher. One member of the bride’s family confided gleefully they’d gotten the bar for free because the bar assumed they would make some sales on drinks. That’s when it was brought to our attention we would also be paying for all of our own drinks. And that we should buy drinks NOW to ensure enough sales were made so the bride and groom wouldn’t need to pay for the hire of the space.
My partner rolled his eyes and trotted off to pay for some drinks, while I admired the wedding decorations, which consisted of a handful of red glitter scattered on the bashed-up tables.
The bride and groom (the bride was around 55 years old, and the groom was around 60 at the time) appeared finally after about an hour’s delay. Apparently, they’d run overtime getting ready which amused me no end, given that the wedding preparations consisted of dropping a rose in the top left pocket of the groom’s white shirt (the rose was always on the verge of falling out of the pocket – this was distracting during the ceremony). The bride just wore an everyday dress. But I shrugged.
The ceremony was thankfully quite brief.
Then came the food. It was catered in-house by the bar and I was exceptionally surprised at the price given the standard and quality. We paid a top-end price for an exceptionally mediocre meal (this is the kindest thing I can say) – who serves stewed chuck steak as the only main and charges $45 for the privilege? It turned out the bride and groom would get a ‘cut’ of the proceeds from the food sales.
I didn’t eat the meal because it was pretty bad, but I did sculpt a lovely butt into what was supposed to be mash potato.
Then various family members of the bride and groom began appearing at our table.
They first asked if we had placed any money in the wishing well. We assured him we had. He asked us if we wished to make a further donation. We assured him we didn’t.
Another family member appeared with an envelope. Did we wish to make a donation to the bride and groom’s honeymoon fund? We explained we had actually given a solid gift amount in vouchers – even though this was not actually required, and then had also placed some funds in the wishing well. He pressed – we declined.
I was giggling at this point and my MIL was face-palming. But she did actually give some more money to the gentleman to make him go away.
The final straw was when yet another family member appeared with yet another envelope for a donation so that the bride and groom could start their life together… remember, the bride was around 55 years old, and the groom was around 60 at the time…
We explained we needed to go, and they tried to get us to buy more drinks as we were leaving. Then, they attempted to walk us past the wishing well yet one more time on our way out.
I started laughing and I couldn’t stop. My partner explained away my hysterical laughter, saying he’d told me a joke earlier which was still making me laugh. We made an excuse and we fled the scene less than an hour into the ‘reception.’ We still laugh about it sometimes.”
The Last Straw Was The Wedding Cake
“First, there was a small after-ceremony sit-down buffet in the little church hall right next to the church. The bride and groom were delayed by only 30 minutes for taking pictures, but that 30 had brought chaos. The couple had a beautiful but still low-budget spread that included a few bottles of expensive bubbles, purely for the toast only. Only when on her arrival was the bride told they’d run out of the ‘cheap welcome drinks’ did the couple discover some kind brainiac had mistakenly decided all the guests should have a welcome glass of ‘bubbles’; the expensive one, which also happened to be the brides favorite drink, and she didn’t even get a taste of it! Nor was there a drop left for the toasts.
The chief Bridesmaid had also decided she didn’t like the fact that her husband wasn’t officially part of the wedding party. So, she had dragged a chair over to the end of the wedding party tables for him, to which the best man upon seeing that decided he wanted his girlfriend sat there too, and so did the same thing!
This now meant everyone else had to bunch up to make room, and apparently, at this point, an uninvited guest (the bride and groom had specified everyone was welcome at the ceremony, but the reception was only a small intimate function) decided she may as well stay for the buffet too. But, she didn’t want to sit at a table with people she didn’t know. However, she knew the bridesmaid and her husband, so she drew her chair up to their end of the table too!
The bride and groom were the last to arrive and obviously seated in the center had to almost sit on each knees, as there wasn’t enough room for them to sit comfortably!
The bride’s father actively refused to give a speech, and would not speak to the grooms’ family. He had also previously thrown the wedding car arrangements into disarray by insisting his fiancé, who had never actually met the bride and groom, travel in the wedding car with the bride! Another car was hastily scrambled last minute to ensure the bridal party could get to the venue and, after holding up the ceremony by an hour, then didn’t appear anyway!
The best man gave a speech that contained no jokes, anecdotes and didn’t even name never mind thank anyone, except his own girlfriend bizarrely but that quickly actively turned into a pitch for his latest money-raising scheme.
The toast was made with soft drinks (the church had made an exception for the bubbles but no-more and had ‘forgotten’ to advise the couple until the week before, of which the groom also then ‘forgot’ to tell the bride. I mention the church also ‘forgot’ two of the couple’s three requested songs for use during the ceremony?)
The bride had specifically ordered small chocolate glasses for all the children attending the ceremony for them to eat during the toast, which had somehow been placed out with the buffet food, and the whole bag had been taken!
A few other guests decided they also wanted ‘souvenirs’ of the day, so when the happy couple came to cut their cake, half the tiny red icing roses that adorned the small but pretty three tier cake were already gone, along with chunks of the icing too!
After much maneuvering of the cake to look good in the pictures, the couple had just cut the cake when the smoke alarms went off, activating the sprinkle systems too. Seemed someone decided to microwave a damp tea towel, which burst into flames and subsequently pumped black smoke through the hall too.
In hindsight, it was a blessed relief to bring the end to the fiasco! And that was just the afternoon reception! The evening one in a larger hall with an inebriated DJ, missing parents, and battling friends was even worse!”
There’s A Good Reason Why No One Should Up
“When I was 15, our cleaner invited our whole family to her wedding and reception. We were friendly with her, as she’d given one of our puppies a home when our dog had a litter, but we hadn’t known her long. Being 15m I didn’t really want to go, but my mum said we wouldn’t have to stay long and we would just go for the reception, dance a bit, and come home. It was in the Town Hall, a big, grand room in the nearby town.
When we got there, we saw the bride and groom dancing, but hardly anyone else in the room. My mum checked the time thinking we were early or late, but it turns out no one had turned up! There were my parents, my two brothers, and me, and then no more than seven other people in this huge, heavily decorated room with a large buffet that would have fed around 100 people.
We felt bad for the bride and groom, so tried to make up for the lack of people by dancing and eating a lot, but they were acting as if it was totally normal. They seemed to be having a wonderful time. After a while, a couple of people left and the five of us in my family made up half of the guests! I felt very awkward, and instead of staying an hour or two, we had to stay the whole night, all the while pretending we were having a great time.
We found out later the reason no one had shown – it turns out the bride and groom had been married before. In fact, they’d been married and divorced ninw times! The reception we went to was their tenth wedding, which explains why none of their family and friends wanted to waste any more time on them. A match made in heaven! I wonder if they are still married, or how many more weddings they’ve racked up now.”
A Harsh Realization
Once upon a time, my best friend was getting married. She lived in another state. We had met through a mutual friend, but we kept in touch by email, phone, and letters. The invitation came and I RSVP’d promptly, asking if I could bring a guest since it wasn’t specified. She replied it wasn’t in the budget to invite guests of guests since the catering was limited. I said I understood, and I did.
A couple of days before the wedding, I flew to southern California and phoned to let her know I was there. I heard nothing back and didn’t want to interrupt the last-minute plans, so I just waited to hear if we would be able to hang out at any time before the wedding, and in the meantime, I went to Disneyland.
Having still heard nothing by the big day, I drove on the L.A. freeways to the venue. I was not prepared for this, but I made it. The wedding was lovely and I was so happy for my friend!
At the reception, I noticed I was sitting at the furthest table away from the bride and groom. I made small talk with the other people at my table, and their general attitude was, ‘I barely know either of them. I don’t know why I was invited.’
I’m talking, like, old grade-school friends and ex-neighbors. Our table was the only one that wasn’t full.
In the receiving line, I finally got to hug my friend and tell her how happy I was for her and how beautiful she looked and how I hoped she would live happily ever after.
She said, ‘It’s so good to see you; I didn’t expect you to come!’
Back at my table, I kept mulling her words over and over in my mind. Why wouldn’t she expect me to come? She’s my best friend. Of course, I’m coming to her wedding! If I had to start three months early and walk the whole way, I would come.
You probably have guessed the punchline of this particular joke. I was a little slow on the uptake. The joke was, she never thought of me as more than an acquaintance. It all made sense. You don’t let people you barely know bring a +1 to your wedding. You don’t hang out with acquaintances before your wedding. You seat them at the ‘you’re lucky you even got an invitation’ leftover table, and you are puzzled when they show up from out of state. I was apparently never more than a friend-of-a-friend to her.
Now, let me just say that I don’t bear this woman any ill will. She didn’t exactly ‘lead me on’ more than just being very friendly and keeping up a correspondence with me, who poured my heart out to her as though she was my actual sister. I was like a pen pal who misunderstood the nature of our relationship and made a fool of myself. Looking back, it’s all pretty obvious and kind of sad and embarrassing.
Oh well, at least I got to go to Disneyland. That was fun!”
Oh, So That’s Why They Were Staring
“It was my cousin’s wedding and I knew what I was going to wear. My dark blue velvet dress that made me look so slim, and a pair of gorgeous patent leather shoes. In the evening, I was rushing around, giving last-minute baths to the children and separating the ‘quarrellers’ into different rooms so that they would fall asleep quickly before the babysitter came to watch over them.
My youngest fell asleep on my bed, so I shut the light and quietly got dressed in the dark. I put on my dress, slipped on my gorgeous shoes, and felt a delightful shiver of anticipation. I hadn’t been to a wedding for months! Soon I would be at the wedding, dancing, and dining, meeting up with my cousins, and who knew what else the night might bring?
I had a ball at the wedding. I did not stop laughing and talking, when the band started playing guess who was the first one to run to the dance floor, dancing and twirling? Yup, that was me. I hopped, skipped, and jumped to all the different music genres. I sensed how people were smiling at me and pointing, and I truly felt like the belle of the ball, a la Scarlett O’Hara.
I arrived home, exhausted but thrilled. The babysitter had transferred my baby to the crib in her room, so I flicked on the light and began to remove my makeup. My feet were hurting, and I bent down to remove my shoes.
And stopped cold.
No, this could not, should not, would not be happening to me! I remembered with a sickening heart the funny looks I had gotten as I pirouetted and twirled on the dance floor, and how people were pointing at me. I had been sure that every guest there was admiring my slick moves and secretly envying me.
It turned out that they had been looking at something else, something that had just become indescribably clear to me as I looked down at my feet.
I was wearing two different shoes.”
She Had Every Right To be Mads
“We were sitting three or four rows back, and when the MOH came down, she seemed to be a little blushed. Okay, weddings can be stressful for everybody in the party. Then the bride and her father came down the aisle.
As she walked by, I heard her mumbling, ‘I can’t believe it. On my wedding day. My day.’
She didn’t kiss her dad, in fact, I think she killed him with her laser beam eyes. When she stepped up on the altar, she basically jammed the bouquet into the MOH’s hands and gave her the same glare. Well, the groom suddenly started to look anxious. She was never known as a hothead, and this was rather surprising. Things seemed a little tense for the rest of the wedding, and the feeling slowly crept back through the church.
At the reception, the Best Man clued me in on what was going on. I got an idea when I heard someone say, ‘That’s the kind of trouble that cost him at the divorce.’
Seems the father of the bride and MOH were caught in ‘the act’ by the bride! And, as I learned later, this was not the first time she caught her horn-dog father with one of her friends. This time, however, things went a little differently.
The Father of the bride sat up at the head table, but he and his ex-wife (her mother) switched seats. And there didn’t seem to be a lot of conversation aimed at him. Even the groom’s men ignored him. The MOH gave about a 10-second toast with something like, ‘May every day be better than yesterday.’
When the dance with the father happened, the best man cut in almost as soon as might be thought polite. I never saw the MOH dance and when I spent a couple of minutes pretending I knew how to waltz with the bride, she told me, ‘I knew they were sleeping with each of and that’s their problem. But not on my wedding day. She could have at least waited until after the ceremony.’
I gave her a polite little kiss and said, ‘It’s your day. Forget them. You don’t have to ever see them again.’
There is not one picture in their house of the entire wedding party. Just the two of them. To the best of my knowledge, she has not talked to either her father or her MOH in twenty-plus years.”
Everyone Had Different Experiences Of The Wedding
“My eldest son’s wedding was a fiasco from beginning to end!
The bride spent $800 on her wedding gown, but the fittings had been done by family, who didn’t have experience with tailoring. Every time the bride bent over, we were treated to a glimpse of her bra and body.
My son was embarrassed to tell us he couldn’t afford tuxes for himself and his friends. We made frantic calls to different stores and found red vests for rent (not cheap, as you can imagine).
The wedding took place in a bar where my son had played gigs, and it wasn’t set up for weddings. The man who was to officiate was hammered, didn’t know their names, and had a difficult time climbing up on the stage, nearly falling off! During the ceremony, he turned to my son and said, ‘Do you take her as your awfully wedded wife?’
The wedding colors were red and black. On the white wedding cake, the red icing ran, making the cake look like it was bleeding.
My son’s father-in-law had planned the reception to be a concert at the bar. The band was good, but the volume was at ear-damaging levels. All the wedding party drank a lot, got incredibly wasted and quarreling loudly with each other.
My husband and I decided to bow out quietly. I feel badly that we missed much of my son’s celebration, but they actually think it was great time, and are still going strong after being married for 10 years.”
All Of That For A Slice Of Pizza?
“When we were first dating, my then-boyfriend-now-husband (TBNH) was asked to be a groomsman in the wedding of his best friend J from middle school. Now, my TBNH had lost touch with this friend over the years— his parents had divorced and he moved away during high school. So it was a surprise to hear from J, and he said yes and was happy to reconnect with his friend. Since the wedding would take place in J and TBNH’s former hometown and would require travel by plane, TBNH asked if I could also attend and J said of course! We were 23 and fairly poor at this time, but we managed to scrape together the money for the airline tickets.
TBNH called his Dad and stepmom and made arrangements to stay with them so we could save money instead of getting a hotel room. Surprise #2! J had invited TBNH’s Dad and stepmom to the wedding as well. Then TBNH was talking with his Mom a few days later, and surprise #3! His Mom and stepdad were also invited. This did not bode well, as the divorce was not particularly amicable. TBNH secretly hoped one or both of his parents would decide not to come, but he was prepared to keep them apart if necessary.
TBNH talks to J and found out he will have to miss the bachelor party (since it was two weeks before the wedding and we couldn’t afford to fly down twice), but if we could fly down earlier on the Friday before, we could attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. I’m not in the wedding party, of course, but J assured me it would be great to have me attend. He was looking forward to meeting me and catching up with TBNH outside the wedding, when there would be time to relax a bit and talk.
We went through the hassle of changing our flight and rushed to get to the church by the five pm start time (as we were told). Surprise #4! The actual rehearsal started around four pm and ended around 4:30 pm, so we missed it. Well, at least there was a dinner and time to socialize, right? Surprise #5! The rehearsal dinner was pizza in the church hall basement room. But we were not allowed to eat any until the church and hall (where the reception would take place) were decorated. Yes, as a guest who had never met either the bride or the groom, I was expected to roll up my sleeves, organize and decorate both the church and hall. TBNH and I made the best of it, but the reality was that it was mostly the bridesmaids (and me) working and the groomsmen chatting. Two hours later, I was starving and was rewarded with a slice of cold pizza.
The other awkward thing was the bride had many close friends and two sisters who were all bridesmaids, so there needed to be the same number of groomsmen to match. But J didn’t have as many friends so he was having to ask more distant or not so close friends (it soon became clear that TBNH was only asked because of the numbers).
When we walked in, before we were introduced by J, one of the bridesmaids loudly screeched, ‘Is that one my groomsman?’
Apparently, the bride had promised to set up each of her single bridesmaids with a single groomsman as a kind of wedding ‘date,’ thereby avoiding plus one’s. When J introduced us as a couple, both the bride and this bridesmaid shot daggers at me with their eyes. Like this was my fault? I had ruined the plan!
The wedding the next day did not get any better. I was seated with TBNH’s father and stepmother, who spent most of the time trashing TBNH’s mother and stepfather who were sitting at an adjacent table. TBNH had to sit with the wedding party—so guess who ended up in charge of keeping his parents separated? And I was hearing the lovely insults, I got to gaze at the main table at the front of the room, where the single bridesmaid was making the moves on TBNH. Oh, and did I mention this was a dry wedding because the bride’s family did not believe in serving drinks? Nothing to take the edge off. But luckily for TBNH, all of the groomsmen (and the groom too) brought flasks for themselves, and thus they disappeared frequently to take stealthy drinks. TBNH was having a fine time, but I was so miserable that after an hour at the reception, I just went out to the parking lot and sat on the curb and cried.
However, soon after TBNH found me outside, and when he realized what a nightmare it was, decided then and there we were leaving. We borrowed his stepmother’s car and took off back to his parent’s place. I don’t think anyone even noticed we left, except maybe the disgruntled single bridesmaid who now had no one to put her claws into.
And if you guessed that we never got a thank-you note for the gift we brought, or our help setting up before the rehearsal and that the marriage would only last for two years, you’d be correct!”
“Let Them Eat Cake”
“My worst experience of all was a ‘long gap’ situation, where my date and I sat around in our fancy clothes for over four hours following the church ceremony that had wound up at about one o’clock in the afternoon. We were hungry but didn’t want to spoil our appetites for the dinner we knew was, eventually, coming.
This was in the days before cell phones so we left for the reception site good and early and finally made our way through a complicated set of directions to a plain building set in a state park. The barracks-like interior had not been decorated in any way and contained long plastic tables and metal folding chairs. No music played, not even a boombox, and people sat around chatting quietly. There was nothing to drink, either; in fact, I don’t remember if there was anything to drink except water.
Okay, so the ambiance was non-existent. but what about the food? Well, there was food in a manner of speaking. After making everyone wait all afternoon for the reception, they saw fit to serve us cheese, crackers, veggies, and dip. Period. This wasn’t just the appetizers, there was literally nothing else coming. At six o’clock at night.
The paltry ‘spread’ was quickly demolished. I think I scored a couple of bites from each platter. The guests went back to staring at each other across the plastic tables. In addition to the no music and no dancing edict, there were no typical wedding reception activities, such as bouquet-throwing, garter removing, speeches, etc. My date was mortified and apologized for the ‘family reunion except with a lot less food’ about fifty times. I didn’t know a soul there except him so I did my best to engage.
Eventually, a wedding cake was brought out and this is the really funny part. It was absolutely colossal. Like, eight tiers high with plastic bridges going on either side to even more tiers. I was immediately perplexed because there were only about seventy people on hand and this was easily enough cake to feed three hundred. Was this Marie Antoinette’s descendant here, thinking, ‘Let them eat cake,’ and hardly anything else?
Imagine my vast amusement when only the top three tiers of this monstrosity were lifted off and cut, revealing the rest of the thing was nothing more than round plastic forms covered in icing. I kid you not. I was told the bride had wanted this cake and nothing else, so this was the illusion the bakery employed to make her happy.
The evening also featured the bride vanishing for a few minutes and then reappearing dressed in sweatpants with her hair down, ready to mingle some more. So much for any kind of ‘going away’ festivities. By this point, I had long since despaired of any kind of traditional reception so I truly wasn’t shocked.
My date and I made our escape at our earliest convenience and took our growling stomachs straight to the nearest fast food joint, where we wolfed down hamburgers and laughed ourselves silly over the ridiculousness of the entire affair.”
Sorority Sister’s Wedding
“I was a guest at my sorority sister’s wedding. I’ll refer to her as ‘Victoria.’ We had shared a room in the sorority house so we were pretty close. The day before the wedding, another sister, we’ll call her ‘Rebecca,’ and I traveled an hour and a half to get to our friend’s hometown where the wedding was being held. Rebecca and I were not bridesmaids but we were going to spend the night at Victoria’s house with the rest of the wedding party. She had invited us to prove we were special even if we weren’t bridesmaids.
From the minute Rebecca and I stepped into the house Victoria’s mother had us doing little tasks. We had to pick up the pizza, set the table, etc. Little things, but still things you don’t ask a guest to do. The next morning Victoria’s mom woke us up and told us to go find Victoria. Apparently, she had spent the night with her lover, not her fiancé, or in her own bed. Can you imagine how uncomfortable we were to be put in that situation? It gets worse.
We had to fetch breakfast, bobby pins, hairspray, and shoes. I had to fix hair. I used to fix hair for all the girls living in the house at that time, but I had no prior knowledge I would be required to style the entire bridal party and bride. Rebecca had to iron Victoria’s dress. By this time, we realized we hadn’t been invited as special guests but servants.
We were late for the reception after the wedding because we had to gather all the various detritus left after seven girls finished prepping for a formal event. Dinner had already been served and Victoria’s mother immediately herded us to the kitchen and instructed us to wash dishes. I was in shock, even more so when Rebecca picked up a dish. But I started laughing when she tossed it to the floor. We left, went to McDonald’s, and never spoke to Victoria again.”