Some brides can go overboard with their weddings. These wedding planners reveal just how overboard these requests can get. Content has been edited for clarity purposes.
Precious Moments Figurines
“My mom made wedding cakes for almost 20 years in the 1990s. Several of her horror stories involved Precious Moments figurines, of all things. They’re the ones that look like creepy babies/angelic children. For some ungodly reason, Precious Moments cake toppers were all the rage for a while. Unfortunately, they are made of ceramic and can be a bit heavy to place on top of the stacked pastry.
One time, my mom was mid-cake-setup when the mother of the bride (MOB) handed her a five-pound Precious Moments wedding car and told her it was their cake topper. Besides being heavy, it was also larger than the top tier of the cake.
My mom flat-out told her, ‘No way. That thing is way too heavy, it will crush of top the cake.’
The MOB didn’t want to take, ‘No,’ for an answer, and kept insisting the wedding would be ruined if they didn’t have this cake topper. My mom refused and explained several more times that the cake could not support the car. So she placed the car next to the cake and got a pretty spray of flowers from the florist to put on top, instead.
An hour later, she got a frantic call from the reception hall, because the cake fell, ‘all by itself.’
Turns out, the MOB waited until my mom left, placed the car topper on top of the cake, and left for the ceremony. The reception manager found the cake all over the floor shortly after.
A similar scenario occurred with a motorcycle-themed Precious Moments figurine several months later. My mom banned all Precious Moments after that.”
“I second-shot at a very large, extravagant wedding. The wedding party was all sorority sisters and fraternity brothers at rival schools. There were 24 of them; 12 bridesmaids and12 groomsmen. The couple’s family had clearly spent a lot of money, especially on the decorations. Also, Ben Stein was there for some reason.
The first thing the father of the bride said to me was a complaint about the groom. The groom didn’t like the way the suits turned out and insisted all of the men return to the shop that morning to get something else.
I met the groom when it was time to do groomsmen photos, which I generally handled solo while the main photographer did bridesmaid photos. We typically do some posed shots and some informal ones. Well, the groom flat-out refused to do any posed photos.
I can usually convince reluctant subjects to just do the thing, but he absolutely would not do a single group photo. I seem to remember I finally managed to get some informal photos (like I was their paparazzi or something), but that was all he’d allow. As we were walking back to the main reception area, he told me he didn’t even want to get married.
He said, ‘This is all her thing.’
My photos weren’t very good. I was working for this prick studio manager, and I figured I’d get in trouble later and possibly wouldn’t be hired again, but there wasn’t much I could do. Photogs were responsible for specific coverage and types of images, to the point that we were on the hook financially. I was worried the couple would complain later about the lack of groomsmen photos.
As it turns out, nobody ever said anything about it, and I was stressing over nothing. I have to imagine the studio owner knew about the groomzilla after planning coverage with them.
I sometimes think about that couple. I hope they’re not together anymore. The bride was really sweet, naive, and a little superficial. She put a lot of work into that wedding. I hope she found someone who deserved it.”
Last Minute Changes
“In a nutshell, I don’t have to do any of the planning. I just meet with the wedding planner and the couple a day or two prior to do a walk-through and figure out exactly where the couple wants what, and miscellaneous things. Day of the wedding I am an extra set of hands to set everything up and help coordinate getting everyone where they should be. Basically just the wedding planner’s pet. I will never forget this one wedding.
It was at a church in the middle of a bad neighborhood. It was a super small area with no parking spaces. The ceremony was in the ‘church room’ and the reception was in a room in the back of the church.
When I showed up the day of, the wedding planner gave me the look. You know the look. The ‘things just went sour’ look.
Turns out the bride changed everything for the wedding. She canceled the rentals and bought everything from the dollar store. She had a write-up three pages long (that she made the night before) about how she wanted everything. We had planned for the rental company to set up tables (table cloths, plated, silverware, glassware, napkins, etc). So now I was running around frantically trying to get everything done.
The dollar store decor looked cheesy and gross. While I was running around like a chicken with no head, the pastor’s wife stopped the wedding planner, who also was running around and started yelling about how we were behind schedule and ruining everything. Forgot to add, the wedding planner was eight months pregnant at this point.
The pastor’s wife yelled at the wedding planner so hard that the wedding planner ended up having an asthma attack. She calmed it down and left to get her inhaler. Turns out, the asthma attack caused her to start having contractions, which definitely wasn’t great. So off she went to the ER.
That left me with no help for a wedding only two hours away. I ended up calling in one of the other assistants to help me. What a lifesaver.
Once we finished decorating, guests started arriving. We had about 20 minutes until the wedding started, so we went to find the bride. We informed her about the wedding planner being in the hospital but we had everything under control. The bride started freaking out.
She exclaimed, ‘How dare she have to go to the ER!’
Somehow, the Maid of Honor was able to get her under control. Then we told them one of us would come to get them when it was ready to start.
The bride said, ‘Perfect.’
Then we went to find the groom, telling him the exact thing we told the bride about the wedding planner. Did he freak out? No. He gave us both a huge hug and told us he would keep the bride happy. He was a great, big-hearted person.
When the wedding happened, the bride was a hag to everyone, while the groom was super fantastic. He smashed the cake into the bride’s face during the cake ceremony and she stormed off. The groom even helped us clean up at the end and then carried his passed-out wife into his car.
I got an update recently from them: They are expecting their fifth kid.”
The Mother-In-Law Had A Different Taste Of Music
“I had a couple and her mother come to see me by appointment to plan wedding music for their forthcoming wedding ceremony.
Each time I’d demonstrate a potential processional on the organ, the bride and groom liked it, but the bride’s mother objected and asked to hear something different. When asked what her idea of ‘something different’ might be, she had no ideas.
The situation got tenser and tenser as the groom and bride’s mother argued.
Finally, the mother said, ‘Listen. I’m paying for this wedding, and you’ll do it MY way, and that’s the end of it!’
In an effort to bring harmony, I said to the mother, ‘It’s the couple’s wedding, not yours or mine. Let them make the choices they like, and I’ll provide music at no charge, so the question of who’s paying for it is no longer a factor.’
That solved the problem instantly. But the groom left glaring at his future mother-in-law, probably wondering what he was getting into for the long term.
To my surprise, the best man came to see me at the organ on the day of the ceremony, and gave me an envelope containing double the normal amount.”
Constant Insults Part One
“I had a wedding I coordinated where the bride literally went from this sweet, kind, and very fun person, to a meltdown-laden bridezilla. It was bad.
She tore up the guest list and was furious at the groom because his family, most of them either elderly or disabled, weren’t at the ceremony yet. They were five minutes late, and parking was awful. So she decided to start the ceremony even though they weren’t there yet. The groom had zero say as he was a really quiet guy.
During the bridal procession down the aisle, people kept arriving and having to walk down the aisle to get to their seats. She insulted each member of his family as they would enter the venue.
Then, during the actual vows, the groom was so terrified, he literally couldn’t look at her. Instead, he did his vows while looking at the minister.
She grabbed his face mid-vows, pointed his face to hers, then said, ‘Do them over. NOW!’
It was probably the most cringe-worthy moment I’ve ever seen in my entire career. The guests tried to laugh it off, but we all felt bad for him.
And things only got worse as the night continued.”
Constant Insults Part Two
“One of the things that always fascinates me is what people decide to do for their ‘cake’. Sometimes they do cupcakes. Others I’ve seen the bride and groom do a full candy bar. Well, this cake was massive. The guest count was roughly 100 but this cake could’ve easily served close to 300. Very elaborate and shipped in from New York from some high-end bakery. There was Chinese lettering/design on the cake, which didn’t match the wedding theme. So the cake felt very out of place from a design perspective and it was apparent the groom had no idea what cake they were getting. But hey, it was their day so I was not one to rip apart the theme.
When it was time for the cake cutting, she grabbed the mic out of my hands, which she did numerous times throughout the evening, and told everyone to shut up. She started talking about how high-end the cake was and how people at this wedding should be happy to eat it.
The crowd went from silent to upset.
Then she pointed out three of the symbols on the cake, which were the largest. I’ll never forget this because what followed was a silence I can only describe as ‘pin-drop-worthy.’
She said, ‘They mean Obey, Listen and Service/Loyalty. All three traits I expect from my new husband at all times.’ And not in a joking way.
The room was silent the whole time the cake was being served.
Then when the toast started, we had planned it in a traditional order before the wedding. So as I was introducing the best man, the bride took my mic again.
She told the crowd, ‘Lookup. Look to the left and right. Look at the tables.’
At this point, we all thought it was going to be an Oprah moment and they would give the guests their favors, but instead, she said that everyone should be both honored and appreciative that they were invited to the wedding because she paid (not true) top dollar to have it at such a beautiful venue. The looks on the people’s faces were truly uncomfortable. Some were confused as to whether she had actually said what she said, and others were absolutely ticked off. At that point, I knew this wedding was going to be off the rails.
After the dinner, about 75 percent of the guests just up and left. It was a total mess. I knew this one wouldn’t last. And it didn’t. They divorced a few weeks later. How do I know?
She stiffed me on payment and kept blaming her now-ex-husband for not having any money and everything that went wrong in their marriage.
Event management is hard. There is a lot that goes into it and a whole back-end that nobody ever sees. Plus you are trying to manage (crowd size) personalities and expectations, complaints, last-minute changes, and vendors.”
Play For Free?
“I’m a professional violinist who works with wedding planners. Once I got an email from a bride asking me if I’d play at a wedding, for free, in the bleak midwinter, in a pavilion way down the path of a hiking trail.
I thought, Uh, no ma’am.
My first college gig was a wedding that was supposed to be in a beautiful sunny garden, but being in the Deep South, guess what happened? There were actually tornadoes that day instead. The families decided to go on with the wedding. So they had the wedding under the reception tent instead and moved the actual reception indoors. Weird thinking, huh?
Things were actually going ok until near the end of the ceremony when the weather sirens went off. We didn’t get hit by a tornado, but the rain and wind kept hitting us under the tent. We obviously couldn’t play for the recessional and had to run a short distance inside to pack the instruments up rather than risk staying outside and getting the instruments soaked. The wedding was completed outside ASAP and everyone made a beeline for indoors as fast as possible once it was over.
Treat your wedding musicians well. Most of us deal with and see a lot of chaos.”
“The Lady Was A USDA First Class Wrench”
“I managed the bars at a sports venue and was the ‘bar consultant’ for our catering department. As you would expect, most of the time we worked during sporting events. Occasionally there’d be a concert. So when the stadium marketing team told us in our weekly meeting that they’d just booked a wedding, we were shocked. We’d never hosted a wedding before, and most of us were unmarried so we didn’t have that much experience with the industry. The marketing team brushed our concerns aside (warning sign number one) and gave us the details for the event.
After asking around the office staff, we learned that this was being done as a half-side deal for one of the big corporate sponsors of the team. One of their VP’s sons was getting married and was a huge fan so he insisted on getting married at the venue (warning sign number two).
We had our first meeting with the family and it was an eye-opening experience. The husband-to-be was clearly disinterested in the planning, and the wifey was less than excited about his chosen venue. But she wasn’t anything like her mother-in-law (MIL). The lady was a USDA First Class wrench.
The MIL started the meeting off by giving us her list of demands for the wedding. She picked almost everything out from the food to the decor to the place settings. The only thing the bride had input on was the flowers. As the rest of the catering staff and I were looking over her list, we quickly realized this was going to be pricey. So we asked the MIL what the budget was for the entire event.
She said, ’10K.’
We asked, ‘How many people are going to be attending?’
She replied, ‘There will be 200 guests.’
This was the exact moment when we realized there was clearly a disconnect between the MIL and reality. The Catering Director hesitantly tried to tell MIL that the things she wanted and her budget weren’t exactly congruous.
She exclaimed, ‘Well other vendors have said they could make it work!’
This should have been a huge warning sign with neon lights with the number three.
What followed was months of nasty threats, complaints, and criticism from the MIL about everything from our prices (exorbitant), to our policies (ridiculous), to our staff (inexperienced and inept).
Our first step was to give her exactly what she wanted, along with what that would cost. The first proposal included everything she wanted, at a price of about 30K. Cue the first round of angry emails and phone calls. During this phase, she threatened to cancel the event twice, which was fine with us, since we didn’t want or need this event. However, she went back to the marketing department to complain about how unreasonable we were being.
During the second phase, she had begun climbing down off her previous demands to wheedling and trying to bypass us to bring costs down. First, she didn’t want us to provide any adult beverages, she’d bring it in through the corporate sponsors.
I told her flat out, ‘No that’s not going to happen. The license is in our name, we are the ONLY providers of drinks on this property. You can either use us or have no drinks at the wedding.’
She then proceeded to ratchet up her complaining all the way to her husband who talked to his buddies in the front office about ‘the drink problem.’ Now we got VPs and C-level executives getting involved in the nitty-gritty of planning a wedding. Fortunately, we were able to hold our ground on this.
The third phase of planning got sad. The MIL was still angry about having to downgrade all her plans and sends us a new list of what she wanted for the wedding. She took a 180 the other way and requested the cheapest of everything.
Plastic folding tables and chairs, no linen except at the head table, paper plates and napkins for all guests, the cheapest buffet option (basically beans and hot dogs), and so on.
We were in the middle of preparing this new proposal (it would have come in at around 8K) when the bride came in to meet with us. She was visibly upset and we got the distinct impression that she had little to no part in planning her own wedding. It turns out her family didn’t have much money but her fiance’s family was well-off. Her soon-to-be FIL offered to foot most of the cost of the wedding, but her MIL insisted she would be the financial adviser so that the money was used judiciously. The bride was able to pick out her own dress, but that was one of only three things she’d been allowed to have a say in so far. We all felt bad for her, especially since we’d been dealing with the disaster that was her soon-to-be MIL for months now.
The bride made a few requests and we changed the budget to reflect these. The new proposal came in around 14K. We didn’t hear from the MIL, bride, or anyone for three weeks. We reached out to the marketing department to ask them if they had heard anything. The actual wedding was only a month away and if were going to do this, we needed to start ordering products and arranging things now.
They said, ‘We haven’t heard anything either.’
We sat another week. Finally, we got a fax from the MIL with the contract signed.
The next three weeks sucked as the MIL was back in full force, trying to get us to make changes to the contract as we refused repeatedly.
Finally, we got to the day of the wedding, and technically speaking, it went off without a hitch. However, it was chaotic to watch this family party. The MIL got sloppily wasted and alternated between criticizing everything we were doing and trying to seduce one of the groomsmen. The groom got absolutely blasted and passed out midway through the evening. His groomsmen thought it would be hilarious to carry him, unconscious, through the stadium on their shoulders. The bride spent most of the day sitting at the head table, surrounded by her bridesmaids. The happiest I saw her all day was when she had her father-daughter dance.
This wedding was a topic of conversation amongst the staff for years afterward. Occasionally we’d hear updates on the family from the front office. The bride got pregnant soon after, her husband got a job with Daddy’s company but made the mistake of getting plastered at a company event and making a fool of himself so he’s in flux there.”
“It Was All About The Party”
“The bride had been a total pain in the rear while planning her wedding. She wanted the most lavish food, the best adult beverage package, and the most over-the-top decor. Fine, we could make her venue look like that. After that was done, she demanded mirrors, disco balls, and anything else reflective we could cram into the space.
Then, she demanded to interview all the wedding officiants, because she wanted a ‘really hot guy’ to perform the ceremony. She complained that everyone she saw was, ‘like middle-aged or something’, and insisted we had to find her someone that looked like Chris Evans. Because she wanted everyone in her pictures to be hot.
On the day of the wedding, she asked me to procure as many lions as I could get my hands on, and have them sitting around the head table. Because what you really need at an open bar are a bunch of apex predators.
When informed she could not have lions at her reception, she dissolved into tears, complaining about her trashy little wedding, and how her little sister always got everything better than she did. Mind you, she had about 300 guests, cases of Cristal, and lobster tail as the main dish.
We all knew, that this was not about marriage, and was all about a party. When your wedding is just about outdoing someone else’s reception, there’s no hope for your relationship.
All the way through this mess, the groom had just rolled his eyes, and let his bride spend like a tipsy sailor on leave. He never objected to any of her insane requests. Just let her have whatever she wanted.
However, he didn’t even bother to come up to the suite while she was having a meltdown over the lions, because, ‘I’m too buzzed to deal with this. And also I don’t want to have to hear her scream about seeing the darn dress.’
The bride was back a year later with a friend to help plan that wedding.”
“I worked at a golf resort. We had open, green areas, lots of ‘mid-fancy’ seating, various venues, etc. I used to run most of the banquets for my Chef; he’d hand me planning sheets, I’d do the order (if he hadn’t already), prep and cook everything day of, and have it out, hot, and ready to eat.
He handed me a single sheet, telling me it was a 50-person buffet, with a grin on his face. I knew that grin. I looked over the menu and it was garbage. It was steamed broccoli, the absolute bottom-of-the-barrel cheapest ‘ham product’ from Sysco, rolls, and butter, large salads with only three dressing choices, and mashed potatoes. Nothing else on the food docket.
I asked, ‘Are you serious?’
He said, ‘I am. ‘ Then told me they were total cheapskates and really were pricks.
He continued, ‘If they want dirt cheap, they’ll get dirt cheap.’
The venue was the horrid ‘awning’ next to the cart park; basically a concrete slab with a grassy area next to it and an awning where the golf carts usually went. Facilities would move the carts, and that was where I’d set up.
The front house would have two buffet lines for me.
The day of, I was out there in my chef coat getting my tables set up as I wanted them. People started arriving, so I rushed back, and finished the last item (the broccoli) in the steamer. When I finished, I finally got a glance at the bride and groom.
They were maybe 18 years old. The two fathers were drinking, and doing their best not to look at each other. The groom was freaking out in a rented tux. The bride and bridesmaids were gossiping like teen girls do, paying him very little mind. The mothers of the newlyweds were staring daggers at each other from across the concrete slab.
I looked a touch closer at the blushing bride and saw a baby bump showing. This was one of those forced weddings because the girl was pregnant.
The guests barely touched the food, though they did eat all the salad and all the ranch dressing.”