Monday, October 6, 2008

Wedding Mishaps

I know, I know. I promised a review of At Home in Mitford. However, I'm not quite finished savoring this wonderful book and don't want to write the review until after I've turned the last page. So I beg your indulgence - and your participation in another discussion.

It seems that in life, as is in Mitford, nothing ever seems to go as planned. This morning I woke up with weddings on my mind. I was specifically thinking of a young couple I met on a plane recently. They were on their way home from what should have been an idyllic Caribbean adventure. They should have been smiling. They weren't. It seems a few things went wrong, not the least of which was the Delta Airline gate agent pulling them off the plane halfway through their journey home and demanding more money. It seems the travel agency they used never got around to paying the airline for the tickets. The bride was beyond angry, the groom at his wits end trying, and failing, to console his young wife. Other passengers took pity on him and gave it their best efforts.

My favorite attempt came from a kind grandfatherly looking man who said, "You've had a great wedding adventure! You went to a foreign country, things went wrong. No one has a perfect wedding. That would be boring. But you're story is unique in the number of details that went awry. Your story will get better with each telling, each little embellishment. By the time you have children and grandchildren, you'll have a fantastic tale to share."

He invited others to share their wedding stories. I was amazed at the number of things that could go wrong, and the different ways people handled it. Some were still upset - decades later - over the smallest of details. My favorite stories were those told with a sense of humor. Often these were the stories where something major, and very unplanned, occurred.

I no longer remember most of the details, but my favorite involved a delay when the church had to be evacuated after the ring bearer tossed the pillow - through a candle flame and into a curtain. Fire ensued. 911 was called. The wedding party and guests had to wait in the parking lot until the fire Marshall gave the all-clear. It was a small fire, put out by groomsmen before the fire trucks arrived. Still, when someone calls 911 to report a fire in a church full of people, firefighters tend to respond - in force. This was my favorite because the happily married couple ( 32 years, if memory serves) told the tale together and they laughed the whole time.

So this morning I'm wondering how many people have great stories to tell about wedding mishaps and how many of those tales work their way into fiction.

Here's your chance to tell your story! Use the comments link below to tell us what went wrong at your wedding, reception, or honeymoon. If you are a writer, tell us if you used any version of the event in one of your novels.


Anonymous said...

I was married in a small beach community. There were two hotels - the shiny new Hilton on the beach, and the 'rustic' family run place that had been a local eyesore forever. We directed our traveling family members to the Hilton. My mother-in-law had the kind of personality that would have had her knocking on the door to our honeymoon suite if she could find us. So, we booked ourselves at the Rustic. Mistake. Big Mistake. We never actually got inside the room. When we opened the door, we heard scurrying. New husband bravely reached in and turned on the light in time for us to see hundreds of roaches running for cover. We stood there staring, giving them plenty of time to hide. Then we looked at each other, turned around and walked back to the car. The prospect of having a mother-in-law invite herself to breakfast in the honeymoon room no longer felt horrible.

Shannon said...

I was married in a small historical church on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. It was a wonderful day, besides being a hot and sultry August evening in Louisiana.

My future brother in law was best man and was in charge of the money for the preacher. Right before the wedding, he couldn't find the money. Typical of him. My groom had to borrow money from his groomsmen so we could get married.

Fortunately the rest of the evening was fine with plenty of beer and wine for all the guests. Fourteen years later, when we all get together for football tailgating, the groomsmen love to retell this story over and over and over.

Charlotte Phillips, Co-Author of The Eva Baum Detective Series said...


How kind of your brother-in-law to start you off with a great story:-)

Anonymous said...

I have a story from my cousin's wedding. My family, though large, has scattered across the country. This means everyone travels for family events and we tend to squeeze way too much into 3-day weekends.

Still, my cousin wanted all the trappings of modern weddings and she wanted everyone present. This meant the bachelor and bachelorette parties were the night before the wedding - which was on the beach, in Florida. The beach is not a great place for very hung over (and still drunk) people. The best man (another cousin) passed out halfway through the ceremony. We checked to see that he was okay, removed his shoes, then moved him so the 'crashing' waves would wet his feet, and returned to the ceremony with a younger cousin filling in as best man. Mr. Can't Hold His Liquor hears about it at every family gathering. In his defense, he's not a drinker and didn't have much experience with over-imbibing. That doesn't stop us from reminding him of his failure to perform his wedding duties.

Anonymous said...

At my wedding, the minister who was supposed to marry us, a Bishop and senior pastor from my Mother-in-law's huge wealthy church didn't show up! We waited for an hour on the lawn (backyard outdoors wedding) and were about to give up when my future brother-in-law shouted out to everyone, "Is there a minister here?" Sure enough, a young man who had just been ordained was in the crowd. He married us. Just as the ceremony came to and end and the rice was being thrown, the Bishop pulled up in his Cadillac and was roundly booed by everyone. (smile)

Marvin Blogs at Free Spirit:
Eye Twitter 2 -

Charlotte Phillips, Co-Author of The Eva Baum Detective Series said...


Good to hear future brother-in-laws can be useful at weddings. From the earlier comments I was beginning to think they should all be banned.

It's great that your guests booed the tardy bishop!


S said...

I have a friend who got married many years ago during a hurricane. She describes dashing through the flooded parking lot with one hand providing little shelter for her wind-tossed red hair and the other gripping the hem of her gorgeous copper raw silk dress. She toweled the mud from her matching Ferragamos and got married. She loved it. It was a tempestuous start to a brief but fiery relationship.

Charlotte Phillips, Co-Author of The Eva Baum Detective Series said...

There was a reason I woke up with wedding mishaps on my mind. Mark and I were officially married today. We almost had a mishap story of our own. The judge who performed the ceremony (and had the keys to the building) showed up a few minutes late. Since the wedding party and guests showed up early, it meant hanging out in the courthouse parking lot, in the Houston heat, which only served to make the wait seem much longer than it was.

The judge wasn't the only one to show up late. My entire family arrived a few seconds after the judge. They got held up in a part of Houston where traffic lights damaged by Hurricane Ike are still not working. They saw the crowd in the parking lot and thought they missed the wedding. (We were still waiting for the doors to be unlocked.)

But once inside the building, everything went well - better than well. We wanted low key and relaxed and we lucked into a judge who was very low key and relaxed. It was a fun five minutes of ceremony, followed by ten minutes of pictures, and then off to the restaurant for a celebratory meal.