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Uh-oh! We hate to break it to you, but whether your bridal bun is more Bride of Frankenstein or the wedding party’s limo never arrives, wedding day disasters can — and do — happen. But as the BRIDES October/November 2016 issue proves, brides-to-be can survive any catastrophe. (Trust us!) In our latest issue, real and very brave brides are sharing their wedding nightmares. These major mishaps might have you clutching your pearls, but don’t worry — everyone still had their happily ever after. See? Brides can handle anything! Still don’t believe us? Read one of the catastrophic wedding day tales below.
I have an unusual job. I’m a dating coach for smart, strong, successful women. I have a long history that involves a failed screenwriting career, 300 online dates, and four books I wrote about relationships. But finally, after 10 years of dating and five years of coaching, I found lasting love. Instead of choosing the female version of me (my previous pattern, and, yes, even the experts do that), I landed a warm, patient, easygoing woman who accepted me 100 percent as I was.
Unfortunately, that meant that for the six months before our wedding, she had to accept my groomzilla tendencies. My wife, Bridget, had been married before, but this was my first rodeo, and I wanted the party to perfectly reflect my personality. So I found the location, tasted the food, booked the band, created the wedding website, and so on. And it all came off flawlessly — the pre-wedding karaoke party, the personalized vows on a yacht at sunset, the choreographed salsa dance…
Then came the speeches. My best man had been my roommate and screenwriting partner for years. He was brilliant, funny, and charismatic, and he knew me better than anybody. He was also a flake with a flair for the dramatic. I’d seen him give a rambling, drunken 20-minute toast at his sister’s wedding, so I made him promise not to drink at mine. To his credit, he didn’t, which made what happened next all the more unfathomable.
In his quest to make the “greatest speech ever,” he forgot the best-man playbook: Tease the groom about his old dating habits, tell the bride she’s too good for him, and give a quick toast. No, this best-man speech didn’t even mention the groom or bride. It was like an Andy Kaufman-esque piece of performance art. After about 20 minutes, when our 110 guests began murmuring amongst themselves, I told him to wrap it up. He obliged. But the next thing I knew, the kitchen’s swinging double doors opened and the service staff hoisted a heavy refrigerator box onto the sweetheart table in front of us. The box was moving. I slowly peeked in. Suddenly, out popped a dwarf in a jester’s costume.
“Holy fucking Christ,” I screamed into the mike. I looked up to see Bridget’s Irish Catholic family, only feet away, with grim looks on their faces. I heard my college friends in the back of the room, cackling. I saw Bridget with a stiff smile on her face, knowing that the entire room was looking at her. The performance was cut short, and everyone went into damage-control mode. The maid of honor spoke about her 20-year friendship with my wife, akin to sisterhood. My two brothers-in-law spoke about how love is an action verb. My mom spoke. My mom’s new husband spoke. Unplanned speakers spoke, all to compensate for the train-wreck best man and his unusual “gift” (which was supposed to be a hilarious allusion to an old screenplay we’d written).
See More: 50 Mistakes Grooms Always Make
Now, you may be wondering what Bridget was thinking. In those fateful moments after the disastrous speech, she was calm, cool, and collected — fully aware that everyone was staring at her and determined not to overreact to something beyond her control. I looked at her in those panicked moments of utter mortification and fed off her no-drama demeanor. It calmed me down, as it has endless times in the eight years since that day.
A wedding is a metaphor for marriage if there ever was one. You plan, you communicate, you try to control things, and then life happens and throws a costumed little person at you. It’s how you react that determines your marital happiness. My wife managed to placate her family, unruffle my feathers, and assure the guests that one bad speech wasn’t going to dictate the tone of the rest of the night. And while we would much rather be known as the yacht wedding than the dwarf wedding, that’s okay. Thanks to the formula Tragedy + Time = Comedy, even my straitlaced in-laws can now tell our story with a smile — although they never quote my reaction to the dwarf verbatim.
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