Disappearing Bride

by admin on July 5, 2012

Growing up, “Sylvia” and I were the best of friends. We did everything together, told each other everything, and were like sisters for the most part. However, after high school graduation we drifted apart as our lives took different directions.

After having neither seen nor spoken to her in a couple of years, I was pleasantly surprised one day when she called out of the blue to tell me that she was getting married. She then said, “…and of course I want you to be my Maid of Honor!”

I was absolutely thrilled and accepted without a thought. She had not yet set a date, but wanted to get started on planning right away. I told her that I would help her in any way she needed. We talked for a little while longer throwing ideas around. She told me that she was currently working for one of the bridal shops in our town and that we would be able to get our dresses at a discount. This was especially good news to me as I was not making a lot of money and had only recently moved in with my boyfriend (now husband). We set a date for me to come by the shop and select a BM’s dress and get sized

I should mention that my friend was a bit flaky. I knew this at the time and should have taken it into consideration, especially considering how this story turns out.

I showed up at the bridal shop on time for our appointment and we had a wonderful time. While I was there we not only selected a gorgeous BM’s dress, we also had a grand time selecting a wedding dress for the FB. Since Sylvia had decided to have no other BMs, and despite not having yet set a wedding date, we went ahead and ordered our dresses. I asked Sylvia about payment for my dress and she told me not to worry, that we wouldn’t have to pay until our dresses came in. She also reminded me that as an employee, she would be getting a discount for both of us. Looking back now I am so very glad that I did not have to pay anything at the time.

Fast forward to about a month later, I realized that I had heard nothing further from Sylvia. As mentioned earlier, I had only recently moved in with my future husband, so we were still busy setting up house. (This was our first home outside our parents’ homes.) I had also just started a new job about a week before moving out of my parent’s house. I am not trying to make excuses, just explain that I had a lot on my mind and that month passed rather quickly for me.

When I realized how much time had passed since we spoke, I felt very guilty and immediately began trying to contact her. I had no experience with weddings and had no idea if this period of not speaking was normal or not. I only knew that I felt I had let my friend down by not checking in with her. When I called her home number (this was long before cell phones), I discovered that the number had been disconnected. I thought about dropping by her apartment, only to realize she had never bothered to tell me where she lived. I felt a bit odd at this considering that during our long conversation when she had asked me to be MOH, I had made sure that she not only knew where I was currently living, but had directions there as well. I even tried to call her parents, but their number was disconnected as well. Neither of them had given the phone company permission to record the new number on the message.

So since her number didn’t work and I had no idea where she lived, I took the only option I had and tried to call her at work. I felt it was rude to call anyone while they are working except in an emergency, but I had no idea what else to do. I contacted the bridal shop only to be told that she no longer worked there!

I was floored! Well, needless to say, I was never a part of the impending nuptials. And yes, she did finally get married, although I have no idea when or where as I was never invited. I know this because she finally called me again a few YEARS later. I never did find out why she suddenly disappeared as she never brought it up and I refused to ask. We are still somewhat friends, but not close.

Thank you for letting me vent. I’ve been carrying this crazy story around for 20 years. It feels good to finally get it off my chest. 0704-12

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

sv July 5, 2012 at 7:05 am

That is CRAZY!! What an elephant in the room! I can only assume that something so embarassing happened to her that she simply wiped it off her personal history. Good thing you didn’t pre-pay for that dress!

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Angel July 5, 2012 at 8:35 am

That takes the top prize as the most unusual story I have ever read on this website. Really, how odd. I don’t understand why she didn’t call you to explain what happened. Or give you her phone number. Weird.

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Library Diva July 5, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Definitely the strangest one!

It makes me wonder, though. I have commented a few times to people that they have one of the worst stories I’ve seen on here. Ones that stand out in my mind include the girl with social anxiety who was disinvited from her uncle’s party celebrating the adoption of his daughter (reason being that he didn’t think she’d actually come and didn’t have room for her, but hey, let’s get together soon so you can give me the gift you would have brought) and the girl whose childhood friend made her and her mom clean up trash after her wedding. But I’d love to hear from the admins: what do you think are some of the worst stories you’ve received in your years of running these sites?

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Angel July 6, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Yes, the picking up trash after the wedding one was quite unusual too. I remember that!

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Kendra July 9, 2012 at 7:46 pm

There are a couple that come immediately to mind for me: the one where the groom’s parents (if I remember correctly, the groom was a Jr.) stole the HC’s honeymoon suite on their wedding night, drank the HC’s champaigne and opened their wedding gifts; possible stealing some of the gifts & money. The other one, more recently, the young couple who were invited to, RSVP’d and attended a dinner party for a cousin. They were sent to sit with another party when another couple showed up who were obviously much more important than original couple since they couldn’t even be bothered to RSVP for the party and yet everyone scrambled to give them a place at the table.
I know there are lots of worse stories on this site, but those are the two that jump to my mind when you talk about “worst stories”.

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June July 10, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Don’t forget the two sides of the midnight goth wedding!
The Honeymoon switch was my favorite strange story.

I’m so glad, OP, that this didn’t turn into one where you spent lots and lots of money and then were kicked out at the last minute.

Still, very strange.

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Yvaine July 11, 2012 at 2:31 pm

I still think the wackiest one was the one where the guests showed up and the bride was marrying a completely different guy rather than her established fiance. She’d been cheating on him, the fiance broke up with her, and she went ahead with all the plans and bookings but with a different guy, without telling most of the guests about the change.

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Jane July 12, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Don’t forget the one where a lady and her young son had made friends with a guy, hung out with him for a year, etc. Very nice guy and he got along great with the son… until he got married, approached the lady and her son at his wedding and said “been nice knowing you, don’t need you anymore, bye.” Or something to that effect.

Cat July 5, 2012 at 10:06 am

I was left wondering what happened to the dresses that had been ordered. It was odd to order dresses and then for her to just disappear.
If you didn’t call her, she could have called you. You could have been in a accident, had a family emergency, been ill…there are many reasons you might not have called her. If she were a true friend she should have been concerned enough to call you and make sure you were ok.

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sv July 5, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Perhaps that is why she no longer worked at the bridal boutique….she either refused to pay for the dresses and was fired, or realized that she simply wasn’t going to pay for them and left.

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Kendra July 9, 2012 at 7:54 pm

But the OP never mentions getting a phone call from the boutique saying her dress had arrived. I wonder if maybe Sylvia didn’t cancel the order for one of a myriad of reasons. It is also possible that Sylvia never put in the order. She could have been holding on to the order until she actually set a wedding date and stuff happened and she never actually placed the order. I don’t think she skipped out on paying for the order, again, because the OP never mentions that the boutique called her saying her order is ready.

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b-rock July 5, 2012 at 11:44 am

Did she end up marrying the same guy that she was planning to marry the first time? I just wonder if something happened to end that relationship, and for some reason she didn’t want to talk about that at all, and then later she met and married someone else…

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AS July 5, 2012 at 3:01 pm

That exactly was my thoughts too… did something happen that she ended up not marrying that guy? Maybe you could ask her… it has been 20 years since, and anything unpleasant might have settled a bit.
It could be that she of her then fiance had a bad break up, or that someone was taken gravely ill or had an accident of some sort.

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Sarah Jane July 6, 2012 at 12:52 am

Am I understanding correctly that her parents sort of went AWOL, as well?

I was once acquainted with a gentleman whose family practically went into “hiding” for a while after his oldest daughter’s new husband threatened his entire family (including the younger children.)

Maybe this bride’s situation wasn’t so dramatic, but perhaps she and her parents were lying low in order to protect her from something/someone…?

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Goldie July 9, 2012 at 9:46 am

This was my thinking too, especially because of the part about the parents disappearing as well. Something bad must’ve happened.

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KiKi July 5, 2012 at 2:09 pm

When I was in a friend’s wedding a few years ago, I practically had to pull information from her. She asked me to be a BM and then fell off the face of the earth. I would write an email asking if she still needed me and, if so, where to get the dress. She’d email back saying, of course she needed me and that she would call and give me the info later but then weeks would go by and nothing. A month and a half before the wedding, I still hadn’t gotten anything so I emailed her for a final time. She replied with the info and said she completely forgot to call. She’s always been a little flighty. I did end up in the wedding party in the end.

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Justin July 5, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Maybe this is just my suspicious side, but there are a few red flags here. First off is being called out of the blue by someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time and asked to be in a wedding and also be the only attendant. The lack of contact info is a second flag. The fact that there are no other known attendants means that the attendants won’t talk.

The suspicious part of my mind thinks she got a job at a bridal shop, called multiple people to be her sole attendant, racked up a number of ‘sales’ on the books without deposits to earn a bonus or sales contest. Then she takes the money and vanishes Rinse, lather, repeat somewhere else. She also may have been running some additional scams where the unpaid for dress is ‘picked up’ for cash, ‘returned’ for a cash refund, and ‘sent back’ to the wholesaler. Of course the dress is never ordered and all this takes place on paper to prevent inventory being off.

Without offering a primer on how to be a con artists there are a number of tricks someone could pull that would be in line with what is shown in this story. Of course I hope I’m wrong, but I’ve seen enough scams to lose a lot of my faith in people.

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Yarnspinner July 6, 2012 at 12:19 am

Justin, you and I think a lot alike, althuogh I hadn’t imagined anything half so crafty.

Having had a friend with a great imagination (sarcasm) who would make stunning announcements about events that never transpired, I was imagining that Sylvia just thought it would be fun to be able to try on a lot of bridal dresses with a friend…so she chooses the OP as her unwitting co conspirator. There is no fiance, but maybe an equally unwitting boyfriend who doesn’t know he’s being presented as a fiance. Then, when the dresses come in and there’s STILL no proposal, she panics and flees….

Is it sort of sad that so many of us are able to imagine scenarios where such things happen?

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Justin July 6, 2012 at 6:38 pm

My background includes significant information security training. In order to protect people from the scams, cons, and general maliciousness in the world you have to learn how they work. Knowing how easy many scams are has made me somewhat paranoid.

I’ve also been burned before. When working just out of college in retail to get a paycheck while I sought a job in my field I was working in a copy and print center and in addition to doing production and sales work I also worked in the cash office as one of two people who counted the money and verified return receipts. I worked with a girl who was absolutely amazing, she and I would get a working rhythm going and were very productive, if one of us had to switch tasks we would swap in and help each other. I tried to share shifts with her as much as possible because of her attitude and workd ethic. She was also running a return scam and stealing $100-$150 a day from the till. I was the one who caught her. Based on how she acted I never suspected her until I investigated an anomaly and figured out her scam.

I’ve seen some of the darker things people do to each other and I tend to be concerned by red flags until I get an understanding of what is actually happening. However the reason why so many cons are effective is because people want to trust each other and don’t trust their instincts when something seems suspicious. Genuinely nice people are the easiest scam targets, followed closely by people who are greedy. Reading this site you see plenty of both.

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JenaR July 8, 2012 at 7:46 am

Sounds like you could write a book, Justin!!

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jess July 8, 2012 at 9:53 pm

I am doing a degree in Security and Counter-terrorism part time at the moment and my LLB full time…I totally agree, after a while absolutely nothing surprises you anymore. 🙁

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acr July 6, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Was it normal 20 years ago to order a dress at a bridal shop and not have to pay in advance, or at least put down a deposit? In my limited experience, bridal shops don’t place the order without at least a deposit.

I wonder if the friend had some mental illness, like bi-polar.

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Serena July 7, 2012 at 8:15 am

Can we please stop blaming bipolar for everything but the weather? If this “friend” were bipolar, she would have ordered far more than two dresses. She would have planned a wedding with umpteen bridesmaids and insisted they all order their dresses that day. Furthermore, bipolar disorder certainly wouldn’t explain her parents going AWOL as well.

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Athena July 8, 2012 at 12:42 am

This, thank you.

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acr July 9, 2012 at 9:16 pm

I have a relative with bi-polar, and before her treatment, this scenario wouldn’t have been that out of the blue.

Also, how do we know the parents went AWOL? It had been several years since the LW had seen the Bride. I assumed that in that time, the parents had moved and the LW simply didn’t know.

My relative who has bi-polar has very vague memories of the weeks leading up to her hospitalization. She doesn’t remember cutting off her hair with a steak knife, or jumping out of a moving car. When she was hospitalized, we visited her several times and brought bags of candy, and she doesn’t remember that, either.

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Queen Medic July 9, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Again, thank you. I do so hate people using mental disorders out of context, like when people blather on and on about continuous swearing being ADHD.

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mechtilde July 7, 2012 at 5:01 pm

“Sylvia” sounds like a fantasist to me.

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Lillie82 July 10, 2012 at 11:27 pm

@ mechtilde – I also wondered if she wasn’t really “officially” engaged, or she was but it fell through.

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Jane July 12, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Okay, I may be totally out of line here (and someone please tell me if I am), but… if I had a good friend who literally went “missing” and I had exhausted all attempts to reach her, and both her and her family had literally vanished, I might actually go to the police. I don’t know if they could do anything, but I think I’d want to let someone know.

In this case it sounds like the engagement fell through and Sylvia didn’t want to deal with it so she just left town. That doesn’t account for the family though.

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gourmetwowwies July 12, 2012 at 3:25 pm

The girl hadn’t set a date yet, but wanted to go dress shopping. I have seen PLENTY of this. Along with girls making up occasions just to go dress shopping– girls who have had a wedding or two WITH THE SAME GUY just to get a new wedding dress and party–to me, that’s all this sounds like.

Later, the girl grew up a little and wanted to renew a friendship, happens all the time.

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