This is the story of the West Coast Wedding Disaster, as it’s rapidly becoming known in our household.
A little over a year ago, my oldest niece got engaged. “Annie” and her fiance “Terry” began planning a wedding, and last summer asked DH and me if our daughter (then age 6) could be a flower girl. We were happy to say yes, and asked for further details on the wedding. They hadn’t finalized their plans yet, but were planning to get married the summer of 2013, probably in August.
About four months later, in the fall of 2012, we got word that the wedding was to be held in February 2013, on a Wednesday. Now, we didn’t get word of this from the bride, but from my mother-in-law. We didn’t hear anything from the bride at all, so finally we called. Sure enough, she had moved the date of the wedding, and was trying to find a venue in the San Francisco Bay area, for $1000 or less. We gently mentioned that a Wednesday wedding would require our daughter to miss a week of school, because we live on the other side of the country with some difficult flight arrangements, and that we weren’t willing to do that.
We were then left with the impression that plans were still fluid, and Annie would let us know what the plans ultimately were. We privately wondered if she could rent a cardboard box under a bridge in the Bay Area for $1000/day, and decided to wait to hear how things went.
Well, we didn’t hear a thing. We didn’t get a phone call, or a text, or an email. Most importantly, we didn’t get an invitation. In the meantime, my mother-in-law was filling us in with the details for the wedding.
Apparently a venue had been arranged (we don’t know where, just somewhere in the Bay Area). The wedding reception is to be potluck. Now, this is bad enough, but the Bay Area is a 3-hour one-way drive from where the bride, her family, her fiance’s family, and all of their friends live. We’re not sure what kind of potluck dish will keep in the car for a 3-hour drive plus a ceremony, but at least it’ll be February, and hopefully reasonably cool. That doesn’t include potential out-of-town guests, who I guess were supposed to pick up a basket of fast-food chicken on their way to the reception.
Then we hear that 250 guests have RSVP’d. MIL is panicking, wondering how the bride-to-be can afford cake for 250 people. We are still wondering how a potluck will feed 250 people, but as we have not received an invitation, we decided that it’s not our problem.
At Christmas, the bride’s younger sister gets engaged. We are prepared for the bride to start the It’s My Daaaay routine, but she’s very gracious, and the younger sister plans to get married next December, so crisis averted. Plus by then she will have graduated from high school. Sigh.
Then the real drama hits. The bride’s mother “Tiffany” gets engaged, and sets her wedding date for two days after Annie’s wedding. She sees no conflict in having her wedding so close to her daughter’s, and in fact claims that she chose that date so that her daughter could attend before leaving on her honeymoon. That’s a beautiful sentiment, but if she’d spoken to Annie and Terry, she would have known that they were leaving first thing in the morning after their wedding, because the groom has to report two states away for military service. There is absolutely no way they can stay. But Tiffany sees no reason to change wedding dates, especially since by that date she will have known her fiance for three months.
Throughout this period, we’ve been getting pressure from various family members to attend Annie’s wedding, although strangely, Annie, who used to regularly text DH, has been silent. We still can’t take our daughter out of school for a week, and new financial constraints mean that we can’t even afford to send DH, which we’d been hoping to do. We do the best we can, and pick out a card and a gift card.
Then we realize that Annie has moved, and we don’t have her address! So DH texts her, and finally gets a reply. She sends him her address, and later that night DH calls and spends several hours on the phone with her. We still don’t have all the details, but apparently invitations were never sent, because they were too expensive. The entire wedding of 250 people was invited by word-of-mouth. She figured we knew everything we needed to know, and was very surprised to find that we didn’t consider ourselves invited if nobody told us the time and place. I’m quite sure she’s just clueless and not malicious, and if we’d shown up she would have been very welcoming. DH ended the phone call on a very friendly note, and we wish her well.
But, I think I’m very glad that I’m missing this wedding. I love my relatives, I really do, but sometimes I’m glad to live several thousand miles away. 0212-13