I have a set of friends that got married several years ago. I am a wedding planner by trade, and as a wedding gift to them I offered to be their wedding planner. As you are a wedding planner, Miss Jeanne, you know what a substantial gift that is, and I gave it out of love. I planned a beautiful, small wedding with a very tight budget. Before any deposits had been made, the bride and groom canceled the wedding, stating that they would rather spend the money on buying a house. I personally thought that was a wise decision. I just wish I hadn’t spent 40+ man hours giving free services to them for a wedding that never took place. :/
They stated at the time they were going to elope instead. Their plan was to go to the courthouse and then a honeymoon after. About a year after the original wedding date passed, they decided to elope on Easter weekend. I mentioned to her that I would be gone on my vacation at that time too. About 4 weeks before the elopement date, the bride starts changing the plans, bit by bit. Four weeks before the elopement, she decided to invite parents and siblings to the courthouse. Three weeks before she decided to go to a fancy dinner after . I assisted her in finding a beautiful, very expensive restaurant that was exactly what she wanted. I figured since it was just a handful of people, they could afford the cost. Two weeks before she decides to book a free chapel in the area and ask 50 guests to come (no invitations – just a phone call). She wails and wails that she can’t believe that I won’t be there. This baffled me, as my vacation had been planned for over a year and she knew that when she planned their elopement-turned-wedding.
Finally, the worst part of this story is that she decided to invite the same 50 guests to the fancy, very expensive restaurant after the wedding and tell them (by word of mouth) that they were expected to pay for their meals. She told them that this would be their wedding gift. I was mortified when she told me her plans, since I had planned wedding #1 and wedding #2 and didn’t want my name anywhere close to such a tacky event. I tried to talk her out of it and told her that was the tackiest of the tackiest thing to do. I told her if she couldn’t’ afford to pay for all 50 guests, then she should just invite the guests she could afford to pay for to the restaurant. She wouldn’t hear of it and told me to “get with the times”.
I was relieved I was out of town and didn’t have to deal with any of it. Had I been in town, I would have been tempted to not attend.
After I returned from my trip, I was informed of a “scene” that was caused by her new in-laws. The groom’s mother and father had sent over their part of the bill for dinner. At $50 per person for a dinner + drinks, a couple attending this dinner was looking at a minimum of $100 for the event. The bill sent over from her in-laws was short by about $20. She sent her new husband back over to his parents at the other table and told him to inform them that “they knew the deal” when they came to this dinner and needed to pay for their part in full.
Miss Jeanne, as a wedding planner can you give any advice at all for what to do with brides like this? How do you talk them out of such an etiquette atrocity? Any advice you have would be MUCH appreciated. 0927-13
The older you get and the more weddings you do, you’ll discover ways to get yourself out of sticky messes with bridezillas. For example, your wedding gift was the 40+ hours you spent planning the first wedding. The fact that the couple changed their plans completely does not negate the value of the gift you gave them. I personally would have declined the invitation to plan the second wedding as this was yet another gift of time. If you give your time away too freely, people will come to believe it is nearly worthless.
If we could dissuade all bridezillas from their tacky plans, there would be no EHell site. Etiquette Hell started some 15 years ago when brides came to an online community to ask questions, were told their plans were utterly tacky/greedy/heinous and these brides declared they were going to do whatever they wanted anyway. In frustration I began to joke that we needed to throw these brides into “etiquette hell” for their knowledgeable acts of tackiness and greed, someone asked me where this “etiquette hell” was and I created a simple web page with a link to submit new stories. The rest is history.
I learned over time to inquire in depth at the start of the process as to their plans and beliefs and to communicate clearly that, by hiring me, they were agreeing to be receptive to advice that was intended to keep them from offending friends and family. Have you ever read my book, “Wedding Etiquette Hell – The Bride’s Bible To Avoiding Everlasting Damnation”?