The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, Part 2: The Bad

I had considered not writing this at all, because really — and it sounds cheesy, but it’s true — the day of my wedding was the best day of my life, and I had more fun than I could have imagined, surrounded by people I love. So writing about the things that went wrong seems somehow ungrateful.

I expected some things to go wrong and thought I would be ready for them. And they certainly didn’t ruin the day, but they did keep me up for sleepless nights after the wedding, because my mind is dumb like that. And while none of the guests knew they happened (okay, they probably thought something was weird, but they didn’t know what and probably forgot about it) it sort of sucked that the mistakes were made by the most expensive of the vendors — and the ones I had been the most specific with.

If I want to complain (and anyone who has read my blog knows I DO), drama began months before the wedding day. Our venue could only hold a certain number of people. Normal hurdle. They say to invite 25% more people than you expect to come, because people will decline, but not to go too crazy, because if more people come than can fit…well, it could get awkward.

Tyler and I are lucky enough to have really big families and lots of friends from the various walks of our lives, so we were presented with a challenge. After consulting wedding budget books, wedding “rule” books, and a ton of wedding websites, we decided to cut corners by limiting children of invitees to ones that were over 18, not outwardly inviting plus ones for single people (anyone dating was allowed a plus one), and not dipping into old work friends until a sufficient number of declines had come in.

I am not exaggerating — I have the original Best-Case Scenario guest list right here — if we had invited everyone we wanted to, we would have exceeded the capacity of the room by 250%. And that’s not to say that we’re super popular Rock Stars. It’s just that the Perfect Venue was limited in size, and family comes first. And even the Obamas couldn’t be budgeted attendance into the Royal Wedding. JUST SAYING.

These decisions led to some very emotional and hurt phone calls and some very detailed emails about how incredibly rude I am and lists of etiquette rules I had broken. I communicated back how hard it was to make the decisions we had to make and how hurt their comments made me, and they either felt sorry or didn’t, but we’re past that now. I just hope that if I’m ever part of the Most Difficult Event To Arrange in someone else‘s lifetime, I don’t choose that time to make it just a wee bit more emotional and difficult and all about me. Hooray!

Is it wrong to blog about how hurt some friends made you, knowing they will likely read the blog? I say no. I told them how I felt. They know. We’re either still friends or we’re not. That’s how friendships work, I guess.

The day before the wedding was probably one of the most stressful. In the past week, I had almost passed out twice (tunnel vision, shortness of breath, heart feeling like it was beating once per minute) for reasons I still don’t understand besides BODY NO PROCESS SEVERE STRESS GOOD. With all the family there, and the whole one rehearsal of the ceremony under our belts…I just wasn’t feeling great. At the rehearsal dinner, I kept whispering to my parents and Tyler that I didn’t feel well, but I didn’t know how specifically, and not to panic, but if I fell over, to push me to the side of the room, perhaps under one of the clothed buffet tables.

I’d like to point out that not once did I worry I would have some Soap Operatic change of heart. I was more concerned about being so nervous I threw up and then passed out and went into a coma and then everyone’s airplane tickets and hotel rooms would have been a waste.

The morning of the wedding, things went well enough. The videographer accidentally went to the wrong hotel and…arrived with a dental issue I strongly suggested should be looked at, but he assured me he was fine, and we moved forward. My stylist made a comment about how I was one of the most chill brides and friendliest bridal parties she had ever seen. The latter was because my friends are awesome, but it’s only honest to contribute my “chill attitude” to the fact that my heart had technically stopped beating altogether.

I forgot to eat, even though my mom had warned me several times not to forget to eat, and I had heartily guffawed, because eating is my favorite thing to do, with breathing being a close second. But that was remedied with an emergency Macaroni and Cheese, and things were going well.

I’ll just skip to the first hiccup, which was a small one. I was hidden in my bungalow as guests were filtering in, and the videographer interviewed me for filler material. Suddenly, amidst all the classical music came…the Wedding March. You know the song. It’s the classic chords played AFTER you get married and skip out of the venue, new spouse in tow.

“Oh, I guess I have to go,” I joked with the videographer. And I was still in a good mood. “If this is the worst thing that goes wrong today, it will have been an amazing day.”

Cut to moments before my entrance down the garden path, where my ceremony took place. The bridesmaids had just walked in to Pachelbel’s Canon in D, and everything was going fine. I grabbed my dad’s arm and teared up a little, thinking of that scene in “Father of the Bride,” where Steve Martin wants to go first, but Annie tells him to wait, all calm and collected. I was ready.


I freeze. My dad tries to move, and I don’t. Moments pass. Like, a lot. A coordinator runs over to see what the problem is, and I tell her it’s the wrong song. She radios the DJ, or perhaps Mars, for all the good it does, and possibly where a Wedding DJ is from who doesn’t know the difference between the Wedding March and Here Comes the Bride.

The song cuts out — not fades; stops abruptly. And then the DJ plays….Canon in D. The song the bridesmaids just walked in to. The audience is still standing, waiting expectantly. I tell the well-meaning coordinator that it is still the wrong song…in between gasps and stuttered comments about possibly acquiring a defibrillator very soon.

The song cuts out again. This DJ learned to spin from Edward Scissorhands. And next plays…”Unexpected Song,” oddly enough, the surprise song that all my musical theater friends would love, as would be sung by one of the bridesmaids later. Secret ruined. I wonder silently if people who die in the garden also get memorial services here, free of charge. I also make a mental note to kill the DJ in the parking lot before I kick the bucket.

Song cuts out. DJ runs over in silence. The photographs taken of the audience during this time are enough to kill me to this day. Worried faces. People wondering why I’m not coming out WHO OBVIOUSLY HAVEN’T WATCHED A LOT OF WEDDING SHOWS. THE BRIDE COMES OUT TO “HERE COMES THE BRIDE.” IT’S RIGHT THERE IN THE DAMN TITLE.

The DJ tells me he doesn’t have “Here Comes the Bride.” This is the point at which Tyler finally sneaks a peek across the garden — probably 50 yards — and sees me flipping out to such a degree that I’m actually literally flailing my bouquet above my head.

I’ll save you all the comments I made, and I am eternally grateful that the videographer cut all this out of the wedding DVD, including the part where the DJ asks if it’s okay if he plays “Ave Maria” instead and I burst into hysterical tears. OVERREACTING? NO. I WAS NOT. The fact that the DJ wasn’t facepunched is indicative of the fact that I was UNDERreacting.

My dad tried to calm me down by telling me it’s not the end of the world, and I looked at him with the same expression I might have given someone who suggested I walk down the aisle to “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails.

At some point in all this, the coordinator remembered that I had brought a backup CD of songs I burned FROM THE DJ, SENT IN AN EMAIL ENTITLED “SONGS I WILL PLAY AT YOUR CEREMONY” for the rehearsal, and it was still in the garden’s office. The coordinator sprinted to get it, handed it to the DJ, hopefully with a stink eye, and the ceremony progressed. I walked out to “Here Comes the Bride.” I later learned that, in the midst of the confusion, when everyone was asking where I was, my musical theater teachers leaned over to them and said, “She did theater for 17 years. She knows not to make an entrance until they play the right music.” DAMN STRAIGHT.

The next mistake wasn’t huge, but annoying. Tyler and I knew we were right for each other from the first weeks of our courtship, when we would make the same jokes and esoteric references at the same times. As weird as it sounds, Tyler once confessed to me that, when he’s in awkward situations where it’s silent, he sometimes hums the theme from Jurassic Park, and I almost died when I told him I did the same thing WITH THE SAME SONG. Can’t make these things up.

I told the DJ that we wanted this to play when the bridal party was introduced during the reception, and he assured me he knew which song I was talking about. I sang it for him, because there are a few songs from the Jurassic Park score. He told me he knew it. JUST BECAUSE I AM OCD AND MICROMANAGE, I sent him the song as an .mp3 in an email, saying, this is the song we want to play when we are introduced. I think you can see where this is going. He played the wrong song. He played a slower — still recognizable — song from the Jurassic Park score, and everyone knew what it was from and chuckled…but it wasn’t the one for the reason we chose. Oh, well. If THAT had been the only thing to go wrong, it still would have been flawless.

Dinner passed almost without incident — except for the fact that I’d given the DJ explicit instructions on what songs should be played during dinner (oldies, Rat Pack stuff) and what songs should be played during dancing (songs I like to dance to), and they went ahead and played several songs that Tyler and I had been looking forward to busting a move during…while we were eating our salads. Whatevs. We’ll rock out to Piano Man at home later, dudes. Glad I spent all that time writing those emails.

The last thing is almost the worst, and it hurts me to write about it, because I don’t know if you can tell this about me but I put a lot of stock into meanings of things. The DJ recommended we have an Anniversary Dance, where people who were married in the last day (lolz) leave the floor first, then people married in the last 5 years, 10 years, 20, all the way up to 60. I told him I knew my grandparents — married for 65 years — would surely win. He asked me to choose a special song for them, and I chose the song my grandfather sang to my grandmother at their 50th Anniversary and Vow Renewal Ceremony called “When Your Old Wedding Ring Was New.”

The lyrics alone are enough to make me tear up, and hearing my grandfather sing it was one of the most special moments of devotion between the two of them I can remember. I searched and searched for an .mp3, and bought the best version on iTunes a few weeks earlier. I sent it in.

When my grandparents were the last on the floor, the DJ announced he had a surprise for them, and began to play the song. My grandfather teared up at hearing the first few notes, and my grandmother hugged him so tight. I was tearing up, too, until…the .mp3 stopped. No idea. My grandparents kind of looked around, confused, and the room was silent. The DJ sort of chuckled nervously and started the .mp3 again…about the same 15 seconds passed and we were all getting emotional again…and it stopped again.

The DJ made some remark about technical difficulties and it being an “old .mp3,” which I’m not sure if that was a joke, but I was really regretting the down payment we’d made on them. Do you mean “old,” like, from the ’50s there, Steve Jobs?

They played it soon enough — after another song played in the interim — and everyone tolerated a third round of the first verse, but it had long lost its emotion and surprise that meant so much to me for my grandparents. Full disclosure, because they are great grandparents, they loved the gesture and thought it went perfectly. I think calm heads and rationality get filtered out of the gene pool as generations pass.

Like I said, a lot of these things probably weren’t noticed by a lot of people, but a lot of what I was paying for was for things not to screw up so much that Tyler and I would notice.

But I can’t say this enough — our wedding day was great. I will remember it forever as the happiest day of my life. This blog entry is a lot like this thing I do that’s totally wrong. I check out a product on Amazon, and it has 4,000 5-star reviews and maybe 10 1-star reviews, and I go straight to the 1 stars to see what’s wrong. And after a page of them, I think, “Jeez, who would buy this crappy thing?” totally forgetting that there are 4,000 reasons I probably shouldn’t listen to those 10.

Those happy things are coming in my next entry. These things sucked, and we can laugh about it now. Probably. When I imagine things going wrong at the wedding when the DJ gets married. Then I laugh and laugh.

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