Sandy Malone, star of TLC's Wedding Island, is the owner of Weddings in Vieques, a destination-wedding planning company off the coast of Puerto Rico. Here, the pro-planner dishes on the worst mother of the bride behavior she's ever seen.
You and the groom planned (and paid for) a certain number of hours for your wedding reception, and that's all you get. The cocktail hour starts at the appointed time, regardless of whether your wedding ceremony was on schedule, and the clock starts ticking whether or not there's anybody there to enjoy it. And the party ends at the pre-designated time.
Unless you're getting married at a wedding-mill type of venue where every vendor is included, it's very difficult to extend the wedding reception at the last minute. You can't just keep the DJ and send everybody else home. There's cleanup and teardown to be done once your guests have left. Most couples understand this, and are well aware of how much they'd be spending to add extra time. But they're not the ones who get upset the party is ending. It's usually a drunk guest or parent who wants to party all night long.
The most terribly-behaved mother of the bride I've ever dealt with totally lost it when her daughter's wedding reception ended earlier than she wanted. It began late because she wasn't ready on time. On this wedding day, it was all about the MOB, not her daughter.
She showed up two hours late for her hair appointment and made them redo it four times, delaying the ceremony by 45 minutes. The bride was ready and waiting the whole time, as were their guests. The wedding reception started an hour behind schedule, and there was only an hour left when toasts began, so we asked them to be brief. The mother of the bride talked for 22 minutes without taking a breath. Mostly about herself, and a little bit about the bride. She never mentioned the groom. Why let the bride and groom crowd her spotlight, right?
When it was time to shut things down, we hadn't done the bouquet and garter toss, or the last dance yet, so I asked management and the DJ to give us a few extra minutes. Afterwards, we sent the partygoers off to the after-party pre-planned in the bar, while our crew began teardown.
Shortly thereafter, the MOB informed me that we would be adding three hours to the wedding reception. I was baffled. The DJ was unplugged, the lights were on. Décor was being packed up. The bridal couple and their guests were enjoying late night snacks in the bar. I told her that, unfortunately, it was too late. And she began screaming.
I tried to ignore her and continued to do cleanup. She followed me around the venue, getting louder and louder as I worked. The venue's management joined me and backed me up — the event could not be extended.
It was embarrassing and humiliating, even though I didn't do anything wrong, because her behavior drew quite a crowd. My staff ran video to cover us (we always do when a drunk person behaves crazily) just in case the situation escalated.
The wedding was flawless and the night would have been perfect if the mother of the bride had behaved herself. Instead, things ended on a dark note. She was hands down the worst one I've dealt with — in more than 500 weddings.
Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events, a full-service traditional and destination wedding planning company and Do-It-Yourself wedding planning consulting service for DIY brides and grooms based in the Washington, DC area. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show Wedding Island, about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques. Sandy's book How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional, will be released on March 1st, but is available online for pre-orders now where books are sold.