As if wedding planning isn't stressful enough, what do you do if a genuine 911 occurs on the eve of the big day? Here is how a few brave women handled it.
A Death in the Family
Judy knew her wedding was a race against time as her fiancé's father had a brain tumor. "We moved up the wedding from April of 1991 to October 1990 in an effort to have him there." Tragically, he died 10 days before the nuptials. Judy recalls, "It was pretty shocking. We all went into autopilot." They didn't consider cancelling and the rabbi made a "lovely statement" about the loss at the ceremony.
For Judy the wedding day was wonderful but "weird." She says, "I was young. I felt terrible for Rich but also distant in a way because I wasn't truly part of his family yet and didn't know exactly how to be."
Having the start of her new life witnessing first hand how short life can be has made the ensuing 25 years with her husband all the more precious.
The Gown-Eating Blizzard
In the 18 years since they said "I do," Lisa and her husband Steve have created a mantra that gives them strength: "If we can get through this wedding we can get through anything."
After a freak snowstorm blew in shortly before the wedding, her sister-in-law's bridesmaid dress fell out of the car into a snowdrift, was run over by a snowplow, then went MIA. There followed a flurry of fruitless calls to bridal shops on the West Coast—Stowe, Vermont, scene of the wedding, was not exactly a fashion capital—to find something similar to the velvet dresses worn by the other bridesmaids. Then Lisa's about-to-be mother-in-law found a velvet coat dress at a local dress store and "bribed" the only tailor in town to forego planning her child's birthday party that afternoon to refashion the dress into something passable.
Other havoc unleashed by the blizzard: flight delays. "As of two hours before the wedding I didn't know if my flowers or rabbi would make it in. Luckily they did."
Lisa was not out of the snowy woods. "There wasn't a bakery in Stowe so we'd ordered a wedding cake from a restaurant. Only when I called to find out when the cake would arrive, I found out the pastry chef quite a few weeks earlier!" In the end she found a cake though it didn't look like the Martha Stewart picture Lisa had given the pastry chef.
In comparison to the wedding Lisa and Steve's lives together have been a piece of cake!
Giving a Little Lip
"The night before the wedding I could feel a cold sore starting on my bottom lip," one bride named Bailey says. "I woke up with my lip swollen to at least four times its normal size with cold sores on the top and bottom lip!"
Her reaction, naturally, was to panic! "I cried and started googling for remedies—sending my dad to the store to get this natural supplement that was supposed to help. I iced my lips all morning."
There were several moments during the "getting ready" process when Bailey broke into tears. Her photographer reminded her what the day was really about—and bragged on her Photoshop skills!
Bailey decided to smile and enjoy her day, no matter what. "I ended up having a great time and forgot about my lips for most of the night!"
Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.