Uh-oh! We hate to break it to you, but whether your bridal bun is more Bride of Frankenstein or the wedding party's limo never arrives, wedding day disasters can — and do — happen. But as the BRIDES October/November 2016 issue proves, brides-to-be can survive any catastrophe. (Trust us!) In our latest issue, real and very brave brides are sharing their wedding nightmares. These major mishaps might have you clutching your pearls, but don't worry — everyone still had their happily ever after. See? Brides can handle anything! Still don't believe us? Read one of the catastrophic wedding day tales below.
I met Bob at a friend's house in Brooklyn. He was the tall one wearing crazy overalls and a chef's apron. He made shrimp, which I hate but pretended to like because I thought he was cute. He also turned out to be charming and interesting and hilarious, so after dinner we went out with friends, and the rest is history. We moved in together a year later, moved from New York City to Boston together, and got engaged.
And so a scene was set: 100 close family and friends flown in from across the country for our wedding at my parents' home in rural Virginia. The touching speeches at our rehearsal dinner in a country inn were followed by a "welcome gathering" for out-of-town guests at a pub just up the street from the house. As usually happened with our group of friends, the night devolved into a raucous party, and my brother eventually dragged me home to get some beauty sleep while my fiancé stayed to keep our guests entertained.
I awoke at 6 a.m. on the day of our wedding and bounced down the stairs of my parents' house to see a grim look on my mom's face. My dad was on the phone with the best man, who asked if he could please hurry down to the police station to bail out his future son-in-law. While I had slept peacefully in my childhood bedroom, my fiancé had spent the night on a hard metal bench in the local jail with a couple of rough-looking, passed-out cellmates. I don't remember how exactly my mom broke the news to me, but I do remember falling to the ground in the hall outside my dad's study. My mother, who has a zero-wallowing policy, gave me about two seconds and then said, "Elisabeth, get up! You're stronger than that!" There was too much to do and too little time to be angry or cry. My dad (whom Bob called because his own father had passed away and he didn't want to worry his mother) sped to the courthouse and finally sprung the groom-to-be around noon for our 4:00 wedding service.
Bob had been pulled over right outside the pub for forgetting to turn on the headlights of the sporty navy-blue Mustang we had rented to be our getaway car after the wedding the next day. The police officer opened the door to find the love of my life smelling like a brewery and his best man in the passenger seat, wearing the vintage Pittsburgh Steelers helmet he'd lifted from behind the bar. And thus Bob received a DUI. Driving away from the pub was stupid and dangerous, and he knew it, but the excitement of our big day got the best of him and he made a horrible choice. Considering what could've happened — him hurting himself or someone else — he got off easy.
That said, I never really freaked out on him. I couldn't let it rip after seeing his stricken face as he walked in the door of my parents' house to take pictures before the ceremony. He was so clearly nauseous and ashamed of what he'd done, plus terrified about what I would do and what everyone would think. By then, he'd already had a few long hours in a holding cell to beat himself up about it. So, no, there was no "I can't believe I'm marrying this guy" moment, just many "I can't believe this is happening" and "What if he doesn't get out in time?" moments. My main worry was that the friends and family who'd come so far would leave without being able to share our day. He was still my Bob, despite his terrible mistake.
He did make it, of course, and I was able to add a massive sigh of relief to the huge rush of love and excitement that I felt. And now, more than 10 years later, Bob and I can laugh with our wedding party about the whole thing. Sort of.
Subscribe now for the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration.