Just About the Only Way a Wedding Is Truly Ruined

I was thinking the other day about a post from quite a while ago. You may remember the story of the bride who sued her wedding florist, Posy Floral Design, for $400,000 after they substituted pastel pink and green hydrangeas for dark rust and green hydrangeas in the reception centerpieces, ruining her wedding. While I understand that Elana Glatt was angry and disappointed that she didn’t get the wedding flowers she really wanted, I have to wonder if a lawsuit was the right way to handle her feelings.

I won’t argue that it’s a bride’s right to seek compensation when a vendor contract is breached. Glatt asked for one thing and received another. But I can’t help but ask what she’ll remember when she looks back on her wedding day, say, twenty years from now. Will it be the gorgeous kiss she shared with her spouse at the climax of her wedding ceremony? Perhaps the delicious cake that was served at the reception? Or will Glatt look back and find that what comes to mind is both feelings of anger and visions of spending time in court?


There is, as both Twistie and I have asserted on many occasions, no such thing as a truly perfect wedding. Then again, maybe there is. If you can look back on your wedding day and remember all the good things that happened while putting all the annoyances out of your thoughts, then that sounds pretty perfect to me. Yes, the cat walked on your train with his little muddy paws while you were posing for photographs. And your FIL got a little too drunk and broke his wrist trying to breakdance at the reception. But you got married. Successfully, I might add. What some brides and grooms call catastrophes can even make for some funny anecdotes years later.

Yes, I lied a little in the title of this post — there are indeed ways a wedding can be truly ruined. Wedding guests and participants can get sick or even die. Natural disasters or man-made disasters can interfere. The bride or groom not showing up certainly applies. But I know from personal experience that many of the disappointments or situations that have the potential to ruin a wedding only actually do so when the bride or the groom can’t let go of them after the fact. Instead of recalling the ninety-nine good things that happened, they remember the one bad thing, and it colors their remembrances forevermore.

If one of those circumstances mentioned at the start of the previous paragraph happen to you, I give you full license to call your wedding ruined. But if it’s something else, like your wedding gown not shipping forcing you to choose an alternate dress or a misspelling of your new name on your last-minute programs, I’d ask you to think carefully before making such a pronouncement. Did you get married? Did your guests congratulate you on a beautiful ceremony? Did you dance and kiss and smile at the reception? Was the champagne delicious? Were the bouquets beautiful?

I bet the answer to those and most similar questions would be a resounding yes. So seek out financial compensation if you really need to because a contract hasn’t been fulfilled, but please, please don’t let one detail ruin your wedding in your mind. As goofy as it sounds, you have the power to have that so-called perfect wedding, but only if you allow yourself to think of it as perfect, flaws and all.

8 Responses to “Just About the Only Way a Wedding Is Truly Ruined”

  1. Pencils says:

    I got very stressed out right before my wedding when I started getting phone calls that guests weren’t coming. We had small guest list of about 70 people, so several people not coming was a big deal. First my best and oldest friend couldn’t fly in because of an emergency. Then my boss ripped open her stitches from a very recent surgery. Then my cousin called and said she had been in a car accident, and couldn’t come or bring my elderly aunt (no one was hurt but the car was totaled.) I was very upset, but I quickly realized there was nothing I could do, and I didn’t want it to ruin my happiness. So I got on with it, and had a fabulous wedding.

    One thing that I remember quite clearly from planning the flowers at my wedding was that the florist refused to guarantee colors for hydrangeas. I ended up using all roses, but I wonder if that bride’s florist told her that or not, or if she was promised rust-colored hydrangeas. Still, even if the flowers looked wrong, the point of the day was to get married, and I assume she did that. A bunch of our roses showed up damaged, so we fiddled with them to make it work–and as it turned out, the bouquets for the young bridesmaids were too large anyway, and they ended up looking better with smaller bouquets minus the damaged flowers.

  2. 7nina says:

    Aside from the feelings though, it’s also a business deal between you and your vendors. She had a contract with them, and paid them money for something she did not get. If she has a contract, then she has every reason to sue-and I don’t just think it’s about the feelings. Sometimes you have to sue to make things right. There’s a difference between having things not be perfect and not getting a contract-a legal document-fulfilled. Punitive damages for hurt, however, which i have seen brides try and sue for, are another matter. Just suck it up. But with regards to a contract, I don’t blame her for sueing, and would do it myself.

  3. Pencils: I’m so glad to hear that your flowers worked out, but that’s still a shame about the people who couldn’t come. I think there were one or two important people in my life who couldn’t make it, but I did my best not to dwell, much like yourself.

    7nina: I can’t disagree with her suing over a breach of contract, but I do hope that the whole legal rigmarole hasn’t colored her perception of her wedding day. I know that there are negative things I’ve held onto that were probably not as bad as having all the flowers wrong. If she’s lucky, she won’t look back on what should have been a special day and remember all the hassles.

  4. Dena says:

    My parents went to the wedding of their friends’ daughter, and the father of the bride had to be rushed to the hospital in middle of the dancing. He died that night. Now if anyone thinks that the wrong colored flowers “ruined” their wedding, they should think about how THIS bride felt!!

  5. That may be the saddest wedding story I’ve ever heard, Dena. How terrible it must have been for all involved.

  6. Toni says:

    A cousin was getting married in the Mormon church, and as the rest of us are not of that faith (and therefore couldn’t even attend the ceremony), they decided to have the wedding in Salt Lake City, and then a separate reception down here in Florida.

    The reception was to be held at the beach, but an impending hurricane kept the bride and groom from even showing up, and forced the rest of us to evacuate inland. During our caravan to the nearest major town, we were alerted to the fact that the bride’s grandmother (my great aunt) had become very ill, and was in the hospital. The whole family rushed to her side, and she ended up passing away the next day.

    We ended up “redoing” the entire reception the following year at the family reunion, and my mom and I provided 60 cupcakes and photography, another videotaped, and other relatives provided music with their guitars. It was a lovely time.

  7. La BellaDonna says:

    There were a number of frustrations and disappointments involved in my wedding, and I have to say, none of them made me think, “My wedding is ruined!” One area of stress was the groom’s family: His mother was unable to come, because her husband was in the hospital. Well, duh! She was sorry, but of course they couldn’t be there! His brother was unable to come, because his wife was in the hospital – they thought her appendix had burst, but it turned out to be an ectopic pregnancy, so she was not only in the hospital, she’d been gutted like a tuna. Of course they couldn’t be there! My grandparents didn’t come. More distressing were people we expected to come, who didn’t let us know they weren’t coming. They were local, and I would have appreciated a phone call. (No, they weren’t in the hospital; they just didn’t come, to the disappointment of at least one of the invited daughters.) My Dad’s outfit doesn’t look great in the photos, and maybe I’ll photoshop one of the pictures some day (I made bunches of outfits for the wedding, and didn’t have time to make his, so there’s guilt complicating that one.); all the buttons – ALL the many, many, tiny pearl-headed buttons popped off their little metal stems as my fiance started getting dressed (stupid buttons, they stayed on throughout months of trying on!), and that didn’t ruin the wedding. I had one maid of honor go berserk and walk off, and her replacement didn’t do anything except make my life more difficult, and that didn’t ruin the wedding. I didn’t get an engagement ring, and I wanted one (I didn’t get one because the groom was superstitious); that didn’t ruin the wedding either.

    Maybe I just had low expectations. If so, I’m grateful, because it seems to me that unrealistically heightened expectations seem to set the stage for disappointment. Now Dena’s friend, she had good reason for her distress. I have to say I do absolutely agree with 7nina, though: for the vendors or other parties who breach a contract involved with a wedding? They should absolutely be prosecuted, because those contracts exist for a reason!

    All that said? I love the white kitty perched on Mommy’s dress! Since Mommy is standing on a nice field of gravel, she seems to have a pretty laid-back attitude towards a few smudges on the dress, so I don’t think a paw-print or two detracted from her happiness. And at least the fur matched her dress!

  8. claire says:

    My wedding reception was a bit of a disaster, I do not get on well with my husbands brother and his longstanding girlfriend. During the cousrse of the day the girlfriend had lots to drink. My sister said she drank a full bottle of champange at the meal in the afternoon as well as two large glasses of wine.
    By the evening reception she was can we say well oiled. Just after the first dance it was pointed out to me she was causing a scene with my husbands mother and brother, the brother and girlfriend were getting rather agressive with my new mother in law, the security were watching them and I could hear they wanted to eject them both. Because I knew this would upset my new hubby I went and asked them to stop and not row at my wedding. The girlfriend by this time was so drunk she was unable to focus her eyes properly. she started to lash me with a tirade of verbal abuse called me a bad mother amongst other things and we got a little heated. it ended in her throwing a full half pint of spirits and cordial all over my lovley gown. Obviously after this they were forcably removed from the reception and caused an aggressive scene outside with security. After that my guests started toleave and I felt totally humilliated in front of my family.
    Two weeks after the wedding I am still heartbroken and really angry with the bitter old crone who ruined my day. I really hope the bad memories fade in time and leave me to enjoy the few happy ones I have of my day..