Happy Almost Valentine’s Day!
I’ve been blogging about hearts and love all week in the Huffington Post, and now I’m entitling myself to a little rant here on my own blog. Brace yourselves!
I have absolutely, positively had it up to here (holding hand over my head) with brides and grooms lying to each other and blaming the wedding planner for the bullsh*t that ensues. There is no more uncomfortable feeling for a wedding planning professional than to be caught in between the brides and grooms when one of them is lying through his or her teeth. I don’t play those games and I won’t tolerate being used as a pawn in whatever messed up relationship issues the bride and groom are having pre-wedding. In fact, if you have to lie to your fiancé about anything and blame some random wedding planner you’ve never met, you’d probably better get your act together really fast or this marriage isn’t going to work out anyway.
It’s one thing when a couple wants me to lie to the guests and say the venue doesn’t permit children – I do that all the time. And I’ll look your mother in the eye and tell her that carnations aren’t available in the Caribbean (even though they are) if it’s her favorite flower and you had to lie to her to avoid using it in your wedding. But when the bride or groom lies to their partner and uses me or my company as their excuse for a problem we had nothing to do with, I get abso-freaking-lutely irate! I spend 100 percent of my time trying to make my clients’ lives easier, and every member of our crew is busting butt daily to make sure our couples arrive and are able to relax and enjoy their wedding weekends. If a client makes a mistake and owns it, we’ll move mountains to fix it for them. When they lie or point fingers, it’s hard to get motivated to help.
Don’t you worry – as always, I have several excellent examples of what I’m talking about. We’ll start with the oldest one to be fair as it still stands out the most in my memory as it’s the only time the police got involved. No joke.
A couple arrived on the island with their parents and children for a week of beach time and a relaxed ceremony followed by a special wedding dinner. In short, it was one of our very simple packages. They were getting married during a holiday week and the only really critical thing we had to do was be at the demographic office for their marriage license at the appointed time. Every client receives a printed schedule upon arrival, and we’d discussed the fact that we had one shot to get a marriage license on our last conference call so I felt confident the bride was on top of things.
The bride and groom arrived 45 minutes late to their 10 am marriage license appointment. And the lady who runs the Vieques demographic office (she’s the ONLY employee on this island and she’s run the office for 35-plus years) told me that we needed to come back at 1 pm. I was grateful we’d even gotten a second chance, but the bride flipped out completely. She claimed I never told her it was important to be on time for the appointment (that’s a big “duh”). She started screaming at me in the hallway of the hospital where the marriage license office is located. Her screaming attracted the attention of a couple of very burly Policia de Puerto Rico who also happened to work part-time for me as setup and teardown crew.
The officers stopped and asked me, in Spanish, if everything was okay. I assured them we were fine, but they stayed nearby until the groom calmed psycho-bride down enough for us to walk outside. Then the cops hung out until I was in my car and safely away. Too bad they weren’t there for Round Two at 1 pm that day. Same hallway. It felt like Groundhog Day.
My clients were actually waiting for me 15 minutes early for the next appointment, and so at 1 pm we were graciously ushered in through the back door to complete paperwork. At this point, the bride blows it again. She has failed to bring her divorce decrees with her. The groom had his, leading me to believe that she just had a brain-fart, but she starts screaming that I never told her she needed to bring them. She yelled so loud that we were asked to step out of the office. We couldn’t complete her marriage license without the paperwork regardless, but she was verbally abusive to me, screaming and yelling that I’d never told her what paperwork to bring. Fortunately, after our morning encounter, I’d decided to drag her file along with me. The groom tugged her out to the parking lot to continue her temper tantrum, and I took that opportunity to open the file and show the groom that I had, in fact, sent them written instructions about what to bring, and I had actually reviewed the instructions TWICE on the phone with the bride during the planning process (yes, I do document the dates I go over that stuff).
The groom was looking at me like “please don’t do this” but the bride was still screaming that it was all my fault. And I was done. I told the groom that if she would stop screaming I could try to help them (thinking we could have the divorce decree faxed in super-fast), but she got nastier and nastier, and he finally looked at me apologetically and said they would simply finish their paperwork when they returned home. Thank God because I’m not sure the doyenne of the demographic office was going to let that harridan back into her space to issue a marriage license anyway. She’d told me she thought the bride was crazy. I didn’t argue. By the way, we did provide all contracted services and executed a lovely wedding, but for the groom’s sake, I hope they never did get legally married.
I realize the groom HAD TO take up for his bride – at least he had to if he was still planning to get married. But at least he was nice to me the entire time, leading me to believe he was well aware of who and what he was marrying. But that isn’t always how it goes down. And when grooms get nasty it’s sometimes a lot more intimidating than upset brides. I can take screaming and tears. I don’t respond well to threats.
An ugly example is a groom who texted me two days after we executed a flawless wedding for them and their families. Last I saw the bride, she was happy as a clam and promising a fabulous review of our services. So I was blown away to receive a text message accusing me of giving the bride medication on her wedding day. We NEVER give out any medication – not even Advil – because it’s a liability we cannot afford. Certainly nobody would ever give out prescription medication to a client. But I knew what the groom was talking about.
When our team arrived 90 minutes before the wedding to finish setup and help the bride dress, she was in full anxiety attack freak out mode. She made the comment “I need a Xanax” and I asked her if she had any. She said she had a prescription for something else, and I suggested she should only take half of whatever it was because she was also drinking. I have no idea what she actually took because the pills went straight from her purse to her hand to her mouth, and she swallowed them dry like it wasn’t the first time.
It seemed to help by the time she went down the aisle, and when we left them after the wedding ceremony to go to their wedding dinner at a local restaurant, everything was hunky-dory and the bride and groom loved us. When we saw them the next day, they were still all smiles. Flash forward to a hateful text telling me I almost ruined their marriage by letting her take some kind of tranquilizer she shouldn’t have been taking. Hmmm.
The groom threatened me not to tell the bride that he had contacted me, and continued to be very nasty. I explained that she is a 35-year-old woman and it was her own prescription and it wasn’t my job to tell her what to do with her own doctor-prescribed medication. Her family and a member of my staff were present when she took the pills. And clearly if there was a problem, it was an issue that pre-existed their arrival on the island for their wedding. I expected him to blow up back at me in response, but instead he texted that the wedding had been beautiful and everything had been perfect except the “problem” I caused with the bride. Whatever. Get over it. You knew who you were marrying and are apparently aware of some substance abuse issues that I, as the wedding planner, neither need nor want to know about. Did you just need somebody to yell at because your bride popped pills and proceeded to drink hard core all night? I’m honestly not sure what all went down, but I’m guessing I’m not too far off.
Finally, I really love it when the groom tears into me via email one week BEFORE the wedding when he and the bride finally discuss details and suddenly realize they’ve forgotten to make some key arrangement, such as puddle jumper flights or rental car reservations. Both things are items the clients arrange themselves based on very helpful information, including discounts, we provide for their convenience. It’s always the lower-budget, smaller package clients who didn’t want to pay for a full service wedding planner that turn around and tear my head off because they forgot to do something that was on their own to-do list. It’s especially uncomfortable when the groom is text bombing me at the same time the bride is emailing apologies to me, claiming responsibility for the overlooked detail the groom is raging about. I’m trying to write this so that it makes sense without embarrassing any individual client, but as I think about it, the situation describes a number of couples over the years. It’s quite frustrating.
Look folks – if you mess up something with your wedding plans and you need your wedding planner to help bail you out, ask nicely or beg for mercy, but don’t be nasty, rude or bitchy because that approach isn’t going to get you anywhere. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques and Weddings in Culebra!