God Versus Instagram

, , , , , , , | Working | January 30, 2019

(As a Navy chaplain stationed nearby, I have been asked to do a wedding at a church in Coronado, a rather ritzy suburb of San Diego and home of the famous Hotel Del. The couple are quite well to do, their parents VERY well to do, and they want the perfect wedding and reception. To ensure it, they’ve paid for the perfect wedding coordinator. At the rehearsal the day before the wedding, this coordinator makes it clear that she is very much in charge, and starts organizing the wedding party, lining people up for the procession, etc. I am happy enough to let her do her thing, until, as I am walking the wedding party through the service itself, which will include a Nuptial Mass, she starts to challenge me.)

Wedding Coordinator: “No, we can’t have them kneeling at the rail with their backs to the congregation; it won’t look right in the photos.”

Wedding Coordinator: “No, when they exchange the rings, they should face the congregation, so it can be seen.”

Wedding Coordinator: “No… this.” and “No… that.”  

(Each time, I patiently instruct the couple and the bridal party to do it my way. Finally, she screams at me that I am interfering with her job, that she is a professional and knows what will work best, and that she will instruct the wedding party to do it HER way. I finally lose it.)

Me: “Ma’am, we are talking about a Sacrament of the Church, one which isn’t about getting the perfect pictures but about binding a man and woman together in Holy Matrimony. Outside the church, before the service or at the reception, you are in charge. Once they come into the church, then I am. Can you live with that?”

(She can’t, and again starts giving me orders.)

Me: “Ma’am, if you insist on being in charge of what happens during the Nuptial Mass, I wish you luck. I can have no part of it.”

(I start to gather my gear to leave.)

Wedding Coordinator: “What are you doing? You can’t leave! The wedding is tomorrow!”

Me: “True, but I won’t be here for it.”

Wedding Coordinator: “You can’t do that!”

Me: “And how do you mean to stop me?”

(She caved. I walked the party through the rehearsal again, while she glowered in a rear pew. The next day the wedding went off without a hitch, and the bride and her mother were very happy. The wedding coordinator was paid over $5,000, plus expenses. The photographer was paid as much. I was given a $100 honorarium in an envelope by the groom, and got to eat at the reception — at the table with the elderly aunts!)

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Fall Of Bridezilla

, , , , , , | Romantic | July 29, 2018

(I end up being the wedding planner of a Bridezilla. The bride’s sister — and bridesmaid — gets pregnant. The Bridezilla informs her that her pregnancy is inconvenient, and throws a fit at her poor timing because the dress will have to be altered to handle the pregnancy, etc. I flee to another room and shut the door, but they are having it out so loudly I can still hear the fight. After what seems like an eternity, the sister says coldly:)

Sister: “We’ve been trying for three years. While the wedding may be your day, you knew what I was going through to get the chance to have a baby.”

Bridezilla: “Well, then, I guess you can’t be in my wedding, because I don’t want to deal with the problems your pregnancy will cause.”

(While I stand there, flabbergasted, I hear nothing but silence and then the quiet shutting of the door. The sister had walked out without another word. I put on my best retail face and continue with the plans. A few months later, [Bridezilla] and [Bridezilla’s Mom] are with me, and [Bridezilla’s Mom] gets a phone call. [Bridezilla’s Mom] excuses herself and left to answer. She spends most of the meeting on the phone. Towards the end, [Bridezilla’s Mom] comes back, slowly putting her phone away. It looks as though she’s been crying.)

Bridezilla: “Who was that?”

Bridezilla’s Mom: “Your sister… She lost the baby.”

(Yep. [Bridezilla’s Mom] has definitely been crying… right along with her poor, distraught daughter on the other end of the phone. My heart breaks for them. There is nothing I can say to take the pain away, and there are not enough tissues in the world to mop up my sympathetic tears that are about to come to the surface.)

Bridezilla: “Oh. Well, I guess she can be in my wedding, then, since she’s not pregnant anymore.”

(I have never seen something snap behind another person’s eyes before. It’s absolutely terrifying! [Bridezilla’s Mom] turns to me and speaks in this deadly soft, deadly calm voice:)

Bridezilla’s Mom: “I’m so sorry to have wasted your time, but it looks as though I won’t be financing the wedding anymore. It looks like my daughter will be taking over paying for everything. I hope this doesn’t cause your business any trouble.”

Bridezilla: *suddenly horrified and in panic mode* “MOM?!”

Me: *giving [Bridezilla’s Mom] a brilliant smile* “I understand, ma’am. I think we can sort out the snags.”

([Bridezilla] freaked out, shrieking, waving her arms, screeching horrified questions, and getting more and more panicked as [Bridezilla’s Mom] coldly refuses to answer the demanding, “Why?!” of her “sudden and unexplained” refusal to pay for the wedding. [Bridezilla’s Mom] left, her back ramrod straight, trailed by her hysterical [Bridezilla] daughter. The wedding was cancelled entirely, twenty-four hours later, by the would-be groom.)

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The Bridal Shower Of Tears

, , , , , , , | Related | October 26, 2017

While planning my wedding, I have neglected to plan, or get a family member to plan a bridal shower. I don’t particularly mind, but my aunt very graciously offers to throw a bridal shower for me. I give her a guest list based off of my previous baby shower for my son, and she starts planning away.

One day after handing out the invitations, my future mother-in-law calls saying that I forgot to invite two of my fiancé’s cousins. I don’t know them well, but I feel bad for neglecting them, so, after asking my aunt, I tell my mother-in-law to invite them, but to make sure to let them know that this isn’t a children-friendly event.

A week before the shower, my aunt calls me, confused, as several people not on the guest list have RSVP’d, and specified that they are bringing their kids. I call my mother-in-law to make sure there wasn’t a miscommunication. She not only invited four of my fiancé’s cousins, most of whom I don’t know, or my fiancé doesn’t talk to anymore, but she also told them to invite their kids, too. This adds up to about eight more people than previously expected, and my aunt’s house can’t accommodate this.

After hanging up with my mother-in-law, I call my mom, because I am not sure what to do or how to approach this situation. My mother, understandably, is mad that my mother-in-law was rude enough to invite people without at least asking me or making sure I knew the people. She decides to call my mother-in-law to figure out a solution: either have two showers to accommodate the people, or rent space so that there is room for these people and split the cost.

My mother calls, and she barely gets into the conversation before my mother-in-law loses it on her. She calls my mom all sorts of names and ends with, “Shove this party right up your a**.” My fiancé and I, after hearing this, decide not to engage with my mother-in-law’s behavior and let her calm down.

The next day, my mother-in-law texts me, telling me that her side is throwing a “Welcome to the Family” party for me, despite the fact that I gave her a grandson two years ago and have been a part of the family since then. I bluntly tell her that I will not attend any event until she apologizes to my mom for her outburst. After much foot-stomping and whining and, “You don’t care about my feelings,” she finally relents and gives my mother a half-baked apology.

When it comes time to attend her party, every person there ignores me. It is, in theory, a party for me, but not one person really talks to me the entire time. It is bad enough that even my maid of honour, who came with me, notices.

I did marry into the family, in the end. But honestly, if I didn’t know my now-husband so well, I would have taken off running as far away from that family as possible!

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She Is The Opinionator

| Friendly | November 15, 2016

(I am engaged and choosing a venue for the wedding. I text my maid of honor about my choice.)

Me: “So we’re going to go with [Church].”

Maid Of Honor: *lists all the reasons why this church is a bad choice*

(I get emotionally overwhelmed and stop texting her, but I’m not upset with her as I know she was trying to help and I’m still planning on choosing that church. The next morning she calls me.)

Maid Of Honor: “Were you upset with me last night?”

Me: “No, I just got really overwhelmed. I’m not mad at you.”

Maid Of Honor: “Well, tell me what you want me to do as a Maid of Honor so I won’t upset you again.”

Me: “Okay… how about I’ll ask for your honest opinion directly if I need it, but otherwise you just support my decision?”

Maid Of Honor: “WHAT?! How can you expect me to NOT share my opinion with you?! That’s not part of who I am! What do you want from me?!”

Me: *thinking* “I just told you…”

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