It Was A Mother's Time To Shine (So She Believed)
Weddings are stressful. They are stressful for the couple getting married and their families, but they are also stressful for the vendors hired to make sure the day goes just right for the couple. It's a responsibility that vendors take seriously and it's what gives them pride in their work.
For one caterer, who we'll call Becky, making sure the food and the meal service is perfect is everything to her. Of course, sometimes, things get completely out of control and go completely sideways. At no point in her nearly decade-long career in the business had she ever encountered a mother of a bride like she did at one of her very first weddings. A mother who had also declared herself the official wedding planner. A mother who had never been married herself and, according to Becky, saw her daughter's wedding as "her chance to finally soak up all that love and joy that comes with such a day."
You know this isn't going to end well for anyone.
Reflecting on the events of the wedding, Becky realized she should have recognized the warning signs that presented themselves at the very first tasting. The mother of the bride had declared herself the wedding planner and, maybe worse, described herself as a "yelper and food critic." And yeah, many are probably rolling their eyes already, knowing where this is going.
Becky was pretty young and naive, just a few months into her career and barely 18 years old at the time, so she didn't see it coming. Actually, the fact that she was so young brought the ire of the mother of the bride, who Becky said, "looked at me...and scoffed. 'You're trusting children to pull this off? They could never satiate my refined palate.'" Oh boy. But Becky was professional and took it in stride, trying to move on. Thankfully for the first time (and the last time), the mother of the bride kept quiet. That is, until she didn't. As they went through the seating arrangements, Becky explained, "The mother of the bride was silent through most of it until we got to coordinating seats and serving orders. She demanded a seat at the wedding party's table, right in the middle." In the middle of what you ask? Only the place that no bride or groom wants their mother/mother-in-law to sit.
She not only wanted to sit at the main table, she wanted to sit directly beside the bride and groom, totally pushing the maid of honor and the best man to the side.
Was she serious? Dead serious. According to Becky, it took over an hour arguing before it was agreed that she would sit next to the maid of honor, with the MOH separating mommy craziest from her daughter. Becky just rolled with the punches, she was going to concentrate on making the reception great for the bride and the groom, a couple that had been through it all. They were "high school sweethearts who managed to weather the good, bad and ugly of high school, college, career building, and long-distance love." They were also planning a very complicated wedding. As Becky describes, "Their wedding was quite elaborate and required the best out of each vendor, so there was very little room for error." Becky knew she had her work cut out for her, and that doesn't even factor in the mother of the bride. Eventually, everything was set. The menu and the seating chart were set, everything was ready to go.
It wouldn't last. The problems continued up until the night before the wedding.
"A month before the wedding, we received a call from the mother of the bride/'wedding planner' that the menu had to change because of a recent dietary issue with the groom," Becky said. She must have had that "here we go" feeling. She seemed to sense something was off, but it was the mother of the bride, so she rolled with it. That was a mistake.
Then a week before the wedding, Becky got another call from the mother of the bride, informing her that 20 guests had changed their mind about attending the wedding, so there would be 20 other people attending in their absence who would need to amend their dinner orders.
At this point, Becky was very suspicious. She explained, "This struck us as a bit odd so we called the bride to confirm, and when she answered, she sounded exasperated. When we explained the call from her mother/'planner', she was confused but whatever was going on distracted her to the point that she said she was sure it was fine and to go ahead and make the changes."
Becky made the changes, the mother of the bride was happy and all was set for the big day, which was taking place in just about a week's time. Becky's feeling of foreboding didn't go away and she'd later wish she'd listened to her gut a little more closely.
Thankfully, Becky was not involved in the rehearsal dinner, which was held the night before the wedding. When she arrived at the wedding the next day, she learned from the pastor that there was some serious funny business going on and "the bride and groom didn't even go to their rehearsal dinner because of the drama."
The bride and groom didn't even attend their own rehearsal dinner! How bad was this wedding going to get? Becky knew she had to make sure everything was perfect on her end. "We were ready to take on the world to make this bride and her hubby to be the happiest they've ever been." They went to work to make it so.
It wouldn't be easy. The mother definitely wasn't going to let that happen.
According to Becky, "As soon as the first people started to arrive, things went sideways. The groomsmen noticed that the only people arriving weren't even direct family of the bride or groom, they were mostly friends of the bride's mother. It wasn't until closer to the ceremony start time that the bride and grooms' friends actually showed up. Some of them showed up as the ceremony was midway through, most looking embarrassed and shocked to find that the ceremony had already started."
What in the world was going on? Why was everyone late? The answer was pretty disturbing. You see, the mother of the bride, Becky learned, had never had her own wedding and in the most narcissistic of ways, had made a huge number of changes that she'd wanted, regardless of her daughter's thoughts or feelings. She was determined to make this day all about her, it was finally HER big day, forget the actual bride.
For starters, to draw attention to herself immediately, "the Mother of the Bride wore one of the skimpiest dresses I've ever seen a mature woman wear. Deep v-neck, slit up the side, and...no bra at all." Becky was actually a little surprised she didn't wear a white dress. The mother of the bride even chose her own "special song played for her as she was walked down the aisle to her seat." She was going to get all the attention, no matter what.
But what about the rest of the guests, why were they so late? Becky learned why the next day: "The mother of the bride decided to start making changes to her daughter's wedding. She not only sent out the wrong times to friends of the bride and groom, she told most of them that they wouldn't be invited to the reception because it was going to be a close family event."
Uh oh, the reception was a "family event?" This was news to everyone else involved, including Becky and yes, the bride and groom themselves. That started a chain reaction that no one could have predicted.
The bride stormed into the kitchen, furious at Becky. "How could this have happened?" she raged, "You all said this was easily done and now half of my friends can't even come to the reception? You need to fix this, this is totally unprofessional."
Becky was stunned. She had made all the proper arrangements, she had even made all the changes that the mother of the bride had requested!
That's when it hit her and that's when she realized all those changes the mother of the bride had made were without the consent or even knowledge of the bride. It was shocking and Becky was devastated. The 20 meals Becky had changed were actually for the mother's friends and it meant that 20 friends of the bride and groom weren't getting meals. The mother of the bride had actually lied when she said the original guests weren't coming, she just wanted to invite more of her friends without increasing the price of the catering and if that meant some of the bride's friends didn't get a meal, so be it. It was an astoundingly selfish move.
Becky's priority immediately changed. "We failed to protect this bride, but we won't concede the day to this wretch of a woman, so we took a financial hit and I called in a favor and we were able to get just enough food to have entrees for all of the bride and grooms' guests." Becky was determined to make this about the bride, as it should have been, not about the bride's psycho mother.
But first, she would learn why the bride and groom had refused to attend their own rehearsal dinner.
It's hard to believe, but the mother of the bride found another way to make the day all about herself, not her daughter. It started the night before. The argument that led to the couple not showing to the rehearsal? Becky wrote, "It was because the (mother of the bride) suggested changing the wedding party table seating, where she was slap dab in the middle of the table, BETWEEN the bride and groom." Even though both the bride and the groom vetoed that idea, the mother hadn't given it up at all." Turns out that was more than just a suggestion, she straight up made the change at the wedding, and caused a scene when the bride and groom tried to sit together."
That's right, she wanted to be at the head of the first table, like a queen, and actually got angry when they tried to insist on sitting side by side like a bride and groom are supposed to!
The nerve of the bride and groom to want to sit together! At this point, the bride was beside herself.
The scene, as Becky described it, was insane. "I came out of the kitchen to handle the situation but at that point, the screaming match between the mother of the bride, the wedding party, and the groom was out of control. I tried to step in, I tried to find a way to handle it, but I failed at stopping this nonsense and the bride just got up and left the room entirely. My friend and I found her crying in the hallway"
What could be done? Becky told her co-worker to get the groom, who came back to meet the bride in the kitchen. It began as a tense discussion, with the groom going on an "I told you so rant," but he quickly changed his tune and comforted his bride. After everything that happened, the bride and groom decided they weren't leaving the kitchen, no doubt they were just as shocked as Becky at the display the mother had put on.
Soon, since only the hors-d'oeuvres were served before everything came crashing down, guests began trickling out, and the wedding party (sans psycho mother of the bride) were in the kitchen with the couple.
"We gave them a private dinner and as many drinks as we could, while the vultures outside all dissipated slowly," said Becky. The bride and groom, in turn, were appreciative of Becky and her team, "(They) apologized for their 'planner's' behavior and about us spending extra money on food that wouldn't be used at all now," as dinner never officially got served. But it was Becky that was the sorriest.
"We stopped them and gave an apology of our own, and promise that we would work to do better than this, because as of right now, this is embarrassing, we failed the bride. We may have not meant it, we probably couldn't have fully prevented the events that night, but we failed them with our unpreparedness and our naivety."
Becky learned a lot that day and she revamped her entire process to ensure that something like this never happened again on her watch, such as setting passwords with the bride and groom that are needed to make changes.
Sadly, nothing happened to the bride's mother that day, and Becky never heard from the couple again. Yet there is no doubt this awful woman deserved a lot of bad karma, so maybe later, her disgusting behavior will come back to haunt her.