A wedding should be perfect: a marriage of two souls and two families; a union blessed by guests and God; a day to rejoice; a night to remember. In these readers' dreams.
TANYA: My mother and older, sister, Nancy, planned a formal wedding for me. They wouldn't let me do anything. A few weeks before the wedding, Mama decided she didn't want me to marry Ken after all, so she took my long, white bridal gown back to the department store, even though it had already been altered.
By then I'd had enough of their meddling. So Ken and I took a bus to city hall and were married in a sterile, cold room by a bored man who may or may not have been a judge.
Later that day we rented a room in a stranger's home to stay in while we hunted for apartments. When Mama discovered I was "living in sin," she insisted on having a religious ceremony. I said, "Absolutely not!"
But then, Ken started begging me to have a religious ceremony. Since he was my loving husband, I agreed.
So, we had a bare-bones wedding at my aunt's apartment. Not my choice, of course. The guests were all Mamas' friends. I knew none of them. After we left Ken delivered his bombshell. He admitted the real reason he had begged me to have the religious ceremony was because my Machiavellian Mama promised him a thousand dollars if he talked me into it.
A few weeks later, we moved into a one-room, hole-in-the-wall, third-floor walk-up that made Ralph and Alice Kramden's kitchen look like a palace.
CARLY: My husband is the eldest in a big family. Two days before our wedding my mother-in-law called to tell me she wasn't coming. After much pleading by my husband, she agreed to come even though she said I had dissed her by not asking for her help with wedding planning. (Stupid me. I'd been living on my own for 10 years and didn't know I should have asked for her opinions!)
That wasn't the end. I was expecting that the DJ would play our favorite songs as we ate dinner. But my husband surprised me by bringing in a band to play music from his culture. It was very loud and so unexpected and different from my culture, which is more refined. It was a mariachi band! I've always had sensitive hearing, so I was miserable.
My mother-in-law was sour most of the night. I tried to have a good time in spite of this. I didn't learn until years later that one of my husband's "friends" had given her a letter listing my supposed exploits with other guys.
But that's not all. One of my new brothers-in-law almost got arrested for crashing another wedding in the next banquet room, and drinking the booze and insulting the women. He got into a fight and was tossed into the lobby fountain.
I have some advice for future brides. Realize that if there are skeletons in your fiance's closet (or mental illnesses in his family), they will show themselves — at the worst possible time. Also, hire security.
Were you a bridezilla?
Got a problem? Send it, along with your questions and rants to [email protected] And check out my e-book, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front."