We Are Family!

Have you ever heard that song “We are Family” by Sister Sledge?  Probably if you have ever been to a wedding reception in your life, you have heard it at least once, which is why it is on my ever growing list of songs that will absolutely not be played at my wedding reception when that day comes).  Sing it with me now….. “We are fam-a-lee! I got all my sisters with me. We are fam-a-lee! Get up every body and SING!”

Well when I met Stacy and Robert, I was in for a huge surprise about their families.  So meeting with the two of them, was pretty typical.  They wanted a platinum wedding on a bargain basement price, but there so so much one can do to make a wedding spectacular and still remain within a budget.  I can get pretty creative.   I put Stacy and Robert in touch with the I Do Decorator (we wedding professional have to stick together!).  

Stacy called me and said that rentals are far to expensive, she can buy floor length linens, chair covers and sashes for 350 guests off of eBay much cheaper than she can rent them.  I expressed my concern with doing that, as any good wedding planner should.  Not because I want her to do business with my friend, but because so much goes into preparing linens for an event and sometimes quality can be questionable when you buy a thirteen cent floor length linen.  I asked her to please consider the cost to have everything pressed, cleaned, delivered and placed versus the cost to rent them and have someone else doing the placing of the linens.  She was still convinced that the discount linens were the best option.  I reminded her that the reception hall provided linens, so maybe she should use the reception hall white, lap length linens and spend the money on buying floor length white polyester linens on something different to accent the table.  Nope!  Floor length, white polyester linens from eBay it is!

Stacy also believed that she had seen enough pictures and reality shows about weddings that she could make all of the flower arrangements and bouquets.  Again, I expressed my concern that it may be worth spending a little more money on having bouquets created by a professional in order to alleviate some of the stress and timeliness that comes along with working with fresh flowers.  So she decided to order flowers, exotic ones of course, from Discount Bob’s Floral Emporium online.  

So finally the big day rolls around.  It is the day before the ceremony and reception; I meet Stacy and Robert, along with a dozen friends ready to help with the setting up of linens for the reception.  

She has everyone unloading the boxes of linens and chair covers from the truck she rented to get everything to the reception hall in.  Finally, the moment everyone had been waiting for….drum roll please…………the first linen is pulled from the box (which means she didn’t have them cleaned or pressed, just took the word from someone on eBay that they were clean just like buying a pair of underwear and not washing them before the first wear; just because the tags are on them doesn’t make them clean!).  She fluffed it out and it landed on the table perfectly, at a lap length.  It was most certainly not floor length.  She tried another…..lap length.  Her maid of honor tried one, because “maybe the bride was doing it wrong” (P.S. How does one incorrectly put a table cloth on a round table?)  And to Maid of Honor’s surprise and shock…it was lap length.  

The profanities were flowing out of the bride’s mouth as quickly as the tears were rolling down her cheeks.  She couldn’t believe how the person on eBay “scammed” her and that she needed to get to a computer immediately to report the seller to the internet auction giant.  

The I Do Decorator was there decorating the ceiling for the bride.  We had been exchanging glances through out the whole debacle.  I Do Decorator said

“Stacy, what size did it say that the linens were in the description on eBay?”

“90 inches” the bride-to-be huffed.

“Well, 90 inches are lap length linens on the tables here, that is why I Do Expert and I kept encouraging you to ask us before buying linens.”

“But in the picture they were floor-length” she whined.  “I’m suing eBay for deceiving me!!”  

Good luck with that, I thought.  I can see it now, Silly Bride who didn’t listen to any of the experts giving her advice vs. eBay.  I don’t think Stacy would be happy with the outcome.  

Pushing my desire to dance around the room singing “I told you so” aside, I got the distressed bride back on track.  We finally finished placing all 38 special ordered linens and all 304 chair covers on and the room was coming together.  It was time for the I Do Decorator to do her magic and finish the décor in the room.  

When in doubt with linen sizes, trust the professionals you have hired and who work with these things everyday.

It was now two in the afternoon.  We decided to take a lunch break.  I declined Stacy’s invitation to join her and her group for lunch.  I wanted to go to the nearest watering hole and have some cocktails, but deciding that it would be considered slightly unprofessional to show up for the bouquet making with Stacy and the catastrophe that followed her, I went for the next best thing, a venti caramel Frappuccino.  

When we met for bouquet making, I waited and waited and waited.  I checked my calendar to make sure I was in the right place, and I was.  I waited another five minutes and then called Stacy. 

She picked up the call and all I heard was more sobbing and sniffles.  Surprisingly the flowers from Discount Bob’s weren’t going to be here until next Saturday.  Since, I was alone at the reception site, I did begin dancing my “I told you so!” dance while saying “Oh, I believe you that the fake roses you got from the Dollar Store’s 50% off bin look just like real flowers.”  Stacy decided that instead of taking the time to make bouquets for herself and the bridesmaids, they will each just carry one fake rose from the discount bin at the Dollar Store.

Remember, do not buy your flowers (or anything for that matter) online from a place that specializes in offering discounts, but that doesn’t have an address or phone number and that never sends a tracking number for your shipment.  Probably because they never shipped anything!!

Finally, we are at the rehearsal.  I have been given full reign over this part of the show.  I asked Stacy to tell everyone to be at the ceremony site at 5:00pm even though we don’t anticipate starting the rehearsal until 5:30pm.  Everyone was there by 5:30pm, well everyone except for the bride.  She finally rolled in a few minutes after 6:00pm and we got started.

“I need to get the mothers over here by me, along with the gentlemen who will be escorting them to their seats.”  Suddenly I notice that about a half dozen women get up and begin to walk towards me.  

“Oh Sorry,” I said, “Just the mothers of the bride and groom, not all the mothers in the room.”

“WE ARE!!!”  they all seemed to snarl in unison.  GREAT!!!!!!

So the divorce rate in the United States is what like 50% now, so there have been a few divorces in the family, unfortunately that happens, and I have been trying not to judge people, so I just tried to go with the flow.  

“Okay, so I need to get all of the mothers of the groom here and all of the mothers of the bride here.”  The masses of mothers split.  Now, how does one delicately ask for the “real” mother?

“I need you ladies to line up so that we have the MOTHER of each of the bride and groom last.”  

“What do you mean by mother? We are all the mothers! You are going to have to be specific.”

Ok, so I see we are going to take the classy way out of this awkward situation.  “I need to have the biological mothers of each of the bride and groom last in line, then you are going to line up in the order of marriage dates.  After the biological mother, I want the step mother who was married to the bride and grooms father next.”

Finally I got all of these women sorted out.  I wish I could have made stickers for them, “Mother of the Bride,” “Mother of the Bride 2 & 4” Mother of the Bride 3” etc.  

We FINALLY made it through the rehearsal, and everyone (all seven mothers, four fathers, seven siblings, nine step siblings, and quite honestly I lost track of the number of grandparents in attendance) moved onto the rehearsal dinner.  Again, I declined the kind offer to join this brigade of “family” to what I am sure was an awesome rehearsal dinner.  Part of me did want to get to see who picked up the bill.  But maybe it was every man for himself with the bill since they did rock things out on the classy end of things by going to an all you can eat, $8.99 per person, buffet.  I, one the other hand, went home and had a drink. 

The big day was here, and everyone seemed to be in good spirits, well as good as it can be when most of the mothers don’t speak to one another.  We start gathering for the ceremony processional. 

I had an intern with me for this event, who wanted to see what it was like to be a wedding planner, we will call her I Do Intern.  Today, she is manages a five start restaurant.  Honestly, I would have chosen that too after what was about the happen the night of this blissful matrimonial celebration.  

I charged the I Do Intern with rounding up the mothers while I worked on getting the bridal party members in place.  Anytime I would pass her, she would say, “I am missing the mother of the groom in brown.”  We would find said MOG and place her in her designated position.  As soon as we would turn around, the woman was gone.  I am not sure if she was channeling David Copperfield, but this woman was good!

I found her outside smoking.  “Ma’am you are going to need to come inside and stay in your position so that we can get started.”  

“Fine!” she shouted. 

“You will be in your seat in just a few minutes.”  I said.  She responded by shooting daggers at me with her eyes.

“We are all here and accounted for!!”  I Do Intern says with a proud smile.  

“Ladies!  Gentlemen!  We are ready to start!”  I say in my best cheerleading voice to get everyone excited.

“Where’s! My! Purse!”  I heard someone shouting.  I look over and it is Mother of the Groom in Brown, Queen of Daggers, shouting.  

I cue the pianist to continue with the fluffy music he is playing.  “Your purse is safe in the room where everyone got ready.  It is locked and you can get it after the ceremony, but we are already running late and we REALLY need to get this going.  Guests have been patiently waiting.”

“I!!! NEED!!! MY!!!! PURSE!!!!” She shouted and by the time she finished, I Do Intern was already sprinting to retrieve the purse which I expected to be made out of platinum or housing a dozen gold bars.  She had her purse and we were underway. 

We got everyone successfully down the aisle, married and onto the reception.  Things ran fairly smoothly at the reception.  Everyone was through the buffet line, the toasts had been completed and things were going really well.  

I sent the I Do Intern home, she had experience a lot at her first wedding, thus leading to a phone call saying she had made a career change.  

I was getting ready to head home when I heard a commotion.  I head a woman yelling and someone crying.  I grabbed a security officer and headed to investigate what was going on.  

I see a young girl crying (who I remember being the Groom’s half sister) and Mother of the Groom, Queen of Eye Daggers, with a death grip on the young girl’s arm.  

“Is everything ok?”  I said calmly looking only at the girl, who was probably 12 years old at the very oldest.  

“It’s none of your business!” The mother said.  It was my business.  The girl was reaching for me, it was my business.  

“You are NOT living with HIM!!” the Dagger Wielding Mother said.

Running out of the room was the Father of the Groom.  “Queen of Daggers!  Stop it!!  Leave her alone!” he shouted.

“Ma’am, let the girl go and you and Father of the Groom need to step outside to take care of this matter.”  I Do Officer said.  She looked at the I Do Officer square in the eyes, and pushed the girl against the wall.  I ran right over to her while the I Do Officer grabbed the Queen of Daggers by the arm and escorted her out of the building.  

“She made me choose…..She made me choose.”  The girls kept sobbing.  So, here is what lead up to showdown.  While the slideshow of pictures of the happy couple with all of the parents, grandparents and siblings through the years and sappy music was playing, the Mother of the Groom, looked at the young girl and said, “Your dad and I have something to tell you. We are getting a divorce and you need to choose right now, before we go back to the hotel, who you want to live with.”  Obviously, the girl chose to live with her father.  Poor thing!  I wanted to sweep her up and take her home with me.  

We got everything taken care of.  The Queen of Daggers was escorted to the hotel by the I Do Officer and while at the hotel, the I Do Officer grabbed all of the girl’s clothes and belongings and brought them to the reception hall.  

Everything got calmed down, no one really witnessed the scene.  The groom didn’t find out until the next day, and all was well in wedding reception land.  As I said my good-byes to the bride, groom, mothers, fathers, and siblings, I was laughing because at that time, the unknowing DJ began playing Sister Sledge.  

“We are fam-a-lee! I got all my sisters with me. We are fam-a-lee! Get up every body and SING!”

Oh Sister Sledge, little did you know how ironically funny that song summed up my entire trip through the planning process and down the aisle with Stacy and Robert.

With Love,
I Do Expert

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