14 Wedding Planning Nightmares Brides Never Saw Coming

stressed brideWhen you first get engaged, people start telling you that this is "the happiest, most special and exciting" time of your life. They tell you they envy your wedding planning or say, "You must be having so much fun!" Sometimes, all of the above is true. Sometimes, you can't believe how lucky you are that you're about to marry the love of your life and planning the ultimate party to celebrate with the people you both love ...

But other times, you find yourself thinking the purported joy associated with wedding planning must be a total joke. Because as much as friends who are recent former brides, sisters-in-law-to-be, and even your mother might warn you about what to expect around corner, there are certain wedding planning nightmares no one can prepare you for. Here, 14 horror stories real brides (including yours truly) were completely blindsided by ...

  1. Your groom may be a total grouch through the planning process. It's easy to read into this and start to freak out that it means more than meets the eye. That it means he's "just not into" her -- not just the wedding. This is not necessarily true. It could very well only mean he's just being a guy who couldn't care less about place cards and boutonnieres.
  2. Lots of vendors and items end up costing about 1/3 more than you budgeted for. Our rabbi joked that no matter what you're adding, it's "Poof! A thousand dollars!" And while that may be an exaggeration and generalization in some cases, it is unfortunately the case for many things from invitations to having a menu with enough food to satisfy a hungry, thirsty Saturday night crowd. The good news: This can work in reverse, too, as in you end up with some freebies, discounts, or savings you didn't expect (and I don't just mean when the third cousins and "family friends" your parents haven't seen in 20 years respond with regrets). 
  3. People who have never spoken up or demanded anything before come out of the woodwork with an opinion, attitude, problem with something completely minute, etc. It's one thing if it's your father requesting his favorite food be served at cocktail hour. It's another if it's someone outside your immediate family complaining about a big component (date, time, place, etc.) You've gotta learn how to put on your blinders and shut that stress-inducing nonsense out. 
  4. The maid of honor (or another member of the bridal party) does a 180 from enthusiastic and "so honored!" to total diva or Debbie Downer. Just like #3, wedding planning has a way of making the horns come out of the most unexpected people!
  5. Several brides report booking a videographer through a popular wedding website, paying a deposit and then finding out the vendor they booked was a scam. Ugh! Goes to show it never hurts to try to meet the vendor you're hiring in person (or even via Skype, as my fiancé and I did with our out-of-town videographers) or at least get a recommendation from a reputable source you know personally (like your cousin or wedding planner) before cutting a check.    
  6. Parents end up forgetting or making a game-time decision about what they'll pay for. Good reason to get all imperative financial info in writing from the get-go.
  7. Perhaps because anything involving money is always a sticky situation or because they don't know each other very well, in-laws often end up clashing over the rehearsal dinner and/or wedding and/or brunch plans, then throw their kids in the middle or under the bus.   
  8. Whodathunk So and So would want expect to be in on dress shopping, cake tastings, fittings, meetings with the DJ/band, etc.? The lesson here isn't to include them in everything just to avoid conflict. No one needs so many cooks in the kitchen! But spreading the love a bit to include everyone in a little something can soften the (completely out of the blue!) blow.
  9. MOBZILLA! The extreme, on-steroids version of #3, in which the Mother of the Bride suddenly knows everything there is to know about every single wedding detail and will be hyper-critical of any direction other than the one she's advocating.
  10. MOGZILLA! Defined as the morphing of your fiancé's mom into an overprotective, overly sentimental, overbearing mommy who suddenly needs to "guard" her little boy adult son against the woman who she believes is "stealing" him from her. Paging Dr. Freud … 
  11. Let's not forget that the fathers (FOG and FOB) may have their not-so-shining moments, as well.
  12. Shoe shopping! Who knew it could be so hard to find a pair of heels that aren't sky-high stilettos or to find a pair of archetypal "wedding" shoes in an actual brick and mortar store? They're frustratingly fewer and further between these days, so prepare to whip out your credit card for a rousing round of online shopping trial and error.  
  13. No matter how many deals you're able to scout out or set up for your guests, hotel rates (yep, even if they're discounted for a room block …) and unpredictable airfare will probably annoy or dissuade some guests. Oh well! 
  14. You may end up having consultations with uncooperative, unhelpful, acerbic vendors who all but laugh at your budget or requests and you come away from the meeting feeling like you were on a really bad date. (You'd think they would be excited and happy about the prospect of working with any client, but that's not unfortunately not always the case.) To be fair, like when it comes to falling in love in the first place, sometimes it's just not a good match!

What's a wedding planning nightmare you never saw coming?


weddings, commitment, love, marriage


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fleur... fleurdelys3110

"MOGZILLA! Defined as the morphing of your fiancé's mom into an overprotective, overly sentimental, overbearing mommy who suddenly needs to "guard" her little boy adult son against the woman who she believes is "stealing" him from her. Paging Dr. Freud … "

This is so accurate! My boyfriend's mother is already like this, and I'm terrified to think how she will act when my boyfriend and I get engaged in the future. *shudder*

Rhond... RhondaVeggie

My cousin got totally scammed by a wedding planner. They made off with $5K of his money. Pretty low.

The closest I came to a wedding nightmare was my aunt. She's always been a bit crazy and she's never liked me but of course I invited her anyway. After the ceremony she went to my mother and said "We're not going to bother coming to the reception" and walked off. Never said a word to me. No idea what that was all about. Maybe she didn't like the ceremony or maybe she just felt like being a bitch but it's been 12 years and I haven't heard from her since. I'll probably see her this summer at my sister's wedding, maybe she will make some sarcastic comment that explains everything.

Guest27 Guest27

HAHA! These are so true! I thought wedding planning was going to be fun, but it was hard for me. I felt like I was just throwing money around, "here's a few grand for you, for you, and for you..." My fiance would not help at all... I tried to make it easier on him... by limiting the choices between things, but he still asked which one I liked, I told him I wouldn't show it to you if I didn't like it! He was just being nice making sure I picked what I like, but hey sometimes we need someone to make that final decision for us! My mom was definitely picking what she liked... and always talking about the planning. I needed time to breathe when I got off of work... wedding planning seemed like a second job! I can also totally relate to the shoe thing. Our wedding is outdoors in the grass, which stilettos could sink in to. There are no cute bridal shoes with a chunky heel! My advice to brides is to not overanalyze decisions, don't share your decisions with anyone (especially people who always have an opinion), and what ever choice you make it will be fine :) 

Shandi80 Shandi80

I planned my own wedding, we did our own food, we're both musicians so we did our own music and made our own playlists...only bad thing that happened was we were too laid back about it for some people. Don't care though, it was our wedding and it was everything I could have hoped for.

fleur... fleurdelys3110

@Guest27 -- They make these plastic clip things that go on the bottom of stilettos so they dont sink into the grass! I have no idea what they're called exactly or who the manufacturer is, but you should definitely google them!

linzemae linzemae

My moms nickname was mobzilla! She thought it was her wedding.

jalaz77 jalaz77

Our planning went pretty well. My mom was a HUGE help. My in laws, well they just suck. They had to be talked to as if they were kids. We asked her several times to check with family about RSVPs. God that was rediculous. The one thing that stood out the most was meeting my hubby's aunt, who hasn't been back to her home town in years all of a sudden came to 'help' with my MIL and the trash bag showed up without her teeth!! I about died. My husband was so embarrassed. I am amazed at how different he is than his family. Thank god. Truly envious of people who enjoy their in laws company.

nonmember avatar natalie

@Guest27: when my aunt got married she got fuchsia stilettos for herself and the bridal party as the bridal gift, then got them all fuchsia flip flops and herself fuchsia Toms. the wedding colors were black and fuchsia and the idea was that they would wear the stilettos for the ceremony and the Toms (the bride) and the flipflops (bridal party) for the reception and dancing. it worked out great.


Well, my photographer died about 2 months before the wedding of a completely unexpected brain anuerysm.  Try finding a photographer 8 weeks before your wedding (we managed, but I'm still not sure how!)  I had many a sleepless night over that one.

My MIL was a pill.  She didn't like me at all (she's now deceased), although I know it wasn't me, it would have been anyone DH married.  I had DH ask her for names of people she wanted to invite from her side.  She snapped at him that they were all dead.  So, fine -- no one from her side was invited.  When she got all pissy about that, I asked her why she expected dead people at a wedding.  Of course, she totally denied ever having said that they were all dead, but whatever.  Not my problem!

Oh, and she wore WHITE to the wedding.  Yes, it was deliberate. Along with her BLACK tennis shoes.  Class act, my MIL!  Plus, she skipped the reception -- it was mean to piss me off, but it made me much happier not to have to deal with her at all (which if she'd have known that, she'd have shown up for sure!) 

This, and much more, is why I didn't shed a tear when she died!

eem8605 eem8605

We got take advantage of by our church. We had it on the books that we were getting married on the day after Thanksgiving there. The church then had a couple, A preacher and his wife, come up with a plan to babysit for parents who were Christmas shopping (starting the day of my wedding.) They turned the building where my reception was to be held to a kiddie winter wonderland. There were stations set up for kids and stuff even hanging from the ceilings. All the while I was told this is my day by the minister there. Well, my day got taken from me. Being upset that my reception was a disaster, I then had to find somewhere to have my reception 2 days before and set up everything. It ruined the part of the wedding I was looking forward to. The relaxing part. My reception didn't have music, dancing, or much room to sit like the tables we would have had at the church. My sisters and I had to set things up the night before, Thanksgiving because of this. We were decorating until 11 something. I got home and showered and went to be at 2 am the night before my wedding. The preacher almost called it off because I was PO'ed and my family was extremely PO'ed. My wedding day was a disaster. Oh and my dad was a no show over childish BS. We had very little time to get to the honeymoon place because the reception was much further away. We were late. We cut the cake and didn't have time to relax or enjoy. Didn't even get to eat food or enjoy the cake. 

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