A long and winding aisle Just days before her wedding, Erin Lebar eases her nerves with tales of bridal-party blunders
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 07/10/2019 (1094 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
In less than a week, I’m getting married. As you read this, I’ll already be on holidays getting the last few items on my to-do list out of the way before welcoming friends and family from Winnipeg and abroad to celebrate with me and my partner, Nicholas Jones.
The lead up hasn’t been too stressful, to be honest: I’d heard some true horror stories about out-of-control guest lists, unwanted family input and spending way too much money (OK, that one definitely did happen), but somehow we’ve managed to bypass a lot of the things that can make the planning process unpleasant.
My subconcious certainly would not agree with that statement, however. Regular listeners of Bury the Lede — a weekly pop-culture podcast I co-host with columnist Jen Zoratti — already know about six months ago, I started having some pretty intense, and seriously odd, wedding-related stress dreams.
There was the one where I didn’t have a dress, so I had to wear my teal, Grade 12 graduation dress, and to get it up to wedding calibre, my dream-mom slapped a sparkly applique on my hip before sending me down the aisle; the one where, at the rehearsal, a troupe of Cirque du Soleil-style acrobats performed on a large metal wheel mid-ceremony much to my dismay; and the one where my new husband and I decided to take a break from the reception, returning a few minutes later to find that everyone had gone.
After speaking with a lot of other people about their wedding experiences, it seems unavoidable that something will go wrong on The Big Day (though I’m probably safe from the unexpected acrobats), and, generally speaking, the most common advice has been to relax, enjoy and just roll with the punches.
My parents have been married almost 37 years, and on their wedding day, my aunt (my mom’s sister) lost my dad’s wedding band. She put it on her finger thinking that would be the safest place for it, and it fell off as she was walking to the car. She was, as my mom tells it, absolutely inconsolable. They had to use a temporary ring which they borrowed from a wedding guest. A week later, my parents’s neighbour found the band in his yard as he was raking up leaves, so it all ended up working out, but it was certainly a hiccup they weren’t expecting to deal with just moments before saying, “I do.”
Here are a few more stories from my friends and family (and even a celebrity guest) about unexpected mishaps on their own wedding days which will hopefully make you laugh and have already helped bring my blood pressure down.
Fast-forward to the evening: A lot of gifts mounded up on a table… about 20 people had left (presentation) envelopes in the bowl at the beginning of the reception. We were looking out at the room, when my new husband and I noticed two men sitting at the back of the banquet room eating dinner. I assumed they were relatives of Greg’s (my husband), he thought they were my side of the family. They came up right after the dinner and put their envelope in the bowl, shaking our hands..
I asked my husband, under my breath,”Relatives of yours?”
He replied, “Thought they were yours.”
Afterwards at our honeymoon suite we opened cards. Our curiosity made us reach in to get the cardless envelope and open it. Inside were two crisp $100 bills and a note that said, “You looked like a lovely, happy couple… thanks for the meal. All the best!”
Oh, yes, and a word to the wise: no matter how busy you are, remember to take the price tag off the armpit of your dress. Sigh.
— Eileen Findlay, married 34 years
Don’t text and vow
Both Scott (my husband) and I had been married before, so we opted out of having a wedding, and instead chose to do a legal ceremony, and then one that was just between us, on some rocks overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Uclulet, B.C. We scouted for a good spot the day before, and had our “ceremony” on Aug. 8, 2011. I was in a satin white dress, and he wore his kilt. I had to wear runners to climb out to our spot, but wore heels to “seal the deal.”
We piped in bagpipes on an iPhone, and even shared a toast. When I looked back at the video, though, it looked like I was texting someone before our vows… I was actually pulling up an app so that I could have an audio recording of them! It was such a romantic moment, but you wouldn’t think so, watching me “text” away, while Scott looks on patiently! The technical misstep aside, it was the most memorable moment of my life, next to delivering my daughters. I wouldn’t change it for anything.
— Jaylene Johnson, married eight years
Battle of the bouquet
I was warned at my reception: the ceiling is low, so be careful when throwing the bouquet. I figured that since I’m not one for sports, I’d probably be OK. I whipped that bouquet behind me, or what I thought was behind me. It went slightly more vertical than I anticipated, and I hit the ceiling-mounted projector. I proceeded to turn around, grab the bouquet to try again, whip it behind me, and hit a guest in the face. On the plus side, she got engaged not long after that, so I guess it was good luck for her in the end.
— Christie Enns, married five years
Here comes the bride?
Well how about this, OK? I met my wife in high school and we got married five or six years later and she was a blonde. She was a blonde from the minute I met her, well from before I met her. So I’m standing at the altar, and I hear Here Comes the Bride and the doors open and this, I don’t know, auburn/redhead comes in, and I’m thinking I’m at the wrong church! So that was a bit of setback. She had dyed her hair, she didn’t tell me! She didn’t have to ask me, that’s for sure, but at least give me a heads up! I’m like, “Who the heck is this?” But honestly, I was committed at that point, I would have married whoever walked through that door.
—Steve Smith (Red Green), married 53 years
One thing after another
There were a few things that happened on May 3, 1986, that didn’t go as planned. I’ll stop at three.
My parents, bridesmaids and I were all dressed and waiting for the photographer to arrive at the house prior to the ceremony. The specified time passed, and we kept looking at the clock, watching the minutes tick by. I don’t remember how late he was, but I know that I had started to panic, thinking he forgot about our wedding (this is before cellphones). When he finally showed up, he said that he accidentally left his car in gear as he ran into a store for something, and it ended up smashing into the store’s window!
Later on, we were taking photos outside at the Royal Canadian Mint. We were setting up for a family group photo, when all of a sudden the camera (which was on a tripod) came crashing down on the pavement, smashing the camera into pieces! The video that my brother took caught our smiling faces freeze in horror. The photographer had a second camera, so we continued the photo shoot once he literally picked up the pieces.
At last, we made it to the end of the night. We get to the hotel room, and my husband puts the key in the door. He turns the key, swings open the door, throws the key into the room, scoops me up in his arms, takes a couple of steps and… the door slams shut! We only had one key, and we were locked out. I sat on the nearby stairs, in my wedding gown with a 15-foot-long train until my husband came back with another key from the front desk.
— Hilda Terry, married 33 years
Our rented bus got stuck outside the little church between the lanes of Highway 75 (Union Point Church near Ste. Agathe) where we got married. A lot of ferrying subsequently went on between the church and the St. Norbert Arts Centre, where we held our reception. Megan and I were “last off the ship.”
Good thing we had plenty of champagne. And very nice of Tony’s Team Transport for giving us a 50 per cent discount! Honestly, we and our guests couldn’t have had more fun with the whole episode.
— John Scoles, married five years
Manager of audience engagement for news
Erin Lebar spends her time thinking of, and implementing, ways to improve the interaction and connection between the Free Press newsroom and its readership.