My Wedding Was a Shit-Show (But it Doesn’t Matter Anyway)

My wedding day was a hot mess and I cringe every time I think about it. How’s that for a introduction?! Hello, I’m Harmony and my wedding was a shit show.

I don’t like to complain, because if I’m being honest (and I am), I was so happy to finally meet and marry an interesting man that I didn’t care how it happened. I was raised very conservatively — my parents are Seventh-day Adventist — but I chose to marry a man of a different faith. We did our best to plan a wedding that would both make my parents comfortable and be an event that was representative of us as a couple. We were also working with a very tight budget. These are normal problems, right?

Except, not really.

To summarize: Seventh-day Adventists generally frown upon drinking, dancing, pork-eating, and any form of hip gyration. However, in South Louisiana, it is almost unheard of to have a wedding without dancing or alcohol. My husband’s friends were appalled.

“NO ALCOHOL?!” I remember their mouths dropping open, and I understood why. We all drank like prohibition approacheth, and I’m fairly certain that the groomsmen were expecting an open bar.

Interestingly enough, the religious beliefs and budget parameters ended up being the least of our problems. Our wedding day was almost exactly 2 months after Hurricane Katrina swept through the Gulf and destroyed New Orleans, LA. People poured into Baton Rouge by the thousands, making it nearly impossible to do anything. Just driving to the corner store took 45 minutes. People and buses were everywhere, filling every available shelter and space.

People were sleeping in hotel lobbies, conference rooms, and in their cars … which filled every single parking lot. I was working as a Front Desk Clerk at the Comfort Inn, and literally lived in the hotel for several weeks because there was so much work to do. Because of the situation, our out-of-town guests would not have been able to come to our wedding had I not been working under an amazing boss who created space for them and for me. Our wedding night was spent at that same Comfort Inn, because there was nowhere else in the entire state of Louisiana for us to stay.

Despite all of that, the morning of October 9, 2005 was perfect wedding weather. My dress was beautiful, everything was glorious … until I had my hair and makeup done. I don’t know what happened exactly, but I came out of that situation looking a lot like Joan Rivers. I remember looking in the mirror and saying “OH ….!” and I think I blacked out after that. One of my bridesmaids managed to fix it for me as the others looked on in horror.

I’d rather not talk about that anymore.

The groom’s rented shoes fell apart, the wedding coordinator screwed up the ceremony, my father almost fainted, there was no food at the reception, and I have very few wedding photos because my photographer used real film which was later destroyed by chemicals. Yes, really.

Everything went wrong, and everything was wrong. Everything except the man that I was marrying.

Our wedding was a blur. Only a few moments stand out in my memory, and then suddenly we were cutting cake and our friends were toasting us with non-alcoholic champagne.

Sometime during the reception, my husband pulled me away from the crowd. Music was playing as we walked hand-in-hand to the back of the room. “Dance with me,” he whispered, as he pulled the bouquet from my hands.

No one else was dancing, and I had never seen my parents dance — not once, in my entire life — but it didn’t matter. This was our moment. I was at my most beautiful, despite the Joan Rivers-esque makeup job, and he was at his most handsome, despite his dilapidated shoes, and we were dancing all by ourselves in the corner of the reception hall while everyone watched and whispered. We danced until his elderly uncle interrupted us to hand-deliver a wedding gift — an inscripted Bible.

Take it from me, it’s difficult to dance with a large Bible in your hand.

We are proof that a wedding does not make a marriage. We make the marriage, and no matter what is happening around us, we still make time to dance. I married that man because he dances to a different beat and encourages me to do the same, and so onward we have danced together — sometimes badly — for a decade and counting.


About Harmony

Harmony is a full-time mother of three who navigates the waters of motherhood without any grace or finesse whatsoever. A fan of strong coffee, red wine, and sturdy undergarments, her work is self-described as "honesty and insanity in one fell swoop." Her writing has been featured on Today Parents, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Mamalode, Mamapedia, Bon Bon Break, and in two anthologies: Scary Mommy's Guide to Surviving the Holidays and I Still Just Want To Pee Alone. For more -- and you know you want more -- follow her on Facebook and at her blog, Modern Mommy Madness.

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