Weddings are supposed to be the happiest day of a couple's life. Unfortunately, there are a lot of external factors that contribute to the success of a wedding, and it turns out that a lot of those factors are complete wildcards.
Let's take a look at some dream days that quickly turned into nightmares.
All posts have been edited for clarity.
"I have catered many weddings, and there have been some memorable ones. Most notably fights between guests, wedding cakes falling over, red drinks spilled on wedding dresses. All of the potential wedding day disasters.
There is one I will never forget. It was an all-day event, with a small ceremony, a few close friends and family, and a big reception filled with a huge buffet.
The buffet had every type of food you could imagine and a free bar. It was all in the same venue.
They had booked and paid for two hundred and fifty evening guests. Only thirty guests turned up, at most. My heart broke for the couple. It was a massive beautiful converted barn, with loads of food and drinks, and great music but no guests.
At about ten o'clock that night, the venue was licensed until eleven o'clock, the buffet food had barely been touched. The few who were there ate but it hardly made a dent as it was planned for so many more people.
I asked the mother of the bride if she wanted me to cover and refrigerate the untouched food so the new couple could take it home.
She responded, 'Oh no, there are still a lot of people coming.'
It was the most awkward I've ever felt in my life. No more guests showed.
There was a flash of car headlights in the distance about ten-thirty and the bride beamed when she thought it was late comers arriving. But no, it was just taxis arriving to pick up the few who were there.
It was the only event I had ever done where we didn't have to kick people out of the venue. By eleven o'clock, the place was empty.
In a nutshell, it turned out that the bride's parents paid for the day and the happy couple had zero control over their guest list. Her parents invited all their friends to the evening function but in reality, it was just associates they wanted to flex on. That resulted in no one caring about an invite to a wedding where they didn't know the bride or groom. It was basically just a networking event for the bride's parents."
"I played in a wedding band. On one occasion, we started playing the set, then suddenly everyone ran outside. We didn't see anyone from the wedding for the rest of the night.
I originally assumed it was because nobody liked us but the bride came in afterward and said there was a huge fight involving multiple members of both families and everyone basically went home upset, injured, or in a police van.
We couldn't stop playing since we were paid and it was our job.
The only person watching was the hammered uncle dancing on his own asking for requests we didn't know."
1. "The wedding was at a state park that's famous for its giant gorge and waterfall. I don't know whose idea it was, but someone suggested a photo overlooking the gorge and everybody was game. The wedding party went around a stone security barrier and the maid of honor literally fell off the cliff to her death. It was like five hundred feet."
2. "This was around 2009. On the second day of the wedding, the bride went swimming in the ocean. It took place in Tenerife, a small island in Spain.
She swam out too far and was basically lost at sea for nine hours or so. She eventually found her way back but was in bad shape.
Everyone was panicked the whole day and thought she drowned. By the time she got back, she probably wished she had drowned.
Her husband found her phone and read a bunch of messages supposedly from her aunt but it was quickly clear from the content it wasn’t her aunt at all. She had been having an affair with the best man for apparently years.
They got an annulment shortly after. Sixty thousand dollars down the drain. One of the most opulent weddings I’ve ever been to."
3. "A co-worker was at one of their best friend's wedding. There were very specific rules about the food, no nuts.
There were a couple of people there, including the maid-of-honor who was severely allergic.
The venue served something that had nuts and the maid-of-honor went anaphylactic. Her Epipen was not effective, and she died on the way to the hospital.
Needless to say, there are lawsuits abound."
"I was studying photography and used to act as an assistant to a well-known wedding photographer. We went to a couple's wedding in South Africa. He shot digital and I shot black and white film. We spent all day with the couple from nine o'clock in the morning through two in the morning the following day. When we left the next morning, I could see how genuinely in love they were. It was only a day but I got to know them quite well and really liked them both.
The next morning, I got a call from the photographer and his voice was shaky. He explained that the groom had been murdered that night after the reception party. Three guys had broken into their bungalow to steal wedding gifts. The groom got out of bed to stop them and they executed him in front of the bride. I was in shock for about two weeks.
The next weekend, the photographer and I went to the bride's house to present her with the photos. We had worked together to get the job massively accelerated so she had the photos of her husband. We did it at our own expense and didn't charge her a penny for the day or all the prints and album. It was the absolute least we could do. Because my photos didn't matter as much, I had been able to simply capture the natural moments between them, rather than staged wedding photos. So they had the normal album pics but also about a hundred and fifty snaps of just them being a couple. She was in tears from the moment we arrived until we left a few hours later.
She was a shadow of the women I had met only a week earlier. That still haunts me to this day."
"I went to a big wedding with an open bar with lots of drinks. Most of the attendees, including the wedding party, were apparently dressed up white trash.
The ceremony itself went off without any issue. However, the reception became a big Budweiser and Jack Daniels soaked party.
It then started to run late so the catering manager told the father of the bride that they had exceeded their time and they needed to start shutting down. That lead to an argument involving several members of the wedding party.
The father could be overheard shouting, 'Do you know how much I paid for this?'
They eventually complied but it stirred the inner white trash.
The party then spilled out to the hotel bar where people kept drinking. Members of the wedding party were still stewing about the reception getting shut down and tempers were short. Finally, something triggered the groom and he took a swing at someone. He swung back. All of the groomsmen started swinging. Then it was a full-on donnybrook.
The hotel staff managed to get them out of the bar and the fight spilled out the front entrance of the hotel. The police showed up and started trying to break things up.
The groom at some point took a swing at a cop and proceeded to get his rear end handed to him. The bride, who at that point had been standing on the sidelines screaming and talking smack finally decided, well, I guess we're doing this.
She walked up to a female cop and took a swing at her. She chose the wrong female cop because the woman was apparently way more yoked than she appeared and took the bride to the ground with ease.
The bride's face hit a planter on the way down and busted her nose. She bled all over her wedding dress.
By that point, the police wagon showed up. Several people were handcuffed and loaded up, including the bride and groom. They were hauled off to jail on their wedding night."
"I was working as a bartender at a wedding. It was a pretty normal affair, everyone had helped themselves to the complimentary drinks and were working their way through the bar supplies at the reception.
After about three or four hours of fairly mediocre music and atmosphere, the bride, her mother, her sister, and a few kids started doing a rowing boat dance where they sat on the floor and pretended to row. Many other people joined in, and they did this for about thirty seconds until the wife's brother, who, unbeknownst to anyone at the time, was on a concoction of illicit substances, stood up and began to violently kick the people in the rowing train.
They weren't little love taps or playful kicks, he was kicking them in the face, arm, head, anywhere he could find like Christiano Ronaldo taking a free-kick. He broke his sister's and the bride's, arm, he broke his own mother's jaw, and he gave a kid a concussion.
He was grabbed by about four staff members including myself and about eight male attendees and roughly dragged off the premises. He suffered a broken arm and multiple serious bruises, as some attendees were less than happy.
He was later arrested and I recently learned he went to prison for two years for illicit substance abuse and assault.
It was safe to say the wedding finished very quickly afterward. Multiple ambulances and police arrived at the hotel and questioned us. I even had a police officer come to my house to ask me questions the next week.
At least us workers managed to get out without all of the family drama that followed."
"I used to work at a pretty upscale catering hall in New Jersey back in college, and we had two instances where I witnessed a ruined wedding. The first story was simple, the bride and the best man got caught out in the car. But the second story.
We all thought it was weird when a couple of the groomsmen asked for, and got access to, the reception room before the wedding. They said it was for decorating. Not something we normally saw the men do.
In any case, we got through the courses just fine, and one thing became very clear to us staff. The bride’s side of the family was very conservative. They didn’t drink, they barely danced, and they watched wide-eyed as the groom's side of the party went wild. Then it was time for the speeches.
About halfway through his speech, the best man said something along the lines of, 'Hey bride’s family, I know you think your girl is so sweet, innocent, and religious and they are the perfect couple. If you want to see what they are really like, look under your seat!'
Well, taped under every single chair was a picture of the bride and groom caught in the act. The groom's family and friends roared with laughter, but the bride’s side was furious.
There were so many fights that broke out that night. Did I mention that this was in New Jersey? The wedding was pretty much over at that point."
"I worked at a catering hall after college, and a night I call 'Chaos at the Dais' will forever be in my mind.
It was a nighttime wedding and everything was going as planned.
As Captain, I took my post outside the kitchen doors during best man and maid of honor speeches. The best man came up and started giving his speech. He began talking about how the bride really stepped up and changed her ways in order to land the groom. He acknowledged that it took a lot for her to get to where she needed to be. I thought it was weird, but the speech ended and the dancing started. I got back in the kitchen and we began getting dinner served.
I came out and saw a huge crowd at the dais. I wondered what was going on when I started to see fists getting thrown, with the best man as the center point. My manager and a few guests picked him up and dragged him out the doors to the lobby while his attackers were pulled back from family members.
Fifteen minutes later, the groom took the mic on the dance floor, held his wife’s hand, and said that it was inevitable. Apparently, the best man wasn’t a fan of the bride because she had a history of sleeping around. The groom had his uncle, a reverend, come up and say a blessing and perform an exorcism.
His uncle shouted, 'DEVIL LEAVE THIS WEDDING IN PEACE! I COMMAND YOU, DEVIL!'
Which was wild.
The bride told us to serve the cake and wrap it up two hours early. The staff was pumped to get out so early, but I felt so bad for the bride. That night was ruined, those relationships were ruined, the special moment was forever ruined."
"I'm close with this family, and it was so tense from the day this woman met her soon-to-be husband.
The bride’s father hated the groom from day one because he was a thug, in his eyes. But tolerated him because he didn’t want to lose his daughter. He tried to calmly talk her out of seeing this guy and eventually marrying him, but she was so in love.
The father refused to go to the wedding. She cried and pleaded with her father and he reluctantly agreed to go.
Being more of a traditionalist type of church, the minister still asked if anyone has objections. A moment of silence went by, and the father stood up. I’ll never forget the look of fear on the bride’s face. She was mortified before he even spoke. The groom, who was justifiably a thug, had daggers in his eyes.
The bride’s father calmly says, 'I’m not stopping the wedding, but the groom is a prick. Carry on,' and he sat down.
The crowd gasped, the groom’s father started yelling across the church calling the bride’s father names. The bride’s father sat silently and didn't react at all. Well, I was behind him, so if he reacted, I didn’t see it, but he didn’t say anything.
The minister finally calmed everything down. The bride was crying. The groom was seething. Everything went forward and at the reception, the bride’s father just stood in the corner drinking screwdrivers all night. Lots of people talked to him and he looked emotionless. Basically, he showed no emotion, but you could see he was just depressed.
In the end, after her sweet husband couldn’t hold a job for more than five minutes and he got picked up for dealing illicit substances for the umpteenth time, he went to jail for a long stretch. She divorced him and he threatened to kill her when he got out.
He did it on a prison phone, she made a complaint, he got more time. She met a guy fresh out of the service, who went to college and eventually became an optometrist. He was a really nice guy.
I’m still friends with the family and he’s my optometrist. They had five kids and everyone seems super happy, even the bride’s father who doesn’t have to worry about his daughter being married to an illicit substance-dealing jailbird anymore.
This happened about twenty years ago.
Anyway, that was a fun wedding. You could have cut the tension with a knife."
"I worked on a tropical island off the coast of Queensland, Australia. Loads of weddings happened there. Most days there would be one or two.
One day this groom's party came through my bar. They were on his bachelor's party before the wedding the next day. They were pretty wasted at four o'clock in the afternoon. I figured they started early and would finish early given they have a sunrise ceremony. Which is the worst idea in the world, in my opinion.
About an hour later they had left and gone to another bar on the island. Then the bride's party comes through. Equally hammered.
I finished work at nine o'clock that night then came back three hours later to work in the nightclub. I got in at midnight and started pouring drinks. It was extremely busy with like three hundred people in the club.
Around one o'clock in the morning, the groom and bride parties rolled in absolutely destroyed. They looked disgustingly gone. I had no idea why security let them in because I wasn’t serving them.
They left about forty-five minutes later.
So, roughly, they had arrived back at their hotel rooms around two o'clock in the morning with the expectation that the bride and her party need to be up at four for hair and makeup to be done in time for a seven o'clock in the morning ceremony.
They all decided they would stay up all night and keep drinking until the wedding. At that stage, they had to have been drinking for eighteen hours.
Ceremony time rolled around.
She couldn't walk down the aisle, which was on the beach, in her heels so she tossed them off. The groom and all their friends could barely stand. They tried to say their vows but the celebrant couldn't understand them so she wasn’t legally allowed to marry them because they were too hammered to consent to marriage.
The whole wedding was canned.
A simple wedding, like the one they had, for the wedding party and twenty guests cost around thirty-five thousand dollars.
So they wasted all that money to be told, 'Sorry, you’re hammered. I cannot legally marry you.'"
"This was my sister's wedding, and nothing but chaos unfolded.
She was pregnant but hadn’t made an announcement yet. She didn’t fit in the dress but wore it anyway.
They got into a bidding war with another couple over the venue and footed the bill to the family. When asked about it, my sister said, 'You’re supposed to pay for it anyway.'
Most of our family missed the wedding because it was such short notice. They had a falling out with the photographer the night before the wedding. My sister's then former friend didn't show up to the wedding, so they had no professional photos from the wedding.
Our mother collapsed from heat exhaustion setting up the same afternoon as the falling out with the photographer. She knocked out two front teeth and spent the night in the emergency room. She ignored the doctor's orders and went to the wedding the next day anyway complete with a very visible busted lip. She drank during the ceremony and ended up back in the hospital before night's end due to some reaction from meds at the hospital and the drinks.
The groom's father spent the weekend trying to one-up our father. He showed up with a new vehicle for the new couple which he later took back when the bride announced her unplanned pregnancy because that was a sin in his eyes. I heard the dealership wouldn’t take it back because of some damage he caused to it over that same weekend. He went on to blame his son, the groom, who he never gave the keys to in the first place. Oh, he also got into a fight with someone from the neighboring venue.
The police showed up because the groom's father got into a fight.
Later that night, the groom almost drowned falling hammered into the pool.
When the newlywed couple announced during the reception they were expecting already, a bunch of the conservative guests got up and left. Some of them even stopped to take their gifts with them.
Our father made a scene before the ceremony when I showed up and tried to sit with the family. We had a falling out the previous winter and he confidently announced to everyone I wasn’t family and should wait outside for the reception to start.
The bride insisted her very old, very blind, very sick dog should be a part of the event and wanted him by her side while she walked down the aisle. He leaked poo down the aisle during the ceremony."
"At a friend's wedding, the groom's father was abused by priests when he was a kid so naturally hated them and the high horse they all rode in on.
Anyway, the photographer was taking some pictures during the ceremony and the priest stopped the ceremony to get onto the photographer for getting too close and disturbing the ceremony. His pictures were amazing, by the way.
Nothing happened but a kind of awkwardness fell over everything. Then when we were all doing group pictures in the church after the ceremony, the priest lost it with the photographer again this time for standing on the altar to get a better shot. Everything fell silent and awkward again.
Then the groom's dad walked up to the photographer and whispered to him. He announced to everyone to go outside for pictures as the weather was lovely, a rare thing for Ireland.
As we were all mostly moved out, the dad absolutely leveled the priest with a box. It was like a cartoon where he was lifted off his feet out of his shoes. The dad was an ex-rugby pro so it carried a lot of weight behind the blow. The sound was like a car crash.
The priest rolled around a bit bleeding on the altar and the dad told him that if he said a word about it to anyone he would burn the whole church to the ground with him in it. Then he grabbed me and the other two groomsmen and asked us not to say a word to the bride or her side.
After seeing that, we obviously didn't. That was about nine years ago and he got clean away with it.
The bride eventually found out and thought it was pretty funny."