Loser drops the wedding cake
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Wedding Horror Stories That Will Make You Want to Elope

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Loser drops the wedding cake
Aksakalko/istockphoto

Wedding Bell Blues

Getting married brings out the best in some people — and the worst in others. Add to that the possibility of scheduling mix-ups, technical difficulties, and plain bad weather and it’s amazing anyone has a snag-free wedding at all. We rounded up some horror stories about memorable wedding day disasters ranging from an uninvited rat to a brawl in the banquet hall.


Related: 20 Reasons Not to Have a Wedding


This will keep your curls in place
AlexanderFord/istockphoto

The Bridemaid’s Hair Caught on Fire

“There was a wedding I was working at in the ’80s, when the hair was really big with a lot of hairspray,” says Noelle Tretick Gosling, a professional violinist in Indianapolis for 30 plus years. “We were playing an evening wedding, and these candelabras were lined up behind where they were standing. And one of the bridesmaids was taking the bride’s bouquet when she leaned back and we noticed this bad, bad smell.” The bridesmaid’s hair was on fire, slowly burning “one strand at a time.” Luckily, the bride put out the fire with her veil — even though that meant continuing the ceremony with a black smudge and a noticeable hole in her bridal accessory. “She went through with the wedding, a real trooper,” says Tretick Gosling. “And she gets a gold star for the day.” 


Related: 12 Things You Likely Won’t See at the Next Wedding You Attend

Mother Congratulating her Daughter on a Wedding day
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The Mother-in-Law Got Jealous

A reddit user described a nightmarish wedding that redefines meddling motherhood. In addition to wearing a dress that looked suspiciously like a wedding gown, “She started making this horrendous crying sound as soon as the wedding vows started, and didn't stop until the pastor presented the couple as husband and wife. She promptly ran to the front and used her elbow to move the bride before throwing herself into the arms of the groom.” After muscling the bride out of many of her own wedding photos to get snaps with her beloved son, she apparently “gave a doozy of wedding speech about how she couldn't believe the bride was stealing her only baby and implied quite strongly that the son only married her [because] she was pregnant. Bear in mind, they were together for 5 years.”


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Afterglow
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The Uncle Blew Away the Wedding

While some guests can be an embarrassment, some can actually ruin your expensive wedding right down to the pricey floral arrangements. “The uncle of the groom wanted to make a grand entrance,” says Bruce Kahler, destination wedding specialist and “travel guru” for Apollo Travel Orlando. “He had a cab pick him up at the resort to take him to the airport so he could take a helicopter to take him back to the resort.” Too bad he didn’t ask a few questions about the resort’s amenities before he left. “It was a destination wedding in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, and there was no place for a helicopter to land.” Because of his stunt, the Hindu beachside wedding, for which Kahler says no expense was spared, was completely blown away — literally. “The beautiful wedding ceremony setting became a blank space after a hurricane, basically.” The uncle didn’t nail his big entrance, either. “He fell into a tide pool wearing a white suit, which was soaked.” And when the bride and groom tried to argue with the resort that they wanted a refund on their trashed wedding? The resort manager replied that they’d done all the requested work — it was the uncle that ruined it, so no refund was forthcoming. 


Related: 13 Reasons Not to Do a Destination Wedding

Wedding
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The Bride and Groom Were Arrested

Turns out that South Africa took its pandemic lockdown seriously. A bride and groom were arrested at their wedding and immediately taken to a police station. Their crime? Holding a wedding when there was a nationwide ban on public gatherings. All 50 guests and the pastor performing the ceremony were also arrested and hauled in. Hopefully they were able to drink a celebratory glass of champagne in the holding cell.


Related: Things We Never Want to See Again After the Pandemic Is Over

Newlywed coupe sitting on a sofa angry at each other in a middle of an argument. Young couple problem concept outdoor
andreonegin/istockphoto

The Happy Couple Was Robbed

While the wedding for one Bradenton, Florida couple was memorable, it made the local news for all the wrong reasons. A thief grabbed a bag containing the couples’ gifts as well as their marriage license. The bride and groom weren’t able to count the money they had received, but estimates range from $3,000 to $5,000. A Gofundme was created by the groom’s sister as an attempt to cover the loss, but the couple still had the added hassle of needing to get a new marriage license.


Related: 11 Secrets to Managing Money in Marriage

bride gently and carefully wipes the face of the groom away sweat
Andrey Sayfutdinov/istockphoto

The Groom Had More Than Just Butterflies

Sometimes nerves about the big day can unsettle more than thoughts. “One time we had a groom who was so nervous to walk down the aisle, he actually made himself sick and was in the bathroom throwing up for about 20 minutes,” says worldwide wedding planner Trista Croce of BTS Event Management. “He was so embarrassed and didn’t want his bride to think he didn’t want to get married. We assigned one of our team members to the groom to make sure he was pulling himself together, another team member assigned at the ceremony site to make sure guests were content and music and champagne were flowing, and another one of our girls distracted the bride with a couple last-minute bride and bridesmaid photos so she wouldn’t know anything was wrong.” Fortunately, the groom pulled himself together and the ceremony went off without a hitch. We’re just hoping he brushed his teeth.

Bride and groom figurines collapsed at ruined wedding cake
mofles/istockphoto

A 100-Person Brawl Broke Out

Sure, we’ve all heard about guests getting rowdy at a wedding after they’ve been overserved, but 100 people getting into a brawl? That’s what happened at one wedding shindig in Glendale, California. After multiple calls to police, one man was arrested for trying to elbow two police officers while others emerged from the fight bloodied and battered. That’s one fast way to lose your deposit on the banquet hall.

Bride stands next to groom and holds his hand. Bottom close-up view
Nadtochiy/istockphoto

The Best Man Mooned the Reception

As destination-wedding specialist Kahler points out, “I plan weddings at all-inclusive resorts, and anytime you have unlimited alcohol involved, there’s a chance someone is going to do something regrettable.” One best man gave what he thought was a funny toast. “He talked about streaking in college and how he and his friend had great looking rear ends. Then he turned around and mooned the whole wedding party.” Hope they got that on video.


Related: Where to Find Affordable Tuxedos and Wedding Suits That Don't Look Cheap

wedding bride and groom running with the crowd
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The Groom Cussed Out His Bride

“About 10 years ago, I was playing violin at this beautiful outdoor venue,” says Tretick Gosling. “The bride and groom started their vows, and the groom started swearing at his bride. I don’t even want to say the words aloud, but the B word, the C word, everything. And all the guests were watching adoringly. They didn’t seem fazed at all. I thought I was in an episode of ‘The Twilight Zone.’” Another member of her quartet finally told her that the groom had Tourette syndrome, a neurological disorder that can cause sufferers to make unwanted movements or sounds including swearing. “The stress of a wedding likely made it worse,” says the violinist.

Gay wedding ceremony celebration party
Rawpixel/istockphoto

The Groom Had to Call Security on His Uncle

When a gay couple decided to wed, not everyone who attended was a gracious guest. “This uncle was not accepting of LGBT lifestyles, and the drunker he got, the louder he got about it,” says destination wedding specialist Kahler. Luckily, the grooms had a no-tolerance attitude about their big day being ruined. “His nephew, who was the one getting married, asked security at the resort to escort him out.” 


Related: 36 Longest Celebrity Marriages

Stormy Wedding
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A Huge Storm Shut Down the Festivities

We’ve all heard of weather delays, but this one seems to have derailed the whole outdoor wedding. “There was a huge, huge storm coming, and you could tell it was something serious,” Tretick Gosling says. “But the officiant was taking such a long time thanking guests that when the ceremony finally started, the skies opened up.” The wedding guests rushed inside the indoor reception, which started immediately — but the wedding had never been completed. “The officiant went home and they just had a reception. I’m not sure if they ever got married.”


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Surprise gift
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A Rat Was an Uninvited Guest

Warning: Don’t read this if vermin make you squirm. “I was playing a barn wedding with a quartet, and it was back when the Princess Di wedding gown with huge petticoats was popular,” recalls Tretick Gosling. “We saw a rat crawl down from the rafters of the barn. It wasn’t a cute little field mouse, but a big, big rat with a long, wiry tail, maybe 9 or 10 inches long. And it decides to go under her dress, with the rat tail sticking out. She had so many petticoats she’d probably never feel it. I looked at the groom and he shook his head as if to say, 'don’t say anything, please.’” While everyone could see the rat tail (and the photographer even took a close-up shot), the rat stayed put without the bride having a clue. “It wasn’t a short ceremony, either. They read poems to each other with that thick, rope-y tail swishing back and forth.” When they were pronounced man and wife, she walked back down the aisle — rat included. “I wasn’t sure if the rat was caught in her petticoats, but it definitely didn’t seem to be afraid of people.”


Related: 22 Best Online Shops for Buying an Affordable Wedding Dress

Double Cross
TerryJ/istockphoto

The Groom Hit on the Secretary

Sometimes weddings go awry before they even happen. “When the bride goes to the bathroom and the groom takes that opportunity to hit on my secretary, you know things won’t end well,” says Kahler, who also wrote a guidebook for destination weddings. “They didn’t make it to the wedding. The bride was a bit needy and the groom was a bit self-centered, so it wasn’t really a surprise.” 


Related: 12 Tips for a Healthy and Happy Marriage From Senior Couples

Groom and bride in rubber gloves hold hands
Andrey Grigoriev/istockphoto

The Mother of the Bride Was Hospitalized

While this was a disaster with a happy ending, it probably wasn’t the happiest wedding memory, either. “The mother of the bride got sick,” destination wedding specialist Kahler says. “She fell and ended up having an embolism, needing to go to the hospital.” The good news is that her ailment was only a small speed bump for the wedding. “We made some phone calls, had her brought out of the hospital, and with a nurse and an orderly on hand, she was able to watch her daughter get married.”