Apr 172013 4 Responses

When a Wedding Goes Wrong

I love it when a wedding goes wrong.

Not way wrong, but I enjoy it when the ceremony goes a little wrong—a dropped ring, a forgotten song, a random sound issue.

I enjoy the unexpected in a wedding because I like to see how a couple reacts. If they can roll with the punches, focus on the big picture, and not get caught up in the minor details, their marriage will be satisfying.

If they are overwhelmed by the unexpected, heartbroken over the imperfection, and inconsolable when every detail doesn’t go their way, they have no chance at marriage.

Life never goes as you expect.

It is one of the great joys of life. It will go better than you expect. Nothing can prepare a person for the joy of parenthood or the feeling of deep intimacy which can be achieved between two people. At its best, marriage is far greater than I could have ever imagined. After our first year of marriage, my wife and I concluded that had we known it would be this much fun, we would have gotten married much earlier. (Of course, had we gotten married earlier it probably wouldn’t have gone as well. There is wisdom in waiting.)

It is one of the great sorrows of life. It will go worse than you expect. Life is full of heartaches we can never imagine. Dreams will be dashed. Disappointments are sure to come. Nothing can prepare us for the joy of parenthood, but what happens when we can’t get pregnant or when the child struggles or rebels? Marriage can bring great intimacy, but what happens when your husband is uncaring or your wife is inconsiderate? Jobs are lost; friends die; fights erupt. Life does not go as you expect.

I’ve sat through countless wedding rehearsals and watched a bride have a meltdown over things that have no real meaning in marriage—flower arrangements, the color of a tie, the behavior of a ring-bearer. In those moments when nothing can console the bride, I look at the groom and say nothing, but my eyes are screaming, “Run.” I think, “if she can’t handle this, how is she going to handle the real issues of life?” I’ve watched many a groom flare in rage because something didn’t go as he had planned. I want to tell the bride, “find someone else.” If he is irate over honeymoon plans, what will he be like when she does something which doesn’t meet his expectations?

When performing a wedding, I do everything in my power to make it live up to the expectations of the couple. It is a moment of which little girls dream and I try to assist them in making their dreams come true. While it is fair to be disappointed when things don’t go your way, it’s important to be able to put the disappointment in context. If you love the person and are happy to spend the rest of your life with them, minor aspects of the ceremony do not truly matter. We can do our best to get them right, but we shouldn’t allow them to define the day.

One of the most important characteristics of a happy marriage is the ability to be flexible. Be sad it rained and moved the outdoor wedding inside, but do everything you can to enjoy the wedding. Be disappointed your friend or family member didn’t show up, but don’t let their decisions destroy your day. Wish that the honeymoon plans had worked, but realize you can have fun no matter what the specific location.

Show me a couple who can handle a minor unexpected event on the wedding weekend and I’ll show you a couple who is ready for marriage. Show me someone who has to have everything go perfectly and I’ll show you someone filled with too much pride to experience a real marriage.

It was no surprise to me how my wife reacted the day she was told of the miscarriage or the moment the doctor diagnosed our daughter with Down syndrome. I wasn’t shocked by her strength and her ability to adjust her life to the unexpected news because years earlier, on our wedding day, I walked into her house two hours before the ceremony and she was laughing because her wedding dress was still not completed. That day was about the vows we would make to one another, not about a show to impress everyone in town. As long as the wedding took place, everything else was secondary.

If you can find a spouse with that kind of perspective, consider yourself lucky.

What went wrong during your wedding weekend? Did it greatly change your experience?


4 Responses to When a Wedding Goes Wrong
  1. stevebrawner Reply

    We had our wedding at my parents’ house – only immediate family members and grandparents invited. We were going to have it outside, but it was too cold, so we moved it into the living room. That was fine because we realized at the last minute that we had never bought shoes to match my wife’s $50 dress. So she and my sister-in-law, the bridesmaid, didn’t wear shoes at all. I remember them laughing about it.

    Remember the YouTube video of the couple dancing down the aisle? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-94JhLEiN0

    That really resonated with people because it showed a couple actually having fun on what is supposed to be their most joyful day.

  2. STK Reply

    So many things! Six weeks before our wedding, my father had a heart attack. That day, my now husband and I were supposed to finish up photos, cakes, flowers, etc. None of that mattered to me anymore. All I wanted was to marry Chris with my father walking me down the aisle. By God’s hand, he did!! But it poured down rain on my wedding day. We had no “send off” when we left the reception other than hitching up my dress so we could dash in the thunderstorm to our car. We had so much fun at the reception, we didn’t care about that.
    Then, the hotel had sold our room for our wedding night…we ended up at my parent’s house with my family and bridesmaids. I was a little upset about that, but we were hungry and exhausted — so at least we got to rest and eat! Our flight out the next morning was delayed…but we made it to the cruise ship with 30 minutes to spare.Then, 9/11 happened while we were on our cruise. Again, all we cared about was that all of our loved ones and friends were safe…and how lucky we were to be safe as well. We had so many glitches along the way — but it only made us stronger. If we didn’t roll with the punches, we might not have survived that whole ordeal! 🙂 12 years later, I’d say we’ve made a pretty great life together!

  3. Pam Reply

    What didn’t go wrong on our wedding day would be more like it. My husband had worked until the wee hours of the night and had very little sleep. We drove to Eureka Springs and pulling into Mcdonalds bumped a car that was parked (thankfully no damage), The lady who married us kept messing up the words then when we signed our marriage Liscense her cat had scratched her and she smeared blood so we are literally signed in blood! We went to eat at a steakhouse and ordered seafood and our cocktail sauce was frozen! Needless to say we laughed the whole time and here we are 9 years later!

  4. Diane Reply

    Unlike Jenny’s, my dress was finished in time, but then the zipper broke and my mom sewed me into it for the ceremony. 🙂
    I have to wonder about the ages of those having meltdowns. I was only 20, but when I got married that was typical. So many young people are in such a rush to have the big wedding, they haven’t had any life experiences to base things on and these things we see as minor are BIG to them. Hopefully they will continue to grow and mature and be able to face obstacles without that kind of meltdown in the future.

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