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Sara
Expert June 2019

a dark cloud over bam

Sara, on June 18, 2019 at 5:05 PM Posted in Married Life 0 11
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Hi all!

Our wedding was Saturday! It was beautiful and amazing, and everything I could have hoped it would be. Unfortunately, I feel that there is also a dark cloud looming over it that puts a serious lump in my throat and knot in my stomach. My mother, who has been a closeted alcoholic for many years, seemed to do her best to outright humiliate me, steal the show, and antagonize my father/ her ex-husband during my wedding.

About a week ago, my husband said he would like an open mic/ open speech segment during the reception. Knowing my mom, he indicated that my mom shouldn't give a speech, but I said that we couldn't exactly have an open mic and then dictate who could and could not speak. I got "starry eyed" with the love and emotions of wedding planning, and when my mom asked if she could give a short speech, and say a few words about my husband and I, over instrumental music, I mistook her for a rational person and said OK. She asked for the DJ's phone number, and I said no, I would convey what she would like. I repeated "no choreographed dances" for at least the 5th time. My mom and step dad are line dance teachers, and she's always tried to steal the show, while it has never been my thing.

Day of the wedding. My mother and father are divorced and both remarried. Unfortunately my wonderful stepmother was in the hospital for over a week, and was unable to attend the wedding. My mom, stepdad, and dad were in attendance. My mom was extremely helpful leading up to the wedding, and although she was unable to contribute much financially, she did allow me too store and prep nearly everything at her house, and she and my step dad transported and set up a large portion of the decorations the morning of the wedding. The morning of the wedding, I spotted a solo cup of beer (from home..) in my mom's hand as she was setting up decorations at the venue.

I was fairly distracted, because there were also a number of other near-catastrophes happening (the gas main exploded at the venue that morning, the building was evacuated, causing the caterers to be very delayed.... etc. but we pulled it off miraculously.) My husband and I had planned and executed the entire wedding ourselves with tons of DIY, heavy research, and budgeting. We paid for 95% ourselves. It all came together at the start of the ceremony - The entire place was PERFECT. The ceremony was BEAUTIFUL. Not a dry eye in the entire place. It was beyond amazing and so full of love, it was literally staggering.

The family photo session during cocktail hour was very trying, it only took about 15 minutes, but my husband and I ended up literally screaming at everyone because no one would listen, take direction, or stop talking. We felt awful about it - My mom actually said "no" to my husband at one point when he gave direction for her to join a photo. During the lineup to enter the reception, my mom grabbed my dad by the arm and attempted to walk into the reception with both my dad and my step dad. My husband had to stop everything, fix the lineup, and my father was very uncomfortable. Again, remember- he and my mother are divorced, my mom is a well-intentioned loose canon with a poor understanding of boundaries, and my step mom was not there.

The reception began and my mom stood up, drunk, I saw my sister brace herself. Mom asked the DJ to crank up the instrumental version of "what a wonderful world" until it was blasting. She gave a speech that lasted at least five minutes, past the end of the song. It was extremely repetitive, painfully slow, and basically all about herself and how it was her job as a mother to "embarrass me"... It was AWFUL So, so, so awful. My husband squeezed my hand, and I just sat there and stared. My husband said a few things under his breath and had a hot mic from the videographer. I have no idea what sort of face I was making. It was like my brain melted or exploded. I couldn't even process what was happening. Then, she wrapped up, and just as I started to breathe, she gestured to the DJ, who began the music for "Greased Lightning". My stepdad jumped up, and my mom and stepdad then did a surprise choreographed dance for the entirety of the song. It felt like it took FOREVER. My step dad just trying to smile at me while doing the hand jive moves... It broke my heart because I know he just listens to her to try to make her happy. The crowd seemed to enjoy it... but again, I had explicitly said "no choreographed dances at the wedding" to her, with a straight serious face, at least 5 times over the past 8 months...

During our spotlight dance, my stepdad whispered an apology to me about Greased Lightening, and said it was something my mom "really, really wanted to do for me". I said I'm sure he was a "conscientious objector", and we laughed for a moment. I had no idea it would get worse.

I dance a spotlight dance with my dad, and my husband finishes a spotlight dance with his mom. My mom jumps up, and again gestures to the DJ, who puts on "I loved her first" from Heartland. She pulls my step dad onto the floor, and gestures to my father to join as well. He was confused and waved her off, she ran off the dance floor grab him by his arm and attempted to pull him onto the dance floor as well, while calling to me. The entire reception was watching I stood up and walked over to my stepfather. My mother drug my father out onto the dance floor and attempted to awkwardly sway with all of us to the music. My father said "I'm sorry, this doesn't work for me" and left the dance floor. I gestured to the DJ to cut the music. I could have literally died. What was she thinking? How on earth did she think that was going to go? This could be the final straw that makes my father never agree to attend an event with her ever again. We all sat, and the DJ played something distracting. I couldn't even form thoughts about what had happened. Why. Why. Why. Why. Why...

Why would she do this? It hurt SO much. It what world does your child WANT you to embarrass them, and AT THEIR WEDDING? Does anyone in the known universe actually want to be surprised at their own wedding? How on earth is that appropriate, after all our hard work, and all the money, and all the time, and all the effort? To purposefully go against what we said? To embarrass my dad, stepdad, and herself? Why on earth can't she just give her ex-husband, my father, the smallest amount of space and understanding?

I didn't cry, I didn't yell. I calmly talked with my husband, My husband is the most amazing person ever. He gave me the champion of all pep talks. Reminded me what the day was all about. But it was like my brain had melted and it took me a good 20 minutes to put my head on straight. It was like there were just so many wild cards I couldn't function. I forgot to check on the vegan meals with the caterer, so my husband's boss didn't eat anything except a few salad leaves. I forgot to have my husband and I give a brief "Thank you for coming" speech before the cake, with a special shout out to my step mom (again who was in the HOSPITAL). I even forgot to have the DJ cue up the special surprise slow dance for my husband and I to dance to - a very sentimental song to him.

After some time, I somehow started thinking again. My husband and I had a blast. We laughed, ate, danced, talked with so many people, took special moments for ourselves. Our wedding was amazing. But at the end of the night, my husband and I found ourselves just laying in bed just staring at the ceiling. What had even happened during parts of the day?

The next day, I thanked my mom and stepdad for their assistance in transporting and prepping. I talked with my husband. I talked with my sister. I found out my mom aggressively hugged (groped?) my husbands uncle at the bar, in front of his aunt. Don't even know what to do about that. On the assorted nonsense of the night, my MIL said "she meant well", I said "it's been 30 years of her meaning well".

My conclusion is that I will need to have a very serious follow up conversation with my mom:

- On the topic of "it's my job to embarrass you". Well not anymore it's not. You're fired. Find a new title. I seriously have no idea where she got this idea, but it's wrong, and it will not continue another moment.

- I don't like surprises, not from her. She will never again be allowed to hold a mic in her hand and call something a surprise in my presence.

- Either she purposely tried to ruin my wedding, or her judgement is just that staggeringly bad. Either way it's a problem and she needs to examine why she behaves this way and own her behavior. Lack of judgement, lack of boundaries, and the root behind why she acts this way - they are all problems. She's overdue for counseling, and it's not an option if she and I are to have a good relationship moving forward. I don't need her to feel terrible and I don't need to ice her out of my life. I DO need her to recognize the effect her actions have, and there needs to be some reflection and learning and serious positive change to come out of all this.

- Alcohol is a problem for her. We're not ignoring it any more. She needs to join AA or address this complicated topic in counseling.

- I need an apology. My husband needs an apology. My dad needs an apology. My step dad needs an apology.

Thank you all. This was insanely long. It was not fun. It was not the happy take-away from a BAM that should happen. I hate that this scenario is even part of it, but I truly needed to get it out, and begin to think through it, and to re-frame it, and move on with a focus on everything that was wonderful about my wedding day. Because there was so much that was amazing and positive about our wedding! I really, really love my husband. I really love all the happy moments with everyone. In a little while, I will post another BAM, with all our amazing photos, and all our amazing details, because it really is about all the good, all the love, all the positive energy of so many wonderful people, and that's really the point. My wedding really and truly was wonderful. Much love to everyone Smiley heart


11 Comments

Latest activity by Nicole, on June 19, 2019 at 8:54 AM
  • CourtneyBrittain
    Master August 2019
    CourtneyBrittain ·
    • Flag
    I am so sorry about this dark cloud, and hopefully your mother will start to look into getting help.
    • Reply
  • Caytlyn
    Legend November 2019
    Caytlyn ·
    • Flag

    Wow. I think I felt some residual embarrassment just reading that. I'm sorry that you had to deal with it all at your own wedding. I would be extremely upset. I hope that soon enough the negative memories take a backseat to the happy ones and that your mom can make some positive changes for your sake and her own.Smiley heart

    • Reply
  • MrsD
    Legend July 2019
    MrsD ·
    • Flag

    I'm so sorry you had this awful guest on your day, especially someone that should only support you. It sounds like your mother does struggle with alcohol addiction, and is very selfish. Unfortunately, some people just aren't naturally good parents. It sounds like you had the support of your father & stepfather. I'm sure all your other guests realize the day was still about you and your groom and don't remember the embarrassment like you do. If I were you, I'd distance myself from your mother and rethink if the relationship is a healthy one for you to have at this point.

    • Reply
  • Futuremrsk
    VIP August 2019
    Futuremrsk ·
    • Flag
    I am so sorry you have this cloud hanging over your day. It sounds like you have reacted appropriately and are taking steps on moving forward in a healthy way which is really good. I wish you the best of luck and look forward to seeing your Bam with all the happy photos and good memories. Focus on those. And enjoy being married!
    • Reply
  • Kelly
    VIP October 2020
    Kelly ·
    • Flag
    Wow. I want to apologise but there aren't enough words to give you a proper one.
    You were clearly very gracious and paitent the whole time, and it seems like everyone else was understanding and supportive of your wishes.
    As someone who has an alcoholic family... I wish you the best with your talk and getting your mother help. She clearly needs it.
    • Reply
  • Sharon
    Expert September 2021
    Sharon ·
    • Flag
    It's good that you can also focus on all the great things about your day and not just dwell on the negative. It sounds like everyone around you was full of love and support for you, especially your husband. You definitely have some hard conversations ahead. I hope you can help your mother see how bad it is and get her the help she needs. Congratulations on your marriage. Wishing you both a lifetime of love and happiness
    • Reply
  • Melle
    Rockstar June 2019
    Melle ·
    • Flag
    First off, congrats date twin. At the end of the day I'm sure you still had a wonderful wedding to your husband.
    Focus on the positives of your day. Because I'm sure there's negatives but if you focus on those it'll just Taint the memory of the rest of the day and you don't want that
    • Reply
  • Angela
    Expert June 2019
    Angela ·
    • Flag
    Honestly, there is so much pressure for the wedding day to be absolutely perfect and the best day of our lives and that’s just not realistic. My wedding was this past Saturday too, and while it was a great day and I married the love of my life, it was definitely not perfect. I was waiting with my dad for the ceremony to start and it was delayed and I didn’t know why. Turns out one of our guests in our very small, 40 person wedding had a medical emergency and 4 of my guests left to rush him to the hospital. He’s ok now, but at the time we didn’t know if he would be or not. I was devastated. The guests were shook up. I wonder what my ceremony would’ve been without that happening but I’ll never know. We tried to make the most of it and still be in the moment during the ceremony. The show went on, as they say. My husbands 90 year old grandma had a moment during photos where she wasn’t feeling well either and we were concerned about her as well; luckily she was ok and just needed to sit for a minute to catch her breath. Then, we were to do a bubble entrance when we arrived at the reception. I even called and said we were nearby and they said ok they’d get guests lined up. Then we get there and my husband and I get out of the car and there’s not many people and I think, well, that’s disappointing, I guess not as many people came to the reception. Oh, well, make the best of it. Turns out, they weren’t lined up yet, so as we get out of the car, the photographer & coordinator are yelling at me “What are you doing?!? Get back in!!!” Which I really didn’t appreciate being greeted that way. Especially when we’d talked and there was no reason for me to think they weren’t ready for us. It was annoying to have to get in and do a fake entrance all over again. And to be chided like a child in front of all my guests.
    And honestly, the family photos were annoying to take. Too many moving parts, and it was hot, and I was worried how people were feeling and if they were comfortable, and and and....
    My point being, weddings are not perfect!!! But at the end of the day you can look back knowing you married your best friend and your favorite person and that’s what truly matters. Try to focus just on all the super happy positive moments; that’s what we plan to do as well. I think every person has things at their wedding they wished would have gone differently but at the end of the day, weddings aren’t fairy tales like we pretend they are. Weddings are real life and sometimes real life is messy, but it’s still wonderful! 💖
    • Reply
  • Paula
    Super September 2019
    Paula ·
    • Flag
    I'm sorry that you had this happen at your wedding but I hope you only remember the good times and special moments with your friends and most importantly your husband.


    • Reply
  • Jessica
    VIP October 2019
    Jessica ·
    • Flag
    View Quoted Comment
    I definitely felt some of that 'residual embarrassment' as well. Im SO sorry you had this happen. My parents won't be allowed at my wedding, as in Im hiring security in the event they try to show up, also with addiction problems. I know that probably doesn't make you feel any better, but just know you're not alone.
    • Reply
  • Nicole
    Super October 2021
    Nicole ·
    • Flag
    I’m so sorry your mom went against your wishes. Do you think she will acknowledge to apologize before you need to talk to her about it? It’s your family dynamic so you know best, but I feel like this is something I’d view as “well laugh about it someday”
    • Reply

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