A case of mistaken identity

By Mir
July 14, 2008

We’re hooooooome! There’s so much to tell you, from the trip itself to the airport hijinks (insert card here! just kidding! this machine is out of order! thanks for the card!) to the state of the house upon our return (wood floors! echoriffic!), but there is just one quick tale I have to tell you before I forget because it is STILL making me laugh.

The wedding we went to was held at a swanky country club, and I’m not certain if the wedding coordinator was an employee of said establishment (I think she was) or an independent, but I CAN tell you that she took her job REALLY VERY SERIOUSLY. Because wedding are serious business, people, and chop chop, let’s get those flowers arranged just so and smooth those tablecloths and I swear to you she actually snapped her fingers at Otto at some point when she wanted him to do something. (He was a groomsman, but last time I checked that didn’t actually make him a trained animal, but apparently she begged to differ.)

Anyway, the point is that she was a WEE BIT TENSE.

Keeping in mind that you’re talking to someone whose wedding consisted of a quick, family-only ceremony and then dinner out, it’s POSSIBLE that I don’t fully appreciate the gravity of The Perfect Big Party Wedding, sure. But I found this woman alternately annoying and amusing.

Consider that background for what I’m about to tell you.

So Saturday—the day of the wedding—was a VERY long day. The wedding was at 5:00, but we were all staying up towards Boston and the wedding was on the Cape and the wedding party had to be there by 2:30 but there was traffic and SOMEHOW my sister-in-law and I ended up getting down there around 1:30, even though we were taking a different car than our husbands (who were IN the wedding). This makes for a really long day, is all I’m saying.

First we went to the hotel and hung out with relatives and whistled at the guys when they all came out in their tuxes to get into the limo (which was a custom stretch ’57 Chevy in TURQUOISE, which was a nice touch), and then we went on to the country club and tried to stay out the way.

The wedding planner was flitting around becoming more and more stressed out, and at some point she insisted that Otto go with her outside to be ready to seat people (even though it was, I dunno, maybe 3:30?) and then she positioned his brother Nearly Nickless at the front door to greet folks. (The groom, their brother Wild Thing, was assumedly sequestered somewhere doing groom-like things. Praying? Having a snack? I don’t suppose I’ll ever know.) Nearly Nickless’ wife—my sister-in-law—wandered off to talk with some folks, and I found myself just sort of hovering around the front door, waiting for my mother-in-law to arrive with that side of the family.

I thought this was the appropriate thing for me to do, because… ummm… I wasn’t sure what else to do. Whatever. I WAS TRYING TO BE HELPFUL.

While hanging around waiting, I watched the wedding planner flit back and forth in a constant state of pique, and one of the things that she was getting COMPLETELY worked up about while people started coming in was the place cards.

It’s a country club on the Cape. Down on the water. You walk out the back, and there’s a gorgeous view over the golf course down to the beach—just stunning. In keeping with the venue, the place cards were little tags on paper drink umbrellas, and they were stuck inside a giant box of sand that was sitting near the entrance on a couple of tables. Totally cute.

Also, totally the first thing you see after you come in. So folks would be greeted by Nearly Nickless and then proceed to the table and try to take their umbrella-tag, and then the wedding planner would swoop in out of nowhere and screech “THE PHOTOGRAPHER HAS NOT TAKEN A PICTURE OF THIS YET. PLEASE REFRAIN FROM TAKING YOUR SEATING CARD UNTIL AFTER THE CEREMONY!” And the guests would recoil in fright and she would flit away again.

Nearly Nickless somehow neglected to notice that this was happening (I saw it happen three or four times while I was waiting for my mother-in-law.) So at some point a couple came in, and he greeted them, and told them to go ahead and pick up their place cards. They headed over to the table. Nearly Nickless turned back to greet some more people, and I had a split second to make a decision. My mother-in-law still hadn’t arrived, so I left my post and approached the couple at the table.

“Excuse me,” I said, as I came up behind them. “I know that Nearly Nickless told you to take your place cards, but there’s a wedding planner swooping around here who is just a teensy bit high strung and I guess the photographer isn’t here yet and she wants a picture of the umbrellas before anyone takes their cards. She’s yelled at a bunch of people already, so if I were you I would just wait until after the ceremony to grab those.”

The wife was nodding as I spoke, clearly getting that I was trying to help them out, but the husband was giving me a very skeptical look.

“I just…” I faltered. This man was regarding me with something bordering on hostility. “Seriously, she’s NUTS, you should’ve heard her freaking out about it earlier.”

The husband crossed his arms on his chest and rolled his eyes. “So you’re the wedding planner, right?” he said.

“I’m the—NO! Haha! No, I’m not. Not me. You’ll see her, she’s everywhere. She’s wearing a black dress with white polka dots.”

There was a pause. A very pointed pause, as the couple stared at me. And I looked down. At my dress. My black dress with white polka dots.

“Oh my God!! AHAHAHAHA! No, no, REALLY, she’s wearing a DIFFERENT black dress with white polka dots! I swear!”

“You’re the wedding planner,” said the husband, again, as my face heated up and the wife looked at me as if I might be foaming at the mouth.

“Okay, I’m going to go over here, now. No, I am not the wedding planner, I’m one of the groom’s sisters-in-law. I was just trying to help. I’ll point her out to you later, okay? Just wait to take the umbrella!” I walked away laughing, and soon forgot about it.

About ten minutes into the reception the wife came up to me. “ARE YOU the wedding planner?” she asked, anxiously.

I laughed so hard I nearly dropped my drink. (Is the wedding planner allowed to drink at the reception?) “NO! Oh my God, you think I’m insane, your husband thinks I’m insane!” Luck was with me and I was able to spot the ACTUAL wedding planner in a DIFFERENT black-with-white-dots dress and point her out. “THAT is the wedding planner,” I sputtered, still laughing.

“Oh, I knew it!” she said. “My husband was CONVINCED it was you and I told him it couldn’t be. Okay, I’ll tell him. Wait, so which brother is yours?” I was able to point out Otto and we chatted for a minute and then I escaped and wondered when my dress crossed over from “cocktail chic” into “control freak wedding planner” and why I hadn’t noticed.

Thank goodness my hair looked so good, at least. Phew.


  1. Megan

    If a bride who does that is bridezilla what does that make the wedding planner? ‘Cause I’ve tried for at LEAST 30 seconds and I can’t find a clever way to incorporate either Mothra or Gammara (in fact I’m not entirely sure I didn’t just invent Gammara out of whole cloth).

  2. toni mcgee causey

    Megan, she’s a Wedzilla.

    Mir, very funny post. Like you, I had a small wedding, just family, (at my parent’s). I used to joke that the reception was going to be a bag of Doritos and cheese dip. We did manage a bit more than that, but kept it small and I have always been glad.

    (Although the name tag thing would have been helpful. My dad had beer for everyone out in the garage. I still do not recognize half the people who showed up for that portion of the wedding.)

  3. Dawn

    Yes, you could easily have been the wedding planner. TALKING ABOUT YOURSELF IN THE 3RD PERSON…

    This just proves my theory that no good deed goes unpunished.

  4. carolyn

    What would a fun family affair be without an awkward moment or two? Funny post!

  5. Sara

    The wedding coordinator at my brother’s wedding (before wedding coordinators were common) told my husband who was an usher, to “put on his best diplomatic face” and boot some people out of a pew that was apparently to seat someone else. We still laugh about it and whenever a dirty job comes up one of us might be heard saying “oh, just put on your best diplomatic face and get it over with already!”

  6. Character Builder

    When you were saying that the husband was giving you such a funny look, I thought you were going to say that the insane wedding planner was his sister or his daughter or something. I think that would have been worse!

  7. ChristieNY

    I love how we knew what color your dress was (from an earlier post) so when you said what color the REAL wedding planner was wearing I couldn’t help but gasp OH NO!

    I can’t wait to hear about the rest of the trip, and a big congrats to Wild Thing! :)))))))

  8. Em

    See, I’m such a bitch, if I hadn’t known the couple, and I knew what was about to happen, I would have had to get a good seat and just watch. Then wait for the next couple and the next and maybe try to guess what their reaction would be based upon things like age, gender, number of tatoos, general facial expression, how tight their bun was, stuff like that. See what you get for trying to be helpful?

  9. daring one

    Why didn’t you just tell them the truth? You are the freaking wedding planner. And you have split personality disorder. And cute hair.

  10. Astrogirl426

    If your in-laws are anything like my in-laws, then undoubtedly what the groom was doing before the ceremony was listening to one of his brothers telling him, “If you change your mind, I have a car waiting outside.”

    Ha! Aren’t they just pips? They were just kidding, though… I think. Huh.

    You are WAY nicer than me, pretty Mir – if it were me I’d have been screwing with that wedding planner something awful. I mean, what are crazy people for, if not entertainment (and I say that as a crazy person, myself)?

  11. Damsel

    I actually burst out laughing in the middle of this post. No offense, but I really hate it when I do that while my hubby’s around. He wants to know what’s so funny. When I try to explain it (b/c he won’t leave me alone about it, yet doesn’t want to read for himself), it’s just not as funny since he doesn’t know you. I mean, not that I KNOW you, but… *awkward turtle*… shutting up now.

  12. Karen

    That is so funny! I am with you on the wedding topic. I’m all for the small family wedding and getting on with life.

  13. mama speak

    I was an event planner for 7 years and after my wedding and giving the gift of playing “wedding coordinator” to two friend for their weddings all of our friends don’t understand why I don’t want to do this for a living.

    Ummm yeah.

    Now if the wedding planner could drink at the reception(and posibly before) I might reconsider…

  14. Christy

    My sister had one of those wedding planners. We called her the Wedding-Nazi. Makes for a great story after the fact!

  15. Aimee


    When I started reading this, I was hoping the wedding planner was like Franck in ‘Father of the Bride.’ But your story was funnier!

  16. Flea

    That’s what you get for looking cute and dressing trendy. :) Personally, I’m glad you came away with fun stories.

  17. Little Bird

    My mother has offered me an obscene amount of money to not have a traditional wedding. She wants me to go to Vegas and get hitched at a wedding chapel. This is fine with me, though if I even had a boyfriend right now it would make more sense. Wedding planners and the likelyhood of my going bridzilla on her are just two of the reasons she has offered this.

  18. ellbee

    Hee… at our wedding, the church provided a planner for the ceremony. She was called out of town on business two days before the wedding, and the old wedding planner (this was a volunteer position, mind you) stepped in to “save the day.” This woman was a teensy bit controlling…she demanded my father and I “step off on the RIGHT foot, please, and take small steps!” at the rehearsal. We had to start over FIVE times until she was satisfied. So, when the time came to head down the aisle for real, my father and I took one look at each other, pushed past the wedding planner, and proceeded to lurch down the aisle in a very Monty Python “Ministry of Silly Walks” style. She refused to speak to me after that. Oops.

  19. Rick Bucich

    Great story! I can completely relate to mama speak’s comment. After working as a wedding florist and photographer, I insisted on hiring someone outside the family to do both at my own and glad I did; fortunately both exceeding my expectations. My instructions were simple, 1. I wanted them to do work they would want themselves and 2. I wanted everyone to enjoy themselves thoroughly. It worked, everyone had a blast! We now watch the video and notice all the slip-ups, but they give us something to talk about.

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