March 18, 2006

The Wedding From Hell.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 6:32 pm

Bride Groom.jpgI played drums and sang in a band for years in nightclubs saloons. However, due in no small part to competition from D.J.s, who were cheaper for the saloon owner to hire, the demand for live Friday and Saturday night music shrunk.

So, we cleaned up, bought a bunch of tuxedos and switched to playing weddings, and we played a shitload of them (parties too). We were not the typical “wedding band”. Rather we were a polished saloon act that “did” weddings, and, as I said, we played a lot of them, most of which are a blur to me now – except for one.

That would be The Wedding from Hell. Here’s the story.

Background on the Catering Hall
The Wedding from Hell took place in a venue where I would have least expected it. The Catering Hall was first-class. It was owned and operated by two brothers, who were anal retentive about cleanliness, orderliness, and running a tight ship. The kitchen was as clean as a surgical suite, drinking of alcoholic beverages was “on the house” for the band, as was dinner. In exchange, you followed the Owners’ Rules. For example, no alcoholic beverages on stages, no smoking on stage (always bad form anyway), and don’t even think about leaning a piece of equipment against the wall.

Their penchant for maintaining order was evidenced by the omnipresence of a uniformed off-duty police officer during all events.

The point being that this was not a Bucket of Blood type joint.

The Bridal Party is Late.
It is not all that unusual for the Bridal Party to be a few minutes late, almost always because of delays resulting from having photographs taken offsite. However, on this evening, the Bridal Party was already almost an hour late, and they had not stopped for pictures. We knew this because the photographer was at the hall. He explained that they did not plan to go anywhere to take photos, as he would meet the Bridal Party at the hall immediately following the ceremony to shoot pictures at the hall.

At the request of the Bride’s family, we began at the appointed time, with the understanding that we would take a short break when the Bridal Party arrived so that I would be able to speak with the members of the Bridal Party about the logistics surrounding their entry into the hall.

The Bridal Party Finally Arrives.
I was advised that the Bridal Party had finally arrived and that they were in a downstairs room. I headed downstairs to do my thing, which included explaining how the next ten minutes or so was to go and making absolutely sure that I would pronounce everyone’s name exactly right (a very big deal). Under the best of circumstances, it can be a bit difficult to get everyone’s undivided attention, because it is, after all, a party.

This time it was damned near impossible to get anyone’s attention, because between the church and the hall, they had stopped at a bar and done some power drinking. They were all shitfaced. To make matters worse, I walked into the room just as they were all snorting prodigious amounts of coke (the powdery kind).

It took me a while, but I finally got everyone’s names and formed them up to enter the room, which they managed to do in a raucous booze and coke-driven manner. The Bride and Groom even got through their first dance, although I could see that the Bride was beginning to fade.

Flying Food.
The party was wild from the get-go. At one point a waitress carrying a huge tray of salads was knocked on her ass by revelers, causing a salad explosion. The Owner in charge for that evening was not at all happy.

The dinner was finally served, and we were playing appropriate music. The keyboard guy was to my left (the other three band members were in front of us), and we were on a stage that was elevated approximately two and a half feet. There were two tables set up on the floor to the keyboard player’s left.

The keyboard guy looked in my direction and said, “Holy shit! Did you see that? I responded, “See what?” He answered, “The broad in the blue dress at the first table just blew her fucking nose in the tablecloth!” Incredulous, I looked at the woman, and she did it again, followed by the usual nasal wipage. Gross.

The wedding was getting weirder by the moment.

A Dollar a Dance.
The Bride’s sister (who despite the booze and coke was ambulatory) explained that she wanted us to play a slow tune so that the men in the room, for a dollar, could each take a turn dancing with the Bride. This must have been some kind family tradition.

I said to the sister, “We can do that, but I’m not sure that your sister (the Bride) is going to be very interested in participating.” I just couldn’t muster up the nerve to say, “Are your crazy? Your sister is absolutely crocked and can hardly stand up.” She said that she would “have a word” with her sister, the Bride.

The “word” turned into a loud exchange of words, which resulted in the Bride having a world-class crying jag. Nevertheless, the Bride agreed to do the Dollar a Dance thing (while still sobbing), but fell flat on her ass during the first partner switch. The woman was legless. The crying jag returned with a vengeance.

The Bride’s “friends” took her crying ass downstairs to try to sober her up. Their efforts consisted of holding the Bride’s head under a faucet. The Bride was pretty much out of the picture for the balance of the night.

Special Delivery!
I believe that it was about 10:00 p.m. when we learned that several trucks had pulled up to the Catering Hall and delivered forty pizzas! Pizzas!! Forty of them! They came from a local pizza joint. I thought the Owner would shit a pickle at the prospect of a hundred-fifty raucous drunks (some heavily coked up) slobbering pizza all over his carpets.

A bad scene.

Forty farookin’ pizzas! I still can’t get over it.

Dancing on the Tables.
You had to know that it would get down to this. A half dozen or so first-class Vulgarians hopped up on the tables and started dancing and, in the process, knocked stuff all over the Owner’s carpets. At this point, the Owner interceded with the cop and actually blew a loud whistle. He explained that, if the table dancing didn’t stop immediately, the reception was over.

Here Comes the Bride.
We managed to finish the night, and as we were packing up (just about everyone had left), I saw the Bride walking in our direction. Her hair was dripping wet, and she was wearing a pair of brown Nike sneakers with her wedding gown. With one hand, she was eating a downward-drooping slice of cold pizza, and she had a lit cigarette in the other hand. She had a pack of Marlboros stuck between her tits.

She walked up to me and said, ”You guys were fuckin’ great.”

I was speechless.

We loaded the truck and headed for home, when, after a few minutes, I remembered that I had left my tux in the hall. We swung back so that I could pick it up. I entered the darkened and now-empty hall.

The Owner was standing on his head in the middle of the dance floor. I quietly picked up my tux and vacated the premises.

It’s true.


  1. Phew!

    I was expecting “the owner was sitting in the corner, rocking back & forth, mumbling ‘pizza’ over and over” 🙂

    Comment by Harvey — March 18, 2006 @ 8:54 pm

  2. Can’t seem to find the right words. Horribly amazing, completely disgusting…

    Comment by Enlighten-New Jersey — March 18, 2006 @ 10:09 pm

  3. too funny, I wonder if they are still married?

    Comment by livey — March 18, 2006 @ 10:33 pm

  4. Still married? 100/1

    Both still alive? 50/1

    Comment by Sluggo — March 19, 2006 @ 12:05 am

  5. Holy cow. I’ve seen some wierd weddings, but that takes the cake!

    What happened to the cake?

    Comment by Sharon GR — March 19, 2006 @ 12:47 am

  6. I’ve seen the “dollar dance” thing before, and always thought it was a little odd. It’s more than just a family tradition — maybe an Italian tradition?

    Great story, btw. Standing on his head takes the cake.

    Comment by Rob S. — March 19, 2006 @ 2:49 am

  7. The dollar dance thing is not just an Italian thing. I have been to several weddings where this has gone on.

    Needless to say, it did not occur at our wedding.

    Jim, wonderful story. I am guessing this was early to mid 1980s. I know people were far more open with this kind of stuff then.

    Comment by Bob — March 19, 2006 @ 7:58 am

  8. Bob-

    Yep, that’s about when it was. I too have seen the Dollar Dance done at other weddings, including Polish ones. I believe the “original” practice was for the the Maid of Honor (or the mother of the Bride — not sure) to collect the dollars in the Bride’s veil. Go figure.

    Comment by Jim - Parkway Rest Stop — March 19, 2006 @ 8:55 am

  9. Sharon –
    As for the cake, I recall that, by that point, the Owner saw that as a possible disaster, and he hovered very closely over the whole cake-cutting thing.

    Comment by Jim - Parkway Rest Stop — March 19, 2006 @ 8:57 am

  10. sounds like my kind of party…

    Comment by armywifetoddlermom — March 19, 2006 @ 10:58 am

  11. Wow! That is a perfect description of a wild 80’s bash. I can just picture Sam Kinison as the best man making a speech. AHHHH AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

    Comment by Justin — March 19, 2006 @ 11:19 am

  12. Of COURSE I believe it’s true. It’s too freakin bizarre to be a lie. Ya just can’t make shit like this up. hehe

    Comment by Pammy — March 19, 2006 @ 5:24 pm

  13. I knew some people once who had a band and did weddings. They did one for a couple from the Mid-East (one assumes oil money) back in the 80’s. Instead of dollars… the bridal couple danced and the reception guests tossed gold coins!

    But I’m ROFLMAO at the thought of the Owner standing on his head… that’s hysterical.

    Comment by Teresa — March 19, 2006 @ 6:40 pm

  14. “Her hair was dripping wet, and she was wearing a pair of brown Nike sneakers with her wedding gown. With one hand, she was eating a downward-drooping slice of cold pizza, and she had a lit cigarette in the other hand. She had a pack of Marlboros stuck between her tits.

    She walked up to me and said, ‘You guys were fuckin’ great.'”

    That’s the most beautiful piece of writing I’ve seen in ages. The fact that it’s *true*? Well, that just makes it more wonderful.

    Comment by zonker — March 20, 2006 @ 12:41 am

  15. Brilliant writing Jimbo… just brilliant..

    Comment by Kate — March 20, 2006 @ 10:26 am

  16. Truth is stranger than fiction, no?

    Excellent writing…

    Comment by Dana — March 20, 2006 @ 11:48 pm

  17. If only they had done the Chicken Dance…

    Comment by Randy — March 21, 2006 @ 12:41 am

  18. Late to the show here, but almost every wedding I’ve ever been to has had the “Dollar Dance.” I always understood that it was to collect some cash to help the newlyweds with the honeymoon, or to get started in their new home.

    Comment by Craig — March 24, 2006 @ 6:41 pm

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