Wedding Disasters

My new sweet contemporary romance, Lilac Bride, releases next week. 

It’s the story of a couple who gets engaged on Christmas Eve, plan the perfect wedding, then face one disaster after another when it comes to their upcoming nuptials.

I’ve heard so many horror stories about wedding plans gone awry. In-laws wreaking havoc. Grooms so nervous they drink too much the night before and can barely stand up at the wedding. Brides turning into crazed maniacs in the quest to have a picture-perfect wedding.

Cakes falling to the floor. 

Florists accidentally delivering sympathy flowers instead of the wedding bouquet. 

Torn dresses, lost dresses, dresses that don’t fit. 

If you can imagine it, some poor bride or groom has endured it. 

Writing the story made me think of my own glitch-plagued wedding. 

The first hitch in the plans happened when my mom came down with the flu two weeks before my wedding. There were approximately a gazillion tiny buttons that still needed to be sewn on my dress, along with dozens of details that weren’t quite finished. She and I had planned to make the wedding cake together. Only she was sick, and I was up to my eyeballs with work, wedding plans, and the holidays (not my best idea to get married a week before Christmas but it seemed soooooo romantic at the time). My mother-in-law called me at work and informed me her friend was going to make the cake and that’s all there was to it then hung up. Although her take-charge attitude bothered me at the time, I was so glad her friend made the cake for us. It turned out beautifully, and was tasty, too. 

Captain Cavedweller, and several members of both of our families, caught the same bug that Mom had and began dropping like flies. Helping hands were limited as we neared the big day. The friend I’d asked to play the piano for us backed out two days before the wedding. Fortunately, a lovely girl I worked with at the time offered to step in. 

My maid of honor had sent measurements for her dress, since she lived almost eight hours away at the time. Mom made it, and when my dear friend tried it on, it didn’t fit. At all. So Mom stayed up late frantically ripping seams and making adjustments. 

Somehow, we made it to the wedding rehearsal where my soon-to-be sister-in-law jokingly announced I was pregnant (which I wasn’t). CC was angry. I was livid. My parents were simultaneously shocked and appalled.  I remember standing in the foyer of the church and discussing if eloping was still on the table. For months after the wedding whenever we encountered someone from CC’s side of the attendees who didn’t know me well they would give me a strange look, since I obviously wasn’t pregnant, and inquire about the arrival of the baby.

The day of the wedding, things went along fairly smoothly until the ceremony. My uncle was a county judge and we’d asked him to perform the ceremony. Except he got so nervous, he kept calling me by my sister’s name, and he bungled CC’s last name. When he announced the bride and groom at the end of the ceremony, instead of Shanna Hatfield, it came out Shelley Hathaway. Everyone in the crowd gasped in disbelief, which is evident on the video of our wedding. With all the air that was sucked in at that moment, it was lucky some of the decorations weren’t caught up in the vacuum. 

The wedding was held upstairs in an old church. The reception took place in the basement. On the way down the stairs, the heel broke off my never-before-worn satin wedding heels, leaving me to clomp the rest of the way down the stairs to our waiting guests like a peg-legged pirate. 

By the time we left for our honeymoon hours later, it was evident the flu I’d so carefully avoided catching caught up to me. 

I laugh about all the disasters now. When people ask if there is anything I would do differently about my wedding, I always answer the same: “I’d change everything but the groom!” 


In Lilac Bride, Kaden and Katherine endure any number of trials and tribulations when it comes to their wedding plans.  One of the many issues that popped up included their invitations. 

I thought you might enjoy reading a little snippet:

Thoughts of her kisses left him so distracted, he almost ran the drone into a tree. He guided it back toward the barn, then noticed Colt riding one of the horses he was training down the driveway. His brother rode out to the mailbox, gathered the mail, then started back. He was halfway to the house when he kicked the horse into a run and raced toward the barn, waving something over his head.

“Kade! Get down here! Hurry!” He could hear the alarm in Colt’s voice, even from his perch on the barn’s widow’s walk.

Kaden landed the drone, gathered his things, then rushed down the narrow staircase. He’d just reached the bottom when Colt burst into the barn.

“It’s so bad, Kade. She’s going to freak.” Colt waved an envelope and what appeared to be an invitation in his face.

“Who’s going to freak?” Kaden asked, setting his things on a workbench. He brushed his hands on his jeans before taking the pristine piece of creamy cardstock in his fingers and looking at a wedding invitation. His and Katherine’s wedding invitation. He knew she’d been able to get the reception address changed at the last minute and paid extra to have the invitations shipped to the guests from the print shop.

Watercolor lilacs swept across the upper left and lower right corners of the invitation, accented with sage-colored leaves and delicate gold edging. An elegant font announced the wedding and invited guests to attend the ceremony and reception. He glanced at the date to make sure it was correct, then looked at his brother. “It looks good.”

Colt appeared shocked. He tapped the card in Kaden’s hand, pointing to the first line of type. “Did you read it, you idiot?”

Kaden’s gaze dropped back to the invitation, and he quickly read each word. His eyes widened as his jaw dropped open.

He glanced up at Colt as trepidation seeped into every fiber of his being. “She is so going to freak.”


Lilac Bride releases February 25, but you can pre-order your copy today!


What about you?

Do you have any wedding disaster stories to share?

Post your comment for a chance to win an eBook copy of Lilac Bride!

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After spending her formative years on a farm in Eastern Oregon, hopeless romantic Shanna Hatfield turns her rural experiences into sweet historical and contemporary romances filled with sarcasm, humor, and hunky western heroes.
When this USA Today bestselling author isn’t writing or covertly hiding decadent chocolate from the other occupants of her home, Shanna hangs out with her beloved husband, Captain Cavedweller.

37 thoughts on “Wedding Disasters”

  1. Some of my attendants backed out, and I had a smaller wedding than I envisioned, but that had its pluses. The preacher was more nervous than anyone else, and he dropped his Bible at the beginning of the ceremony, but after that, everything went fine.

  2. Good morning Shanna. I hope your staying warm. I was a bridesmaid my best friends wedding in ‘89 and everything was so perfect, then during the ceremony one of the bridesmaids just collapsed and was out cold. It was her younger cousin, she had locked her knees from being so nervous and passed out.
    I loved this book, it was so funny & so cute, it’s the perfect book we all need in our lives. I know everyone is going to love it.
    Love & hugs, have a wonderful Wednesday,

    • Oh, no, to the bridesmaid passing out. I’ve heard that happens more often than you’d think.
      Hope you are warm and toasty at home, my friend!
      And thank you for the sweet comments on the book. So glad you enjoyed it!
      Have a beautiful day! Love and hugs to you!

  3. I really don’t have too many wedding disasters except for my husband’s brother and his wife trying to break us up before the wedding. We were worried if they would even show up for the wedding as they were the only ones in our wedding party (it was very small). The day of the wedding, my hair stylist was late getting to her salon to do my hair. When we voiced our concerns about the in-laws and not knowing if they would be there, my hair stylist and her husband said they would stand up with us if we needed them. Then my mother-in-law didn’t even stick around the reception long enough for pictures. We didn’t even know she (and her friend) had left until the photographer came to us asking about her because he wanted to get some pictures of her. To this day, my in-laws still have a problem with me.

  4. My niece found out the day of the wedding that the dresses were not done. The town women showed up with sewing machines and finished them. The best man passed out on the altar and the groom was called back early for an Army deployment.

  5. This brings memories of my daughter’s wedding, everything that could go wrong on day of wedding did !! First the beautician she went to messed her hairstyle up royally.. My daughter was so upset she raced home told everyone to leave so she could figure this out .. several of her friends and bridesmaids wash and redid her hair , ( 1 hour before church wedding) put her veil and makeup on , then realized she was in her SPECIAL T-Shirt that she wouldn’t cut off. We have a picture of her standing in front of mirror with her shirt tugged and pulled along her bosom stuck ! I Finally the wedding March starts and guess who faints. walking down the isle .. FINALLY we got through this wedding, a day I thought I’d spend crying, was spent laughing.. but boy were there tears next day when she left home for good!!

  6. When one of my friends was getting married, it was discovered that because the bride was afraid the groom would not remember to take the license with him to the church, that she would keep it and bring it. Then she forgot it. We had to delay the wedding for about a half an hour. She had paid a fortune for this satin runner she would walk down the aisle on and when the minister announced the delay, those who wanted to go out for a smoke could do so, including him. My friend almost cried when she was walking down the aisle and noticed her satin runner had all kinds of foot marks on it… Then when the groom was trying to say his vows, he kept fluffing it up and all of a sudden you her an “Oh F…” and the best man lost it and then the rest of the wedding party and the congregation were LOL out lout.. It was one for the books.

  7. Goodness, my wedding glitches are tame compared to yours! My mom thought some of my requests were silly and so wouldn’t do them. For example, I wear glasses and at the time had transition lenses. I wanted to get an inexpensive pair of reading glasses for pictures since literally all of them would be outside and I hate how I look without them. She refused, and I am says glasses in all my pictures. Luckily my Prince Charming thinks I’m beautiful regardless, but I would definitely change that if I could. Another thing that made me very angry at the time, but I just shrug about it now, is when I was getting ready for the pictures, I told Mom I wanted to do some quick makeup. She insisted there wasn’t time and my groom would be waiting for me. Want to guess which of us was ready first? Yeah, me. Honestly, I’m seriously considering doing a vow renewal at 15 years just so all the details can be MY way. But, I’m also practical enough to realize there would likely still be glitches.

    • Oh, I’m sorry thing didn’t go smoothly for you, Jess, especially with the photos! I think it would be so fun to do a vow renewal. I hope that’s something that can happen for you!

  8. We had a few issues at our wedding but nothing that compares to yours. The most memorable thing I’ve ever experienced wedding related didn’t happen to me but to a patient. (I was a nurse for 15 years before I got married.) My second year working I took care of a poor girl who’s appendix ruptured during her wedding ceremony. She was rushed from the church to emergency surgery and spent over a week in the hospital when she was planning to be on her honeymoon. I felt so bad for that couple and I’ve never forgotten them.

    • Oh, that’s terrible she had to have emergency surgery on her wedding day! I suppose it was better it happened then rather than after she left for the honeymoon. (And thank you for your service as a nurse!). I so appreciate you stopping in today, Christy. Thank you!

  9. Shanna, my daughter’s wedding was a complete disaster starting with an unexpected 6 inch snowfall. It was supposed to be sunny and clear. The florist couldn’t get them the wedding bouquet or boutonnieres, nor did the cake get delivered. The groom’s tux was the wrong size. They’d lost the one he’d ordered. Everything went wrong. But the service was beautiful and they cut the bundt cake bought from a local grocery store. Sometimes that’s the way the chips fall and you just have to deal with it. Good luck with your new book. Hope you sell a million copies.

    • Oh, no, Linda! I’m sorry to hear she had so many challenges the day of her wedding. But it sounds like it turned out wonderful in spite of the bumps in the road.
      Thank you so, so much for your kind words and wishes!
      Have an amazing day, my friend!

  10. No real glitches at my wedding.

    A friend tried to copy something I did at my wedding successfully, but the way she did it was cheap and tacky. Plus, she didn’t ask, and this was a special moment from my wedding. She had a lot of problems with her wedding. The dresses didn’t fit half of the bridesmaids–some dresses weren’t zipped up the back–they couldn’t be. My reception was at a grand hotel, and the doors from the anteroom where the cocktail hour was opened into the ballroom. The hotel concierge told me to pick dramatic music, so I picked the score from Gone With The Wind, Tara’s Theme. It did the trick, people were just stunned–no, it wasn’t a plantation-themed wedding. Instead of using a CD on a good sound system like my DJ did, my friend taped it from the movie onto a cassette and played it on a boombox at the local union hall–not bashing union halls, my own baby shower was held at this same union hall. But, it was a horrible recording, and with them coming in a side door, it just didn’t have the same dramatic effect. She had a lot of other issues, too.


    • Your wedding sounds like it was spectacular, Denise! And how fun with the GWTW songs. That’s too bad your friend tried to copy it. I’m sorry she had so many issues with her wedding. But glad yours turned out so well!

  11. Wow, your book sounds so very intriguing! I already love it! Only thing that happened when my husband and I got married was that the Best man didn’t show up, so my husband asked one of his uncles that was there for the wedding if he would be his best man and his uncle agreed. Good thing we were just getting married by a judge at my in laws house. (not entering the ebook giveaway , but Thank you) Have a Great rest of the week and stay safe. God Bless you my friend.

    • That’s so sweet your husband’s uncle stood up with him as the best man. What a wonderful memory for you to cherish and share with us today. So glad you think the book sounds good. I hope if you read it, you’ll enjoy it!
      Have a beautiful day, Alicia! Blessings to you!

  12. We had the reception in the church basement. We set up for the reception after the rehearsal. We were setting up tables and decorating. The minister came in and stated we were causing ourselves way too much work. We were not going to have that many people come since we were getting married on a Friday night and there was no meal. At the reception, we had to put up card tables because there was not enough tables and chairs. We have a picture that was taken at the reception with my Mom speaking to the minister telling him to look around. He was wrong about the amount of people that would show up for our wedding.

    The minister could not find his robe. He was running around the church looking for it when our friend was playing Here Comes The Bride. She noticed he was not around and changed songs real quick.

  13. Your wedding certainly sounds like a case of “if it could go wrong, it did.” Luckily our wedding actually went pretty smoothly, except for having to slide the date last minute. My husband was deployed in Thailand and they extended him a few weeks. Worse yet, they sent him back to the Vietnam War 5 weeks after we got married. I was worried about the weather. We were having an outdoor wedding, the first in the area – they weren’t a thing back in the early 1970’s – and ours was the last & only for several years afterward. It rained several days the week prior to our wedding, but our wedding day was sunny and beautiful. There was a slight breeze which was a blessing. I had forgotten about the mosquitoes and worse of all the black flies. The breeze was just enough to keep them down and no one was bitten. It started raining the next day for several more days.
    As you well know, better than me, how much of a disaster or how smoothly the wedding is, what really count are the bride and groom and how their life goes together afterwards.

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