Wedding Horror Story: Puttin’ On The Ritz

October 19, 2016 by Tony Barthel

There are so many reasons to have a super fancy hotel figure into your wedding and a bride who I had the good fortune of working with had planned a beautiful seaside wedding and reception capped off by a night at one of the fanciest hotels in Marina del Rey, an upscale marina in Southern California. Being a high-zoot neighborhood they also had a room at one of the fanciest hotel chains in the business and that’s where she planned night one of her honeymoon.

Fortunately, this hotel was just minutes from the seaside restaurant where both her wedding and reception were planned to be and the combination of the two venues made for a wonderful celebration with the ocean as part of the picture. Literally.

The morning of her wedding she checked into the hotel and with a honeymoon’s worth of luggage and, adding in all the accoutrements of a wedding, she had quite a load of luggage. Fortunately, this hotel employs plenty of bell captains and one of them was gladly helping her find and become acquainted with her very nice suite. He placed all the luggage as directed but when it came time to hang up her wedding dress in its protective bag, there was no place tall enough to hang it.WeddingHorror

The bride and bell captain chose to take the dress out of its bag and the hotel employee took advantage of a fire sprinkler over a door to hang the dress since it offered just the right height so the dress wouldn’t drag on the ground.

The error of his ways became quite apparent as soon as the dress was hung as he had broken the thermal valve in the sprinkler which caused it to go off. Now plain water might be an inconvenience and make a beautiful dress less so, but fire sprinkler water is its own horror.

Sitting in pipes for decades, fire sprinkler water becomes black and disgusting with a putrid odor that is difficult to describe. And that’s what coated our bride’s lovely, specially-chosen dress. What was once a vision of perfection in her eyes was now a black, dripping mess and this same awful water was all over her, her bell captain and her room. So what do you do on a Sunday afternoon when your wedding is just hours away and every dry cleaner around is closed?

You wear a sun dress and just look at the bright side. At least she didn’t push the bell captain out the 12th story window, although the thought probably occurred to her.

I was at the venue finishing my second sound system set-up (one for the reception, one for the wedding) when the bride and her entourage showed up. She was wearing a lovely yellow sun dress and after exchanging some cordial conversation the subject of her wedding dress came up. Despite the loss, she seemed very well composed and when I remarked about it, she simply responded with “well, I still have my wedding and the man of my dreams, so what is there to be upset about?”

What a terrific attitude!

The photographer got his pictures with the lovely and picturesque scenery in the background and all went well. While the dress in her mind wasn’t the dress on her back, the bride still was very lovely and her smile radiated like the sun in the sky. This was just the kind of person to have around when things went south.

As the moment for the ceremony came upon us I cued the music she had chosen and the guests all rose to their feet. Since this was a smaller venue most of them had already seen her and had heard about the dress from someone at the function, so when she appeared at the top of the steps in her beautiful white wedding gown, you could just feel the shock that I shared with the guests. How the? What the?

I’m not sure if the guests were as consumed during the ceremony with how she got a white wedding dress in time for the event as I was, but I couldn’t wait ‘till it was over to hear this. I was burning up inside with curiosity!

After the ceremony, there were more pictures and the reception moved its way into the main building. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres ensued, music was playing and time passed. The moment for the grand entrance arrived and as I assembled the wedding party outside the room all I could muster was, “wow, you look even better than before!” to our bride.

Immediately following a rousing entrance by the newly married couple, the bride asked for the mic and explained what had happened to the dress she was wearing. We all knew about the sprinkler, the black water and the bell captain. But what she went on to explain was, as Paul Harvey says, the rest of the story.
One of the advantages of staying in a hotel with the reputation that this one has is that they have resources. Apparently, one of those resources is the services of one heck of a dry cleaner on a Sunday afternoon. It turns out that just as the bride was preparing to walk down the aisle, a representative from the hotel showed-up at the site with the dress, fresh as a daisy from the dry cleaner.

The bride and most of the female guests in the room were particularly astounded that this dry cleaner was able to clean the satin portions of the dress, but there was the spiffy white garment as evidence.

The moral of this story is simple. When stuff happens, let it slide. There are thousands of wonderful things that happen at a wedding so one or two minor problems shouldn’t ruin the whole day. The second moral is that you get what you pay for. The value of an expensive resource may not be apparent until they have to come through in a pinch, and then that price is well worth every penny.


Tony Barthel Tony Barthel (44 Posts)

Anthony (Tony) Barthel has been a DJ since 1986 with a unique take on marketing that has resulted in over 1,000 events personally performed. In that time Tony’s weird sense of humor and unique perspective on the world got him started collecting these stories and sharing them with friends and other wedding professionals. Born in Baden, Switzerland Tony celebrates the unusual and outlandish as part of his lifestyle. He was married to Peggy Sue in 2005 in what his friends describe as the most unusual wedding ceremony and reception they’ve ever been to. The ceremony was in a 1928 movie theater complete with giant Wurlitzer Theater Pipe Organ and the reception lasted for two days including a gathering in an ocean side lagoon with 400 of their closest friends.

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