A couple or three days ago on Carole Knits, she told some stories of weddings gone horribly wrong, then asked what our wedding stories are. I answered briefly in the comments, but I thought I'd tell the story more completely here.
It happened back when I was in the Navy. I'd finished Phase 1 of my Electronics Technician school in Orlando, Florida and had gone up to Great Lakes, Illinois for my second phase. Once I got up there, I knew quite a few people, but I also met some new ones. One person I met is someone who was in the same class as I was. He called me Guns, and I called him Chaps. We became good friends. Of course, I knew from the beginning that he was engaged. He told me right off, and to tell the truth, I was relieved. Finally, someone I could be just friends with and not having to worry about him wanting any sort of relationship.
A few weeks later, his fiance finished Phase 1, and she came up to Great Lakes. The three of us went everywhere together. If Dawn ever felt threatened by my friendship with Chaps, she never let on. She jokingly referred to me as his mistress. She knew there was nothing going on between us. Or at least I thought she knew.
All that changed three weeks later when Dawn's best friend Tina arrived. In retrospect, I think it was Tina who was threatened by my presence. When we were all still in Orlando, I didn't know any of them. It was Tina who held that place in their relationship that I had taken over. She had been the "mistress". Now, there was this usurper in her place. Suddenly, there was a tension between Dawn and me that hadn't been there before. I believe Tina was telling her things about me and Chaps.
Well, Dawn and Chaps were busy planning their wedding, with Tina's help. I, not being into that sort of thing, hung around the fringe, which was all right with me. At one point, Dawn said to me, "You ARE coming to the wedding, aren't you?" I replied that no, I hadn't planned on it. But she and Tina ganged up on me and INSISTED that I attend. They even picked out one of Dawn's dresses for me to wear, and practically dragged me to the chapel on their wedding day.
About a week before the wedding, Chaps and his best man had a bit of a falling out. Chaps said to me in the hall outside our classroom (we were in school, you know) that now he didn't know who was going to be his best man. I said, "Isn't it supposed to be your best friend?" Chaps replied, "Yeah, but you'd look funny in a tux." I was pleased that Chaps thought of me as his best friend. Soon Chaps and his best man worked things out, and everything was good to go again.
Finally, the day of the wedding arrived. Chaps and Dawn got married there in the chapel on base. After the ceremony, I was sitting on a chair in a small room at the back of the chapel. Chaps and Dawn came through that room, and into another small room behind it. They closed the door for a moment of privacy. At that point, I got up and went back into the main chapel. After a minute or two, they came out and we all went to the reception.
The reception was in another town not too far from Great Lakes. It was held in a pretty little restaurant that looked like it had originally been a house. The reception was on the top floor, which was opened up into one big room. Half of the room was up a little step, and that's where the sit down dinner was. Tina sat at the table with the bride and groom, and I was seated at a table completely on the other side of the room. I thought that was odd that they'd sat me way over there, since we were all supposed to be such good friends and all. But it was their day, and I didn't want to make any waves.
After the meal, everyone was mingling and socializing. I'd sat down in a chair over by the fireplace, and I heard Dawn tell Chaps to go get the brown envelope out of her purse so that they could pay for the reception. In retrospect, I find this to be extremely unusual because don't you usually pay for everything in advance? You know, so you don't have to worry about settling accounts on your big day. But at the time, I didn't really know any better, though I did think it strange that they would be talking about paying bills at their reception.
Chaps went down to the car, but he couldn't find the envelope. Dawn, who was conveniently stationed by the open window shouted down to him that it was a brown envelope in her purse. Chaps shouted up that there was no brown envelope in her purse. Dawn's immediate conclusion was that someone had stolen it, and that she knew exactly who. Chaps came back upstairs and said, "It seems we have a thief in our midst." Just a few minutes later, Tina came up to me and said she was going back to the base and would give me a ride. She practically insisted I return to the base with her, even though no one else was leaving yet. The bride hadn't thrown the bouquet, nor had the happy couple left.
When we got back to the base, Tina followed me into my barracks room and there she accused me of stealing the brown envelope with the reception money in it. To say that I was stunned would be an understatement. First of all, I would have had no way of knowing that she'd had that money in her purse to begin with. And there's no way I would dream of stealing something --anything-- that belonged to --well anyone, but for sure I'd never steal from someone I considered to be my friend. Tina "encouraged" me repeatedly to give the money back, but I couldn't, because I didn't have it.
Dawn and Chaps only had the weekend for a honeymoon, and when they got back, Dawn came to my room and she accused me of stealing the money. Despite my protestations --to the point of tears, in fact-- that I hadn't stolen anything from her, she insisted that I had. She told me that they'd had to borrow some money from their "real" friends to pay for their reception. Oh, how she had changed in just a few short weeks! She further accused me of stealing the money in an attempt to ruin their wedding and honeymoon because I was jealous. I was jealous of her because I was secretly in love with Chaps. I insisted that I wasn't. That he was just a friend, and that I was happy for them, that I'd been happy to hear he was engaged, but she never dropped her accusation. She also cautioned me not to mention this to Chaps. I didn't, but in retrospect, I think maybe I should have talked it over with him. The whole thing seemed fishy to me then, and the more I think about it, the more fishy it seems. I think I was set up. I'm sure of it. Don't sit-down-to-dinner receptions cost more than $100 anyway?
About two months later, Tina suddenly got married herself, and pretty much dropped out of sight. That's about the time Chaps and Dawn began talking to me, again. They acted as if nothing had ever happened. That this whole stolen money fiasco had never occurred. I went along, because we only had about two more months of school anyway, but we never again were as close as we had been.
And that's my wedding gone wrong story. Even after all these years, it still grieves me to think that they could do this to me. Not so much Dawn and Tina, but I thought sure Chaps had known me better than that.
I guess I was wrong.