Thanks to pop culture, weddings have become extravagant, over-the-top, weekend-long affairs involving so many flowers, photographs, and champagne that it’s no wonder most of us (including, sometimes, the bride and groom) leave exhausted, broke, and asking what the heck just happened.
No one was feeling the post-ceremony blues more than Seyi Akiwowo, even though mere hours before she had been having the time of her life at her friend’s wedding. After catching the bouquet and swimming in tequila for a weekend, Seyi was feeling pretty lovey-dovey…until she got a message from the bride.
The minute she received the wedding invite, Seyi knew she was in for something spectacular. If she knew the bride at all, this wedding would end up being a classy, unforgettable celebration — and the invite mentioned something Seyi never expected.
Like most young professionals, just looking at the invite made her see dollar signs…but not in the good way. She started to mentally calculate how much this could cost her: A gift for the couple, apparently, was just the tip of the iceberg.
See, written on the invitation was the location of the wedding — and it wasn’t a hop, skip, and jump away from London, where Seyi lived. As soon as Seyi saw the words “destination wedding,” she could practically hear her wallet gasp.
Ever the realist, Seyi tried to think rationally. The bride was a close friend, and she wanted to celebrate the biggest day of her friend’s life at her side. With this in mind, she accepted the invite…and booked a flight to Romania.
The hotel, the flights, the transportation to and from the wedding — all were to be covered by each guest. Okay, Seyi thought. It’s expensive, but not unusual for a destination wedding. But something else just irked her…
The bride and groom asked for cash gifts instead of creating a wedding registry. At first, she was a little confused. Didn’t they need the essentials, like…kitchen appliances? She realized how silly she sounded. It’s the bride’s big day — Who’s she to judge?
So Seyi packed up any doubts along with her brand-new wedding attire and, with her plus one in tow, hopped a plane to Romania. This weekend would be about celebrating the bride and groom, Seyi decided — but that was before they landed.
As soon as they touched down in Cluj, Romania, Seyi and her plus one knew they were in for an unforgettable weekend. The hotel was pricey, but it was fancier than they thought…and it even came with a surprise for the guests.
Seyi Akiwowo/Fix the Glitch
Inside each hotel room was a personalized gift bag for the guests. Seyi and her friend were touched by the gift — after all, the bride and groom definitely didn’t have to get everyone such a well-made present! Already, Seyi was feeling the love…
Trip Advisor/Barut Hemera
And the wedding weekend itself was even better. According to Seyi, everything was “planned so well”: She and her plus one “owned the dance floor” and “every hour was tequila time.” By the time guests started leaving, it was after midnight.
But before she and her friend could leave, they were stopped by family members of the bride and groom. Immediately, Seyi could tell that something was off. They were handing out envelopes, but they weren’t filled with thank-you notes.
They looked like “tithes envelopes in church” — the kind meant for dollar bills. The friends exchanged confused glances. What with the hotel and flight costs, not to mention the generous cash gift Seyi planned on mailing, these envelopes couldn’t be for money…right?
”We ran out of cash,” Seyi wrote on Twitter. She and her plus one only had enough euros to get to the airport, but now they were expected to give the couple more money? “We didn’t see local ATMs…so [we] gave all the Euros we had/could,” she explained.
They ended up giving 25 euros before booking it back to the hotel. They were broke, exhausted, and ready to get back home…but home wouldn’t be as comforting as Seyi hoped. After a stressful, sleepless flight, she arrived home to a distressing message.
She re-read the timestamp, just to make sure she understood it correctly. She did: It was from the bride, who Seyi believed was on her honeymoon. “My naive self thought she was messaging to ask if we got home okay,” she admitted.
In fact, the bride had a much less pleasant reason for texting Seyi, not that she let on at the beginning of the message. “Did you enjoy our wedding and the time spent in Cluj?” she asked politely — too politely, Seyi thought.
Her hunch was right. “You seemed to enjoy plenty but this was not reflected in your contribution to our wedding costs,” the bride wrote. Seyi called her plus one and read the message aloud. “My friend momentarily went deaf,” Seyi said.
The message only got worse. “We’ve received a 20 euro note from you and 5 euros from your friend, which is…insufficient to cover the [wedding] costs,” the bride continued. Then the bride really went in for the kill.
Seyi Akiwowo/Fix the Glitch
”We would appreciate if you could please make a bank transfer to our account,” the bride requested before providing her banking information. Seyi and her friend were “equally confused/impressed with how well written the message was” — and with how sneaky the bride was…
It turns out, the “gift bags” given to each guest were actually used to track how much money everyone spent. “In that 12 hours of leaving the wedding…[the bride] did a full calculation,” a stunned Seyi wrote. A calculation she wasn’t happy with, apparently.
”Safe to say, I am no longer friends with the debt collector,” Seyi assured her captivated Twitter followers. “My friend said we now have shares in the marriage!” And it seems that, years later, Seyi can joke about the whole thing…a little, that is.
”I still want my 25 euros back,” she admitted. Though she probably wishes she’d listened to that annoyed voice in her head, she at least jokes that she and her friend looked so good at the wedding, they “should have charged an appearance fee.”
Seyi’s dream wedding probably doesn’t include millions of dollars being spent on things like flowers and water features, but the same can’t be said for the rich and famous. While Seyi’s ex-friend was frantically calculating her profits, some celebs had money to burn…
1. Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban’s wedding was affordable by celebrity standards, only costing a cool quarter of a million dollars. That budget still included an unbelievable favor for guests, though…
Each guest went home with a custom Tiffany clock, engraved with the words “A moment in time.” Favors are nice, but other celebs prefer to splurge on the reception meal rather than gifts.
2. Pippa Middleton’s wedding was already the social event of 2017, so how do you improve on that? By splashing the cash! Guests were reportedly served over $53,000 worth of caviar at the world-class reception.
3. If you can’t be royalty, you can certainly spend enough to look like it. Mariah Carey did in 1993 when she spent $500,000 on a ceremony modeled after Princess Diana’s.
4. David and Victoria also played the part of king and queen on their wedding night. The evening featured thrones, a diamond-encrusted crown, royal trumpeters, and entertainment by Elton John before a concluding fireworks display.
5. There’s no way Jacqueline Bouvier wasn’t going to go all out when she married John F. Kennedy. Her silk portrait-neckline dress featured over 50 yards of fabric; we hear the ceremony itself wasn’t too bad either!
6. When you combine the Kardashians and an NBA star, you’ve got a recipe for a party. Khloe and Lamar’s mega-wedding was themed after a night club; entertainment was provided by Babyface and a DJ flew in from New York.
7. When Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren got married, they took security seriously. The golfer rented an entire hotel in Barbados and booked the island’s only helicopter company so only select guests could fly in. But he also made a questionable choice…
After going all out on the location and ceremony, Tiger booked Hootie and the Blowfish for the entertainment. Guess the pro golfer is really a dad at heart.
Diwang Valdez/ Rolling Stone
8. Sir Elton John and David Furnish had entertainment covered, but placed some special food and beverage orders. The pair spent $130,000 of the million dollar budget on caviar and pink champagne.
9. Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas didn’t skimp on their wedding. It started with invitations, which came complete with invisible ink and holograms to prevent any uninvited guests from crashing the party. But things got even crazier once inside…
The 350 guests were treated to performances by a Welsh choir, Jimmy Buffett, and Art Garfunkel. Talk about an expensive, and unconventional, musical mashup! Another celebrity wedding, however, also featured an unexpected vocalist…
10. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes hired Andrea Bocelli to perform at their wedding, but the groom couldn’t resist taking the mic himself. He reportedly sang his own rendition of “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling,” but there’s no word on how the guests reacted.
11. When Sargis Karapetyan and Salome Kintsurashvili tied the knot, the wedding cake was over 19 feet tall, and Maroon 5 played at the reception. Guess that’s what happens when the groom is the son of a Russian billionaire.
12. You surely know that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West planned an insane wedding, but did you know it cost nearly $3 million? That’s the price you have to pay for a weekend-long party in Paris and Florence.
13.The entertainment was covered at Paul McCartney’s wedding to Heather Mills, but there were also some unexpected expenses. There were $145,000 worth of flowers, for example, and $150,000 of post-event fireworks.That’s how you end an evening in style!
14. Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello topped that figure, however, by spending a reported $1 million on flowers alone. Their ceremony also included a surprise performance by Pitbull. He’s the only acceptable entertainer for a south Florida wedding, after all.
15. Liza Minnelli and David Gest took the idea of a “Hollywood wedding” to the next level. Even though their ceremony was held in New York, guests included the entire Jackson 5; Michael was actually the best man.
16. Making sure a bride’s needs are met is a key part of any wedding and Jay-Z was sure to do that for his new wife. A chunk of the $4.5 million budget was spent on flying in 70,000 orchids, Beyonce’s favorite flower, from Thailand.
17. A large part of wedding expenses is the venue, so you know it cost a pretty penny when Lolita Osmanova and Gaspar Avdolyan rented out the Dolby Theater. Yes, the same place they hold the Oscars. But things were even more pricey inside…
Masha Adonyeva/ Instagram
Guests entered to the sound of classical violinists; later in the evening, the entertainment shifted to a performance by Lady Gaga and Jason Derulo. Those two alone reportedly cost a cool $2 million of the $10 million budget.
18. Angelababy and Huang Xiaoming took classic wedding features to the next level, splashing $31 million. The bride’s custom Dior dress, for example, featured 165 feet of tulle and a 10-foot long train. The cake had to be seen to be believed, too…
The cake, which served 2,000 guests, was built in the shape of a 10-foot tall carousel and took nearly a month to assemble. At that point, you’d ALMOST feel bad eating it.
The Straits Times
19. When your marriage is “the Wedding of the Century,” you know it’s going to be a big deal. Well, William and Kate reportedly spent about $34 million, including $800,000 of flowers, a $400,000 dress and an $80,000 cake.
20. Harry and Meghan actually spent a bit more, with their nuptials clocking in at $45 million. Most of the cost actually went to security, as an estimated 100,000 people lined the streets near Windsor Castle.
21. Vanisha Mittal and Amit Bhatia massive wedding started in style, when each guest received an invitation and a plane ticket in a silver box. Things only got crazier in person, though
The evening included a Bollywood reenactment of the couple’s relationships, a performance by Kylie Minogue, and fireworks at the Eiffel Tower. Women attending also went home with a Prada or Gucci purse as a favor.
22. Princess Diana’s wedding set the standard for royal weddings, costing a cool $115 million. Despite that massive spending, her iconic dress was a relative bargain at only $13,000. Talk about shopping smart!
23. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum and Sheikha Hind Bint Maktoum’s was the granddaddy of them all, though. But what did the ruler of Dubai spend $137 million on?
The pre-wedding festivities involved the entire country, with the Sheikh visiting each village on horseback to deliver food. His tour was accompanied by dancers, musicians, parades, and a five-day national holiday.
Eventually the ceremony took place in custom-built stadium in front of 20,000 guests. Guess that’s the perks of being in charge! But what about people who can’t drop millions on a wedding? It turns out some of those ceremonies go a lot less smoothly…
1. A bride and groom’s first dance is one of the highlights of a wedding; after the vows themselves, the dance is symbolic of their new status a couple. But this one was shockingly interrupted by a guest with a grudge…
VR Vision Photography
An “ex-boyfriend forcibly cut in,” wrote reddit user TheLegendOfZelph. “After a few awkward and tense moments, some friends dragged him out as he yelled through tears, ‘I’ll always love you and I’ll be waiting for you!” There was still another twist to come, though…
The groom was actually a criminal, who had been operating under an assumed identity. After he was found out and disappeared, the bride got back together with her wedding crasher ex; they’ve been happily married for 15 years since!
2. Another wedding didn’t have such a happy ending. Bridesmaid 1 found out that bridesmaid 2 had slept with her boyfriend (who was also at the wedding),” explained user EmotionalPiglet. So how did they resolve the love triangle?
The first bridesmaid was removed from the venue, thankfully before any physical violence began. And, just to make things even more magical, the father of the bride drunkenly vomited in front of the guests before the night was over.
3. Apparently messy weddings are actually quite common. User Dickcissels once saw a bride get punched in the face by her new sister-in-law at the reception. So much for living happily ever after.
4. A wedding ceremony is usually full love, but not this time. The ring bearer, according to NinjatheClick, “marched right up to the best man and started punching him in the crotch repeatedly.” Maybe hire some security next time!
5. But even security guards can cause problems according to Adrian9550. In fact, a man who was supposed to be keeping the peace did something stunningly disruptive after a child told him to “eat a butt.”
Upon hearing the child, the guard took offense and pulled a gun from under his coat. He brandished it towards the kids and, unsurprisingly, was quickly arrested. They should’ve hired security to protect against the security.
6. This wedding reception took place in the penthouse of a bank and, in the lobby, there was a decorative koi pond. That water proved to be a bit too tempting for one guest, however…
NeverEnufWTF got a bit too drunk at the reception and wasn’t going to miss his chance. He took off his shoes and socks, climbed into the water, and went fishing with his bare hands. No word on if he succeeded.
7. Alcohol can also cause issues during toasts. At one wedding, in fact, three separate guests grabbed the mic and made some remarks they’ll probably regret. If nothing else, the bride and groom certainly regret it…
One woman explained how she wished the bride could have married her son; another congratulated the couple on not breaking up after he cheated with the bride-to-be. Finally, a third guest told stories about how the groom would kill animals as a kid. Charming stuff.
8. Other alcohol-inspired incidents can get a bit more adventurous, though. NorKal and his brother had been enjoying the open bar at a wedding when they decided to go for a walk outside the venue. That walk turned into an unforgettable journey…
After walking a good distance into the desert, the brothers realized they were lost. Luckily they were able to follow the sounds of music back to the reception; they ruined their suits but survived their impromptu hike.
9. And speaking of going a bit too had, maybe using hard drugs isn’t a great idea. At a wedding that korinakorina_ attended, for example, the groom stepped outside for some air, only to find his cousin overdosing on the pavement.
Delray Beach Police Department
10. What happens when a guest doesn’t get too sloppy, but breaks an unwritten rule of wedding etiquette? Just ask Puppiesandcoffee, who had her big night spoiled by a disrespectful family member inserting herself somewhere where she didn’t belong.
Not only did her cousin wear white to the ceremony, but she insisted on taking selfies with the bride and joining in on the couple’s grand entrance to the reception. Talk about stealing the spotlight!
11. OathOfFeanor witnessed a faux pas, this time at the bridal shower. One attendee not only brought her baby, but insisted the party end at the infant’s bed time. That’s nothing compared to what one wedding guest did, however….
12. When BurgNast attended a wedding, it seemed like the best man was going to make his standard speech, but he had something else in mind. Rather than praising the new couple, he dropped to one knee and proposed himself!
13. Speaking of rude guests, gth746x was shocked to hear the couple’s vows being interrupted during the wedding ceremony. But when the guests turned around, they were mortified to see who was making the noise.
The noise was coming from a bunch of goats on the other side of the fence; the wedding’s romantic, rural location was actually next to a goat farm! But no matter how strange a wedding is, it’s always nice to open gifts. Or, in one couples case, keep one wrapped for a decade.
14. Brandon and Kathy commemorated their love back in September of 2007 at a wedding ceremony that took place in Jackson, Michigan, and amassed hundreds of guests. They’ve been happily married ever since and enjoy, um, challenging each other.
See, after the ceremony, when one particular gift stood out as special, the competitive couple knew they could use it as a way to challenge the other…once they read the note attached to it.
The mysterious gift was given to the love birds by Kathy’s Great-Aunt Alison, and the super cryptic note attached to it said, “Do not open until your first disagreement.”
Confusedly, Brandon and Kathy respected Alison’s wishes, which led to the package being untouched for years. The thing was left alone for so long that it practically grew cobwebs.
As time passed, Kathy’s mother grew concerned that there may have been something perishable or time-sensitive in the gift, but good ol’ Great-Aunt Alison confirmed the box contained nothing of the sort. Still, the aunt had worries of her own.
She was shocked to hear that, after two years, the couple still hadn’t opened the gift. After all, it’s not as if Kathy and Brandon were some superior soulmates who never so much as bickered. Finally, Kathy commented on those concerns.
“Now, there had obviously been plenty of disagreements, arguments and slammed doors throughout our 9 years,” Kathy had written in the viral Facebook post, essentially clarifying that the two are indeed just like any other couple. If that’s the case, then why didn’t they open the gift?
I Am Expat
You see, opening the box seemed like a surrender in the Gunns’ eyes. “There were even a couple of instances where we both considered giving up … but we never opened the box,” she continued.
In other words, since Kathy had said that she and her husband were “both very competitive people,” refusing to open the perplexing present became an innocent game and also helped strengthen their marriage.
To put things in perspective, the couple had packed up and moved several times and even went on to continue their bloodlines in the midst of the unopened-present-competition. The Gunns weren’t playing around.
Although they were dedicated to competing as well as keeping their marriage strong without the help of the present, the whole time the couple wondered what was in that darned box…
But later, Kathy revealed the real reason they waited so long to unwrap the gift: “I honestly think that we both avoided turning to the box because it would have symbolized our failure.” Soon, though, they started thinking about the present differently.
Although they didn’t “fail,” the pondering and suspense regarding the present came to an end in May of 2016. Almost a decade after they tied the knot, a spark of unbearable curiosity came over the duo.
After a conversation about an upcoming wedding served as a reminder that they still had Alison’s gift waiting for them, Brandon and Kathy agreed in unison that the time had finally come to open it.
Right before opening it, Kathy worried about the metaphorical meaning behind keeping it unopened. She had said “What if this isn’t our worst fight? What if there’s a worse one ahead of us and we don’t have our box?!”
Kathy wondered, without the box, could they mend a falling out? She was wise enough to realize that she was being silly. So, together, they opened the gift, finally revealing what had captured their imaginations for nine years.
In the box, Brandon and Kathy found two notes, some money, wine glasses, bath items, and a vase. The basic skeleton of the gift seemed pretty normal, but the notes, which were each specifically assigned, contained instructions.
The note made out to Kathy stated “Go get a pizza, shrimp or something you both like. Get a bath ready.” Fitting advice for someone in the middle of their first marital conflict.
On the other hand, Brandon’s note simply instructed him to “Go get flowers and a bottle of wine.” While Great-Aunt Alison seemingly set up a romantic plan of action for Brandon and Kathy’s first fight, Kathy was a bit surprised.
In Kathy’s telling Facebook post, she wrote, “All along, we assumed that the contents of that box held the key to saving a marriage.” She wondered if she was missing something.
Since Kathy’s great aunt and uncle had been married for decades, she virtually had thought Alison’s present contained the meaning of life and the key to the universe. But rather, it held a lesson. She admitted the gift was more meaningful than Alison had probably intended.
A sentimental Kathy shared: “I realized that the tools for creating and maintaining a strong, healthy marriage were never within that box – they were within us,” Kathy beautifully put.