The Worst Hotel Wedding Disasters That You Won’t Believe Happened

See recent posts by Neil Gladstone

What makes a wedding memorable? Is it the stunning dress, tiered cake, or gorgeous venue? Perhaps it’s the ex-girlfriend who serenades the groom with a song about running away together mid-ceremony. Or, maybe it's the brawl that shuts down the hotel or the wedding gown that goes missing 20 minutes before it's time to say "I do." Here, we rounded up some of the craziest, most mortifying, and completely upsetting hotel wedding nightmares -- some of which we stumbled across on Reddit and others that we heard first-hand.

Hotels in this story

1. The Charm After the Storm

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Justin Meissen

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Justin Meissen

Brianna and Kevin were set to have their wedding at the upscale resort Madden’s on Gull Lake in Minnesota when, a week before the big day, hurricane-force winds ripped through the region. Kevin, who has a background in hospitality, had previously joked that he’d be able to plan a wedding in a week, but now had to make good on that claim. Luckily, Brianna’s mother lives in a house across the lake from the resort. Unfortunately, however, the storm had also raged through their backyard upending several trees, including a 90-foot silver maple. Plus, the house was left without power or running water.

Madden’s needed to close for a month for repairs, leaving several out-of-town guests without a place to stay. Friends and family members pitched in to find available hotel rooms as well as open rooms and couches in nearby houses. Several local businesses stepped up to help. Lincoln Hospitality Group donated beer and wine as a wedding gift and Zorbaz restaurant provided a bartender. Last-minute preparations included removing the 90-foot silver maple that was lying over the makeshift aisle leading down to the handmade birch arbor. “The wedding was, quite simply, amazing!” says Kevin. “All details were covered, everyone had a blast, and we danced until we couldn’t dance any more.” Putting together the wedding was nerve-wracking, but the triumph of the celebration brought the families closer together.

2. Winner, Winner Second Dinner

Photo courtesy of Flickr/John Tornow

Photo courtesy of Flickr/John Tornow

For many hotels, weddings turn into an assembly line that churns out hundreds of dinners at a time. At one wedding reception, the hotel made the mistake of cooking the wrong entree from the menu. “Rather than just shrug it off and get compensation later, the bride insisted they cook the whole thing from scratch,” wrote one Reddit commenter. And having to recook one hundred entrees takes time. The reception was brought to a halt and guests had to wait two to three hours to eat. Plus, the speeches were pushed back to the end of the evening. Most guests waited in the bar and then went home without seeing the couple or dancing. “That marriage didn’t last,” according to the Reddit commenter.

3. The Fighting Irish

A struggling Irish hotel needed more bookings and agreed to host a wedding that involved notorious crime families. The families and the wedding were both enormous. “The bride asked us not to serve vodka, which was making people pretty angry as they were all in for the vodka and Redbull,” wrote one Reddit commenter, who was a barman at the hotel at the time.

However, the raucous crowd was satiated with hard cider, and the hotel had plenty of it. About two hours in, the day went to hell. All of the women went straight for the door and the floor manager removed waitresses as soon as she realized what was about to happen. The guests began brawling. A driver smashed a car into the hotel’s emergency exit. Guests threw chairs through the windows. The staff hid behind the bar and in the kitchen while the fight extended into the lobby and other parts of the hotel. The police and security were called, but there weren’t enough guards to put an end to the fight. “Finally when it was over we had to comp every other guest. We had a shed full of cider, which we essentially had to do three-for-two offers on for months.”

The hotel staff spent the rest of the night cleaning up glass, blood, and more. “The place never recovered. We had to cancel the next three weddings due to the damage,and once word got around we couldn’t get any more. Locals avoided the place.” Supposedly the hotel was sold six months later at a huge loss.

4. Love Spot

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Agence Tophos

Photo courtesy of Flickr/Agence Tophos

Vanessa Valedon, event manager at the W Retreat & Spa on Vieques Island, was called to the bridal suite because of an emergency. When she arrived, the photographer and maid of honor showed her the wedding dress: a strapless white Romona Keveza raw silk gown with a big oil stain on the bodice. It had been hanging from the sliding door railing, which was kept well greased because the beachfront doors would otherwise get stuck. The bride was away getting her makeup done. 

“The photographer looked at me with pain in her eyes as she asked, ‘You can save it, right?’” says Valedon. The event manger took a deep breath and hesitantly said, “I’ll do my best.” Valedon Googled what to do. She returned with an arsenal of wipes and then noticed the room contained clear eye makeup remover. She asked the mother of the bride for permission and warned she might use up all of the makeup remover. After 45 minutes of gentle dabbing, she removed the stain and let the dress soak. The next step involved using a towel and hair dryer. By the time the bride returned, she had no idea anything had happened.

“The next day, when I saw the bride, she came up laughing and gave me a big hug,” says Valedon. “She told me they had told her the story at the end of the night and she hadn’t noticed anything all night. The wedding was perfect and they were really happy.”

5. Black-and-White and Technicolor

Kristie Garduño had visions of a black-and-white wedding at SeaCrest OceanFront Hotel in Pismo Beach. “I don’t care if you show up in a tuxedo or jeans, as long as they are black or white,” she told guests beforehand. However, her fiance’s parents were flying in from out of the country and didn’t speak English. “I delegated him to relay the message to his parents,” she said. A bit stressed about being on a tight budget, Garduño saw most of her vision come to life until her future in-laws appeared. “My husband had not told them anything about the attire and they were wearing every color in the rainbow except for black or white. They stood out in a way I can’t describe,” she said. She handled the tonal tragedy of the wedding pictures like any modern wedding planner — with Photoshop and a professional graphic designer. “Now my entire wedding party is dressed in black and white.”

6. A MacGyver Marriage

Photo courtesy of Flickr/NICOLA F

Photo courtesy of Flickr/NICOLA F

During a wedding at a W Hotel on Vieques Island, a bride and her mother had a nasty fight. The mother left the property and, to make matters worse, had the wedding dress with her. With the ceremony timed to take place in 20 minutes, at sunset, the bride was understandably panicking. Plus, no lighting had been set up for a night ceremony. 

W Hotel sales manager Rachel Abrams ran to the hotel boutique and grabbed every white dress in stock. Unfortunately, all of the options were too big for the petite bride. “We settled on a simple white cotton dress with spaghetti straps,” recalls Abrams. Hoping to create a dress that looked good from at least one angle in photos, the staff went into MacGyver mode.

“We found a gold sequin spandex sash and cut it in half to make a belt so the dress had a more secure fit,” says Abrams. “We used staples to secure the back of the belt and tucked it into the dress to hide any evidence. We then used staples to hem the dress and create a custom length.” The resulting ensemble looked surprisingly professional and the wedding pictures turned out beautifully. “Unless you looked very closely, you couldn’t tell that this was not the dress she had originally planned for!”

7. Musical Marital Meltdown

During a marriage ceremony, the officiant asked the guests, which included Reddit commenter Jerlko, if they had any objections — you know, the “speak now or forever hold your peace” line. As if responding to a sitcom cue, an ex-girlfriend emerged from behind one of the curtains and started singing about why the groom shouldn’t get married. Believe it or not, it worked and he agreed — in song, too. “They had no shame,” writes Jerlko. The song detailed how they would meet at the back door and leave together, tossing aside the bride into a puddle of tears.

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