The mother of the bride was planning to arrive early at the location reserved for her daughter's nuptial ceremony and reception. She had carefully bundled up the special dress she was planning to wear for the wedding itself. Everything was going according to plan and she had budgeted plenty of time to get changed and primp for the big event.
She was within sight of the wedding venue when things suddenly went wrong. Another car smashed into her side of her vehicle. Pain and confusion were followed by a momentary lapse of consciousness. Soon, however, she was surrounded by emergency personnel. They determined that she was probably in no immediate danger, but it was urgently important to ascertain whether she had any internal injuries. Within minutes she was being rushed in an ambulance to the nearest emergency room.
What follows is a lightly edited first-person narration by the accident victim, provided to me with the understanding that I leave it as an anonymous account. The narrator is a personal friend whose brush with disaster fortunately came to a happy end, as well as providing her with a most remarkable emergency room anecdote:
From the ambulance, I was transferred into the emergency room, strapped down everywhere, wearing a dress that I had intended to change out of, once at the wedding site.In her mother's absence, the bride had taken stock of the circumstances. Her mother's companion had reported to her from the emergency room that her mother appeared to be in good condition but was undergoing several precautionary tests. The bride made a quick decision.
I was tended to by bright lights and half-a-dozen-or-so masked faces looking down at me:
Ma'am, we need to check your body for the reasons for your screams of pain. We can't move you, so we are going to have to cut your clothes off.
Before they made the first cut of the dress up to my thigh, I cried for them to stop, first to verify that my special dress did in fact come with me in the ambulance, per my request of the paramedics. Then I told them I needed to keep my brassiere intact, to wear it with my dress as mother-of-the-bride.
The doctor-in-charge was a mature man with a serious face:
You don't understand. We can't move or turn you in any way just to save your clothing.
He was adamant. After a quick survey of the people surrounding me, I addressed the young man at the 7 o'clock corner of my view: “Most young men are good at undoing bras. Please, help me!”
He, without any facial reaction or hesitation, stepped right up, did the task in a matter of seconds, and told me he would place it with my dress in my ‘personal belongings’ bag. The rest of the medical staff did not say a word nor make a sound. Nor snicker.
I showed up at the wedding dressed for the part, wearing my special dress—and bra, though heavily sedated and in pain. I was only five hours late.
She announced to the assembled guests that the order of events would be rearranged. The dinner buffet would be immediately opened, the bridal couple would circulate and greet the guests individually, the disk jockey would provide dance music originally intended for the after-dinner reception, and the actual wedding ceremony would be the final event of the evening, closed off with a champagne toast.
The guests were thus wined and dined and entertained for hours as the wedding party spread out and visited with everyone. Anxiety levels fell as spirits rose. After the belated arrival of the bride's mother, the wedding party was reassembled, and the vows were at last exchanged. The mother of the bride gave her heartfelt toast to the bridal couple, followed by shouts of “Hear, hear!” and a vigorous round of applause.
As the long evening came to a conclusion, the DJ was heard to remark that he thought the reverse-order wedding ceremony had been an enormous success. He was going to recommend it to his future clients.
Greetings to all the visitors from the Etiquette Hell Forum. Let me fill in a couple of details in response to the questions and remarks inspired by this great story. It was a spring wedding from earlier this year. The bride and her sister (the maid of honor) were in constant touch via cell phone with their mother's companion, through whom they received regular updates from the emergency room where the precautionary medical tests were being conducted. The mother of the bride looked great in her special dress when she made her belated entrance, although we were warned not to hug her because the pain meds merely damped down her discomfort. She didn't want to be so doped up that she couldn't be alert at her daughter's wedding. Some of the applause and cheering after the wedding ceremony was definitely for the gallant mother of the bride, as well for the quick-witted and unflappable bride herself. Do we need to ask where the bride got those imperturbability genes?