The Dress, The Sprinkler, & The Wardrobe...A Wedding Tale.

Think back to the last time you stayed in a hotel. You know that sign on the wall that says DO NOT HANG ANYTHING FROM THE SPRINKLER!  Well, you can thank me for that. You see, on April 30, 2004 something happened that made hotel managers come together to design that sign:

I woke up on that beautiful sunny day with a cheery disposition and a pocket full of dreams for the perfect wedding in my beloved Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Little did I know the fairy tale I had in mind had quite the adventure in store for me.
The day before my Wedding, my mom and I headed to the beautiful Sheraton Harborside Hotel.  On our way down, we stopped to pick up my dream dress.  As the seamstress brought it out, she said the words that would forever resonate in my head. "This dress wrinkles very easily, so be careful when you hang it."  My wedding jitters disappeared and my wrinkle worries took over.

We pulled into the turnaround and the hotel Bellhop greeted us and began taking our bags.  He mindfully gave my dress its own luggage cart and I just KNEW by his manner that he had experience with taking care of a nervous bride. Our eyes met and we had an understanding. He had this under control.  I was in good hands.

I headed to the check in desk to get my key.  The hotel was full.  Booked solid.  There was my wedding and a convention of news reporters as well.  The desk clerk regretfully informed me that my room was not ready yet, but that she could put me in my future husband's room for now if I'd like to store my stuff there.  Perfect.  I left my mom in the lobby visiting with family and friends who were arriving one by one and told her I’d be back once I got my things settled in the room.
The Bellhop and I went up to Mark’s room. (He wasn't in town yet since he was tending to a fire from the previous night at his apartment building! But that’s a story for another day! ‘More bad luck,’ as Cosmo from Moonstruck would say.)  The Bellhop asked me where I would like my dress - I said - "I don't care, as long as it is hung high to avoid wrinkling it, it doesn't matter to me!" Next thing I know, I turned around to find him hanging it from the hook on the highest point of the wall - you know- the water sprinkler system?
"More bad luck." ~Cosmo

I was just about to protest when I heard SNAP! He tripped the wire and water started pouring in from all of the heads in the room…I swear there were a dozen of them in that room.

 "MY DRESSSSSSSSSS!!!!" I yelled in slow speed, as I am getting doused - no drenched - in water (dirty, muddy water from it sitting in the pipes for who knows how long)...all over me. The horrified bellhop, reached up to grab my dress and with one swoop he threw it down the hall away from the river of flowing water (I think he had a nervous breakdown along with me during all of this.) At this point - I don't know where he went but as I’m standing between the waterfall and my dress, I noticed a maid’s cart in the hallway and ran over to it and grabbed a pair of rubber gloves. I put the rubber gloves on thinking this will somehow protect the dress from my filth (keep in mind I am dirty ..no..muddy) and I go to grab it when I see firemen running down the hall around me thinking there is a fire.  They look at me, puzzled at the sight of me in my gloves as I’m kneeling by the corpse I now call my gown and the look of horror on my face, and they quickly ask if I  know what room the fire is?  "There! The room with the water flowing out of it – wait – WHAT FIRE??? ‘There’s no fire..!’  I yell to them.. as they run past me with a look of concentration, hose in hand - ready for action.  I am even more confused now thinking there is a fire? Where?  I drop my dress in the corridor and run down 5 flights of stairs, since of course, the elevators are disabled due to FIRE.

The hotel has been evacuated and my entire family was now staring at me through the windows in terror and confusion as I was covered in dirt and soaking wet accessorized by maid's gloves. Quickly, both of my sisters- n- law (one is a nurse practitioner and one is a doctor - both bridesmaids) go into emergency reaction mode - they ran back into the hotel and up the stairs to save the 'patient' also known as MY DRESS. Next thing I know, they are carrying my dress like a it’s on a stretcher through the lobby to find me waiting outside. People, mostly reporters and my guests were gathered outside in the hotel turnaround wondering what in the world was going on…dodging the 3 large fire trucks in the parking lot.  As the dress made its way outside, people stared in wonder as the muddy water continued to seep down the protective plastic cover of the dress.  People were whispering and pointing at me - apparently, I am covered in mud, my face, my clothes, my shoes.  I am a hot mess of a bride- to- be.  Total chaos and confusion filled the hotel sidewalks and people tried desperately to understand how the ‘fire’ started.

Meanwhile, the water has now gone through 4 floors of rooms below causing water damage and flooding to the rooms of the sold out hotel. The hotel manager saw me and quickly ran over to me and apologized profusely..."please", he says as he looks at me and my emergency entourage who appear to be frozen in time just holding my gown and waiting for some kind of direction, "tell me what we can do..."

First of all I said, no- I begged,  " Please don't fire the bellhop - he was just trying to hang it somewhere high like I asked him to and he wasn't thinking."

He looked at me, shocked – and did a double take probably expecting I was bridezilla and wanted his head on a silver platter. Done. Next he said, "we are going to drive you to Madeline's Daughter (a famous bridal boutique in Portsmouth) to clean your dress - and if they can't clean it, you can have any other dress there on us." (I was like...Vera Wang...yes!!!)  This isn't so bad, is it?

So the manager drove me and my Sister n Law to the boutique...that had just been remodeled to a pearly white posh, swanky Newbury Street- type bridal salon.  They took one look at me - up and down in the most horrified manner, and asked if I could wait outside for fear of me dirtying their carpet with my muddy shoes! So the hotel manager, my friend and I went next door to Margarita's (of all places) and waited for the stain prognosis of my gown.  About a half hour later, they came over saying they could, in fact, clean it and it would be ready for pick up at 10 am tomorrow morning in time for my wedding day. Whew.  Really? Madeline’s daughter saved the day.

When I arrived back at the hotel, they immediately greeted me at the door saying that I had a room reserved for me temporarily and they gave me a key.  When I entered the room, I plopped down my purse that was still swimming in muddy water and took a look in the mirror. Oh. My. God.  I am covered in splattered mud dots, my shirt, once white, is now beige, and my arms have dried dirt on them. My face is freckled in crusty mud.  I didn’t look like a glamorous blushing bride that had her shit together - I looked like a train wreck. I needed to pull it together - I needed a shower - and fast.

Just as I was about to get in the shower, naked as the day is crazy, the phone rang…and I thought, WHO COULD BE CALLING AT A TIME LIKE THIS??  It was the front desk - telling me I was getting a new room and the bellhop (a new one since they sent the traumatized other guy home for the ENTIRE weekend) would be up any minute to get my things. I quickly got dressed, still dirty and muddy, and there was a knock at the door - he took me and my soaking wet luggage up to the PENTHOUSE suite overlooking the water-- 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, fireplaces, kitchen, veranda - gorgeous! I am exhausted and exhilarated at the same time and as he gets my murky belongings inside  I said, "WAIT!  Here's your tip!" I pull out a drenched $10 bill that I found swimming in the sludge in my purse and had to ring it out before I gave it to him.

He looked at me kindly and sympathetically, "No, I can't."  
But I insisted.  "Please, take it...it'll dry soon enough."
He begrudgingly took the sopping wet money with two delicate fingers and backed away slowly.
I stood back, exhausted, dizzy and giddy at my new digs and thought it really does pay to be nice, now doesn't it? 

I indulged the most glorious shower and took my time getting glammed up for the Rehearsal dinner.  The story was all the buzz throughout the evening as people were exchanging stories of where they were when it happened and how they evacuated the building thinking there was a fire, and how some families were separated and panicking trying to reach each other on their cellphones and searching through the crowds to find their loved ones through the chaos. It was crazy. It was funny, it was totally nuts.  The stories - everyone had a different one - and everyone had a different take on why I looked like I had a mud bath - and why I had gloves on - and did a last minute hair color attempt go wrong and explode all over my face or was I applying a pre-wedding mud mask and something went wrong?  So funny.

Forward through to the next morning, my wedding day. I went across the street to get my nails done and the sweet girl doing my nails started a conversation with me.

"Did you hear about the fire at the hotel that nearly ruined some girl's wedding dress? "  I just looked at her and laughed. MY how the story changed as it spread through town! I cleared the record and she was laughing at how the story got twisted!  THERE WAS NO FIRE!

After my appointment, I picked up my dress and it was nearly perfect with a few minor stains there for sentimental reasons.  The girls at Madeline’s Daughter were wonderful – and I don’t think they were nearly as afraid of me this time, as I was clean and presentable unlike before!  They were happy to help and play a role in my un-fairy tale.

  The hotel staff was so amazing - they went above and beyond to make sure we had the most beautiful wedding day ever - and we did.  Between my poor husband trying to deal with a fire and me trying to deal with a non-fire - we had quite the day leading up to our big night.  In the end, all of our friends and family were there, it was a gorgeous day without a cloud in the sky, and we tied the knot, albeit a dirty one, and even better, we have the best damn wedding story ever.

Moral of the story: Do not hang anything from the water sprinklers...it's a bad, bad idea.  2nd Moral of the Story - Freaking out over stuff and missing the beauty of the story is just not worth it.  I married the man of my dreams - and if I had to do it in a muddy dress, I would've done that too.  It doesn't pay to sweat the small stuff.

Cheers  and Love,


  1. Good read, you'll remember that for the rest of your life, and so will I! You're so beautiful, and have a sweet demeanour, may it stay with you always.

    1. How kind of you...this was one of my first blog entries when I didn't pay any attention to grammar - I just told the story. :) It truly is a great story of ours to cherish all the years of our lives! Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

  2. Love this!!! I actually had tears in my eyes...so sweet!!!!! Happy Anniversary!!!

  3. Oh my goodness!! Happy Anniversary, Darling! What a funny/scary/crazy story...and once again you just rolled with it. You are such an amazing woman. And I'm SO glad you have your knight in shining armour. xoxo Love you bunches!

  4. DG, you have the best sories, and you tell them so well! You are so so funny

  5. Happy Anniversary! I celebrated my 7 year anniversary yesterday with my hubby. I love the moral of your story. It rained on my wedding day. I'm talking get out the ark rain. They ran out of booze shortly after the cocktail hour and my brother-in-law had to go get more. My husband stepped on the back of my dress twice completely obliterating the bustle and forcing me to wear my train like a satin cast all night. All things that we laugh about now and not one of them stopped me from having one of the best nights of my life! Great story!

  6. I love this story, it brought a tears to my eyes too - the good kind :) Thank you for a wonderful reminder of what is truly important - your timing is impeccable! Happy Anniversary! You are beautiful - inside and out!

  7. What an amazingly beautiful and totally hilarious story! Happy Anniversary to you! And Happy Birthday as well :)

  8. I missed this one! how lovely you are. And making the best of a difficult situation, making it funny, is your gift. One of many. YAY to happy marriage.

  9. I've heard of not sweating the small stuff, but this really gets the prize! Way to stay positive DG!! Love this story!!

  10. Great story! Happy Anniversary!


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