They had been married five minutes when they found out.
Samantha Hicks and Richard Houser had started dating in high school, broke it off, then got back together three years ago. Now they were 21 and in love and they had just told the world.
The wedding had lined up just the way they wanted. They had 125 friends and family in the house. They wore their special wedding shoes Richard’s red Converse sneakers, Samantha’s red ballet slippers with the white polka dots. And they had stashed their secret wedding-cake topper salt and pepper shakers glued together. They’d seen it in a movie called “Fireproof,” as a symbol of a couple that would never part. Samantha’s shaker wore a veil. Richard’s had a cowboy hat.
The newlyweds had said their vows and were in a back room, waiting to be officially announced as man and wife. Then Samantha’s aunt walked in with the news. The caterer didn’t show.
No food. No drinks. No wedding cake.
This, of course, was a Bridezilla moment. Imagine your own wedding day, 125 people expecting to be fed, and you haven’t got a crumb. This is when couples melt into tears, when they invent new profanities, when they grab the Yellow Pages and turn straight to Lawyers.
Here is what happened at Samantha and Richard’s wedding:
“We were all kind of freaked out for about two minutes,” she says. “And then people started figuring out what to do.”
The best man and the guitarist and a bridesmaid jumped in a car and took off for Food Lion. The other groomsmen went ahead with their plan to “kidnap” Samantha; they told the crowd they’d have to pay a ransom to see her. Everybody chipped in for the new couple, and Samantha was released to the custody of her husband.
Then, imagine this, everyone just stood around and talked, and nobody griped.
“We pretty much had the attitude before the wedding that if it didn’t get done, it wasn’t going to get done,” Richard says. “We didn’t expect this to not get done. But our friends really stepped it up.”
It wasn’t that long before the crew came back from the store, bearing fruit trays, soft drinks, cheese and crackers. The crowd dug in and everything was fine.
It turns out the caterer got overwhelmed some of his help bailed on him, and he fell too far behind, and he was so embarrassed he didn’t answer his phone. He has promised to refund his fee and pay for the food the couple’s friends bought.
Nobody’s suing. Nobody’s even angry. Samantha giggles about the whole thing as she describes the wedding over the phone.
“The flower girl wouldn’t go down the aisle,” she says. “I didn’t have the recessional music ready until that morning, and my dad and I walked down the aisle too early. So everybody made some mistakes.”
And the cake? Well, you don’t buy a wedding cake for 125 people at the last minute. Then again, maybe a wedding cake is meant for two. Samantha and Richard got out their salt-and-pepper shakers bound together for life and placed them on the tiny Food Lion cake.
They were a perfect fit.