Clint Hufft 0:00
Hey everybody, welcome to the wedding ceremony podcast. We talk about anything and everything that has to do with wedding ceremonies. This is episode number 281, recorded on Tuesday, August the fourth 2020. My name is Clint Hufft. And with me is a gentleman that, well, I don't know if he's excited as I am, but I'm really excited. The one and only J.P. Reynolds.
JP Reynolds 0:23
Clint, as always good to be with you. Good to be with the gang.
Clint Hufft 0:31
Yes, indeed. The gang, the wedding ceremony gang. There's somebody, I think it's Rabbi Marc who calls us the the WCP.
Yeah, W right wedding ceremony podcast the W CP. So shout out to Marc for that. JP is an accomplished author. His books are in the Amazon store and in the Kindle store, and Amazon is a communications expert. That website is the business of confidence calm his wedding website is J p r weddings.com. Mine is ReverendClint.com or Clint Hufft.com for all the things that I do. Well, the internet is sometimes the gift that just keeps on giving.
I first came across this video that has gone viral. My sister who is an officiant up in Reno sent it to me. And then Rabbi Marc sent it to us. And you can you can Google it. It's “angry mother in law.”
And man, where to begin? First of all, if you don't mind, JP I'm just going to kind of set the scene. It's a wedding ceremony, but it is definitely not at a high end venue. It looks to me like, sometimes a congregation or church will move into like a multi purpose room. And that's what it looked like to me. There was a little bit of a step up a little bit of a, what would be the altar, but really, it was just like, like a, I don't know what they call that but where you have the regular floor and then you have like, not even 12 inches 10 inches maybe at the end of the room that is kind of like a faux stage sort of thing. So it looks like a church had gone into that environment and there was a wedding and the bride in a white dress and groom in a suit. And I couldn't really even see the officiant but when the video begins, you hear the voice of the groom's mother. And correct me if I'm wrong JP but the first thing that I remember is “don't don't say my son has flaws.”
JP Reynolds 3:00
Yeah. So you now I know what you want to get to. But it was such a reveal for me when they finally panned over. Okay, first of all, let's just start with that. What do you remember about the beginning and how it starts?
JP Reynolds 3:23
Well, I have to tell you, I know that people who have emailed us are waiting for me to channel my mother. I have to tell you though, about this video. I actually found it very hard to watch. Because I think this is such a horrific, ugly video. Yes, the internet is the source of gifts that keep on giving. But I think it's emblematic of an aspect of wedding industry where people love videos of horrific moments in weddings. And there is so much unsettling about this video. Right? And I know what you're referring to, because my comment to you was the what the mother. It's a bizarre setting. It looked like a it looked like a rundown Rotary Club conference room. And you know that carpet smelled. Okay. And then you pan over to the mother and she is wearing shorts. She is wearing shorts to her son's wedding.
Clint Hufft 4:49
and it looked like she was on her way to Walmart. It really did.
JP Reynolds 4:53
I guess. Yes, it looks like she was just stopped off on a trip to Walmart or Trader Joe's and the anger, the anger in that woman and the hatred in that woman I found really hard to watch. It is about as ugly as ugly can get. And I want to know why.
This video is like two or three years old and I just posted by the bride’s sister. I'm thinking sweetheart, why are you posting this video? Why would you want to show the world this horrifically bizarre, embarrassing moment? It’s I just think we are in such an exhausting period in history. I’m just like, OMG.
Clint Hufft 6:16
Let's dive into this because I saw a lot of things. You know how sometimes you'll see a video online and you make a snap judgment or, the headline for the video will what in a court of law they would call it leading the witness. So the headline it kind of starts you down an emotional path as you begin to watch the video. It's almost like the headline of an article. Once you get like two paragraphs in you realize the headline has nothing to do with the actual content of the article. It's just clickbait.
I didn't even see a title for this video. My sister sent it to me. I clicked on it. I didn't know what to expect. There's a wedding. But the first thing I noticed JP, before they panned over to the mom was the bride and groom and how they reacted, you hear this voice off to the side.
“Don't talk about don't say my son has flaws.” And I can only imagine what preceded that was the personal vows and “even though we have flaws, we work together“ and whatever, right?
JP Reynolds 7:26
You take him with all of your flaws, and yeah,
Clint Hufft 7:29
Something like that. Yeah, but when the mom spoke up off camera, the bride says “you can leave” like immediately. And I thought, oh, there's a deep history here. But what really triggered it for me was when the groom turned around and said, “just leave”.
And then that became what was what was passing for a dialogue. With the added thing that the mother said I paid for that dress. And I thought, a writer would would take all of this and create a two hour movie with the whole backstory leading up to this ceremony, right? And the fact that the bride and the groom were equally as, how can I put this, I don't know what the right adjective is, but aggressive, like they were ramped up like immediately, which tells me that they've already had so much interaction with this behavior. And it's a deep trigger for them, especially on their wedding day. So it's easy to point to the mother in law as the villain. But it seemed to me the the the dynamic between the three of them was everybody was culpable. Does that make sense?
JP Reynolds 8:54
Well, I'm not sure, yes. I would say though, it's not an issue of who was culpable? I think you're absolutely right. That there was no surprise. Everybody was shocked by her outburst. I think though, if we interviewed everybody the next day, they would all say that they were not surprised that the mother did what she did right now.
Over time when people are in a significant relationship, they develop patterns, rituals, dance steps for dealing with strong emotions. And this son and his mother, have a lifetime history of patterns, rituals and dance steps for how they communicate. The daughter in law has developed that the son and daughter This is the son and daughter and what's Together, I've developed patterns for dealing with the mother. And all of those patterns are, as displayed in this video massively dysfunctional, massively dysfunctional. And, spinning this around for the purpose of this podcast, which is focused on the ceremony, focused on officiants. That is why it is so crucial for us as officiants to do our due diligence in those initial interviews with a couple and that's why I always ask a couple, is everybody happy? And who is not happy and where are they going to be seated in the ceremony? And this was obviously a wedding where there was probably minimal involvement between the officiant and the couple, but this is the kind of thing that you want to in the interviews, identify, ideally? And then how do you vaccinate the couple? How do you vaccinate the ceremony from that kind of toxic behavior?
Clint Hufft 11:19
There have been a couple of times where I've talked to a couple and it seems as though they are so used to drama, interpersonal drama, that even though it's going to be their wedding, they talked to me in anticipation of this person saying this or that person saying that. So in regards to this video, even if that conversation had been had, it seems to me, as if the adrenaline rush of feeding on this drama was so, I was gonna say inbred, and that might be true too. But it was so ingrained and then there's a certain point most… Okay, let me back up. When I tell people what I do, that I'm a wedding officiant, I perform wedding ceremonies, the response almost always is, Oh, that's great. Everybody's happy. And my answer to that is you hope, because not necessarily.
Whatever is the fight just because it's a wedding doesn't mean that, everything all of a sudden becomes touched by a fairies wand and it's all good.
it's a fascinating thing, but yet, I do remember having a conversation with a bride specifically. And she was explaining to me what she anticipated in terms of this person's behavior or that person's behavior. And I said, you get to make a choice. If this is what you think they're going to do based on behavioral patterns leading up to that Wedding Day, then you have a choice of what you're going to focus on.
Because, almost all the time, JP, I know that you have the same experience where “my parents are divorced”. How do they get along? Well, not that good, but they'll be civil on the wedding day.
JP Reynolds 13:20
Clint Hufft 13:21
As long as it's on the table, as long as everybody sees it with their eyes wide open, oh, yeah. Then all we can do is make suggestions. But, you know, essentially, it's up to them.
JP Reynolds 13:31
Well, it's all on a spectrum. So it's my parents are divorced, but they're civil, that my parents are divorced, and they would be too embarrassed to cause a scene. My parents are divorced, and we're going to make sure that they have no contact with each other at the reception. And you keep going down the line. I had a couple where it was, our parents are divorced, and we've hired security to sit In between them in the first row.
Yes, we've hired security. Yes. A plainclothes security person was hired to sit between the mother and father in the first row. So that he looked like, maybe he could be a cousin or a child or whatever.
And you did that ceremony?
Clint Hufft 14:26
Did you recognize the plainclothes person as what they were? I don't mean out loud.
JP Reynolds 14:31
I mean, well, I saw a man sitting between the mother and father. So I presumed it was the plainclothes person. Yeah.
Usually what I recommend is the the couple do a seating chart, especially for the for the rows,
JP Reynolds 14:46
You know, this is the couple. Again, it's about the issue of what people are focused on and what they think the day should visually look like. And for the bride, it was tradition for the parents to sit in the first row. I want my parents to sit in the first row. And the parents should sit on the appropriate side. That's the focus of her attention. So that's why they hired the security.
Clint Hufft 15:31
What I usually say is if you're going to do if they're divorced, then you got to put people between them, you know, family members, whatever.
JP Reynolds 15:39
That's what I mean by vaccinate. So you're absolutely right. When you said earlier that there were some people who thrive on drama. Yeah, psychodrama. And that was what was on display here. That's why this video I found to be so horrific is because that this was simply a typical day In the life of this family. This was not a special day, this was just family drama at the Elks Lodge, alright? It becomes the air they breathe. And people forget that they don't have to live with the drama. And so the question is alright, if you know that your mother or your father, has the potential for causing a disturbance. Is that what you want? Do you want a disturbance? No, I don't want them to disturb my day. Well, if you do not want them to disturb your day, then let's come up with a strategy of containment. And sometimes that means you need to recruit a trusted relative whose gift to you is on your wedding day keeping a sharp I on mama, papa, Grandpa, whatever it may be, so that it if there is trouble, they can immediately intervene and whisk this person away.
Meaning, if like for instance, I had a couple where the bride's father was an alcoholic. And he was an alcoholic who was not regularly making an effort to remain sober. And so it was always a crapshoot as to whether he was going to be drunk at a family gathering, or if he was going to be sober. And with the pressure of the wedding, the bride was very nervous that he was going to get drunk. So I said, Well, You've got to identify somebody, that person has to be with him throughout the day. And if he indeed becomes drunk, he needs to be whisked away. He needs to be just squirted away by that person.
Clint Hufft 18:19
There's a website, Quora.com. And the whole idea is people asking for advice. And it's huge. It's a huge website. It's free to sign up and you can go in and you can put in the things that you know something about. And anytime you want to you can ask a question. And so I'm listed in there and all the questions I get are all wedding related. A lot of them I ignore because they they come from other countries and they deal with things that I'm not really an expert in. But one woman, I don't know her background, but she said what are the things that couples who are planning their wedding Don't know They don't know?
I listed a couple of things. And then I said, and if there is any family drama, they need to deal with it right now. They can't wait. If they want something to be different on their wedding day, then they have to start dealing with it differently right now.
So in this particular case, the other thing is, I'm very curious, right? There's all kinds of different motivations for the way why human beings do things. It seems to me that every human being wants to feel important. And sometimes they manifest that as a martyr, where they're always the victim. And sometimes they manifest that as a bully. Sometimes they manifest that in really positive ways. You know, just to be the best they can possibly be.
But I would imagine there's also an aspect of the couple saying the world is going to see what we've been dealing with. And most of us would say, Yeah, but you want to do that on your wedding day? Is that really the memories that you want?
JP Reynolds 20:14
Well, I'm not sure that I agree with that claim to actually win because the world is not going to know about crazy Mama unless you post it to social media.
Oh, I met the world meaning their their community.
Oh, but if you look at the video, it was a very small gathering. And I presume the people who were in that room knew about the mother. This was not a large wedding. This was this looked like a very small wedding. I couldn't tell how many guests were there. Just because, yeah, it's, it's also the other issue is okay, so two things based on 2% is number one, how you communicate during your wedding planning. how you're going to communicate after the marriage license has been signed. And another aspect that was said that this video is that if you look at the groom's nonverbal, he simply slumped. Yep, in the face of the outburst of his mother, that man, that that it was that man's responsibility to deal with his mother. The fact that the bride was the one who snapped and went after the mother, mother in law speaks to again the dynamic of how that son simply receded. And that's going to present that dynamic, that dynamic is going to present challenges for the couple, if it hasn't already done so.
Clint Hufft 21:58
Well, it's possible that That groom married his mom. That's a possibility.
JP Reynolds 22:03
Well, that's that's true, too. Yes. That is very true. That is very true. And and I give you a fist bump on that.
Clint Hufft 22:13
Yes, yes. Yes. Um, the one thing that I am incredibly curious about is how the mom kept saying, I paid for that dress. I there's a backstory there that I'm fascinated with, if we've talked about all these interpersonal dynamics, right, and the obviously the antagonistic relationship that they have, and Is that true?
Is it true that the bride's dress was paid for by the mother in law? That is fascinating to me, that I don't care about all that. I mean, I agree with you. It's painful to watch and I really would rather not, but I am curious about that. I am curious about that. One thing. What did she mean? And is it what we think it is? Like she paid for that dress and how did that happen?
JP Reynolds 23:01
Right. Right no it's it's from start to finish. It's it's a tough video because it is. It is just dis-functionality on display at full glory. I will be shameless in my plug because you're always so good about reminding folks in my book How to officiate a nondenominational wedding ceremony but they have also written a another book entitled, how to stay sane while planning your wedding and it's 25 tips for how to communicate effectively while planning the wedding and the couple didn't read it before their ceremony. I agree.
Clint Hufft 23:55
Well, JP, I love that you have these books that are available. And it's that whole thing about you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink that whole thing. Right. But I do think I guess the cautionary tale is all of these conversations need to be had. And the officiant needs to broach the subject, so that we do the best we can. That's really all boils down to.
JP Reynolds 26:52
I just think that there's more to being an officiant than signing a marriage license and throwing together a ceremony. Getting to know your couple. It's not simply the story of how they met. It's really about, who is this? Who is at this ceremony? What is the ceremony about what is the dynamics? And it's a very tricky nuance thing. And I'm not saying that doing what we typically do, would have been able to prevent that outburst?
Clint Hufft 27:56
No, those are decisions far beyond us,
JP Reynolds 27:58
However, with due diligence, it could have been a less emotionally violent experience. Yeah, we would hope we would hope well, it if if we had, if you engage in honest, hard, crucial conversation with the couple and it's about, it's about having those hard conversations. All right. This is the situation with your mother. We have to come up with a strategy. And this this couple. This video shows what happens when you go into a potentially emotionally high stakes scenario and you have no game plan. And things just happen. Yep. Yep, absolutely.
Clint Hufft 29:06
I still feel like there's so much but that's enough for right now. Would you agree with that?
JP Reynolds 29:12
Oh yeah. Yeah, no The world is the world is coming to an end. So it's like whatevah.
Clint Hufft 29:24
that's what I was waiting for, whatevah.
That's what this is all about. We talk about things that have to do with wedding ceremonies and we talk about you know, the ups and the downs and the and the whacker dues. And if you would like to be part of the conversation, then it's really simple. Email us, go to our website, wedding ceremony, podcast comm and click on the email us button and just join in the conversation. And you also can subscribe to our podcasts now. Just so you know on that same website wedding ceremony, podcast, calm all the episodes are right there and they're archived chronologically so the most recent ones at the top. But if you want to make your life really simple, then just subscribe any, any podcast app that accesses the Apple Store, then you can click on the subscribe button and every time we post a new episode, it automatically comes to your world. Remember the books this is so apropos today. Remember the books that JP was referencing, they are in the Apple store now I'm sorry, they are in the Amazon store and in the Kindle store in Amazon. And just so you know for communications coaching and as you can see JP is an expert in that. The website is thebusinessofconfidence.com. The wedding website is JPRweddings.com mine is ReverendClint.com or ClintHufft.com for all the things that I do. Once again, thank you to the incredible musicians that play our theme music, the Da capo players. dacapoplayers.com. That's it for this episode of the wedding ceremony broadcast. This is Clint and on behalf of JP We will see you next time.