Wedding Reception Meltdown

By Diane DeVaughn Stokes

Most people cry at weddings. I think they were designed for us to do exactly that, especially if you consider the sappy classical or romantic music that is played. Purging is therapeutic, and therefore going to a wedding beats paying a psychiatrist for time spent on the couch! But no one cries at the reception. Except me, but I am getting ahead of myself!

As a wedding begins, we usually find ourselves observing the bridesmaid’s dresses, recalling the thousands of dollars we spent in past years wearing bridesmaids dresses that we hated, and only wore once, because they were too frilly, too matronly, a bad color… just plain wrong! That is truly something to cry about!

After being in six weddings during my college years, I finally said no to brides to be, “Let me throw you a bridal shower instead!” Yes, I was always so practical. However, when my younger sister got married, I had no choice. She chose the most beautiful black and white strapless bridesmaid’s dresses and as her matron of honor, she told me I could add a strap to mine if I wanted.

All of you who know me, realize what a challenge this was for me, as my top is, and always has been, “over the top,” which kept me from ever wearing a halter, much less a strapless dress. But heck, if all the other younger-than-me bridesmaids were going to look sexy and sassy so was I. My uncle declared it my “coming out” party, and boy was I ever coming out of the top of that dress! And this whole event surely made me cry, as I was thrilled for my sister’s happiness, but I also could not breathe in the heavily underwired body suit and body tape that was giving me an uplift rather than a down-drift!

The next tear-jerking part of a wedding ceremony is watching that beautiful, young curvaceous bride walk down the aisle with her proud father remembering when we ourselves were the beautiful, young, curvaceous bride-to-be. Add to that the handsome prince swooping in on a white horse to take her hand at the altar and voila – it’s real life fairytale.

If you are not crying at this point, something is seriously wrong with you.

But no one ever loses complete control like I did at a wedding reception for a friend twenty years ago. It all started when Debbie and her father got up to dance, and the band played and sang a song that was very familiar to me. You see my mom use to sing it to me often, as she tucked me into bed many moons ago. However, the vocalist sang “Daddy’s Little Girl.” I found that so odd, since I was so sure the real lyrics were “Mommy’s Little Girl.” I thought how sweet, the band changed the lyrics for this particular wedding.

Later, when the band stopped playing while the bride cut the cake, I went up and asked the singer about the song and he showed me the sheet music. It truly was “Daddy’s Little Girl.” Well, seeing it in print made me lose it right then and there. The tears flowed like Niagara Falls as I realized for the first time ever, that my mom ad libbed her own words to the song.

There was no daddy in our lives as he chose to leave us when I was nine months old. This realization just caught hold of my heart and my voice.

I could not talk, only cry. Cry, nothing, I was hysterical as I walked back towards my assigned seat without even thanking the singer. All the couples at our table wondered what on earth had just happened at such a joyous event to bring me to such a state of despair. It was like I was having a nervous breakdown.

I grabbed my husband’s arm and told him we had to leave immediately. He looked into my raccoon eyes as I was starting to look like Tammy Faye Baker with black mascara smeared two inches below my lashes.

I was a basket case of mush.

I could not even tell my husband what was wrong. The words would not come. And for a talk-show host that is pretty bad! I just could not wait to get out of there and to go home to call my mom. (This was before cell phones.) When she answered, I scared her half to death as she heard me crying, but I assured her they were happy and very grateful tears for the “Mommy’s Little Girl” song lyrics she genuinely created to fit our personal situation when I was a child.

And then she sweetly sang it to me over the phone, “You’re my angel of Christmas, Mommy’s pot of gold. You’re mommy’s little girl to have and hold. You’re sugar, you’re spice. You’re everything nice. Cause you’re mommy’s little girl!”

Then we both cried simultaneously for at least ten minutes in joyous celebration of the most beautiful mother-daughter bond in the universe.

About this writer

  • Diane DeVaughn Stokes

    Diane DeVaughn Stokes

    Diane DeVaughn Stokes is the President of Stages Video Productions, Host and Producer for TV show “Inside Out” on HTC, and EASY Radio Host weekdays noon to 3pm. Her passions include food, travel and theater. You can reach her at

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