Wedding Disasters: Marlee and Dave

Wedding Disasters: Marlee and Dave
Dr. Phil speaks with guests who can't get over their wedding day disasters."We had the normal wedding day stresses," says Marlee. "Our bridesmaids dresses didn't fit, my wedding dress strap had broken off, the flower girl had wet her pants just before the photographs
were taken ... Normal chaos."

But then things got worse. "I have a bone disorder and before the wedding ceremony, I had taken my evening dose of medication. I was very nervous and I was offered wine to calm me down. I do not have any tolerance for alcohol," she says.

During the ceremony, Marlee's fiancé, Dave, noticed her behavior. "I realized that she was starting to get giddy," he says.

After the ceremony Marlee and Dave took a carriage ride, where they shared a glass of wine. "When I got to the reception, I had asked for non-alcoholic champagne, but they had filled it with wine instead," says Marlee. During the toasts, the best man addressed Marlee by Dave's first wife's name. "Not once, but twice," says Marlee. "I was mortified. I was shocked. It really, really hurt me."

"I saw the reaction on her face and she had taken another drink to calm herself down," recalls Dave.

"That was the last clear memory I had of my wedding," says Marlee.
"I later found out that I was walking around alone with a bottle in my hand," says Marlee. "Making a total idiot of myself. I was so drunk that I didn't even cut my own wedding cake. My husband's brother had to stand in with his date for a photograph. It was very embarrassing to my family and friends. They were terribly disappointed. I was so out of control that I was taken to my room."

"The reception went on without Marlee," says Dave. "And I spent the rest of the night alone, walking around and talking to people and doing damage control ... I went to the altar with Princess Diana and she morphed into Courtney Love."

Marlee is consumed with guilt. "Since the wedding, I haven't been myself. I haven't been able to face a lot of the people that were there that day. My wedding still haunts me. I feel I've let so many people down," she says. Especially her husband. "What happened at the wedding has caused Dave to be leery of me."

"Our wedding has caused friction in our relationship," says Dave. "Even today, I'm hesitant about taking Marlee to social events."

"In the back of his mind, he might be afraid I could lose control and make a fool of myself," says Marlee. "I still haven't found the tools to forgive myself. I hope someday I will be able to."
It's been two and a half years since Dave and Marlee's wedding. They don't even celebrate their anniversary because of the bad memories. "That's a long sentence to serve for getting drunk at your wedding, isn't it?" Dr. Phil asks. "Was this your finest hour? No. But should it be such a burden that you're just really eaten up by it two and a half years after?"

"It is," says Marlee.

"But you're choosing that," Dr. Phil points out.

"I am," she agrees. "You can't turn back time, but this is just one day I dreamt about as a little girl ... People flew in and took time out of their busy careers, and my family and their expectation, I just really let people down," she says.

"What do you mean let them down?" asks Dr. Phil. "Do you think these people go home and say, 'You know, I just lost my zest for life. I feel so let down and betrayed that she got drunk at her wedding. I don't know how I can go on.'"

"She really does hang onto the disappointment," agrees Dave.

"My dad used to say, 'You wouldn't worry so much about what people thought about you if you knew how seldom they did,'" says Dr. Phil.

"Have you been judgmental with her about this?" Dr. Phil asks Dave. "I really get the flavor from you. You wouldn't speak to her for four days?"


"I was really deeply disappointed," says Dave. "I did not expect that behavior on the wedding. And I honestly was angry, I was disappointed."

"I understand that y'all would be disappointed about this," says Dr. Phil. "It's been two and a half years! You don't have enough time to tell me that you still need to be shut down and backed up about this. Forgiveness is a choice. You have to lighten up with her about this."

"I've forgiven her for that. But the issue now is that she has not forgiven herself," says Dave.

"I'm holding on to it," agrees Marlee.

"You need to support her here and not hold it over her head," Dr. Phil tells Dave.

"I want you to make a decision to number one: Put this in perspective," Dr. Phil tells them. "Was this a good thing? No ... But listen, it's all about intention. You had no intention of marring your wedding."

"No, I didn't," says Marlee.

"You had no intention of getting drunk," he continues. "You were taking medication, it interacted with the alcohol. You didn't plan on that. You made plans ahead to have non-alcoholic beverages; that's not what they served you. You didn't plan for the best man to announce that he was married to the woman that he divorced. There were a lot of things going on."

Dr. Phil thinks Marlee is getting a payoff by hanging onto the guilt. "You've got to figure out what your payoff is and you've got to make a choice that says, 'This is over. I did not intend for this to happen. It took a bad turn and I'm letting it go.' You're cheating your husband because a guilt-ridden partner is less than a 100 percent. You're cheating your children because a guilt-ridden mother is less than 100 percent. You need to let this go. You need to make the choice to consciously forgive yourself for getting caught in a bad situation and making some bad choices at the time ... Are you that rigid and judgmental with other people?"
Dr. Phil also urges them to start celebrating their anniversary. "The wedding was a party, a ritual, an event. It's not the anniversary of your wedding, it's the anniversary of the day you began your marriage. And to not celebrate your marriage is wrong."

Dr. Phil surprises them with an anniversary celebration at Falls Manor restaurant in their town. "They're going to have a commemorative party for you and 30 of your friends and family that you can just bring in and you can play a tape of this show," says Dr. Phil.

He turns and speaks to the camera: "Alright, here's the deal friends and family. She got drunk. What can I tell you? She was taking medication. She got mad at the best man because he insulted her and so she drank some wine when she was taking medication. And I'm telling her that you guys aren't going to judge her. So everybody raise your water glass and toast this marriage because it is working."

Dr. Phil reiterates with Marlee: "Make a choice."