This is one of my favourite true stories; one which I tell over and over again, mainly because it breaks the ice in company and it's a pleasure, if not embarrassment for me to tell it.
It must be ten years ago since this happened--my, how time flies. I know my daughter was just a mere 5 year old. I was working like crazy running my own successful print finishing business, and my hubby working just as hard in his line of work.
We recieved a phone call from my husband's father; he was just recovering from a heart attack. He asked us if we could accompany him to a family wedding in which we had also been invited. The Bride-to-be was my hubby's cousin whom he had not seen since he was five or six years old. Of course we had to go whether or not we accompanied his father, and a couple of days later we recieved an invitation to the evening reception.
It was July, I remember that much! My business was booming, I was so busy. We'd won a contract for a local tycoon's sportswear franchise, and we were flat out with work. I say we because I had to employ thirteen other people for the summer. I already had five girls working for me then.
The weekend of the wedding drew close and although we'd recieved an invite with the date, time and venue upon it, we couldn't find the card. My hubby said it was Saturday and I had no reason to believe it wasn't. The plan was to join his father at the evening reception and then take him home afterwards, easy.
All that week leading up to the wedding, I was so busy that I didn't know if I was coming or going, all I knew was we were to be at the reception for 7.30.
I worked Saturday morning, and then went into town for a gift for the Bride and Groom. With that in hand and our finest outfits chosen, we were ready for the night. I rang my hubby's father when I returned home but he must have left early because there was no reply. It wasn't important just a quick call to inform him that we'd be there just after 7.30.
My daughter was jumping up and down with excitement as we dressed for the evening. She was wearing a new dress and looked a picture, we wore our finest gear. Finally we set off for the venue and got there bang on 7.30. " How's that for timing" my hubby said as we walked into a dark noisy room with music blasting.
" Where's your cousin! I asked " Well, she's the one in the big white dress" said my hubby rather sarcastically. " She's changed a bit since I last saw her" he remarked as we drew closer to the party and I just laughed and pointed out to him that he was only a mere lad then. We stood there for a short while, then the Bride came over and welcomed us fully into the room. " I'm not being ignorant, but which side of the family are you from", she asked.
My hubby smiled and said " Don't you remember me, I'm Steve, Des's lad, your cousin". She laughed, put her arm around him and told us to go and eat some buffet, relax and enjoy ourselves.
The room was really crowded, this was a huge affair, and I didn't think my husband's family had it in them to produce such a lavish reception.
We sat at a table with some other people, They asked who we were then began to talk about all the little things Steve and his brother got up to when they were kids. I assumed without really asking that these were his Aunts, or perhaps other long lost cousins. Our daughter was dancing to the Spice Girls, but I was worried. I was worried because we'd been there almost an hour without seeing his father. I asked around the table if anyone had seen Des! Everyone kept shaking their heads, "It's been a long day love" said one of the party " Perhaps he's gone home to change". I was a bit more skeptical than that. I was concerned about his health and what if! My hubby was on his second plate of delicacies and well into conversation with people I had never met before. I was getting very uneasy.
I tapped my hubby on the shoulder and shouted, as the music was so loud. " Go and ring your dad, he might be ill" He nodded and promised to go after he'd finished this huge plate of allsorts. Finally after me nagging him for half an hour, he went. I didn't want to ring him myself because if he was ill he wouldn't tell me.
Our daughter was still jumping around the dance floor, was bright red in the face and her hair was wet with sweat. I was talking to his Aunt, or whoever, when my hubby returned from the phone. He tapped me on the shoulder and tried to whisper something in my ear, but the music was too loud and I couldn't hear him.
He beckoned me to a quieter corner of the room and I made my excuses from the table. He looked troubled and very upset. " Oh no, is your dad okay! I asked. " He's fine, but we're at the wrong wedding" " What! I snapped " What do you mean?" " I mean we're at the wrong person's wedding. It was yesterday and my dad's not pleased". " Never mind your dad, how on earth are we going to get out of this one! "I began to shake and suffer an overwhealming sense of doom.
"We'll have to tell them" he said. "We'll come clean and apologize" but how could we do that after we'd been there most of the night, eaten most of their food and been given drinks from complete strangers.
I decided to make a run for it, to get our daughter off the dance floor and slip away somehow, but my daughter was loving the dancing and refused to leave the floor, but a promise of something nice on the way home did the trick and we made our escape. We managed as far as the door when a voice shouted from the side. " Where are you going?" It was the Bride. We'd been seen.
My hubby decided that the game was up and he sat her down on a chair beside her new husband. He began to tell her about the mistake. I was dying with embarassment and I just wanted the floor to open up so I could jump in. Then the broadest cheekiest smile spread across the Bride and Groom's face and then it turned to laughter. They handed back their present, tears in their eyes from laughing so hard. We refused to take the present back, after all we'd had a free night with people from another tribe.
We were asked to stay the rest of the evening, but I could see the news spreading around the room and I just wanted to leave. With that we made our umpteenth apology and left.
The following week it was to make the local newspaper and was a topic of news on local radio. My staff at work all thought it hillarious and was the subject of many discussions at lunch for many years to come.
Now we always check the invitation and I never trust my husband's judgement on relatives.