Fourteen Maids of the Bride!
Manolo says, so the crazy Georgia bride she just up and ran away before the wedding.
A Georgia bride-to-be who vanished just days before her wedding turned up in New Mexico and fabricated a tale of abduction before admitting Saturday that she got cold feet and “needed some time alone,” police said.
Jennifer Wilbanks, 32, was in police custody more than 1,420 miles from her home on what was supposed to be her wedding day Saturday.
“It turns out that Miss Wilbanks basically felt the pressure of this large wedding and could not handle it,” said Randy Belcher, the police chief in Duluth, Ga., the Atlanta suburb where Wilbanks lives with her fiance. He said there would be no criminal charges.
Far be it from the Manolo to be the person to cast the stone at this poor woman, and her crazy fleeing ways, however, this detail it caught the eye of the Manolo.
The wedding was going to be a huge bash. The couple had mailed 600 invitations, and the ceremony was to feature 14 bridesmaids and 14 groomsmen.
Fourteen maids of the bride! This it is madness!
By the comparison, the Princess Diana she only had five maids of the bride. The Jackie O. when she was the Jackie B. and married the JFK, she had only ten of the maids of the bride.
Manolo says, although the Manolo he is usually in favor of the opulence and the luxury, it is nonetheless the rule of the Manolo that if the girl she feels the need to have more than ten maids of the bride–more than the Jackie O. (nee B.) needed to marry the JFK–she should not be getting married.
Perhaps this rule it sounds too harsh, but it has been the experience of the Manolo that for the girls who demand the most super gigantic of the fairytale weddings, the wedding itself frequently becomes more important than the marriage.
This it is not to say that the big wedding it is in itself bad, but rather it is to say that for the bride who demands the perfect day of the wedding, to the point of either inciting the hatred of those around them, or to the point of wanting to runaway and leave the poor parents thinking she has been murdered, something it is wrong.
The wedding day it is to be the day of joy, and its approach should be greeted with the gladness and the earnest longing for its arrival. If the planning of the wedding has become the ordeal to be endured one must step back and reconsider the necessity of the fourteen maids of the brides.0
Amy 18 years ago
Bravo, Manolo. You captured the heart of the issue in a nutshell.
La Cabrita 18 years ago
From the moment I heard “Georgia” and “fourteen bridesmaids” earlier this week, all I could think of was “runaway bride.” (I also was hoping this was the case and that there was no foul play on the part of the fiance.)
Can I get my gift back now?
Annalucia 18 years ago
a test to see if Annalucia’s response will go through.
Annalucia 18 years ago
Another test since Annalucia’s attempt to leave a longer response are not going through.
Annalucia 18 years ago
All right, Annalucia will try again. Annalucia merely begs the Manolo to consider that perhaps it was the bride’s mother, and not the bride, who has insisted on the fourteen bridesmaids with matching groomsmen and other excesses. Annalucia has known of such cases and they are no fun.
Me Me Me 18 years ago
Manolo et amis: Does anybody here believe that this bride should be charged with something, e.g. mischief? Apparently no charges will be forthcoming.
I for one believe she should be charged with something. Her little stunt used up a whole lot of police resources for how many days????
Girlfriend needs some serious help.
Manolo the Shoeblogger 18 years ago
Hello to the Annalucia, the Manolo he apologizes.
The comment spammers they have been attacking the Manolo’s blog and so the Manolo he has had to institute the various controls, some of which have resulted in the difficulty of posting to this place.
Please bear with the Manolo while he addresses this problem.
Jambi 18 years ago
Manolo, you are very insightful. That was an excellent analysis of a wacky situation. i would’ve run away too.
Tania 18 years ago
Poor girl. Weddings frequently have nothing to do with a marriage; they have to do with the wild war of desires and expectations that torment our clans. It is better to run away with your groom to Vegas than to run away from him to Arizona in a wild, premarital panic. I can’t heap scorn or ridicule upon her, or consider her acts malevolent or even mischievous, myself, since I have just gotten married, and for all I know, her mother was even more terrifying than my own.
As for the question of bridesmaids, I am reminded of the quandary my friend of Punjabi ancestry found herself in when she declared she was engaged. Instantly, it became apparent that the only way she could avoid fragmenting her family into a fracas of warring factions was to enlist fourteen bridesmaids. Because she needed to have her sister, obviously, and she must have her three best friends (myself included), but then if she were to have no cousins, the family would take her into the backyard and tear her apart with their own fingernails, but if she were to have a single cousin, she would have to have them all. She has always been the greatest girl in the world for throwing a big bash, so she could scarcely find it in her heart to elope and skip the fun of having her own three-day traditional Indian shindig, so after some howling about the ridiculousness, she assented to have a fortnight’s worth of maidens (and not-so-maidens) escort her into the temple, which I assure you looked completely ridiculous, not least because the entire wedding encompassed only 150 guests (it being a destination wedding in Bali), which meant that nearly 10% of those invited were bridesmaids.
Daniela 18 years ago
As someone who used to photograph weddings (every single weekend) I will state that one can just pick up on the ones that will prove the test of time, and the other weddings that are all about “the show.” The weddings about “the show” were indeed quite painful to endure, even as a photographer.
I still wonder what her shoes would’ve looked like.
willow 18 years ago
That’s it. I’m eloping. Nice tropical paradise, wedding already tied into a vacation, lots of windsurfing and lolling about with some sort of drink in the hand, the only person I am with is the man I want to spend the remainder of my days on earth with. My only regret for this would be I’d be unable to wear the superfantastic shoes, as my nuptuals they would be in the sand. However, considering the insantiy that is the wedding ceremony, I think it’s a sacrifice I can make.
As for this dolt – she is a poster child for the tragedies that can occur when a person she lacks the backbone. Backbone to tell everyone to back the hell off, backbone to take what she needs without the lying about it. I do not think it was mischief, I think it was lack of backbone. I have pity for brides-to-be like her, the pressure they must feel and the warring factions that are the families, but the minute she made it necessary to utilize the taxpayer resources in the form of police chases etc. she lost my sympathy. Dolt! She should at the very least be made to pay back the monies that were spent to find her. And some community service. She put a lot of people out.
18 years ago
Call me a scrooge or whatever they call people who don’t have much sympathy for crazy brides, but this woman is clearly mentally ill. Who even knows 600 people, much less invites them to their wedding? And then to skip town, allowing everyone to panic and worry and search, and then lie to police that you were abducted…just imagine the descriptions she fabricated about her fake abductors… and this woman is 32 years old! That is “old enough to know better”, in my opinion. She should be fined the cost to the community for the search (she can OBVIOUSLY afford it) and then look into some psychiatric care.
Diane 18 years ago
A note to the Willow: I, myself, had just such the barefeeted beach wedding. The feeling of the sand between the toes, it was quite memorable. Afterward, the groom and I stepped symbolically into the water together. It was nicest of days, with the sun setting in the west and the full moon rising in the east. However, I must say that the longing for the most gorgeous of the bridal shoes, it never fully left me. Also, we are divorced now. Whether one of the things, it had to do with the other of the things, I cannot say.
Carol 18 years ago
It would be nice, would it not, if the crazy runaway ersatz bride’s father were to host the reception anyway, and treat 600 homeless people to a nice meal and dancing. At this late date, he will never get the money back.
Charlotte 18 years ago
Or, perhaps the father could host 600 of the volunteers who spent the last couple of days looking for this poor lost child. I feel awful for her … and everyone can be mean about how she didn’t have a spine etc … but what’s a nice girl to do when the entire media is obsessed with huge weddings. How many TV shows are there now? And every morning show plus Oprah has to do their “fabulous” wedding specials … it’s a huge industry, and I can see how someone who didn’t really mean to could get herself sucked in. I felt terrible for her with that very tragic afghan draped over her head (strange inversion of the wedding veil, no?) being led through the Albequerque airport instead of being led down the aisle. Sad sad sad all the way around — except of course, for the fact that she was not abducted, was not raped nor killed, was simply foolish on a very public scale.
Mimi 18 years ago
The Mimi is wondering why, apparently, no one close to this woman could see that she was headed for a meltdown.
elayne 18 years ago
Part of me is supremely annoyed that she put her family – and her fiance! when it’s so hard to find a decent man these days! – through that kind of mess (although that’s based on the assumption that her family and fiance weren’t part of the problem), and part of me is rolling my eyes, but mostly I feel so so so sorry for her. I mean, how do you come BACK from something like that? How do you ever pick up the pieces and renew your life, you know? I think that worry of “how will I continue going about my life after I do this thing I’m about to do?” is the only thing that’s kept me from making some really serious mistakes. I can empathize all too well and feel the terror and despair and “oh sweet Jesus what have I DONE” that she must be feeling – not to mention what her family and friends went through, and her share of that burden.
Of course, my perception might be partly that with my family, if I’d ever done something like that, I’d NEVER be allowed to live it down… any family gathering of more significance than bumping into each other in the hallway would be filled with comments like, “Oh, you showed up this time! We don’t have to call out the Search and Rescue Team! Hey, let’s watch a movie – I rented Runaway Bride again.” They’d put it on my tombstone, “Here lies Elayne, and now we always know where she is.” Hopefully her family, friends,and fiance will be supportive and understanding because, Lord, what a nightmare for everyone.
Cris 18 years ago
Ella 18 years ago
My cousin got engaged on the very same day as today. I do not like the mixture of these two happenings. Many good luck wishes to her.
I am now glad I have very few of the girlfriends to be in my wedding.
Queen of West Procrastination 18 years ago
The fourteen bridesmaids and six hundred guests probably sounded like a good idea at the time; sometimes when you’re making the decisions, you don’t fully comprehend how much your plans have gotten out of hand. I cut my guest list down to 300 (my fiancé and I have ridiculously large, closely-knit families), and then I ended up inviting thirty more “oh, they really should come” people at the last minute. And I managed to justify four bridesmaids, two junior bridesmaids and a flower girl. That’s seven female attendants, but each one is someone who is very close and of course has to be part of the wedding.
But it’s one day, at the beginning of the rest of our lives. We’ll keep the wedding relaxed and make it fun. I understand the overwhelmed feeling, but I cannot sympathise with her response.
Bill 18 years ago
I’m just bummed I didn’t make the invite list! Sure I live in Michigan and have never met the couple but I’m there had to be others like me who made the 600 invitee list!
Doc 18 years ago
Follow the money! Has no one considered that she ran away because she didn’t like the terms of the prenup?
Stevie 18 years ago
Stevie is silently thanking herself that she had the small, intimate wedding. Especially since she is currently caught-up in the huge wedding thrown by a close friend where she has been asked to be the bridesmaid. It is quite simply too much, especially now that the Hummer stretch limo has entered the picture.
Why can’t the wedding day be about the love between two people? Why must it be about the showing off?
The cost of weddings keep rising, right along with the divorce rate. Obviously a more expensive wedding does not a better marriage make.
dick 18 years ago
What I don’t understand is that the groom says the wedding is just postponed, not off. I would be running as far and as fast as I could from this woman. If at the age of 32 she would do something like this and make the wild claims she did, would you ever be able to trust her if there came to be a problem in the marriage later? I would step out for digarettes and keep stepping!! and I don’t even smoke!!
Cridland 18 years ago
It’s at least possiblel that she kept adding bridesmaids on order to scare off the groom. When her manipulation failed, she then hit the trail…
David H Dennis 18 years ago
I was close to a bride who should have ran away, but didn’t. It was a wrenching event because I was in love with her myself and wished I was the groom!
Seeing it from this kind of vantage point is pretty interesting. You can see that once the marriage train leaves the station, even if it’s a really bad idea from the start, there are horrible pressures put on bride and groom alike to perform and go through with it, even when it’s obviously not the right thing.
She ran away to Florida to avoid the pressure and then she came back, on time for the wedding, and went through with it.
The divorce was six months later.
Now I’m courting her again. I forgive her her unfortunate misjudgment because I didn’t make my own feelings clear early enough, and because I love her very much. Perhaps that will help Dick understand why the groom in this case forgives the bride in this case: He loves her.
I hope they’ll be very happy together. And I can’t blame her too much for breaking up under pressure. The woman I love did something very similar.
PS What’s all this wedding shoe stuff about? And why are women so soft on shoes, anyway? I own one pair and have no clue whatsoever as to why I’d need even one pair more.
Andrew 18 years ago
Well said, Manolo.
willow 18 years ago
Diane – maybe next time, you could wear the beautiful shoes of the Rene Caovilla. There is no guarantee of their ability to make the marriage last, but they sure are the gorgeous. I might have to have a pair of them anyway so that when my feets they are the dry after stepping into the ocean, I can also have the shoes of bridal superfantasticness to dance the night away…
And to David — ah, why ask why it is that we womens appreciate the – many – shoes of beauty when we paint our faces, etc. We like the refinement and the beauty, not just the utility.
Kory O 18 years ago
I ran off to Vegas with my sweetie in September. Invited anyone who wanted to come along with us, and we (27 of us) went to a local restaurant to celebrate.
It was a very lovely, elegant wedding (thanks, Island Wedding Chapel!), had a great dinner at Chicago Joe’s (no rubber chicken @ $35 a plate), and had enough money left over to wear superfantastic shoes at the ceremony.
Maybe that’s what this girl oughta do if her sweetie still wants to go through with it. I sure hope they had cancellation insurance…..
tree hugging sister 18 years ago
Wouldn’t have been much of a party if we weren’t invited. And we weren’t, so pffft.
willow 18 years ago
But don’t feel blue, THS…I’m sure you were on the alternate list…just like us! Hee!
Ofc. Krupke 18 years ago
The Officer, his sympathy is limited.
In a case like this one, the first suspect you look at is the husband/boyfriend/fiance/ex. Every time. The police in this case apparently did that. Half the people discussing the case whispered that it must have been the guy who did it. He was lumped in with Scott Peterson and Mark Hacking and the rest, underwent a polygraph and generally got poked and prodded by homicide investigators.
So, managing a wedding with fourteen bridesmaids is stressful, huh? How about being a murder suspect?
Half Sigma 18 years ago
“it has been the experience of the Manolo that for the girls who demand the most super gigantic of the fairytale weddings, the wedding itself frequently becomes more important than the marriage.”
Sounds like something a guy would say. Are you sure you’re not a guy?
willow 18 years ago
Excellent point. What miniscule sympathy I had for this the runaway bride has simply evaporated.
[email protected] 18 years ago
Groom to murder suspect; that IS scary. This chick is trouble. As a footnote to wedding conflict, the biggest objection from my mother about my wedding, after the choice of groom, were my shoes-I loved them both. After 30yrs., husband is better than ever, can’t say the same about the shoes or mom!
Clyde 18 years ago
Was it just me, or did it seem like this woman was exuding forced cheerfulness in every picture that was taken of her? Seriously, I can’t remember the last time I saw that much of the whites of anyone’s eyes. That right there was a warning sign for me that there might be something wrong with her.
NANCY 18 years ago
I HOPE SHE NEVER HAS CHILDREN.
I SHUDDER TO THINK OF WHAT SHE
WILL BE LIKE AS A MOTHER.
iceman 18 years ago
take it from me wacky girls are very hot in bed….however they are still wacky.
also…. you should really never sleep with anyone more f**ked up than you are.
a mistake i have made a few times
richard mcenroe 18 years ago
Sure and when me sister was after marryin’ a Chinese gentleman, didn’t we end up with the one side of the yard solid Chinese and the other side after bein’ filled to the top with New York Irishmen. And wasn’t it the Hibernians, the marching Pipers you see every year in the grand New York parade, who were after marching into the reception in full regalia, piping away so lovely?
And wasn’t it the Chinese side of the family who didn’t move a muscle ’til they marched back out again…?
rover 18 years ago
In the United States anyone can get on a bus and go to New Mexico anytime they want without saying $hit to anybody. Thank God.
weezy 18 years ago
Imagine for just one minute that it had been the groom who had run away – he’d be tarred and feathered by now. There would be no sympathetic clucking that he was just “stressed out.” He’d immediately be branded a COWARD, a dog, a cad, a jerk, scum . . . certainly, there would be little concern over his precarious mental state.
Otto 18 years ago
Rover: Might you concede the possibility that because of this (“Thank God”) woman’s actions, future law enforcement response time and intensity of effort to similar — but actual, real deal ABDUCTION type things — could decline? This isn’t some effing GAME, man…get a clue.
Neo 18 years ago
This “bride” has “high maintenence” written all over her.
Chris of Dangerous Logic 18 years ago
Clyde: IANA mental health professional, but ISTR that if you can consistently see the whites above someone’s irises, it’s a sign of something psychological (I can’t remember what exactly, but it isn’t good).
(BTW, Carol & Charlotte: superb idea about using the reception to feed the homeless &/o the search volunteers)
C.S. Froning 18 years ago
I don’t see how a 32 year old woman can be charged with leaving town without telling anyone she was doing so — it may be selfish and tacky, but it’s hardly illegal. I would think she can be charged with obstructing an investigation, since she lied to the police, but really this is just a family matter blown out of proportion by CNN on a slow news weekend. Yes, yes, she cost the community money, but this is something the community is just going to have to suck up as a part of living in a free, diverse society (which will include many numbskulls who consume a disproportionate amount of resources).
As for the argument that we should pity her because she may have felt pressure to have the crazy, over-the-top wedding — Phleez! The woman is 32 years old. Succumbing to this type of peer pressure should be left behind after junior high.
rover 18 years ago
C.S. Froning: You said exactly what I wanted to say. But I don’t talk too good.
willow 18 years ago
CS – I don’t think anyone would like to see this woman charged with leaving town, even if that was a chargeable event. And I don’t think anyone is claiming it is. However, she lied to the police, made up a story about an abduction, and cost her community money I’m sure they would not have chosen to spend on her little drama act. Those are punishable acts. And I’m not sure that living in a free, diverse society (whatever that means in this particular instance) entails her own community ‘sucking up the cost’ of her mental problems. I do agree it’s a family affair – and if her family can ‘suck up’ the cost of having 600 freaking guests at a wedding, they can certainly pay back the community resources that were used to find the little brat.
Carmel 18 years ago
For comparison: A Minnesota girl attending college in Madison, Wis., faked her own abduction last year, leading to a major police (and others) search first for her and then for a suspect. It also became a media event. She blamed depression and pleaded guilty to obstructing justice, and is paying restitution, $250/month until $9,000 is paid. Police costs were over $70,000. I believe if she’d taken a greater interest in shoes, it would have averted this sad scenario.
digitalbrownshirt 18 years ago
Fine, its just dandy for this rights-protected lady to skip town, leaving the fiance hooked to a polygraph. Thank goodness she wasn’t murdered by some maniac in route or he would be joining Scott Peterson on death row.
Beth 18 years ago
Very well put. Restitution should be paid for causing such alarm in the community, especially in the wake of back to back kidnap/rape incidences in FLA. There is no difference between this and the Michigan incident.