If, as Pat Benatar says, "love is a battlefield," then so is the dance floor at a wedding reception.
While Benatar was speaking metaphorically, I am not. After two hours of 200-plus people jiggling around to Kool & The Gang's "Celebrate"--beer volcano-ing from their Amstel Light bottles, vodka-sodas slinging around their waists like hula-hoops--a once-safe dance floor is transformed into a giant, wooden, Chardonnay- soaked Slip N' Slide.
I know this because I've boogied and ultimately, been bloodied, on a lot of them. If there is such a thing as a professional wedding crasher, then I'm a professional wedding attendant. This fall alone, I attended seven weddings. It's been exhausting... and painful.
I sustained my first dance floor injury at wedding number two when I was kicked in the head by a girl attempting to do a back flip. I was minding my own business, mid-twirl, when--BOOM--Louboutin to the head. I know it was a Louboutin because the kicker showed it to me. She knelt down beside me, apologized profusely, and, in an apparent attempt at levity, took off her shoe, revealing its red sole. "At least it was a nice shoe that hit you on the head," she actually said.
A month later, I acquired my next scar--a six-inch burn mark that wrapped around my wrist and was located in such an unsettling spot it prompted a friend to ask, "Is there something we need to talk about?" I gazed down at what looked like the residual effects of a failed suicide attempt. "No," I said. "That's from when I saved a wedding."
Here's the blow-by-blow: It was a few hours into the reception when I smelled fire. (I have a nose like a crime dog.) I scanned the room and noticed a flame hovering over the head table. I raced to the scene and--gasp!--every wedding planner's worst nightmare: a place card had fallen into a votive candle.
When I say I saved the wedding, I mean I saved the wedding with my bare hands. I honey badgered that fire. Would the honey badger have run away and gotten a fire extinguisher? I think we all know the answer to that.
I grabbed a cloth napkin and tried to smother the flame. Unfortunately, my plan backfired. Literally. The fire went backwards up my hand. Turns out, those banquet hall napkins are roughly 100 percent polyester. While wrestling with the flame that was enveloping my right arm another bridesmaid sashayed over and casually tossed a glass of water on the fire. Water. Why the hell didn't I think of that?
With a bruised ego and a charred forearm, I asked the bartender to soak a (different) napkin in ice water. For the rest of the night a cold, wet cloth was wrapped around my wrist like a cast.
I tried to explain it to people, shouting over the music proudly, "I saved the wedding!"
No one could hear me. No one cared.
The next day someone said, "Oh yeah, I saw that white thing on your arm, I thought you were trying to be funny."
Ok that is insulting on two levels. One, this person wasn't concerned in the slightest that something might have actually been wrong, and two, wrapping a napkin around your hand is not even remotely funny.
"I thought you were doing Rocky or something," she said. At this point I had to walk away. Rocky? Really?
These are just my injuries from this year's onslaught of weddings. Last year, I had
a shard of glass stomped into the top of my foot by someone's stiletto. I had taken off my shoes. See, there are pluses and minuses to this: on the one hand, you probably won't sprain your ankle, but on the other, when you're surrounded on all sides by seventy-five booze-filled bad dancers who are blindly bouncing up and down to "Brick House," you might as well be walking barefoot through a burning barn.
Last summer, my foot was stomped on so ferociously at the wedding's after party--I lost a toenail.
Which brings me to after parties: If the dance floor at the reception is say, a lightweight boxing match, the dance floor at the after party is full-blown, no-rules, no-refs MMA combat. Here's an idea: Let's transport these already inebriated animals to an even smaller location and play gangster rap.
And then, of course, there are the injuries that are strictly to your ego. One time, I wiped out in the middle of a dance floor when no one else was on it. It was during dinner and I was headed to the bathroom. Upon impact, my purse exploded and I had to crawl on my hands and knees to collect its contents--a lip-gloss, a Blackberry, a tampon. After gathering my belongings, I stood up, curtsied, and then hid in the bathroom until the dancing started again.
But hey, while love may be fleeting and marriages may not last, my scars from these weddings are forever. Now that's a party favor that just keeps on giving.
For real-life wedding day dance floor disasters, click through the slideshow below: