Megan and her dress

Megan needs an emergency fix on her bridesmaid dress. (Handout art from Megan / May 23, 2012)

You know those nightmare wedding scenarios in movies where the music gets louder and the actors are sweating a little and everyone is in disarray? And you’re watching thinking, that would never happen? (I’m looking at you, Jennifer Lopez’s character in “The Wedding Planner”….)

I am here to tell you that it does happen.

This weekend my friend Laura got married, and I was a bridesmaid. Save for some varying degrees of hangover from the super-fun rehearsal dinner at Cinghiale, everything was going well and according to plan. We were all relaxed and having our hair done and asking Laura if she was sure she wanted to go through with the wedding (kidding, Kevin). Once my hair was finished, I wandered into her bedroom to put my dress on, and the zipper stuck, so I walked back out to have one of the other girls help.

 This is where the music and sweat part comes in.

Three girls were alternately squeezing, pulling, and yanking on the zipper and me. Once we confirmed it wasn’t overnight weight gain (something I was too terrified to suggest out loud), I took the dress off and examined the zipper. At the waist line, the zipper had taken a soft left before righting itself again, about two inches up.

Back in the dress, we tried in vain again to close the zipper. I felt an upward pull and a tightening and then heard silence. “I’m in!” I yelled. I turned around to see three horrified faces. The zipper pull had jumped ship, and was now stuck at the top, with the teeth below completely apart.

We had an hour before the photographers arrived, two hours before we needed to leave for the church, and no plan, until Laura’s sister (and matron of honor) declared we were going to try to sew me into the dress.

For an hour she sat and sewed. The thread kept breaking so she organized a search party to find the thickest thread in the house, which was of course brown. Forgoing her own need to get ready, she deftly stitched me into the gown, somehow making the 15 inches of brown thread against green chiffon look normal. She finished it off with a clear-nail-polish-and-eye-lash-glue-hail-mary coat over the stitching, and ran to do her make-up with a warning not to move.

Not moving was a cinch, since I also couldn’t breathe.

Miraculously, the dress stayed intact until I had to be cut out of it when I got home from the reception. I sat like a Victorian lady all night, training my brain to do without the gulps of oxygen it's used to. I also brought another dress to the reception to change into in case the thread ripped while dancing.  

I’m not sure what I/we would have done without our accidental seamstress. Laura sweetly told me that she didn’t care what I wore down the aisle, and that any dress I had with me would be fine, but I felt horrible causing the only hurricane of stress in an otherwise completely placid and wonderful affair.

From this brush with wedding calamity, I have obviously learned to have a good sewing kit, clear nail polish and a level-headed person with basic sewing skills on my wedding day. I have also experienced the one -- and omg please -- only time I will ever wish my life were more like a J Lo movie.

Have you ever had a wedding day catastrophe? Any wisdom you can impart on other readers (and me)?