A landslide brought me down

 wedding bouquetImage by Catherine (Creative Commons)

When I worked as a wedding videographer, this happiest day of a couple’s life could be filled with orchids and doves, but it could also show the worst in a person. Bridezillas exist, and they are even less attractive through the viewfinder of a video camera poised on your shoulder. And when the bride didn’t spring for you to have a soda from the bar during your 14-hour workday? She’s even uglier.

Tina and Drew paid for our premium package, into which we threw every bell and whistle we could think of, so we were making a “Love Story” video before the wedding ceremony. We shot them in a variety of deeply gazing scenes, over which we would lay audio of them talking about how much they loved each other. Tina was domineering and arrogant throughout the shoot, her right on her wedding day, but real problems started when it was time to get audio from Drew about how much he loved Tina. My husband Randy did the interview.

Randy: “What made you fall in love with Tina?”

Drew: “Well, you know, man. What are you gonna do?”

Randy: “But what made you realize Tina was special?”

Drew: “Well, she had a big rack and a fridge full of beer, so I figured what the hell.”

This was one of the more quotable exchanges, but it didn’t make it into their “Love Story” featurette and is published here for the first time.

So on this particular wedding day, when Tina told us to videotape her singing “Landslide” to her father, I braced myself for some insufferable schmaltz.

Tina’s father was very ill, and the thought of this oh-so-perfect bride using her dying father as a prop for an extra dose of the spotlight filled me with dread. I framed them in an intimate two-shot, though, and hit record.

“I took my love and I took it down
I climbed a mountain and I turned around”

After the first few lines, I realized this moment was not what I expected. Tina’s thin, pitchy voice whispered out the lines. She was terrified, and her voice cracked.

I slowly zoomed in. Through the viewfinder I saw her eyes fill with tears as she sang to her father.

“Well, I’ve been afraid of changing
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you”

The bride faltered, losing her way in the lyrics. The lead singer of the wedding band softly picked up the lyric and firmly carried Tina across. Tina got going again, tears streaming down her face with love for her father.

Tears streamed down my face as well.

“And if you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well the landslide will bring you down”

I will never hear that song again without thinking of Tina singing to her dying father. I’d been guilty of ugly prejudgment before then, and I’m sure I will be again, but in that moment I knew that the ugliest person is beautiful too, and the worst singer can sing the most beautiful song.


About Marcy

I blog about trying to get out of my comfort zone, completing 101 things in 1001 days (and beyond), and writing my memoirs. My book: Timid No More.

This entry was posted in Music, Scene from a Memoir and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to A landslide brought me down

  1. Brought tears to MY eyes too … and I wasn’t even there.
    Marilyn Armstrong recently posted..BOSTON CITY NIGHTMy Profile

  2. Rae Hilhorst says:

    Amazing story and an amazing title. xxx Rae
    Rae Hilhorst recently posted..Pottery Barn and the Delivery CircusMy Profile

  3. Abby says:

    Well, that turned out differently than I expected too. Very touching.

  4. Larks says:

    Oh man, that made me tear up. ::: sniff :::
    Larks recently posted..Comment on Theory of Regionally Specific Assholery. by LarksMy Profile

  5. Marcy says:

    Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” (YouTube video):

  6. Katie says:

    This is a very touching story. Not to be crass, but I’m sure you’ve got some other real doozies. 😉
    Katie recently posted..Lagging BehindMy Profile

    • Marcy says:

      A few, but most people were really sweet. It was a fun job, but stressful making sure every last thing came out okay. Thanks. 🙂

  7. I love “Landslide,” and I don’t think I’ll ever quite think of it the same since reading this.
    that cynking feeling recently posted..You’re not the boss of me now!My Profile

  8. Rachel G says:

    Oh, wow. What a story. It seems like all throughout life we get these little reminders.
    Rachel G recently posted..No Valentine’s Date for MeMy Profile

  9. Wow, this was not what I was expecting, especially after laughing over the groom’s “love” remarks. What a way to take us to a different level of thinking, without judgement.
    Natalie – The Cat Lady Sings recently posted..How I Talk Myself Down: An Unemployment ChecklistMy Profile

  10. Really wonderful. Every day I’m reminded of the saying: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” It’s attributed to Plato, I think, but I’m sure he got it from someone else. It’s humbling to catch yourself not living up to that. I enjoyed this post very much for that reminder.
    That Unique* Weblog recently posted..The Night I Didn’t Get Shot (prank edition)My Profile

  11. Aisha says:

    Thanks! That was a real wake up call about making snap judgements! Excellent reading!
    Aisha recently posted..Photo Poem: “Oh Cairo2,” Photo 1 of 10My Profile

  12. Oh! Totally tearing up!! Although the husband’s unquotable quote cracked me up.

  13. Mamarific says:

    Well, that did not turn out the way I expected! So true that we are all complicated people, and I’m glad this Bridezilla showed her heart. Very well told.
    Mamarific recently posted..Divine Secrets of the Duran Duran SisterhoodMy Profile

  14. Dawn says:

    What a lovely story and a great message.
    Dawn recently posted..A Borrowed Identity to Fill the Silence.My Profile

  15. Landslide is one of my favorite songs of all time, and one that I absolutely can’t get through without crying at least a little. I will definitely be thinking of Tina and her father the next time I hear it. Beautiful story.
    Samantha Brinn Merel recently posted..I Wasn’t Such A Badass After AllMy Profile

  16. Sarah says:

    Besides making me audibly cry in my office (don’t worry, I pretended to sneeze and stub my toe at the same time, my co-workers totally bought it) your story was poignant and will be pulled up on my laptop tonight so I can read it to my husband.
    Sarah recently posted..Wedding CampMy Profile

  17. Quinn says:

    Wow! That video must have been one heck of an editing job. You know, I hope that her groom is as open minded as you are and sees the vulnerability behind all the domineering and bravado.
    Quinn recently posted..Tango is for the birds!My Profile

    • Marcy says:

      I loved editing, and one of my favorite parts was how I could take a collection of shots and tell a story that was better than the reality. (Most of the people and days were great, but occasionally the magic of editing helped to improve the parts that weren’t.) I love your thought about the groom. I wonder if they made it work together. Here’s hoping.

  18. Vanessa D. says:

    I got a huge lump in my throat when I read this. I probably would have gone way beyond bridezilla under those circumstances.

  19. Marcy, that was described so well. She couldn’t be all bad if her love for her father brought out such tears. The part where Drew described just what he liked about his fiancee was just too funny.
    Cynthia Rodrigues Manchekar recently posted..Twinkle, Twinkle, Little StarMy Profile

  20. Oh wow. This is one of my favorite songs. What a story and how true that is. I’m guilty of prejudgement too. I think we all are. But then we see another side – and we all have other sides – and it gives us pause.
    Linda Roy – elleroy was here recently posted..Zombie Reality Shows I’d Like To SeeMy Profile

  21. Angela Ryan says:

    Beautifully told, Marcy! You totally nailed the landing. I LOVED the final paragraph. Great post!

  22. Karen says:


    This was a really fun read. I adore that song. I really like how you told this – people really are multifaceted. Sometimes I forget that. Especially when someone is being a jerk.

    The big rack and the shelf full of beer made me laugh. I wonder if they’re still married.
    Karen recently posted..KneelingMy Profile

    • Marcy says:

      Thank you, Karen. I couldn’t believe it when I was editing! My husband played it completely straight like the guy hadn’t said anything unusual and just kept asking leading questions until he got a few sound bites. I wonder if they’re still together too.

  23. Christie says:

    This made me cry! I was sure it was going to be a schmaltzy thing, but you told this story so I really got to know the moment. So well done.

  24. Joe says:

    You shouldn’t fault yourself too hard your initial judgment; was not completely without merit.
    Joe recently posted..Mr. Winky Goes To A CrossFit BoxMy Profile

  25. tinsenpup says:

    Oh my goodness. What a perfectly told, beautiful story.

    I also have to admire your restraint in leaving the groom’s delightful responses out of the final product. I think I might have just added some romantic music and called it a day. 😉
    tinsenpup recently posted..Photo a Day | Something BorrowedMy Profile

    • Marcy says:

      Thank you for the kind words. That groom was quite the charmer, wasn’t he? I would have loved to have seen the bride’s reaction if I put his comments in! I like the touch with the romantic music 😉

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