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Tales from the Table - Don't Mess With The Bride!

Tales from the Table - Don't Mess With The Bride!

Tales from the Table is written by Andrew Stevenson - Sports and Holistic Massage and Reflexology Practitioner. In this edition we share a story of a blushing bride and a mistake that leaves a mobile massage therapist in the most awkward of situations!

I have never been a big fan of being a mobile massage therapist. I think it stems from when I was very young and my father owned a company that fitted window blinds. I can remember walking into a client's house carrying my Dad’s tool box and was welcomed with the words “if you break anything you will pay for it”.  Those words have always stuck in my brain and carrying bags and a table into someone's home still to this day fills me with dread.I tend to pick and choose my clients now but when I was just starting out in the massage industry like most of us a booking was a booking and you would just take it to get known and to bring in a little money. 


I had received a telephone call from a lady who’s daughter was getting married in a couple of weeks and was stressed out by the upcoming event and she thought a nice relaxing massage would help. The mother of the bride also wanted a massage so I booked both of them into the clinic. Both massage treatments went very well and on the follow up call the next day the mother told me that her daughter felt very relaxed and had had the best night’s sleep in weeks I have to admit I was feeling very proud of myself as the young lady who was getting married was just a bundle of nerves even though the wedding was two weeks away.

I must point out at this time I was only working part time as a massage therapist and still playing semi professional football. Like all goalkeepers I was loud and full of self confidence. It was a long time ago before the days of mobile phones, and when I got home from work one night a couple of weeks after seeing these clients my answer phone was flashing. So with pen and paper in hand I pressed play.



The message was a frantic message from the mother almost in tears talking about the daughter and what a state she was in with the wedding at the weekend. She could not sleep. She was feeling sick with nerves and she was crying all the time. Could I please do something to help?

I telephoned the mother straight back and told her I could help but unfortunately could only do Friday evening and that the clinic I rented doesn't not have any availability so it would need to be a home visit. She agreed and gave me the address and we arranged the time. 

I turned up and rang the doorbell and the bride's father answered the door. I introduced myself. “ Hi I am Andrew the massage therapist” and shook his hand. He took me into the lounge and said you can set your things up in here. The place was like a show home with pottery and glass ornaments everywhere. The mother entered the room and told me what a state her daughter was in   and how stressed she was about the big day tomorrow. She just wanted it to be the best day of her daughter's life.

I set up my table and equipment and in came the mother and started lighting candles around the room. I explained there would be no need for those as the lights would be on and she then said well all this stress has given her a headache and the bright light is hurting her eyes. The mother then said she is in her bedroom. I will go and fetch her, walking out. She turned off the lights, leaving me standing in a candle lit room with soft music playing from my tape recorder and the light reflecting off all of the ornaments and to be honest me not feeling very comfortable. 


They both entered the room and sat on the settee while I went through my pretreatment questions which is extremely difficult by candle light!The bride then asked if her mother could stay during the treatment. As I felt uncomfortable in this environment I was quite pleased and agreed. She got on to the bed and I started the treatment. A full body relaxation massage.

I went through my routine starting with the client in prone position and starting at the feet and working my way up the body taking my time using gentle but firm relaxing movements. I could feel her starting to relax to my touch and kept the talking to a minimum.After completing her back I turned her into the supine position and worked her front. Now although I had been trained in facial massage it was not something I would normally do but I thought to myself on this occasion I would, so I proceeded to finish off with this. 

I asked her how she felt and she replied “fantastic my headache has gone and I feel very relaxed and tired and sleepy”. I was very pleased with myself. 

I asked the mother if she would not mind fetching her daughter a glass of water as she lay there on the massage couch.I had my back towards the client to allow her to get off the bed and put her dressing gown back on when the mother walked in and turned on the light.

The mother screamed. The glass of water hit the floor. The father ran in from the kitchen to find out what the noise was and stopped dead in his tracks. I turned around to look at the bride and I was speechless and stunned. 

It looked at first glance like her skin was peeling off or she was suffering with an extreme case of Vitiligo. She threw off the dressing gown and her whole body was like a patchwork quilt. She looked like she had tiger stripes.


She looked down at herself and just burst into tears and ran out of the room upstairs. The mother was shouting at me, the father was threatening to separate my body parts from each other. It was now 20:30 the night before her wedding. What was I going to do? 

I started to pack up my stuff and saw my hands were orange. What I had failed to notice in the dim candle light was that the bride had used fake tan and that the massage oil had removed it.I turned to the father and said don’t worry I can sort this out. Without really having a clue how.

Then it dawned on me one of the rooms I was renting was in a beauty salon and I had known the owner for years.I asked to borrow their phone and called my friend but got no answer. 

Now I knew she had a young child and she had mentioned she un plugs the phone in the evening.I said to the father I am just going to pop and see a friend who can help me. He replied you are not going anywhere mate. The wailing noises were still coming down from upstairs. 

I explained about my friend and he finally agreed but on the condition I left my stuff there and he accompanied me. I think he thought I was going to do a runner and to be honest it had crossed my mind. 

We arrived at my friends and there were no lights on at all. I tapped on the widow. No response. I tapped again. No response. I thought “sod this” and banged on the door. No response. The father was just getting more angry. 

Things were now starting to look very desperate for me. 

I said to him let's get back in the car and I drove around to her brother's house who I played football with. I knocked on the door and he answered. I asked have you seen Jules she is not at home. He replied she is staying at Mum’s tonight so I told him I really needed her help and could he phone her. 

Why? He asked. So I briefly explained what had happened. He just burst out laughing, which did not help the situation at all. We went in and he phoned and got Jules on the phone. She agreed to help and asked me to pick her so she could see what could be done. So with the bride's father, me and Jules in the car we returned to the house. 

He took Jules upstairs and I quickly started packing up the rest of my gear and getting it into the car. A while later they came down stairs. Jules said we can sort this out in the morning. I have told them what they need to do tonight. I have booked them all in for a tanning and as a way of an apology that you will pay for their hair and make up as well. We finally left at 10pm. My one hour relaxation massage had turned into a four hour horror show that had cost me money. 

All the way back she just kept looking at me and giggling as she had never seen me in such a flustered state before. I asked her not to tell anyone about this as I was scared it could ruin my reputation to which she agreed.Jules was good to her word and sorted out the bride and her mother who surprisingly were very complimentary about my massage skills.The big day went off without a hitch and both the bride and her mother looked fantastic. 

Saturday I arrived at my football match and saw Jules' brother who just smiled but did not say a word about the previous night.I played the game and we won so I was back to my usual self and we all went bouncing into the changing room after the game. As I walked into the communal shower I was attacked by bottles of fake tan. He had told the whole team. 

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Tales from the Table is written by Andrew Stevenson - Sports and Holistic Massage and Reflexology Practitioner (Husband, Dad, Granddad, Chief cook and Bottle Washer) 

Andrew Stevenson Sports and Holistic Massage

I started my working life as an Engineer in the armed forces and I have spent many years participating in a wide range of sports at high levels both locally, nationally and internationally. My body was always in good condition and everyone called me “Peter Pan” as I was always up for a new challenge. However as my age increased so did the injuries, the severity and the recovery times. It was recommended by a friend that I try reflexology and massage to be honest I was very sceptical to point where I said “if jabbing things in your feet makes you better I will just walk around outside on the gravel with no shoes on and save myself a few quid”

My life changed in my 30’s when I had a particularly bad back injury and was given a choice to give up playing sport (Football as a goalkeeper) or give up walking. Having two young children at the time I can still remember my wife’s words "I can’t push the children around in the pushchair and you in a wheelchair so no more football"

At that point I thought my life was over and the world was going to end.

So I tried both reflexology and going for a massage. The older one amongst us will remember the old advert at Christmas for Remington shavers. “I was so impressed I bought the company”. I found the benefits astonishing not only to my physical wellbeing but also my mental wellbeing so in 2005 I qualified as a reflexologist and massage therapist through the AoR (Association of Reflexologists) and started my journey of helping others, working with clients, local sports teams and professional athletes.  

Since qualifying as a therapist I have become a qualified football coach, manager, and club “physio” only retiring from the game in 2020. I have driven rally cars, played cricket and still play golf and compete at both field and target archery. My experiences have taught me first hand to always remember the body is just like any other piece of machinery - if it is not properly maintained then it will fail!

You can follow Andrew on Twitter here! 

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