My daughter is getting married in a few weeks, so if I should disappear for long periods of time, that would be the reason why. Not that I’ll be busy helping, necessarily – I’ll just disappear.
I hadn’t thought I’d be involved much, to be honest, other than giving the groom vaguely threatening talks, spending a few bucks, and taking a stroll down the aisle. Silly me. Just as a person marries an entire family rather than just their better half, both families get involved in the wedding, one way or another. Wedding planning is a black hole, sucking in money, time, energy, and temper.
The money part’s a given, of course. For all of you who think Castro or Chavez are somehow important, forget it – the gross national product of both Cuba and Venezuela can’t cover the cost of an average wedding. The Department of Homeland Security’s budget wouldn’t pay for the annual supply of wedding flowers in the Midwest alone. I used to worry that America would go into a recession if the auto industry collapsed, but that’s nothing – if people ever stop getting married, our economy will crash and burn faster than a Ben Affleck movie.
If I could save time in a bottle, I’d need the entire output of all Milwaukee’s breweries to cover wedding preparations. I’ve run only some errands; Charis, on the other hand, was just notified by Chevy that she’s earned frequent driver miles. I don’t have enough room to list all the things that must be done to prepare for a wedding, but I can say that most of them can’t be done in Noble County.
That makes no sense. People get married around here all the time; you’re seriously telling me that a wedding supply store couldn’t stay in business, with people flinging engagement rings back and forth like so much rice? It doesn’t have to be some specific place; Charis is always going to Bouquets R’ Us, or calling Best Man’s Shoes To Go, or looking in the Yellow Pages for hideaway shops that sell the little guy and gal who stand on top of the cake.
I’m not suggesting Noble County should have three dozen tiny specialty shops like that – but couldn’t we support one big general wedding supply store? Like … Mar-Mart?
Where was I? Oh, yes, energy. The reason people in the wedding party pass out isn’t because they’re nervous, or overheated – it’s because they’re tired. Some people say your life is over after you’re married – no, you just look that way, because you’ve aged about two decades. I suspect most wedding-night honeymoon antics consist of falling fast asleep with your clothes still on.
Then there’s temper. Ever hear the term Bridezilla? These people at stressed, man – get out of their way. My daughter’s been handling it pretty well, but once or twice I’ve gone home and thrown furniture against the wall on her behalf.
The second biggest reason they’re stressed, after listening to everyone in the world give them advice, is decision making. (On the subject of that advice thing, my daughter got a call recently from Raisa Gorbachev, telling Charis she should go for a spring wedding, and more muted colors. Raisa Gorbachev died in 1999.)
But no matter how much advice the bride gets, they ultimately need to make the decisions themselves. Plenty of people will offer to take a load off, but let’s face it – this is the bride’s day, and few brides want to give up that job. (You grooms? Forget it. Your decision making days are over.)
I think the stress is why brides sometimes make bad decisions, and the most obvious example of that is color. In the interests of helping out, here’s the number one rule of bridesmaid dresses: the name of the dress color should be an actual color. (We’ve discussed this before.) Charis chose a burgundy for her bridesmaid dresses, and that’s fine because it’s an actual accepted color, in addition to being fancy booze and a place in France (which I won’t hold against it).
Do not, under any circumstances, dress your wedding party in periwinkle or tickle me pink. Do not use any color that could be edible, such as asparagus or pumpkin. Eggplant’s debatable. After all, how many people actually eat eggplant? Do not use a color that sounds ridiculous, regardless of how it looks, because people will ask you what the color is:
“Oh, I’m wearing banana mania, and my bridesmaids are in beaver!” That’s just wrong.
On a related subject, don’t dress the groomsmen in fuzzy wuzzy brown. For heaven’s sake, don’t use “flesh”, which was changed by Crayola in 1962 to peach, which puts it in the food category.
These are all “legitimate” colors that at one time or another could be found in a box of Crayons. That doesn’t mean you get to use them. Even the original 8 Crayon colors are suspect: Some shades of blue or green might be doable, but do you really want to see the women in orange and the men in brown?
By the way, there’s a fine line between lavender and salmon. (Okay, not so fine.)
One more thing about color: Dress the guys in black. Just black. Don’t get imaginative. All those guys are doing is waiting for the reception. Men are not complicated – don’t confuse them.
See, it took me four paragraphs just to cover one decision, and there are 2,147 individual topics that need to be gone over before the average wedding. I recall very little of this from my wedding, which is probably for the best: Like most grooms, I was pretty much clueless. Now that I’ve learned more about wedding planning, I’m led to one, unalterable conclusion:
I owe my ex-wife an apology.