Something Borrowed, Something Blue
Between 1950 and 1991 Elizabeth Taylor was married eight times to seven different guys. That’s what I call a glass-half-full-kind of gal. I mention old Liz because celebrations and baby boomers are both themes in this month’s issue of CRL and hope springs eternal. Not me! Oh no, I’m done walking the plank, I mean the aisle. I’m so allergic to marriage now that if I even stroll by the rice in the supermarket I get hives. That said, I do think love is a many splendid thing and everyone should experience what a cynic once referred to as “Holy Deadlock”. There are definitely some ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ for every bride and groom, so let’s just make this month’s column a kind of “marriage for dummies”.
Cost – People like to tell you that a house is one of the biggest and most important purchases you’ll ever make. Please. Have you priced weddings lately? A friend of mine is planning hers right now and is stunned, not by the obvious stuff, but the things you’d never think of. Example: she’s renting out a prominent space in Saratoga. They sat down, worked out the numbers and she said, “I don’t understand what this charge of $3,000 is?” The wedding planner responded, “You want your guests to sit don’t you? Those are the chairs, 300 of them at $10 each for one day’s rental.” Oh, and have you priced hors d’oeurves lately? For that price, the crab cakes should hop off the plate and do the Macarena!
I have two questions for you soon-to-be-newlyweds. Do you really need to invite all these people? And, couldn’t you put this money to better use, like say, a down payment on a castle? Every Cinderella wants to go to the ball and look amazing, but sometimes simple is better and smarter. No matter what anyone tells you, a wedding reception is a party that will be over in six hours. Oh, and if Mom and Dad are paying for everything you can’t tell them to butt out completely. If they ask you to invite Dad’s friend from work because it’s important to Dad, then he’s coming. If you don’t like it then be truly independent and pay for your own wedding.
Planning – Guys repeat after me, “Whatever you like honey.” This a phrase I want you to practice and use every time there is a question about the planning of this special day. I know the two of you will be standing there at the altar and later dancing together at the reception and both of these occurrences could give you the impression that you’re a partner in this day. Hmm, not so much. Weddings are a girl thing. Just like laughing at fart sounds and wiping your chicken wing stained hands on your good white shirt are a guy thing. Just remember this: when it comes to wedding decisions you can argue all you want, but in the end she’s going to get exactly what she wants anyway. The difference is that you lost the battle and now she’s mad at you. Remember, she’s Cinderella and you’re just one of the seven dwarfs. Yeah I know, I mixed two fairytales together, but trust me when it comes to planning the wedding, you’re Dopey. Or better yet, we’ll make up a new dwarf – you’re Mute, the one who just smiles and nods.
Cake and flowers – Okay guys, what are your favorite kinds of cake or flowers? See, some of you answered, and that was a trick question. Nobody cares what you like cause she’s picking it out, remember. Try to keep up. And when the baker and florist quote you the price you can’t panic and say things like, “Mother of God.” God and his mother will be at the church and they don’t need you bugging them before. Another tip – at the reception, no smashing the cake into eachother’s faces. Besides the fact that she spent two hours on her hair and makeup, it makes the two of you look like the Clampetts up there; you know Jethro and Ellie Mae. (If you’re under 30 and have no clue who I’m talking about ask your Granny.)
Dancing – My one regret was not secretly taking dance lessons and then at my reception totally shocking the entire family with my amazing moves. No, I don’t mean with my fianc/wife, I mean on my own. How cool would it be to turn into John Travolta from “Saturday Night Fever” and take over the whole dance floor? Then start flinging the bridesmaids around and maybe even throwing one of those hip thrust moves toward your new mother-in-law. What? Not good? Okay, perhaps I did get carried away there. Before we leave the dance floor could I say one last thing? Seeing your prim and proper Aunt Tooty get drunk and do the chicken dance is almost worth the $3,000 you dropped on the chairs no one is sitting in.
Photos – Ladies, it is VERY important to have quality photos. In the event he gets drunk, wakes up in Hawaii the next day and denies he ever went through with it, it’s important you have evidence. Showing him the ring which is two sizes too small and won’t come off his hand should also be helpful in driving this point home. Just do everyone in your family a favor and try not to disappear for two hours between the church and the reception hall to snap your photos. Everybody has a fat Uncle Chuck who starts removing clothing and singing Sinatra when he gets drunk, so for everyone’s sake please try to move it along.
Miscellaneous – Guys, spend the extra $200 and just buy the tux. Everyone needs a nice black suit and by switching up the shirt and tie you can wear it to future weddings and funerals. See, you’re expecting me to make a joke there and I’m not going to. Ha!
Girls, think before you pick bridesmaids. It’s very expensive with the dress, shoes, hair, shower, bachelorette party and not everyone can afford it. If she’s like a sister to you, then ‘yes’; if she’s just ‘a friend’, be careful. She won’t want to say no, but the financial strain will ruin the experience for her and that’s not what you want. Also, when picking bridesmaids dresses ask yourself one important question: “Would I want a bow the size of Rhode Island on my backside?”
Finally – The best advice I can honestly give you is to enjoy it. It is very easy to get stressed out planning your wedding and by the time the day arrives you are either exhausted or aggravated. Trust me, no matter how much you plan things, something will go wrong that day. The wrong linens, a late limo, raindrops instead of sunshine. In the grand scheme of things none of it matters. You two matter as does your decision to love and annoy each other for the rest of your lives. Oh, and take it from a pro: all of it is going to fly by in an instant. So make sure you and your sweetie steal a moment to sit back and take it all in. Look at the proud faces on your parents, the nieces and nephews chasing each other around the dance floor and think about the loved ones who have passed and couldn’t be there for this special day. You and I both know they are watching. As much as I poke and tease about marriage, I am not blind to the truth. Everyone in your family is alive today because ‘once upon a time’ two people fell in love. Ain’t that something!
John Gray is a Fox23 News anchor and contributing writer at the Troy Record. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org