Proposing's the easy partLesson 1 - proposing was the simple part. Events had outpaced me and I had to do it in a decidedly unromantic way. Jewel parking lot? Check. Ring? No check. Two lovers? Check. So I got 66.6% of it right. But really this all boils down to asking, "will you marry me?" and getting, "of course!" Nothing too special, nothing too hard. If the girl WON'T say yes, then you're in great shape because you never have to learn lesson 2 or beyond.
Weddings are bigger than the coupleLesson 2 - 95% of the time, the actual wedding couple has very little input into the wedding. We learned very quickly that her mom had been planning Andrea's wedding since she was a little girl. I wouldn't say we were thwarted, per se, but we were certainly railroaded on quite a few things.
Lesson 3 - weddings are fucking expensive. Really fucking expensive. This is twofold - any party for 100+ people is going to be a little pricey, and anybody in the party industry puts on rubber gloves as soon as they hear "wedding" and begin clawing as far up your asshole for cash as they think you're willing to take. Then they claw a little more. Some of the awesome asshole moves we saw: 2 hotels had reserved blocks of rooms for us. They were Very Expensive, partly due to a manufacturing trade show in town beginning the Sunday night after our wedding. We had our doubts, though; the rates were so high they didn't seem realistic, approximately $300 a night. We had friends call in and not tell the hotel they were part of the wedding party, and were quoted rates $100 a night cheaper. Hotels are fucking assholes. They're not the only culprits - the banquet halls we looked at all had exorbitant fees for a variety of things - iPod usage, cake cutting (not using their knives, not using their cake, not using their plates, but it's still a cool hundo to cut the cake even though WE'RE cutting the cake? fuck you too), et cetera. Many of these places also upcharged you if you weren't using their "recommended" provider - different florist than the recommended one? That's an upcharge. Not using Expensive Gasbag Bakery? The cake's an upcharge. Et cetera.
All in all, I'd recommend to anyone planning a wedding to call it a "corporate event" to anyone that you're actually booking, and let them throw a tantrum the day of the ceremony.
(As with all advice in this blog, I didn't try it, I don't know if it would work, and I'm so unprofessional I could spit.)
As an aside - we booked the band Spare Parts. They did NOT upcharge us for a wedding (being cheaper than shitty wedding DJs) and were a totally awesome jazz band. The dancing was very sparse for our reception because they were a jazz band (hard to dance to jazz, who knows the Lindy?!) but the music was a hit and nobody complained.
Lesson 4 - As the groom my main goal was to stay the hell out of the way, but not do so little that I'm accused of not helping. Future grooms, I'd recommend volunteering for website duties, and sign up with Weddings.com to get it pre-made for you with built-in links to the registry and all the checklists associated with wedding planning. This is about the only thing in the world associated with weddings that is actually free. Everyone was very impressed with what we did, even though I had to do basically nothing. Thanks weddings.com! (Hilarious side note - her parents complained about our website domain, x.weddings.com because the plural weddings sounded like we've both been married multiple times. Between that and them telling all of their friends the website was firstname.lastname@example.org and to put it in their email browser, I'm surprised anyone found our website at all)
Actually having sex on the wedding night is hardWay too many people want your time. Way too many people want to buy you drinks. The photographer will never leave you alone. Don't feel bad if you don't have sex that day. We totally did, however, because we're sexy and awesome. Plus I needed to lock that shit down. No anullments for you, woman! It's divorce or staying with me till the bitter end!
Hire a good photographer. They do so much more than take photos, it's amazingA plug: Ocken Photography - she was my neighbor for a couple years, is a phenomenal photographer, and was a fantastic addition to the wedding. She's at one wedding a week. She knows how it's done, as should any photographer worth their salt. She was a great calming influence on my mother-in-law, and was able to direct the wedding party appropriately and ensure that I didn't see Andrea prior to the ceremony yet still got there in time. She also made sure my brother didn't get shitfaced, oversleep, and miss the ceremony. (and also got photographs of him shitfaced running around outside his house in just his boxers. Which WILL be used as blackmail when he has kids)
Many people will try and fuck up the wedding daySome people are just sick in the heads. Others just drink too much. Some people have absolutely no filters. Others don't heed the little voices in their head saying, "this is a bad idea." Here's the best part - it's almost impossible to fuck up a wedding. Open bars + music + free dinner = awesome party no matter who says what, shoves what, or craps in what. Let the silly shit that WILL occur just be silly shit.
Accept the falloutThere's always fallout it seems. Either someone makes an awful toast, or some monstrous faux pas occurs that enrages one side of the family, or drunken shenanigans end some other marriage. It's going to happen. We had our share, some of which we're still living. Fortunately, we've got a flood in our basement, cats that are fighting, and the scariest presidential election since 2004 to keep us occupied.
- My mom thinks the photographs make our family look stupid. That's because our family is stupid, stupid. Can't retouch idiocy!
- Andrea's friend asked my step-brothers if they were a gay couple
- Somebody thought they were at a strip club and was shoving dollars into ladies' dresses the entire evening. (He won the Worst Person at the Wedding Award)
- The condo across from the honeymoon suite was playing porn on a big screen TV all evening. Nothing to do with the wedding, but very amusing to see holes getting crammed from 200 yards. HOW ROMANTIC!
- You drink too much
- You sweat too much
- You have some sort of dirt on us and we couldn't risk your toast
If you were invited and DID make it - we're eagerly awaiting your apology for attempting to ruin our wedding.