There you are, you and your beloved. Maybe you're in a restaurant. Maybe it's a beach. Maybe she's just nursed you back from that sciatica, and she found the ring next to the pills you had her fetch for the pain. Congratulations! You're engaged! Now enjoy this moment because it's the last time that your impending wedding will actually be yours. From the first phone call you make to the last, everybody you love will congratulate you while systematically working together to bring down the happiest day of your life. But fear not. Here's a handy guide to prepare you for the months ahead.
Grandma's $1,000 Contribution to Your Wedding Does Not Come Without Conditions
You're getting married in Rockport, Massachusetts, and you've struggled to find a wedding spot. You'll find a small and insanely adorable 300-year-old church that is perfect until Grandma asks, "There won't be crosses, right? I will not see you married under a cross." You'll want to tell her that the temple you contacted does not allow you to marry your non-Jewish fiancée in their synagogue, but then you'll remember how Grandma dropped all of her possessions and fled Poland just before they rounded up the Jews and you'll reconsider. You'll settle for an abandoned clubhouse at a now defunct golf club. Yes, you'll have to bring in your own seats, and you will need a generator for the DJ (which will cost more money than Grandma is contributing); but at least Bubbe will be happy.
There's No Ignoring Any Request From an Ailing Relative
Your great aunt has suffered a long illness and told you on more than one occasion that the only thing that keeps her going is seeing you wed. So when she calls and asks if there will be air conditioning because she's susceptible to heat stroke, you won't hesitate. Of course there will be air conditioning! And then you'll hang up and frantically start making calls three weeks before the wedding. You'll find a company that can ship in three wall-sized units from Boston and all for the low low cost of one fifth of your present wedding budget.
Somebody Will Ask if the Wedding Is Kid Safe
And you won't know what that means because you don't have kids. Your cousin will then ask if there are a lot of stairs because Little Brit Brit has trouble on stairs. You'll say yes and then hang up wondering if there's something you're supposed to do about it? This will lead to a brief conversation with your fiancée about changing the wedding venue that will end just as soon as she stops laughing. You'll decide it'd be best to forget all about it.
Your Brother Will Announce That His Wife Is Due Three Days Before Your Wedding
For a short time, you'll wonder if this was intentional. Just like that time when he built you a Jaws mask for Halloween out of papier-mâché with no air holes and you passed out after three houses. He didn't do it on purpose, yet somehow... His wife will then give birth exactly four days before the wedding to a boy who is so un-freaking-believably cute that all anybody will ask all weekend is, "Where's that little punim?" Note: Your brother, the best man, will also miss the wedding rehearsal.
And finally, the one thing you can actually control...
Do Not Let Any of the Above Things Ruin Your Wedding!
Because here's what happens the day of your wedding: You'll show up the morning of to learn that the air conditioning units did not show. All that wonderful pre-marriage energy will be spent frantically calling an answering machine in Boston. As you're leaving the fifth angry/crying message, you'll take one last walk through the clubhouse and notice something about those big beautiful wood beams that you loved so much: they are shaped perfectly into a cross. You'll ask the manager about it and he'll tell you that the clubhouse was a church before it was clubhouse. Then, just moments before you're going to meet your beautiful bride at the altar, your brother, whose wife just had the obnoxiously cute baby, will pull you aside and ask, "Where do I go when I walk down the aisle?"
Now cue the wedding music! Start down the aisle on the biggest day of your life wondering which catastrophe will be worse. Certainly it will be bad when your brother ends up standing alone down by the duck pond. But this will not be nearly as tragic as when Grandma sees the cross and goes to sit in the car where she'll have a perfect seat to watch the ambulance arrive to retrieve your collapsed great aunt. And somehow, while you're juggling all of this in your mind, you'll walk down those three steps to get married and think, "Oh God, Little Brit Brit. Is she going to fall down these stairs and suffer a spinal injury?"
And then, with all these thoughts running through your addled mind, you will walk down the aisle in front of all those whom you love most, looking something like this:
Listen. This is your wedding. Nobody else's. And unless you want the above picture to go into the album (because it's really the best one taken of you), you better realize that. And in the end, why accommodate any of these people? The reality is that you're going to spend the rest of your life disappointing them all anyway. So why delay the inevitable?