Here I stand. Two and a half weeks away from the happy day. I am staring right down the double barrell of nuptial bliss and people are STILL RSVPing, WEEKS after the RSVP deadline. At the risk of offending these guests, I hate them. Do they have any idea the Iran-Nuclear level of careful deliberation and political craftwork involved in creating a wedding guest list? Our seating chart is a familial Maastricht Treaty where each individual nation is ruled by a lunatic despot who doesn't eat fish, or HAS to have the vegan option, but only if it's gluten-free. What I'm trying to say here, is RSVP. Dammit. And don't try to bring a +1, you imbecile. I don't care who she is. We're not paying $150 for her to eat, just so you can get laid.
The purpose of this post wasn't to admonish the 12 people who said "Hang on! I need to see if I'm coming or not!", but rather to provide some quick pointers to grooms and potential grooms about hidden hazards of the whole process of getting hitched. There are ample websites that have solid advice for men who are taking the plunge, and if you're like me, you will not consult them, because frankly, they are part of an industry that does not cater to you. So here's just a few notes to walk you through some of the more severe shocks you may have as you plan your day.
1. Don't try to buy jewelry if you've never bought jewelry.
I tried. I picked out 2 rings, both of which received grimaces from her friends and my mom.I have no clue what the difference is between a cocktail or art ring vs. and engagement ring. Evidently, aesthetically "Different" and "Innovative" are not things you should look for in an engagement ring. Modern art has it's place, and it's not on the hand of your lady. I learned this the hard way. Eventually she showed me what she wanted and I went out and bought that. Everyone congratulates me on my excellent taste now.
2. Don't go to a place that has TV commercials to buy a ring.
The first place we went to didn't have TV commercials, but they included their jewelry in gift bags to celebrities and had clips of people magazine featuring their GENERIC, uninspired, bling. Gross. Explaining to me that you have TACORI diamonds and that what we are requesting isn't "traditional" does nothing for me. These places are about railroading you into buying blood diamonds that were trafficked by poor families over the mediterranean and into the sweaty hands of Messrs. Zales, Jared and Kay. Go to your local jewelry place. Their blood diamonds are less expensive.
3. Be simple, organic, private, romantic and definitely not grandiose or clever when proposing.
The lovely couple who sold us the engagement ring said "It should be a surprise when you propose, not a surprise that you propose. It bums me out that i have to say this, but as a dude I know how self delusional I can get. So just make sure she'll say yes before you do it, and when you do it, keep it simple. I got down on my knee, blacked out, came to, and she was crying. Tears of joy, as it turns out. I'm just happy I didn't accidentally punch her or something. For such an emotional moment you want to cut out an audience, and any risk of you dropping the damn thing, passing out in public, being rejected in front of an audience, etc. My friend Eyad said "There's a reason the notion of romance exists, and it's for this moment." Good advice. Think "Romantic". Not "Big".
4. Your "Singlehood" was over long long ago.
It was probably over before you proposed, and it was REALLY over once you proposed. Accept it. Be happy.
5. Beware the Wedding Industrial Complex
My soon to be wife and I struck a solemn oath at the very start of all of this. No mason jars, no burlap, no distressed wood, and no chalkboards. So guess what's been offered to us at every turn? Most vendors are awful. They have things on hand that people on TLC said they should have, and their imagination or desire to help usually stops there. You need to be aggressive and picky. It's going to take time finding the right fit. We have awesome people, but we had to go through racists, snobs, and a huge amount of crap to get where we are. This is the most work you'll need to do for this thing. Get started early.
6. Invest in "moments" not "things"
Everyone says it's over in a flash. They call the whole thing "surreal". If that's true, then you're going to need moments to anchor your memory and create special times to share with your family and loved ones. When was the last time anyone remembered the plates or ice swans? So if you have wiggle room in your budget, invest it in a pinata or some sort of communal experience. Who cares about the name cards when the fire jugglers set your great aunt ablaze?
Godspeed, gentlemen! And remember, this isn't about you.