Archive for January, 2011

On the Other Side of the Wedding: What Do You Wish You’d Cared *More* About?

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Not too long ago, the gorgeous Twistie posed this compelling question: What if you don’t care? As in, what if you don’t care about wedding cake or finding the perfect wedding dress or reception table centerpieces or having real linens? Of course the answer is that your wedding will not be ruined just because you don’t spend ages hunting for a dress or you have paper napkins at the post-ceremony brunch buffet. My advice is always going to be “If you don’t care about it, don’t do it/don’t stress over it/let someone else handle it.” It’s pretty good advice, if I do say so myself!

The only problem? Every so often a bride comes out on the far side of her wedding and discovers that she does care or ought to have cared about certain details. There are definitely things I thought I didn’t care about while planning a wedding that I can now say I wish I had cared about because they are the things that cause those tiny pangs of regret I sometimes feel when looking at my wedding photo album. And I would love to hear, from those of you already married, what you wish you’d cared MORE about while planning a wedding. Maybe you didn’t put much thought into your bouquet and it stands out as an afterthought in your pics. Or your wedding cake was only so-so but you wish it had been fabulous. Could be you are sorry you didn’t devote more of your budget to your wedding photography or your wedding rings.

In the absence of a time machine, there’s not a lot we married ladies can do about it now… other than to suggest that brides-to-be and grooms-to-be take our stories into consideration when planning their weddings. It sounds and feels a bit silly, but it makes a lot of sense to create a list of things you and your intended don’t care about and then to meditate on it for a bit. Try to imagine your future wedding photos – do the things you think you don’t care about make an appearance after all? You may be surprised to discover that a few things on that ‘don’t care list’ suddenly feel more important! Or you may find that you really don’t care and can safely devote yourself to the things that are actually important to you. Either way, you have just upped your chances of having the wedding you really want.

I Hadn’t Really Thought About It That Way

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

via Cristiano Ronaldo (WARNING: Many images NSFW… or the faint of heart about boobies and other ladybits)

So. I was watching Four Weddings the other night (Fridays, 10:00, 9:00 Central on TLC) and was quite intrigued with one couple: Rachel and Brad. They were actors who put together a rather gloriously OTT wedding. There were bagpipes and air horns at least one acrobat, and handfasting done with sparkly ribbons, and the groom vowing never to smoke another cigarette. In fact, Mr. Twistie and I both agreed it was one we wished we could have gone to… and when Mr. Twistie gets as enthusiastic about a wedding as to want to be there, well, you know it’s a party.

Anyway, one of the less than conventional decisions that Rachel and Brad made was to have their wedding rings tattooed on rather than going the more common route of buying metal bands. Fair enough. Not my thing, but then needles wig me out on an epic level. Mr. Twistie, too. We would happily live in a universe where needles never, ever, ever get inserted into human flesh. But it wasn’t our decision to make. It was Brad and Rachel’s decision, and they chose to have ink on their hands.

In the opening interview, Rachel talked about how much more practical this is because you can’t accidently lose your ring. After all, a marriage is supposed to last a lifetime. She called it ‘more functional.’

Okay. Of course I know a lot more couples who have gotten divorced than have lost their wedding rings, but I can see where she’s coming from and have no beef with her reasoning or her reasons. It’s her finger. She gets to determine whether it bears a ring, a tattoo, or nothing at all.

When I started getting it as a cool thing was during the ceremony. The happy couple was asked to explain their choice to their guests. So what did Brad say?

It’s a blood oath, and the only tattoo that will ever adorn my body.

Dayum! Now that’s the sound of a committed groom!

How could Rachel top that? One simple declarative sentence:

You’re in my flesh forever.

Will Rachel and Brad live happily ever after? Will they always be happy with their decision to opt for ink over gold? Those are questions I cannot answer. All I know is they’re going in expecting forever and refusing to be anyone but themselves.

And you know what? I think that gives them at least two and a half legs up on people who don’t enter marriage precisely that way.

Let’s Not Forget the Groomsmen!

Friday, January 21st, 2011

In the movies, groomsmen are usually irresponsible, party-loving dudes who fear settling down and do everything they can to talk the groom out of getting hitched.

Thankfully, real life is nowhere near as dramatic. You may have heard these guys referred to as ushers, but not all ushers are groomsmen and not all groomsmen are ushers. Most of the time, these two roles are treated as one, but some couples use the naming disparity as a pretext for including more family and friends in their wedding. Whatever honorific they receive, these guys have it pretty easy, as evidenced by the extremely short list of groomsmen duties

On the big day, your groomsmen can hand out programs, direct people to their seats, and keep an eye on the gift table. It’s not uncommon for a groomsman to become the unofficial answer man unwittingly, as guests tend to direct their questions toward anyone wearing a tux. Anticipate this by making sure your groomsmen know where the bathroom is. Some people even ask their male attendants to dance with any single females at the reception – but this practice is not as common as it once was because being a woman without a dance partner is no longer considered a fate worse than death. When your ushers are not your groomsmen, you can ensure they don’t feel left out by mentioning their names in the wedding program, announcing them at the reception, and seating them with the other members of the wedding party.

How many groomsmen do you need? Like bridesmaids, these guys are, in fact, a nonessential element of weddings. But they look great in photographs and may even prove helpful, so plan on having two or three groomsmen per fifty guests for a formal wedding or less for an informal affair.

Excerpt: iDo: Planning Your Wedding With Nothing But Net

And Speaking of Bachelor Parties…

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

I’d like to remind all of the grooms, best men, and groomsmen out there that there is no rule stating bachelor parties have to begin and end on a lascivious note. If you and your spouse-to-be are down with strippers or sex shows or three-day benders or eating sushi off of nude Asian women or whatever other naughty stuff you can think of, more power to you. But if you’d rather focus on bonding than babes or beefcake – depending on your personal tastes – give whoever you suspect is planning your bachelor party a few subtle or even not-so-subtle hints before he gets in touch with the “talent” at sites like

At some point, if you’re not really the strip club type and you think porno should be consumed solo if at all, you may find yourself up against a friend, brother, best man, or groomsman who argues that the traditional risqué bachelor party – and yes, it is a tradition that goes back quite a ways – is an established institution that should not be changed. Feel free to remind them that the tradition began as a dinner, not a bacchanal. It was a chance for men to feast with their closest comrades on the eve of a marriage…not as an easy opportunity to get in one last grope.

Excerpt: iDo: Planning Your Wedding With Nothing But Net

What, Exactly, Does the Best Man Actually Do?

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

Some grooms wonder why they need groomsmen and why they have to choose a best man. I mean, what’s he for, really? There’s that image in the back of most people’s minds of the wacky best man sobering the groom up after one last night of debauchery or the grown up best man having a stern pre-ceremony chat with the groom who has cold feet and even the sad best man who’d really like nothing more than to be marrying the bride himself. I suppose those are things some best men do, but pouring black coffee and pining away isn’t really the same as addressing invitations or choosing linens or whatever else many MOHs are expected to do.

Lucky bastards.

Some best men no doubt do get involved in the planning side of their friends’ weddings, but tradition still dictates that the individual standing immediately next to the groom has a fairly short list of responsibilities. If nothing else, the best man may be expected to get fitted for and acquire a tux, help transport stuff to the ceremony and reception sites, prod the groom into punctuality as necessary, sign the marriage license, hand out tips or vendor balances, and keep the rings safe until they’re on the appropriate fingers. He may even carry the groom’s emergency kit or run last-minute errands on the morning of the wedding. Easy stuff, all told. Well, except for the best man speech, which does set some men’s knees to knocking.

The best man is also often the go-to guy where the bachelor party is concerned, whether you’re talking about planning or paying. Be aware that his vision of the perfect pre-nuptial party may be very different than the groom-to-be’s vision of the perfect pre-nuptial party. The groom-to-be can prevent misunderstandings by dropping clear hints well in advance of the night or weekend set aside for this event. Picture the expression on the face of the poor best man who wants nothing more than to go camping with his soon-to-be married best pal but plans a sordid extravaganza involving strippers, whipped cream, caning, creepy clowns (like Ouchy from, donkeys, and a river of booze… when the groom-to-be finally admits he would have much rather spent a sedate weekend in the woods with his buds.

Image: Disaboom (check out the accompanying post!) Excerpt: iDo: Planning Your Wedding With Nothing But Net

The Groom’s Speech, What Huh?

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

The groom’s speech – yes, yet another in the long line of wedding speeches – is your opportunity to thank your wedding guests for honoring you with their presence, to thank your new spouse for all her or his hard work, and to give a shout out to all the people who helped you foot the bills. Your speech, if you plan to give one, usually happens after the FOB has had his say but before the BM grabs for the mic. You can wing it if you have a talent for freestyling, but the groom’s speech is almost always more impressive if you prepare ahead of time by making a mental list of all the people you should be thanking.

Who deserves an honorable mention? Consider paying your respects to the moms and the dads, your attendants including the littlest ones, your officiant, extended family you’re close to, guests who traveled very far, and all those who were unable to make it due to circumstances outside of their control… but try to avoid reciting a laundry list of thank yous.

If you want to do more than express your gratitude, you should really prep your speech ahead of time and memorize it. There’s nothing wrong with reading off a crumpled up slip of paper – which is how I read my vows! – but connecting with a crowd means making eye contact. Even though suggests opening with a snappy one-liner, what you’re aiming for here is sincerity and originality. Don’t get too funny or too sentimental – your family may think your re-enactment of your first date is hilarious, but your spouse’s family may not be used to your brand of humor. Personal anecdotes are good, and you can win major brownie points with your new in-laws by telling everyone how lucky you are to be married to your new mate.

You could pay someone to write the ultimate groom’s speech for you… the Internet is overflowing with automatic speech generators like and professional speechwriters looking to make a buck. Your guests probably won’t care, however, whether you recite a good canned speech or give an okay speech that comes from the heart. They’re there to support you, not to judge you. You shouldn’t talk on and on in the interest of making your speech a certain length – a minute or two of chatter is sufficient if you’ve gotten your point across. End with a one-sentence toast like, “To my beautiful bride!” or “To the families that were joined today!” and pass the mic on.

Excerpt: iDo: Planning Your Wedding With Nothing But Net

Grooms Get Classic: The Bow Tie

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Before I get to the meat of today’s post, I wanted to take a sec to tell you that all of the posts this week are going to focus on the groom and his concerns. Too many people still say that weddings are all about the bride and what the bride wants, but I think the groom should get to enjoy his wedding day just as much! Also, this week’s posts are going to include a lot of excerpts from my book iDo: Planning Your Wedding With Nothing But Net, which is a great resource for the busy bride who doesn’t have a lot of time to browse the shops.

Hey grooms, have you considered accessorizing your wedding day duds with a classic bow tie? They’re not just for waiters, magicians, and nerds, you know. But I understand that a lot of grooms (and groomsmen) find bow ties intimidating because, hey, how many guys know how to tie one?

If you’re a novice, you should know that bow ties come in two varieties, the bat wing and the thistle. The former model has parallel edges while the latter bulges twice at the ends, but the dissimilarities end there. You can use the same set of instructions to tie both varieties unless you happen to be tying the more unusual and much rarer single-ended variety of bow tie. Note: There are only handful of online shops that sell single-ended bow ties and no tying tutorials whatsoever that I could find in a quickie search. Should you accidentally buy this sort of bow tie, you may be able to solicit help from an older relative who remembers what to do with them.

If your rented tux happens to come with a clip-on bow tie – ewwwww – do yourself a favor and spring for a nice classic bow tie of your very own. Few people are capable of tying a bow tie these days, and your wedding day getup will be regarded as all the more impressive because you decided to put so much thought and effort into your attire.

Image: Unkommon Kolor, Excerpt: iDo: Planning Your Wedding With Nothing But Net