Jun 29, 2006

Wedding: Who, What, When ...Where?

I'm getting married! I've got my Who, my What, and My When.
Now about the Where.

Larry and I have picked a day for our wedding. August 26. Yeah, in 2006. No, he's not pregnant, his eggs are too old. it's just that, to quote When Harry Met Sally, "when you realize who you want to spend the rest of your life with, you wnat the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."

We are two months away. Our friend Debbie pointed me to an online wedding Planning calendar

“12 months before the wedding…”

* Envision your wedding and draw up a budget.
* Assemble your "planning team.".
* Pick a wedding date and time.
* Look for and book ceremony and reception sites.

12 months before? 12 months ago I didn’t have groom!
“Hell, 12 months ago I didn’t believe you existed,” Larry laughed.

Well, we did exist. And even more miraculous, we found each other … no thanks to our mutual friends who never thought to introduce us. Because of your negligence, we’re now too old to bear children, and we are way behind on planning the wedding.

Seriously, though. We’ve got two months to go. Here are the things I should have done by now:

8-10 months before:
# Bride: Think about, shop for, and order your gown. (Did. Banana Republic)
# Envision reception food. (It's pot luck. Just come with chips)
# Decide what type of entertainment you want. A pianist for the cocktail hour, strolling violinists, a DJ, or band? (a cocktail hour? you kidding? What world do you live in? Music will be my ipod and speakers.)
# Think about your floral decor. (preferably alive)
# Research and book your wedding professionals. Interview vendors: photographer, videographer, reception band or DJ, florist. (wedding professionals? I hate them)
# Research a wedding insurance policy to protect your deposits. (insurance? Deposits? What's a deposit?)
# Research and reserve accommodations for out-of-town guests. (Woodland HIlls, you do the math)
# Register for gifts. uh, okay I can do that. Need sheets and towels.
# Contact rental companies if you need to rent anything for ceremony/reception, such as chairs, tables, and tent.

6-8 months before:
# Book ceremony musicians. ....
# Order bridesmaid dresses. ( oh gosh, bridesmaids. I gotta call my friend...)
# Start planning honeymoon. (Larry's domain)
# Send save-the-date cards. (everyone reading? Consider this your save-the-date card)

4-6 months before :

# Attend prewedding counseling, if required. (okay that we did. And on time!)
# Shop for and order invitations and wedding rings. (we did that on time)
# Shop for formalwear. (did that! Hey I'm feeling good)
# Envision your wedding cake and research, interview, and book a cake designer. (Mais oui. our pastry chef is Monsieur Costco.

3 months before : Order wedding cake. Attend your shower. (hey, friends!) Groom: Rent the men's formalwear. Hire wedding-day transport: limousines, other cars.

2 months before : # Mail your invitations. Write your vows. (I do, let's go) Purchase gifts for parents, attendants, and each other # Book your stylist and try out big-day hairstyles # Book a makeup artist and go for a trial run.

No wonder people elope.

Let's just start with 12 months before: planning a budget: I’ve already drawn up my budget: $128. And I spent it all on my wedding dress. I got it at Banana Republic. It’s a really pretty summer sun dress, has kind of an Audrey Hepburn air about it. I showed it to some friends and they smiled. “And if you find something else, you can always wear this for fun.”

Well, yeah, I’m wearing this dress for fun … to my wedding. It’s amazing the expectations people put on you on what your wedding should be. And it’s hard not to have your own emotion-charged feelings about what a wedding should look like or be.

I never really envisioned mine, except that it would be in a church and there would be a groom at the altar whom I felt excited to walk up the aisle toward. In my last relationship, I could never bring myself to envision the guy at the altar. (that should have been my first clue …)

Now Larry is here and I can see him at the altar waiting, and it feels so right and inevitable it’s like I can’t imaging it having ever been any one else up there. And, I can’t wait to run up the aisle and marry him!

But I haven’t envisioned what he’d be wearing. He saw a pair of groovy bell bottom jeans at a vintage store this past weekend. “I could go back and get those," he said today.

Uh. Wait a minute. Banana Republic, OK. patchworked, holey jeans from Wasteland, not OK. Or maybe it is OK? Just goes to show you all the expectations you can even put on your future spouse, when it comes to your wedding.

Here’s the biggest issue: But we don’t have an aisle yet. We have the Who (each other) the What (a wedding) a when (August 26) but not a where. Larry’s friend Doug has graciously offered us his back yard.

For the reception, OK, I said. But not a wedding. I want to get married in a church.

I’ve always wanted to get married in a church. But in a really beautiful church, with stained glass and high ceilings that an organ can fill up with majestic music, so I can walk up the aisle to Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring

But that vision alone will cost you at least a few grand. I went online to look for churches near Doug’s place, so it would be an easy commute from church to reception. Now, keep in mind the Woodland Hills area was settled and developed in the late 1950s through the 1970s. There ain’t no old school churches there. The churches were built between the 1950s and the 197os. You do the math. Cinder block structures, Trader Vic Tiki roof lines. James Bond meets Industrial Park. Depressing.

We thought about parks. Someone mentioned Serrania Avenue Park up in the foothills. But I went online and it’s also described as the Nanny park or the dog park. A dog park where owners let their dogs run free. You know where I’m going … away from Serrania Park. And anyway, if you figure renting the park location and renting chairs, and we gotta rent chairs and tables for doug’s barbecue … Maybe it's best to have the whole shebang at Doug's. that way we don't have to decorate two places. Maybe we WILL we’ll have it in our friend’s back yard. Larry’s got a small family, but mine is big. And together, our family of friends is big.

And then there’s money. If money were no object … I still wouldn't want to do all that wedding industry-generated stuff. I’m turned off by it. The wedding INDUSTRY is a billion-dollar industry. The average American wedding now costs over 26 grand.

When and how did this happen? I bet it really took off after Charles and Diana’s wedding was televised live all over the world. Know why we want the fairy tale wedding?

Marketing. It's the same reason women have convinced themselves that stiletto heels and pointy toed shoes are pretty. Marketing. Marketing sets up feelings of inadequacy and emotional hunger. It plays on your desires, even the legitimate ones, and twists it so you expect certain things.

Like the wedding dress: women go spend thousands of dollars on a dress. Why, because "in the olden days" a bride in polite society wore an expensive white dress. Right? Well but consider this: it was also customary that the bride wear that same dress e out in society for an entire year after her wedding. It was the bridal dress, so suitors wouldn't try to hit on her. IT's the same reason a widow was supposed to wear black for a year. . So next time you think about spending a few thousand dollars on a frock because ‘that’s what you’re supposed to do,’ ask if you'd want to wear it out to the movies or to Trader Joe’s or the Olive Garden. NO? Okay then.

My parents got married in 1947 at the Norwegian Seamen’s Lutheran church in San Pedro, California. Mom made her dress (and it was beautiful). They had a small ceremony with the family and a few friends. They had cake and punch in the reception hall afterward. And that was kind of it.

My sister and her husband got married right out of college. They had the wedding and reception at a church in Santa Barbara. We served cold cuts and carrot sticks with ranch dressing. I remember, because our motel room on State Street was cluttered with coleman coolers filled with ham and cheese. We were buttering rolls all night the night before. For anyone reading who attended Nancy and Phill’s wedding and got food poisoning, I am sorry for your loss.

So we want to do something simple. I want it to have beauty and meaning in it. Rituals are important. It’s important we celebrate the event. And paying some money to make it special is important. SO now we’ve got to figure out what makes a wedding feel special and beautiful? Well Larry cares about the reception, he wants to have a fun party with his friends to celebrate. I care about the ceremony, and want some beauty in it. SO I guess, he’ll do the reception, I’ll do the wedding. And we may do it all in Doug’s back yard.

I’m determined to never say, “let’s elope to Vegas.” We want our family and friends with us.

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