When it comes to weddings, there’s an old saying: Men have two jobs — to show up at the right place and on the right day. Wearing clean clothes? That’s a bonus. But it’s time for a brave whistle-blower to reveal what such brides-know-best propaganda as Say Yes to the Dress won’t tell you: The 21st-century male really, truly digs wedding planning.
For me, it started in childhood. Growing up in a big family, I understood — and liked — what a wedding was. It was a party where I got to wear fancy clothes, and there were presents and dancing, and the adults talked louder and louder as the night went on. Sometimes men fought, which was also pretty cool. I could already picture my own dream wedding: I had studied Sports Illustrated’s coverage of Wayne Gretzky’s wedding to Janet Jones and learned that you always marry a hot blond (more on her coming up). The seven-year-old me knew that whenever I got married, I was going to throw an epic party!
Girls (and boys) may dream of their big day, but this vision is something that morphs over time as we discover nice things like champagne and Vera Wang and Kurt Vonnegut. In the end, of course, we didn’t use the tactics that seemed totally wicked to my childhood self: arriving in a fire truck, choosing flower arrangements constructed entirely of Venus flytraps or booking Optimus Prime as our justice of the peace. (Thankfully, my fiancée, Sarah — I told you there was a hot blond in this story — refrained from insisting we come in a silver pumpkin-shaped stagecoach.) After all, we were grown-ups now, and our wedding was going to be a grown-up affair.
The big day was an awesome party — and I played a much larger role than just an end-of-the-aisle goalpost. Instead of the clichéd “Love is patient, love is kind” of 1 Corinthians 13, I decided that our ceremony would feature cynical ol’ Vonnegut’s “If this isn’t nice, what is?” As DJ and the unofficial soundtracker of our relationship, I took over the reception’s playlist. And since I was working as an editor at a design magazine, I masterminded the invitations, deciding that clever, smartly designed ones spoke to a bygone era of cool. Jay Gatsby wouldn’t have sent out frilly crepe paper (if, you know, things had worked out better with Daisy). He would have sent manly invites like the electric blue, band-poster-inspired ones — “The Making It Legal Tour: One Night Only!” — a designer friend created for me.
The best weddings are a delicate his-and-her amalgam of dreams. That’s why planning a wedding together is an excellent premarital exercise in give-and-take — even better than a high-stakes game of ‘strip go fish.’ What I learned, in both instances, is you have to pick your spots. If you feel confident, you can win without knowing everything.”
As the unofficial shutterbug of the relationship, Sarah was charged with creating a collaged guest book and finding our excellent photographer. And even though I was a bit hesitant when she decided I should wear a bespoke tuxedo vest, I followed her advice, and I’m now the proud owner of a perfectly fitting vest handmade by two old French tailors — that I’ll have to wear once a week until I’m 192 to make it worth the money. But Sarah loved it. See? I chose my battles.
Perhaps most illustrative of our unique equilibrium: We each prepared a party favour for our family and friends. I assembled a mix tape of our favourite love songs (Daft Punk, Broken Social Scene, the Beach Boys) and titled it “Wedding Jams.” Sarah’s contribution? Homemade blackberry jam, because, well, she really loves puns.
In the end, our wedding was the perfect 21st-century compromise — a hint of glass slipper, a bit of Gretzky. And we both managed to realize one wedding day dream that we’d each stubbornly clung to for years and years: making it legal with our perfect partner.
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