I've been with my girlfriend for 10 years. People kept asking me, "When are you going to marry that girl?" I enjoyed frustrating them all because I am a sadistic bastard that way. But the truth is it's because I knew arranging the wedding would be a big, giant, humongous pain in the ass. Gay porn stars have less pain.
Where to do it? A hotel. Which hotel? How about the Renaissance? "Oh, come on," barked one friend. "Ya gotta go with the William Penn." And so begins the endless second-guessing. Who's the best man? If you choose between brothers, you might offend the others. Same with friends.
Even the simplest details are excruciating. "What kind of chairs do you want at the reception?" Can't ya just put some chairs on the floor? No. You can have the plain chairs. Or, for a little more, you can have the plain chairs with fancy white sheets and bows thrown around them. For still more, you can have the really cool chairs.
Of course, the really cool chairs come in silver or mahogany. OK, I say: silver. But the wedding planner says mahogany might go better with the flowers. OK, I say: mahogany. But then I get paranoid. I actually experience angst, frustration and genuine paranoia over whether I've screwed up and ordered inferior chairs.
I call the hotel to change back to silver. The wedding planner is gone. "Can't you call her on the cell phone?" They do. It's not too late to change the order, she tells me.
I feel a deep sense of relief. Then I feel a deep depression. I've been totally sucked into the ridiculous American ritual of trying to get the wedding just right a vortex I swore I would not get sucked into again.
Band or DJ? I got both. People keep asking, "Why not just one or the other?" It's very simple, I explain: Bite me. I've made that decision, and I'm not going back. Because when you start second-guessing yourself, that's when the nightmares begin.
And weird things happen a few days before the wedding, all at once. People warned me. I'd forgotten about this from the first time. My fiancée's sister's boyfriend's visa expired; they almost didn't let him back in the country for the wedding. My granddaughter, the flower girl, decided to take scissors and cut her hair off a few days before the event. Now I've got little Charlie Manson for a flower girl. Somebody put a dent in my brand-new Corolla, so I could spend time in a body shop because I really didn't have enough on my plate.
My plate! What kind of plates? Do you want the silver chargers? What the fuck is a silver charger? I thought a silver charger was the card I use to put myself into eternal debt to pay for this freak show. Turns out it's actually a decorative plate that sits there for about 15 minutes before they take it away and start serving food. Do you want the gold or the silver? You know, if you choose the mahogany chairs, the gold might be better. Fucking shoot me.
What about the wedding hair? For the bride, we did three different practices with three different hair chicks. Three. And no, it wasn't Bridezilla who insisted on this. It was me, your crazy-ass Vox Pop correspondent, who had suddenly turned into the gayest of gay man wedding planners. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)
Then there are these guests who are friends, but one can't stand the other's girlfriend. So you can't sit them at the same table. Don't forget Mom's oxygen and wheelchair and portable chair-back-armrest thing. My brother gets to the airport at 4. The wedding's at 6. Will he make it? Who should announce the bride and groom? I don't fucking know. Where's Don Fucking Pardo? Tell the DJ to shut up and play the freaking music.
Three words. Next time, elope.