Whenever the spirit moves him, friend of Three tha Hard Way E4 will chime in with his thoughts from the depths of suburbia. Please enjoy in moderation:
Weddings rule. They do, and for many different reasons. Allow me to back up. I have yet to meet anyone as qualified to write this blog as myself. My wife and I have attended 52 Weddings in the past 8.5 years, and at one point 37 in 4 years (and in one year, 4 consecutive weekends in 4 different states!).
Why do we go to weddings? Well, really bad romantic comedies would lead us to believe we only go to weddings to show old flames what they are missing. Really boring people would tell you “I can’t wait to see how everyone is doing and tell them about what’s going on with me!!” Here’s a tip, NO ONE CARES!! The worst part of a wedding is the happy hour, when everyone fights for ‘air time’ to tell what is going on in their lives. If anyone was really that interested, they would have called you, or e-mailed you, or twitted you, or pony expressed you, long ago. If this is your goal, invest in pigeons and stay home or risk being remembered as “that guest.” If you tell people how awesome your life is, they think you’re lying. If you say how bad it is, you are downright depressing; and if you say “oh, same old thing, nothing special” then you are boring. The only way to save yourself is to get past this right away and start talking about the time you all got thrown out of Taco Bell. Reminiscing is perfectly acceptable because this could be a great time to remember some of the funniest times of your life which have been ‘magic erasered’ out of your history by time, or activity, or cranky spouses/dates (always best to arrange beforehand to run a rotation on cranky spouses, so as to give your friend a chance to be his/her-self and spend some time away from said spouse). If dates/spouses/others don’t enjoy the reminiscing, it is your fault for bringing them, and politely ask them to go wait in the car (your relationship will end, but it’ll make for a hell of a blog later!).
So again, why do we go to weddings? Because they represent a new chance, a new hope, and hope in your heart that is The One… look if you think I’m talking about the newfound bond of love for the couple you don’t know jack about me. No, I am talking about the hope that this is going to be “the greatest wedding of all time.” Every wedding has that chance, no matter how boring the couple, how bad the food or how bad the argument about how many times are appropriate to call home and check on the kids. This is true because no one person, event, element controls the overlaying awesome potential of a wedding. It’s kinda like the Super Bowl. No matter how big a favorite the 18-0 team is, it has to be won on the field. Well the awesomeness of the wedding has to be played out for those 4-6 hours before we ever know. Some weddings with the absolute worst prospects end up being the best for all the wrong reasons. Venture with me now…
What constitutes a good wedding?
Great question, you’re glad I asked it! Here it goes, good crowd, good times, awesome moments and a defining theme. Here’s the breakdown:
- Good Crowd: Big or small does not matter at all for weddings. I have been at ceremonies of both sizes that were boss and bogus (HELL YEAH I WROTE IT!!). Usually the crowds that work the best are the ones where it’s been a little while since they were together, but not too long; the comfort level is reached quickly and the guard comes down early. The crowd doesn’t even need to know each other provided they have easy personalities and common ground. If that common ground is “hey, we both have a 1-year-old, and mine has been walking for 2 months and can say 4 2-syllable words!!”, then it’s just not working. When one party feels comfortable enough to say “oh we have a 2 year old too… he’s in the coat closet” and it is received well, you’ve got a chance.
- Good Times: This is where it matters how quickly people get past “I’m an operating room assistant for the 4th largest hospital in Southern Iowa!!” to “That’s a great blazer, my grade school used that one too!!” Sometimes it takes a long time to get to the good times, sometimes it happens immediately. Rumor has it some weddings utilize the consumption of alcohol as a performance enhancer for good times. If you ever hear of this happening, it is imperative that you immediately write a strongly worded letter to someone who cares. Alcohol is nowhere near as necessary as you may feel… no really this isn’t me being sarcastic, I just feel… stop snickering, there’s no punch line, I’m serious damnit! Alcohol helps, but I’ve been to plenty of weddings where the good times flow before the good booze… and to some where it was bad booze (Yeah Pat, there is such a thing… lush) (Editor’s note – I, Pat O’D, do not drink alcohol but was once pulled over for suspected drunk driving. What happened was that I drove across three lanes on a deserted road to make a left turn. I passed all the sobriety tests and the cops let me go without a ticket, but they did ask my friends why we had a baseball bat in the car, to which we answered, “because we were playing baseball.” Which we were earlier that night. The cops were not amused – End note)
- Awesome moments: Not all awesome weddings have awesome moments, but it is so much better when they do. Most awesome moments are jaw droppers, and crowd stoppers. This can come in many forms, some good, some bad, but mostly bad. They can still qualify for “awesome” so long as you were in no way involved. There are the obvious ones (the cousins from West Virginia who are fighting over the 14 year old girl in the tube top… which is especially awesome if you realized the inevitable tomfoolery early in the evening and got to watch it play out, all the while providing play-by-play for your table). One of the key times for an awesome moment is the Best Man Speech. Why? Because it is done so poorly with such frequency that odds are, every 5th wedding will have a major gaff (I realized it has become PC for the Maid of Honor to give a speech too, but all too often this becomes boring tearfest that relives moments you would have hated to be at the first time, and have no idea why you’re being forced to relive it now… there have been a few good ones in my day, but very few). When giving this speech, you have 2 jobs, and 2 jobs only. Make the bride cry (for a good reason) and everyone else laugh. Accomplish these things in an orderly fashion, thank the parents and be on your way. Everyone will applaud, eat drink and be merry. This doesn’t always happen. Here are 2 such instances:
- The time the groom’s drunk brother mumbled in complete deadpan: “When I met Jen, I thought she’d be just another 2 week girl, but she got pregnant…. So…. I just want to say I love my brother… (starts drinking, WASP crowd in petrified shock)… (stops drinking looks around)… That’s it”
- The time the Maid of Honor called the groom’s daughter from a previous relationship “a major obstacle” that they have “had to overcome” while said 12 year old daughter was sitting at the sweetheart table with the couple (one of my favorite all time moments by the way. Somewhere there is a picture of her giving the speech, with the gaping crowd standing open-mouthed in shock, and me in the middle, grinning from ear to ear and toasting heartily). And yes, I absolutely referred to the daughter as “the obstacle” the rest of the night, often making quips like “watch out for the obstacle on the dance floor.”
- Defining Theme: there is a lot that goes into this and it is hard to control It can be a “young” wedding, a “loud” wedding, a “raucous” wedding, a “lllooooong” wedding, an “active” wedding and many more defining themes, many of which are unfit to print. The theme can be determined by the pace, by the food, by non-traditional activities, by the DJ, by the venue and more. The more it is mixed up, the better it usually is.
- **Special extra, as a fat guy I would be remiss if I didn’t say, although food quality is usually not a make-break proposition, it’s great when the food rocks (don’t ever go to a vegan wedding, or as I like to call it “Lucifer’s recruiting seminar”).
Wedding Etiquette (Quick Shots)
- How much should I give?
- Well, acceptable standards for gift giving is to give the amount that the dinner would have cost you and your date ($75 a head, you give $150). That’s crap. It always comes down to the same thing, you give the absolute most you can possibly afford, while giving the absolute least you can manage without seeming cheap in comparison to everyone else. It’s a cold hard truth.
- What about gifts?
- My wife loves to give Waterford Crystal at weddings. It’s “her thing”. Personally, I’m tired of arguing with her. Someone we don’t know gave us a crystal candy dish and she hasn’t stopped feeling “touched” by the gesture (they probably found it in a dead old woman’s attic). Of course, I can’t use that dish to subscribe to Sports Illustrated or to purchase a new snow blower. Whatever, moving on.
- How much time do I have to spend talking to people I’m not interested in hearing from?
- How should I go about trying to catch the bouquet or garter?
- Let’s cut to the chase, only a chick would ask that because men never try to catch it. We’re pissed off at the whole idea of it. So we’re only asking about the bouquet. The answer is.. Have at it! Go nuts, nothing bad can happen if you elbow the slut in the red dress who was creeping up on you… at least not as far as the men are concerned and maybe we would show a mild interest if we thought it would get physical. As far as men go, try not to hurt yourself when you dive out of the way (I have seen numerous times where the entire phalanx of men step back and away as the that damn thing goes airborne, followed by it landing on the floor and awkward glances back and forth for more than a moment before someone reluctantly picks if up like the roadkill your dog brought you). A fantastic theory is to stand in the back, push forward, reach up, and stuff it into some poor unsuspecting schlub’s pocket in one motion… all the better if the schlub brought a date who will be annoyed by this.
- Do I have to tip the bartender at an open bar?
- As an ex-bartender… HELL YES!! $1 per trip and if you get more than 2 drinks, an additional dollar for every 2 thereafter. You are drinking for free, only lonely people stay up there to talk to the bartender so the crowd sucks as far as they are concerned, and they need to make enough in tips so they can buy a new power tool without their wife knowing… sorry, flashbacks. Honey, I would never do that…. Unless you’re cool with it, in which case I saw this great belt sander at Home Depot….
- Do I have to tip the Valet too?
- Not if he spills bong water in your car, but yes if he spills it in your old rival/flame’s car (if you plan this with him in advance you may be able to do it for $10 and a cracker).
- Can I politely ask the camera man to stop hawking me every time I turn around?
- Just do something really inappropriate or return the favor by standing very close to him and staring at him intensely. If you make him uncomfortable enough, he’ll stay away.
- If I really want the center piece, what should I do?
- Make a show of spitting in it a few times and explain that you are having a real bad “snot thing” going on and there is no other place to do it. They won’t hand it to you, but it’ll be yours.
What happens when wedding paralysis sets in?
My sister has a friend who is getting married this fall. I would bet my second daughter that this particular friend has gotten married every fall for the last 6 years. I swear my sister has been planning the shower since my 8 year old was born. This is a fantastic idea, especially if you are the “wayward friend.” Plan your shower every year, and only invite those who didn’t come (think of it as a pyramid scheme, as soon as they agree to attend, take them off next years invite list). The ones who don’t come are the best because they will just blindly send stuff every year and wonder why you have registered for things like “Avatar” and “Scotts Turf Builder”.
So there it is, an experts insider guide to weddings. Drive safe and remember to tip the author.
Fare Thee Well