Some thoughts for the young – and maybe the not so young groom – on the eve of getting married.
As one who has been there and done that, I offer some helpful hints that will guide you through the upcoming event. We might call these “The Jones’ Dozen Pronouncements on the Getting Married Experience.” But they are more likely….. “Dave’s Tips for Survival.”
1. Prepare to be bewildered. Prepare for a truly strange experince: one that you can’t wait to have over, but one that you will remember, and reflect back on, till the day you die.
2. Speak when you are spoken to. Say “I do” when someone tells you to say “I do.” Sign everything put in front of you. Don’t drive after the event as you have forgotten which side of the road to drive on.
3. Remember a key thing. This is the bride’s day. You may feel super important cause you have made a brilliant decision and look real nice in your outfit. This is not out of the ordinary. The bride is out of the ordinary.
4. Over the next little while you will be asked many questions and have to make many decisions – most of which will seem odd and obscure to you. You may be asked, for example, whether there will be a “bride’s side” and a “groom’s side.” Though you do not know it, this is one of the important decisions you have to make. People will talk about your (collective) decision for years afterwards. During the event itself, people will make polite conversation with you. Do not lauch into exhaustive reviews or observations. Do not offer opinions. Stick to the safe side: nod and grin a lot. It is about all you will be capable of. And nobody is expecting much more than that from you.
5. Nobody at weddings expects brilliance from the groom. But you must be able to say (and spell) the name of the Bride’s home town. And you must know that they are famous for something. And you must have a really good, simple, short – and highly diplomatic – explanation for why you are not going to live there.
6. You will learn a lot about genealogy. And why relatives matter. And also about an odd – and faintly amusing array of events, traditions and roles in the wedding event. They will appear strange to you. They are. Do not ask why there is dark and light cake. Do not ask where the garter goes. Do not giggle when someone asks where the nosegay is.
7. You will be introduced to all sorts of people who will tell you the most amazing incidentals, many from decades ago, and many involving people now deceased or moved to the other end of the country. Remember all of this. Take notes if you have to. You wil be tested from that day forward.
8. You will develop – whether you intend to or not – and whether you want it or not – a finely detailed sense of colour, proportion, placement and fixture (such as amazingly complex place settings involving six glasses and a dozen pieces of cutlery). This knowledge may be of use to you in later years. But likely not.
9. It may be that you have had some actual experience (and perhaps knowledge) of the above items. You may, for example, have worked as a head waiter in a large hotel or been a staff member for a wedding caterer. It will not be helpful to mention these sorts of things. Just remember to keep your hands folded in your lap.
10. You will be immersed in details and symbols that you likely paid scant attention to in your entire life. Both are – in the business to come – mission critical. They have no long term relevance to your life.
11. You will discover that the joke about getting multiple toasters as wedding gifts is not a joke. (Nor are the jokes that the toasters at dinner tell always funny). You will discover quaint practices – such as clinking glasses – that will annoy the hell out of you. Remember to keep your hands folded in your lap. Grin a lot.
12. Strangely – though you may not appreciate this – everyone wants the groom involved in the wedding. They are, after all, glad he showed up. They drove a long way and are looking forward to the eats. The fact is… weddings are way over a guy’s head. Pay attention during the rehersal – many mysteries will be conveyed and explained though you will not get most of it. The test of just how much your bride loves you is how much she protects you from stuff that she knows you don’t get, won’t get and will probably screw up given half a chance.
Finally, try to remain semi-conscious during the several days of the event as people will be periodically asking you, “Well wasn’t that great? Wasn’t that fun? You will need to know what they are asking you about. Chances are if you nod and grin a lot in answer to these queries you will not only give the right answer, but confirm to one and all that she must be marrying you for your money. (And that’s not a bad thing. Gloat. Even if you are in a state of utter poverty).
So, finally and in conclusion – make the most of it, Make the best of it. Have a dance. Eat some cake. Have a glass of wine or two. After all, this is supposed to be a happy event. Do what you can to help make it so.
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