Our daughter Casey got engaged on Christmas day, and we now continue the ongoing saga of planning her wedding.
Since Casey wanted it to be in the fall, this put us on a condensed schedule, unless she meant fall of 2016. Evidently, planning a wedding is supposed to take longer than it took Apple to invent, produce, and distribute the iPhone, and they had to get China involved.
Only by taking this much time can the bride-to-be purchase multiple issues of bride magazines, each containing more pages than a Stephen King novel, and just as scary. Not only are there national bride magazines; it seems as though each state has its own bride magazine. This can only mean one thing: There are entirely too many people getting married.
Anyway, Casey instantly lamented that the scheduling planner on the website theknot.com was telling her she was already overdue on many of the planning steps. I suggested that there was still plenty of time to elope.
Meanwhile, it occurred to my wife Barbara and me that we haven’t felt this clueless since Casey was a newborn. We didn’t know the proper etiquette for anything. When do we talk to the groom’s parents? What do we say to them? Where do we draw the line on the invitation list? Whose availability do we have to take into account when choosing a date? What traditions do we need to observe to make relatives happy? How quickly and extensively will we be able to offend people?
And, most important of all, would Barb and Casey be able to arrange the day of their dreams without causing each other physical harm?
This, I’m told, is a cherished wedding tradition: mother and daughter engaging in a series of battles leading up to the big day. Barb and Casey had their first one almost immediately, managing to come to fisticuffs without even being in the same state. In the course of a phone call, there seems to have been an altercation about Saturday vs. Sunday weddings; which devolved into some sort of debate about Barb having input and Casey making the decisions; which deteriorated further into shouting about something or other (possibly some major offense that occurred 15 years ago); and which finally terminated with Casey issuing a virtual slap through the phone, which I didn’t think was possible, but then kids today know much more about using technology than we do.
Another time, there was a text tussle about the photo Casey had chosen to put on her wedding web page, which Barbara felt was unflattering and/or inappropriate. The photo is at left; I’ll let you, dear reader, decide which side of the crab debate you’re on while I incur my wife’s wrath for even using it in this post.
For my part, I tried not to get involved in any of these discussions. I may be clueless, but I’m not an idiot.
Anyway, it seemed like the logical first step in planning this thing would be to find a venue and get a date because, really, you can’t do much else before you do that, since the band, for instance, enjoys knowing when and where you want them to show up. So for the rest of the holiday break, Casey and Barbara mapped out a whirlwind tour of every conceivable wedding venue in our area, including some places, like The Bronx Zoo, that might not ordinarily come to mind when thinking about long, white gowns.
There are, of course, hundreds of places to hold weddings in the New York-Connecticut area, but Casey wanted something a tad out of the ordinary, and Barb and I wanted something that would cost a tad under the GNP of a small country.
We’ve been saving for this wedding (well, not this wedding specifically, but a wedding) since the day we stopped paying for Casey’s college and post-grad education which, I should point out, most financial advisors tell parents not to do. They tell you to let the kids fend for themselves and to put that money toward retirement. But we didn’t, because we wanted Casey to be able to start her grown-up life unencumbered by anything except her obsession with Doctor Who.
(At right is a photo of Casey with Arthur Darvill, an actor from the British TV show, whom she waited outside a Broadway theater to meet. I can’t imagine her smile was too much wider when her future husband Alex proposed.)
Okay, fine. So now we’ve got this money saved for a wedding, separate account and everything. And by most standards, it is a lot of money. In some parts of the country (although not ours), you could buy a house (or at least a condo) with this money. However you cannot, evidently, hold a wedding.
You see, the wedding industry is totally predicated on guilt and (please don’t hurt me, girls) the female gender’s occasional irrationality. Don’t get me wrong: in some things, like geopolitics, women can be much more clear-headed than men. But not in wedding economics.
I’m sorry. I love my daughter very much. But no sane person would spend so much money on one friggin’ night!
Unfortunately, I have already handed the keys to the asylum to the inmates. And, really, what would we do with a nice retirement anyway?
And so, as Barb was leaving the house to meet Casey for their first day of site-shopping, I checked the account balance again and called, “Have fun!”
And then I felt it necessary to add, “Try not to kill each other!”
See you soon.