As wedding season approaches, concerned young brides-to-be are constantly stopping me, sometimes by leaping in front of my car, and saying: "Dave, my family does not have a lot of money, but I want to have a nice wedding. What can I do?"
I tell these brides-to-be, even though money is tight, you can still have a wonderful wedding, if you just sit down with your family and have a heart-to-heart talk about what a wedding is really all about -- things like commitment and caring and trust. Then you should rob a string of convenience stores.
Your goal is to obtain enough money to have a major, Godfather-style wedding, which is necessary to provide you with all the essential gifts you need to set up your new household. You'll find all of these items advertised in the 156-pound bridal magazines now collapsing the steel shelves of newsstands everywhere. These magazines contain helpful articles for brides ("Grooms: Should You Have One?") and hundreds of full-page glossy color advertisements. The message is that properly equipping a modern newlywed household is comparable, in terms of total hardware requirements, to Operation Desert Storm.
Consider just your kitchen and dining gift needs. I have here the April/May issue of Bride's magazine, which has a Wedding Registry Checklist that includes, among other things, 21 categories of dinnerware, 22 categories of flatware, 17 FTC categories of glassware (not to be confused with the 10 categories of barware), 24 categories of serving pieces/holloware and 34 categories of kitchenware.
I cannot overemphasize to you brides-to-be how essential it is for a household to have every single one of these wares. My wife and I have been married for 17 years, and hardly a day goes by in our household when we don't have a conversation like this:
Me: Dear, where are the lemon forks?
My wife: Formal or casual?
Me: Casual. I wish to probe a boil while watching "American Gladiators."
My wife: They are with the demitasse spoons, behind the finger bowls and the compote.
Me: What is a compote?
My wife: I have no idea, but I cannot imagine setting up a household without one.
So you must have a large wedding. And you must quit your job immediately so you can plan it. Planning a wedding properly takes longer than medical school, because the stakes are higher. If a doctor is trained improperly, the worst he or she can do is kill people, whereas an improperly planned wedding could result in a real disaster, such as the one that occurred at a recent wedding attended by a friend of mine named Cindy Seip, who swears this is true:
Everything went fine until it was time for the cutting of the cake. The problem was, there was no cake. A catering worker had dropped it earlier, and in Cindy's words, "it exploded." So the caterer had substituted a fake wedding cake, apparently a display model made out of a hard, plaster-like substance. The caterer's idea was that the bride and groom would just pretend to cut it, for the photos, and then the guests would be served some other cake.
When the groom found out about this, however, he became angry and started arguing with the caterer. Meanwhile the master of ceremonies, unaware of what was going on, was announcing that it was time for everybody to watch the happy couple cut the cake. So all the guests turned and looked just in time to see the groom pick up the fake cake, shout some bad words, and throw the cake at the caterer.
Wouldn't that be a fun reception icebreaker? Maybe the Cake Throw should bec0me a standard wedding tradition, like throwing rice, or making the bridesmaids wear pastel yellow dresses that make them look like giant Easter-candy chickens.
Speaking of traditions: the April/May issue of Modern Bride magazine has an article titled "Wedding Superstitions," which contains, I swear, the following statement:
"An old Scottish belief for good fortune: A bride should be met at the door after the wedding by her mother, who must then break a currant bun over her daughter's head."
I believe that this tradition sums up the very essence of the modern wedding. I would add that if the mother has no currant bun, she may, according to Miss Manners, use a compote.