November 29, 2009

Wedding HQ

Everything you know is still wrong. And everything you think is yours no longer belongs to you.

At a certain point in the process, your home stops being your home and instead becomes a fully functioning wedding headquarters, a place where women conjugate, drink coffee, skim magazines, watch movies, gather around computers, pencil sketch and gasp at things.

You pay rent, but that's meaningless.

Since the engagement, what was once a Friday or Saturday night ritual (formerly known as "girls night") now occurs on any given Sunday afternoon or early Wednesday morning. Time is no longer a concern; after all, online bridesmaid dress shopping is open 24/7.

Lucky me that 2E's bridesmaids happen to be three very close friends of mine, and I can't think of anyone else I'd rather invade my space.

Inspiration #44

November 28, 2009

A day in the life of a Groom: G-DAY

the 28th of november, 2009: everything you know is wrong
In the film version of our gift registry day (played exquisitely by Patrick Dempsey and Isla Fisher), 2E's and I would stroll into the crisp, white Crate & Barrel at the open-air mall at the crack of dawn, arm in arm, hand in hand, both hands holding Starbucks' signature Peppermint cafe mochas. And when the cheery employee creates our account and presents us with the scanner, 2E's and I begin our 1-hour frolic through the store. With fresh eyes, open minds and respect for each other's opinions, we stroll through each section -- kitchen, office, furnishings -- scanning whatever piques our interest, no matter the cost, no matter the size, no matter how it all comes together. What matters is that we love each other and that we have this wonderful day to spend together.

Grooms, In the film real version of our gift registry day (played exquisitely by Patrick Dempsey and Isla Fisher), 2E's and I stroll into the small, overcrowded Crate & Barrel 2 at the open-air that hole-in-the-mall at 11:45am, arm in arm, hand in hand, yearning for my Starbucks' signature Peppermint cafe mocha. And when the cheery employee creates our account and presents us with the scanner, 2E's and I begin our 4 1/2-hour campaign through the store(s). With fresh eyes, open minds and respect for each other's opinions, we crawl through each poorly delineated section, scanning whatever piques our interest, no matter the cost, no matter the size, no matter how it all comes together. What matters is that we love each other and that we have this wonderful day together must get this thing right on the FIRST TRY.  

Grooms ... be forewarned. Everything you know is wrong.


Before we even leave the house, 2E's asks that we sit for a bit and go through Crate & Barrel's official gift registry checklist. Using a highlighter, pen, circles, underlines, check marks, X marks and question marks, we differentiate those things we have, those things we have but want to replace, things we don't have, things we don't have but can wait on, things we don't have but don't want and things that sound vaguely familiar but honestly we have no idea what they are.

1E: Hmm, what's a springform pan for?
2E's: I don't know. What the heck's a cruet?
1E: I don't know. But apparently they should both be in our kitchen.
2E's: Well classify them as read, highlight them and then add the double question mark so we know we're unsure about them and need to ask a sales associate.


We make it to the CB2 on Sunset, hoping that the parking validation will cover the next three hours. Overall we're optimistic, partly thanks to the pep talk we gave each other in the car. We announce our arrival, plug in our info with the touchscreen monitor and, last but not least, get the gun. The gun is like that remote control that you misplaced years ago ... the one that wandered away from home, found a popular home decor chain store and acquired the power to give people free things (or at least the illusion of them).


We choose a corner near the entrance and begin there, considering anything and everything with a scan-able tag or SKU number. As we go, we learn to avoid:

1. seasonal items - no decorative, mesh Christmas balls for us
2. firm couches and chairs
3. glasses that look like candlesticks
4. candlesticks that look like glasses
5. candlesticks altogether
6. leather


2E's has become a whiz with the scanner. Distractions like hunger, exhaustion and my feelings don't bother her anymore. She's on a roll and shan't be stopped.

We learn to change our mind quickly and unapologetically -- swapping round, eggshell, 8" plates for square, true white, 10" plates. Toasters for toaster ovens. Soup trays for soup tureens. We wear warpaint and intimidate the bone china. We're determined, people.

We learn too that the salespeople hate us. We have tons of questions about what this thing does or what other colors does this come in or is this Toothbrush Holder dude (left) actually designed to hold my toothbrush in his crotch ... ? ... but we never decide, never set anything aside and certainly never buy anything. We're just junkies, and all we do is scan, scan, scan, scan, scan, scan.


Tired of discussing "real" things, 2E's and I find comfort in the absurd. We spend far too much time admiring plates that feature small, monster-like pencil children chewing on things. For a minute 2E's is convinced that they're cute, but when we ask the saleswoman standing nearby if they are in fact cute, she says Of course they're not and huffs and storms off into Seasonal.

(Later we find that all of the employees moved to the Seasonal section because they knew we were avoiding it and therefore they would not be bothered.)


My stomach is growling but 2E's is anything but through. We have the Everyday Dinnerware, the Drinkware and the Serving/Entertaining-ware. We have a dining room table and chairs to match and even a carafe in the off-chance that we ever decide to grow our own orange trees and squeeze our own oranges.

And it's right then, carafe/decanter in hand, that 2E's makes the most startling, hair-raising discovery of the day:

2E's: Oh my god. This place doesn't have a Kitchen section.
1E: Whaaaat? You've scanned your brain one too many times.
2E's: Where's the cookware??
1E: Right there! (pointing to the 10' x 20' area where I swear we spent the last 45 minutes)
2E's: No! Cookware! Bakeware! Pans, pots, knives, woks, mixing bowls, baking sheets, colanders, corkscrews, cruets...!
1E: You don't even know what a cruet is.
2E's: I wouldn't know ... I haven't seen one!


And so, after asking the last remaining salesman on the floor who hasn't scurried off to tidy up the holiday bedsheets, 2E's confirms her suspicion that this CB2 has a 2 at the end for a reason. Cause the place is 2 darn small to hold everything in a CB1.

(And perhaps because they have 2 sets of those ne'er before seen pencil children appetizer plates. See pencil elf child riding a wine cork reindeer at right.)


Turns out it doesn't matter what you know or don't know, right or wrong. Either way, you're still going to wind up at the actual Crate & Barrel (and not its catchy-named subsidiary) at that very popular open-air mall on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

I convince 2E's to stop for a power lunch. She uses the time to re-strategize while I use the time to recharge with soft drinks and all white meat chicken.


Stepping into the 2-story Crate & Barrel is like a bad case of deja vu, only on a much larger scale and with far too many employees to squeeze into the Seasonal section.

Luckily, I can stay active with the following tasks (a) choosing the manliest knife block set, (b) choosing the manliest cookware set, (c) chasing the man handing out the CB Peppermint Bark samples, (d) rejecting ugly rugs, and (e) chasing the man handing out the new CB Holiday Smores samples.
    I feel reinvigorated. Sure, there are more people here but I can admit to myself that they are a weaker subset of people and, naturally, I feel stronger and more alive. And the reason? We've done this before! Sure, it was less than an hour ago but no one has to know that. And if ever I feel myself backtracking or going to that dark place, 2E's just zaps me in the eyes and sets me back on course.


    Three hours have passed since our arrival. The sun is down; the moon is nearly up; and there's a jolly old actor sitting on the throne on the patch of grass between here and the Baby Gap, posing for pictures as children hop onto his lap.

    And it's only then, as we stroll back to the parking garage, when I'm on the high of having accomplished something (and partly buzzed from my cafe mocha), that 2E's tells me that we're almost done.

    1E: Almost?
    2E's: All we have to do is register at Target and then we're done.

    And so I do what any groom would do. I take a deep breath. I nod. And I smile.

    (And when 2E's dips into the Abercrombie to use their restroom, I run over to the Santa display, yank all the boys out of the line, pull them aside and say, "You won't understand this now -- and I won't even get into the whole Santa thing -- but believe me when I say, Everything you know is wrong.")

    Inspiration #43

    November 27, 2009

    Groom Points: The Scorecard

    Men need lists.

    It's something I learned from my father. He never goes anywhere to buy anything without a list containing precisely those things he needs. Even if it's a post-it note with a single item, he still folds it and pockets it. To go in there empty-handed would result in disaster.

    And so, after receiving such a warm response from the Groom Points post, I thought it only appropriate to create a Groom Points Tracker -- a scorecard with which men can keep an accurate account of the points they've earned through chores, favors and deliberate purchases.

    Groom and boyfriends alike - this is for you. Brides and girlfriends - you've been warned.

    Copyright The Groom Says © 2009

    November 26, 2009

    Interview Series #3: Suneel

    If there's one thing Suneel is thankful for, it's surviving that historic, hectic, New York summer of 2009. The unprecedented heat. The economy in turmoil. More Disney on Broadway. 

    Oh, yes ... and the planning. 

    2E's and I had the pleasure of attending Lauren and Suneel's wedding this past October at the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx. And as we sat there watching the events unfold, I thought, how on earth did they get this shindig together in 4 months and change?? It takes 2E's and I four months to decide where to go to dinner.

    So, in true groom fashion, I thought I'd ask the cool, collected man behind the curtain, find out what he's thankful for on this post-wedding Thanksgiving and see if things were as smooth behind-the-scenes as they seemed from my chiavari chair. 

    Well, to throw you some industry terminology, it's a merger of equals. With strong balance sheets and low leverage. And great cash flow.

    I'm just a hopeless romantic. I knew she'd love it.

    Nope, no special assignments ... but there was a lot of collaboration on various elements.

    Indeed. Everything was thoroughly vetted by both parties.

    No communication.

    Complete radio silence.

    Obviously there was a contingency plan but we were hoping for a dry afternoon. No regrets though. It was just as nice inside as it would have been outside. And it's a good omen, apparently.

    Bowtie. Without a doubt. It's classic.

    Investment advice has always been free, and they never take it. So I decided on cigars, which they never got because there was just way too much going on.

    Going to the grocery store with my wife and picking up two weeks worth of groceries. 

    (A) Keep a confident face even though everything is falling apart, and (B) it's good to be married. Highly recommended.


    Engagement portrait by Megyn Barroner Photography
     Reception photography by Joanna Wilson Photography

    November 23, 2009

    Groom Points

    A good friend confided in me last night over wine and charcuterie:

    "Madman, I'm lost. I've been working on accumulating some boyfriend points, but how do I get them? What can I redeem them for? Where do I store them?  What does it all mean?"

    I assuaged the friend, suggested he eat his troubles -- the pig ear Terrine seemed the most troubling -- and told him I'd have his answers by morning. Gladly, I present those answers:

    How do I get them

    Groom (and, similarly, Boyfriend) Points are not unlike American Express Rewards credits: you get them for spending money.

    Yes, the best way to earn points is by buying your bride (or wife, or girlfriend) things that she wouldn't buy herself. Flowers are the perfect example. And flowers earn you one point per day that they survive, so you want to be sure to cut the stems, extract dead petals and replace the water daily. Here are some other examples:
    • Groceries - 3 points
    • Movie - 5 points (double the points for romantic comedies, triple for period pieces)
    • Spa treatment - 10 points
    • Dinner - earns you as many points as you tip, so tip generously 
    Alternatively, earn single points for household chores, such as washing dishes, washing the car or washing yourself.

    Yes - bathing earns you a single point. It's good to be a man.

    What can I redeem them for

    Now, unlike AMEX Rewards, you can't use your accumulated points to buy stereo equipment or Best Buy gift cards. And unlike AT&T, your Points don't rollover. Boyfriend Points expire annually. Groom Points, monthly.

    What the points can be redeemed for is lenience.

    GF: "I think you should read the Twilight series, and then we can talk about it and see the movies together..."
    BF: "Ooo. I don't know. I really want to put my spare time into repainting the bathroom."

    See ... crisis diverted.

    Bride: "Let's go to that vegan bistro for brunch!"
    Groom: "Are you crazy? I'm still stuffed from that salmon I caught, killed and poached for you last night."

    Again ... disaster delayed. Groom Points aren't currency. They're more like notches on a choke collar. The more points you have, the looser the collar.

    Where do I store them

    I keep a tally of my points with me at all times. Occasionally you'll forget that time you called her mother, or that hour you spent with your bride admiring old photos and scrapbooking memories.

    Word on the street is that a Groom Points app will be available before Christmas. I've never wanted to give myself a Christmas present so bad.

    What does it all mean

    Well, what it means is that we can all live in harmony, really. What it means is that men and women CAN cohabitate. And most importantly, what it means is that I can still have my monthly Maxim magazine subscription and not have to apologize for it.

    (p.s. perpetual laundry duty = 1 monthly subscription, pending approval)


    Inspiration #41

    November 21, 2009

    O Yes

    Forget the local paper. Screw the New York Times. We're going straight to Oprah.

    No, it's not a wedding announcement, per se. But the fact that it's happening in the midst of our engagement bumps 2E's excitement level up to 13. Out of 10.

    You heard it here ... my bride-to-be is being featured in Oprah Winfrey's consonant-free, monosyllabic, uni-letter-al magazine, O, in an issue that hits newsstands I have no idea when. 2e's is being honored not only for her role as an independent, female business owner but also for having the most cluttered workstation in the Los Angeles area. And that includes Orange County. Eek.

    This should come as no surprise. I mean, planning a wedding alone is enough to leave your desk in a constant state of disarray. Currently our makeshift workstation is supporting a thousand post-it notes from a thousand phone calls with a thousand different vendors, along with quotes, contracts and agreements, reminders, "inspiration," magazines, magazine subscription forms and a handful of unidentifiable "stuff."

    But it's not only the wedding -- 2E's and I both have our day jobs, both have our acting careers, and on top of it our joint photography business. Depending on what's on the top of the pile, we're entirely different people.

    I imagine 2E's will sneak it into the interview -- the fact that she'll be an honest woman come October next year. And that I'll be an honest man. And that, if the readers of the vowel-loving O Magazine happen to read this here blog, they should remind themselves that only about 20% of what I write is honest. Honestly.

    Inspiration #40: from the FOB

    A program from 2E's high school production of NO EXIT:

    November 20, 2009

    Got My Tips Done

    I found the following tips online -- a few guidelines for the uninformed groom. Watch how I own this list:

    Have an Opinion

    This is your wedding too, so get in on the planning. You don't have to wax poetic on the difference between lilies and daises for the bridesmaid bouquets, but give your opinion on the major planning points.

    An opinion? As in an online journal on which I catalog our ups and downs and "wax poetic" about chores, tradition and to-do lists? Consider it done. 

    Relish Your Wedding Registry

    It may seem like a tedious task, but think about it. You get to wander around a store, picking things you want that someone will buy you -- you can't beat that. Consider home electronics, power tools and camping gear.

    Camping gear? I'm lightyears ahead of you. 

    As part of our planning process, 2E's and I will be designing our dream house -- the all-white cliffside home on the Meditteranean that we've always wanted -- and we'll be incorporating all of our dream house furniture into our wedding registry. Floating pool table here we come.

    Don't Be a Pushover -- Really

    She wants to register for a yellow comforter with little pink flowers ... see if you can meet her halfway.

    Yeah, halfway. Instead of yellow - mahogany. Instead of comforter - floating pool table. Instead of pink flowers - beer koozies.

    Give Her a Break

    Give her a night to relax and cook her dinner, do the dishes, rent her favorite movie (yes, even a chick flick), and remind her why wedding planning is worth the stress.

    Better yet, I've developed a point system. I earn Groom Points (more on this later) for good deeds. A perfect example: 2E's will be dragging me to New Moon before the end of the weekend. That's like 25 Groom Points. That buys me an entire week.

    Be a Buffer

    If your mom is calling your fiance every hour to talk about the wedding, you run the risk of major family conflict, with you stuck in the middle. Your mission: Keep the peace.

    I'm fortunate enough to have the most supportive Groom Mom ever. She's also a huge 2E's fan. In fact, the only reason she calls 2E's these days is to apologize for my behavior, which she generally assumes is inappropriate.

    (And right she is.)

    Get Some Help

    Has your fiance really hit the wall? Suggest hiring a planner for the day of your wedding.

    Wedding planner, huh? I would want someone very authoritative. Like Chandra Wilson from Grey's Anatomy. Or Vincent D'Onofrio. He would really spice things up.

    Manage Your Men

    Your guys don't have to be saints, but they will have responsibilities, and it's your job to make sure they know what they are.

    No worries. We've already shipped our entire wedding party -- groomsmen and bridesmaids alike -- off to boot camp. They'll return from Iraq just in time for the wedding.

    Speaking of which, strike D'Onofrio. We're getting R. Lee Ermey from Full Metal Jacket (photo left). That would be one disturbing but error-free wedding. "I now pronounce you husband and wife. Now drop and give me twenty, scumbags."


    Inspiration #39

    November 19, 2009

    (Insert Clever Title Here)

    Photoshop and I are pretty close these days. First the Save the Date. Now the official wedding website. Microsoft Word is jea-lous.

    Yes, 2E’s has given me two new tasks now that the STD (eek) is complete: (1) design our wedding website and (2) don’t screw it up. Again I feel like this is something I can actually accomplish – as opposed to choosing envelope colors, which rings of torture.

    2E’s and I briefly considered a template website – you know, something where they give you a background like this…

    …and then you plug in your date, names, faces and all the other places where it reads INSERT HERE. Some will give you a free survey or a free quiz simply for purchasing a year of hosting.

    This website is…
    (a) better than expected
    (b) what you expected
    (c) less than you expected
    (d) pure dung

    I tease, but I’m sure creating a website can be daunting for most couples. Templates offer ease, reliability and (best of all) affordability. For us – being that 2E's and I are both design-oriented people – it felt very unlike us to plug in our personal info and see our smiling faces appear over a winter wonderland or bamboo shoot backdrop.

    Some brides and grooms are all about the "template wedding." Look at the roadside Vegas wedding chapels, or the Albertson Wedding Chapel (less than 1,500 feet from our LA apartment), or any one of the myriad of luxury destination hotels all over the world. Give them the date, your ring sizes and two of your favorite colors (that last detail is optional), and they’ll do the rest. You need only show up. They'll provide guests. For an additional X amount, they'll even provide a day-of mother of the bride. There are literally thousands of weddings waiting to be had in every corner of the globe.

    Even this blog is a template. It’s true. I gave it a name and a title and it does the rest. Half of the time I don’t even write this stuff. I wake up to a new post. It’s kind of like Christmas.

    But despite the ease, despite the affordability, our quirky, do-it-yourself wedding should match our quirky, DIY website. And when the only alternative is deciding between metallic or non-metallic envelopes, you better believe I'm going to drag this out as long as possible.

    November 16, 2009


    Jeanine and Joe were so impressed by the KFC, Monopoly and Martha Stewart ankle bracelet-inspired weddings that the couple has asked me to construct a design scheme for their own wedding. Joe is a firefighter, Jeanine is a librarian ... What Would the Groom Do?

    1. Well, some designers like to dress up a ceremony venue with drapery. Except in this case, rather than using sheer fabric, we'll use industry-standard, 75' red and yellow fire hoses, strung from wall to wall. They may want to line the aisle with life-sized hydrants, with red and yellow gerber daisies projecting from their outlet nozzles. All of this can happen on the main floor of Joe's station house or at that warehouse across the tracks that nearly burned down last week. Designers call that "shabby chic."

    2. For the escort cards, we reach back into our childhood and consult the Dewey Decimal system (see left). Each guest would be assigned a book that fits their profile -- Eat, Pray, Love for the mother of the bride; John's Madden's Heroes of Football for Joe's dad, and Fear and Loathing for Jeanine's odd, oath-of-silence taking, not-yet-with-it younger brother.

    3. As a metaphor for their union, the centerpieces will be inspired by Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury's futuristic tale of censorship and the burning of books. Jeanine will check out her favorite 100 novels, biographies and reference books (about 10 per table), stack them asymmetrically in the center and surround the pile with clear votives and glass hurricanes. Should the books actually catch fire, god knows there'll be enough of Joe's colleagues in the room to manage the blaze.

    4. Where this reception is really going to shine is the almost too-appropriate musical selection. While it might make the men in yellow cringe, the guests will go nuts for these hits:

    Talking Heads' Burning Down the House
    Earth, Wind & Fire's Serpentine Fire
    Elvis Presley's Burning Love
    50 Cent's Get It Hot
    Jerry Lee Lewis' Great Balls of Fire
    Jimi Hendrix's Fire
    The Pointer Sisters' Fire
    Red Hot Chili Peppers' Fire
    Ozzy Osbourne's Fire
    U2's Fire
    Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's Fire
    and, of course...
    Jimmy Buffett's Love in the Library

    5. The newlyweds have some leeway with the wedding favors. Library cards. Firehouse calendars. Whatever fits the crowd. Either way, the new couple will be hosed down as they exit the reception and hop onto their getaway vintage fire truck, decorated with Just Married lettering with a Class D extinguisher.

    Joe and Jeanine -- You're welcome. Send us some photos. 

    P.S. A big congrats to our friends Lindsay and Steve who tied the knot this past weekend in New Hope, PA!

    Inspiration #38

    November 15, 2009

    Five Steps to Better Grooming

    1. Make Grooming as Enjoyable as Possible—For the Both of You!

    Grooming sessions should be fun, so be sure to schedule them when your groom is relaxed, especially if he’s the excitable type. Perhaps put on some music -- something light and fun. At the beginning, be sure to keep the sessions short (5 to 10 minutes), and then gradually lengthen the time until it becomes routine. This way your groom can get comfortable with being handled.

    2. Brushing

    Regular grooming with a brush or comb will help remove dirt and keep his skin clean and irritant-free. Grooming time’s also a great time to check for fleas and flea dirt. If your groom has a smooth, short coat (like that of a Justin Timberlake), you only need to brush once a week. If he has a long, luxurious coat (such as that of a Johnny Depp), he’ll need daily attention.

    3. Bathing

    The ASPCA recommends bathing your groom every 3 months or so; your groom may require more frequent baths in the summertime if he spends lots of time outdoors. Always use a mild, tear-free shampoo and follow these easy steps: (a) use a rubber bath mat; (b) use a spray hose to thoroughly wet your groom; (c) gently massage in shampoo; (d) and finally, dry him with a blow dryer but carefully monitor the level of heat. You may also want to close off all escape routes to avoid chasing a wet groom around the couch.

    Please note: Some grooms seem to think that bathtime is a perfect time to act goofy. Younger grooms especially will wiggle and bounce all over the place while you try to brush them, and tend to nip at bathtime. If this sounds like your groom, put a toy that floats in the tub so he has something to focus on.

    4. Nail Clipping

    Most people really don’t handle their groom’s feet until they are about to clip the nails and then … watch out! Some grooms can get very upset at this totally foreign feeling. Gently press each individual toe—and be sure to give him lots of praise and
    some treats (see right) as you do this.

    5. Special Breeds, Special Needs

    Grooms with loose facial skin or wrinkles—such as Robert Redfords—will need special attention. To prevent irritation and infection, clean the folds with damp cotton.

    If your groom has long or droopy ears, check them weekly. You may need to remove any excess hair leading into the ear canal. There are special hair removers that allow you to carefully pull one strand at a time.

    And finally...’s one of our most important tips of all—pile on the praise and offer your groom a treat when the session is finished! A clean groom is a happy groom. And a happy groom makes for a better pet.

    November 14, 2009


    2E's loves jars. I've found that this is something all women have in common. Thanks to Restoration Crate & Pottery Barrel, women will gladly collect anything if there's a jar to showcase it.

    So when I say that she and I have been keeping a Honeymoon Jar in the kitchen ... I should further explain that there was a jar on super sale at Ross (2E's thought Ross was gRoss before she learned of unfathomable discounts) and this particular sea green tinted jar just happened to be most fitting for loose change.

    2E's and I are supposedly donating five dollars to the jar five days out of the week ... at least. And yet, after counting out our bills this evening and doing some basic arithmetic, we realized that we haven't been meeting our weekly quota. Not even close. I also have a few IOUs in there that I'd forgotten about entirely. Nonetheless, there is a pile of money sitting on our countertop. It's tempting to grab all the cash and run out to Red Lobster for peak snow crab season.

    The idea is to build up a big chunk-o-money by October of next year, pay for our entire honeymoon week with this pocket change and, between now and then, hide the jar when strangers and acquaintances come to visit. It's not that we're distrusting of others. We just don't trust ourselves. We'd probably take from a tall sea green glass vase full of cash if we happened upon one.

    The procrastinator in me predicts my future. Months from now ... say, September ... I see myself dropping 10s, 20s, perhaps even whole paychecks into the jar to make up for evading the daily deposit. That, or I'll stage a robbery.

    "Boy, he must have been in a hurry ... he only grabbed the honeymoon jar. Boy. Wow. Humph."

    Readers - you need not say a word. I know. The robbery is much more realistic.

    Inspiration #37: On the Front Door

    November 13, 2009

    (A)Typical Groom

    Dear Readers,

    Please forgive the respite. I've been doing some grooming this past week and thus have neglected my posts. For instance, I was out late grooming some beers with some buds the other night. When I awoke late the next morning, I groomed a bit on the couch, groomed on Facebook and groomed The Office on Hulu while grooming a homemade salami sandwich. I feel revived. And well-groomed.

    Meanwhile, three days out of the week, 2E's has been setting the bedside alarm for 5:30 AM to participate in these crack-o-dawn training sessions in West Hollywood. Of course, this new activity is partly for her health and well-being but primarily in prep for the big day. Do a quick Google search and you'll find there are as many discussion boards titled "fitting into the dress" as there are Charlie Bit My Finger views. Should she keep on this regimen, 2E's will no doubt be the fittest, healthiest, most 6-packed bride on that side of the Mississippi.

    Now ... 2E's and I have never been a traditional couple. We're the most nontraditional straight Caucasian couple you've ever met. While she was doing lunges and running uphill sprints this morning, I was washing the dishes and running two loads of laundry. In other words, we're not the run of the mill bride and groom you'd expect to find in a book like this:

    First of all, (1) I'm a good inch shorter than my blushing bride (unlike the groom pictured above), and (2) I don't look good in an off-white tux. Yes ... I've learned to deal.

    So when 2E's returned from training, strutting about the apartment, glowing not only from sweat but from the feeling of accomplishment and self-improvement and totally rubbing it in -- I decided I'd had enough grooming. It was time to take action.

     I've taped a DO NOT list to the inside of the front door, remembering that my cold turkey diets have produced the best results. Beneath the words DO NOT is a list of my favorite things. It's a cruel list. And the fact that I've taped it to the front door makes me a cruel person. Beside the DO NOT list is a picture of Patrick Dempsey in a sharp, Versace stroller jacket. While cosmetic surgery may be out of the question -- while I may not have his immaculate bone structure, wavy hair or assertive manliness -- he does give me encouragement to get on the right track.

    And 2E's will no doubt enjoy kissing Patrick goodbye each morning as she departs for her ungodly 6:00 AM training hour.

    Tomorrow I'll begin Groom Fitness Cruelty Training, hunting down discussion boards titled "fitting into the tux." Tonight, after I cook dinner, I imagine I'll be dustbuster-ing the kitchen.

    November 9, 2009

    2 Steps Forward

    It was bound to happen. The wedding industry and all of its lovely inhabitants had been unfairly generous until this point. The skies had no doubt been clear for too long.

    This morning we learned that the photographer who'd offered to shoot our wedding free of charge (minus expenses) has booked the day that we'd previously decided upon. The reason -- well, let's go with "miscommunication."

    Yeah. That'll do.

    This year-long journey wouldn't be complete without its trials and tribulations, and we're blessed in that this is the first we've encountered. And every woman who has ever worn that sacred dress -- every one of them who is reading this entry -- is nodding along and saying, "The first of many." And every man who has worn that sacred vest is shrugging their shoulders and adding, "So? Get over it. Find a new one."

    So that's what we're going to do: Get over it. Find a new one.

    Thanks for the moral support, gentlemen.

    November 7, 2009


    The details of the first wedding I ever attended are a blur at best. A distant cousin; walking in late to a 2-hour ceremonial mass; and the whole thing in Spanish. You might say that my first sneak peek at the wedding ritual was less than impressive.

    It's bizarre, the little things we recall from a singular event on any given Saturday. My sister's wedding -- I remember my brother and I lighting the candles that lined the pews; the white Rolls Royce that carried them out of the church parking lot; the caesar salad with anchovies; seeing both my dad and my grandfather dance for the first time; and the Miami Heat players who were shacking up in the same hotel.

    Years later, my brother's wedding -- running errands with him that morning; the impending rain that never came; me fudging up the "breaking of the glass" tradition when I set the glass rim-down; the vintage Coca-Cola bottle escort cards; and the handmade chuppa quilt draped behind the couple, pieced together from cotton squares designed by select family and relatives.

    And between then and now -- with all the weddings I've attended and photographed over the years -- there have been thousands of visual remembrances, both familiar and unfamiliar, both those I admired (sirloin sliders made very possibly by god himself) and those I wish I could forget (a fifty-year-old keyboardist singing skewed Billy Joel tunes). It makes you wonder what kind of impression you'll leave, almost legitimizing all of the hair-pulling, the dotting of i's and crossing of t's. It's enough to make a decision like white or ivory pillar candles actually seem significant.

    (The choice is ivory, by the way.)

    But to paraphrase my man Donny, after working 10 or 20 hours per week for 60-something weeks to craft an evening that is anything but forgettable, you can't forget to appreciate it yourself. "Stop for a minute," he says, "and just look around and take it all in," even if "it" is a room filled with ivory pillar candles and a middle-aged man's melancholic massacre of New York State of Mind.

    Inspiration #34

    November 6, 2009

    Martha Stewart Weddings

    Our friend Teresa has a bit of a challenging problem. And not that she has a problem that is challenging, but rather that she's a compulsive challenger. Being a fellow blogger (as well as 2E's distinguished Maid of Honor - more on that later), Teresa thought she could stump me with an odd blog request:

    What if you were one of those people on house arrest -- the ones with the ankle bracelets -- but you still wanted to get married? You'd have to do everything local ... like 2 or 3 blocks local.

    We coined this rare circumstance a "Martha Stewart Wedding." Then we applauded our own cleverness for two hours straight.

    After coming down from our ego trip, I thought about how a couple might make that work ... if, for instance, the braceleted bride could travel no more than 1,500 feet from home. Would it be possible?

    To find out, I purchased a home detention kit on and Velcro-ed on the black tether anklet. 2E's then released me to the streets, into the wild, monitoring me as I traveled within a 1,500-ft radius (approx. 0.3 miles from home). She and I could communicate back-and-forth through the electronic monitoring device, and if I ever went outside of said radius -- or attempted to remove the device -- the sensor would sound and she would promptly alert the authorities. Amazing to think that I was only arrested once.

    Here's what I found:

    Ca'Brea, 346 South La Brea

    We might not know the difference between Antipasti, Insalate and Paste, but this place has bruschetta and that's all we need to know. Besides, if Mom weren't a full-blooded Cuban, she'd be an Italian without hesitation. And with breadsticks.

    The Way We Wore: Vintage Clothing, 334 S. La Brea Ave.

    Vintage BKLYN becomes Vintage HLYWD. Black-and-white horizontal stripes. Bare branches. The Frankie Avalon Beach Party film series. We'll make it work.

    Albertson Wedding Chapel, 5318 Wilshire Blvd.

    According to their website (which has the most anxious html ever -, the all-in-one Albertson has been providing "tasteful and affordable weddings in Los Angeles since 1974."

    But the best thing about the chapel is that they can add anything to your bill for a nominal fee: marriage license, $79; live cellist, $125; bouquet and boutonniere set, $85; standard video, $99; free fresh flowers in the chapel ... priceless.

    Busby's East, 5364 Wilshire Blvd.

    Busby's has a bar. Busby's has pool tables. Busby's has a men's and a women's bathroom. It's got it all. And though our guest count might double in size when we factor in the bar staff, wait staff and the "usuals," we'll have enough flat screen TVs with SportsCenter to go around.

    Subway Restaurant, 5353 Wilshire Blvd.

    Look at those values! $5 for all those subs?! That's ludicrous! And if we come in a little under-budget, you better believe we're going to get some avocado on the side.

    House of Petals, Couture Florists, 340 South La Brea Avenue

    Taking into account the "For Lease" sign on the window, it doesn't appear that House of Petals will be on La Brea much longer, but we're hoping there'll be some couture floral leftovers out back.

    And if the House of Petals doesn't work out, our backup -- the local Ralph's supermarket -- is right down the street. Ralph's got some sweet orchids. And I've got the Club Card, so it's ... like ... cheaper.

    Linens: The Silk Trading Co., 360 S La Brea Ave.
    Furniture: L.A. Rocking Chair Store, 304 S La Brea Ave.
    Lighting: Lamps Plus, 200 S La Brea Ave.

    Three storefronts all within 1,000-ft of one another. After this Martha Stewart Wedding is complete, people won't be able to shut up about that silk-gliders-&-lamps shindig at Busby's.

    El Toro Cantina, 5368 Wilshire Blvd.

    I've never been to El Toro, but the place has a circular window, potted palms and the word Cantina in its name. Enough said.

    Starbucks Coffee, 5353 Wilshire Blvd
    Suite A (Honeymoon Suite)

    So it's not on the water or luxurious or even private ... but there is a romance about Starbucks. Leather club chairs, good customer service and -- let's face it -- the Peppermint Mocha is back, and we haven't given that enough attention.

    Inspiration #33

    November 5, 2009

    I'm in Hellvetica

    When 2E's proposed that we have a date (i.e. planning) night sometime in the near future, I tapped into that ne'er seen supportive side of mine and said, "Sure."

    After all, in-house marriage-related chaos has been minimal since our return from BKLYN. And her nightmares in which our entire wedding is in shambles have been reduced to one per week. In fact, the last one wasn't even a nightmare: something about me breaking into gangsta rap mid-vows. A serious improvement from last week's nightmare, in which I interrupted our ring exchange with an impromptu Electric Slide.


    2E's promptly replied with our agenda for the meeting. Topics to be discussed included our ongoing wedding band hunt and our choice of font for all things wedding-related.

    For most, this would be no difficult task. The groom's preference is to make the quick, simple choice or, if that's not possible, delegate the choice to someone else. When it comes to fonts, 99% of grooms will scroll down the list and pick one. Pick the font with the capital Y that looks like a wishbone; or the lowercase c with the right amount of curvature; the one with the Budweiser "B", or Wingdings, in which the letters are replaced with ClipArt images.

    But me -- no, see -- this groom slash perfectionist doesn't fit that bill. This is the groom who has changed the font in that long word document he calls a novel at least two hundred times, back and forth between 4 or 5 acceptable options. The groom who avoids using the lowercase y at all costs because he doesn't like its tail. And if I can't avoid it, I italicize it (see previous sentence).

    This meeting could conceivably drag on for hours. I might create PROS and CONS tables for each approved option.  I might include a Venn diagram or two. I might even email 2E's a few rare vintage font selections in advance of our date (planning) night. Whatever the case, I plan to be thorough.

    I'm anticipating my own wedding nightmare this week, in which each "table number" is a variation on the lowercase y. And not in italics.


    Inspiration #32