December 14, 2010

In Case You Missed It: Amy Nichols Interview

Dear readers,

In case you missed it yesterday, I had the good fortune to make a cameo on Amy Nichols' Special Events blog. Amy, a celebrated event and wedding planner based in San Francisco, contacted me a few weeks ago about doing a quick interview for her 5 Quick Tips series -- wedding-related advice and suggestions from people in the industry. And I am honored to be both the 15th interviewee and the first to offer the male perspective. 

Find the groom edition of 5 Quick Tips @ Five Quick Tips from The Groom Says Blog

Also, please check out Amy's work on her website @ AmyNichols.com

December 13, 2010

The vendors who saved our asses: my big day

When 2E's and I stepped into our vintage taxi cab as our wedding was coming to a close, we found a small basket in the backseat, the contents of which included a handwritten note, two slender glasses and a chilled bottle of champagne. The basket was a congratulatory gift from Elif Aksoy, Lisa Friesel and Erica Greenblatt -- the ladies of My Big Day Planning.

I begin at the end to prove just how dedicated these ladies were to ensuring that our wedding was as enjoyable and carefree and perfect as it could be ... and to illustrate what it truly means to go above and beyond the call of duty.

Like our videographer, we never intended to hire a coordinator. What can they do that we can't do ourselves? What does coordinating even mean? How difficult could it possibly be to get through the wedding without the roof of the reception venue caving in on us?

Oh, silly us.

In the months prior, 2E's and I would Skype with Elif and walk through both the larger and smaller elements of the wedding. She asked us all the right questions and reminded us of all those picky little details that brides and grooms tend to forget in planning. She volunteered to research guest transportation options and costs, taught us about traditional wedding etiquette and gave us some amazing suggestions when we were at a total loss. At our rehearsal, Elif and company helped us push through our agenda and organize our wedding party. And when things got hairy with our ceremony venue contact, MBDP stepped in and handled all correspondence from then on. 

Elif and 2E's en route to the ceremony


What we found most comforting about MBDP was how willing Elif and Lisa and Erica were to take things off of our plate, work around our schedules, and set and coordinate all of our meetings. In the days leading up to our wedding, they were always on call, ready to tackle any unexpected obstacles that we might encounter. And on the day-of, they didn't let us do an ounce of work. Having all of the ladies present (with their combined expertise and enthusiasm) as opposed to just one coordinator was a true blessing, and all three of them were aware of the sequence of events and all things that needed to be done.

In planning, you'll continually ask yourself, Boy, who's going to do that tiny, thankless job at the wedding? Well, whether it was their responsibility or not, Elif and her team were pleased to do all of them. The ladies even gathered our gifts, belongings and leftovers at the end of the evening and delivered them to our hotel in the wee hours of the morning. It was no surprise to find an email from Elif in our inbox at 10am the next morning with a few updates and reminders and pending issues.

It's strange now to think that Elif and I met over Twitter; she and 2E's didn't meet in person until the week of our wedding. And I suppose those details make their contribution that much more heartening. I'd call them a triumvirate if it did them justice. Instead, I'll call them our respirators ... helping us breathe just a little bit easier.


December 6, 2010

The movie that is playing nonstop in our home

Amazing to think that six months ago (and almost twelve months into wedding planning) we had no intention of having a videographer. As we play and replay the video, finding new details and new moments and new faces with each click, it's bewildering to me that we had no desire to have a record of our wedding and the events surrounding it on film. We assured ourselves that the photos would be enough. "The photos will be enough." It was practically our motto. "Photos will be enough."

Clearly the photos weren't enough.

We're so thankful that we came to our senses, and we're so fortunate that Picotte Weddings was there to document the experience -- so that we and our doting parents are able to sit and click and watch ourselves do it all over again. And over again. And over again. And over again.

It's like nothing we ever could have imagined.


Joanna + Brian . Brooklyn, NY from Picotte Weddings on Vimeo.


Please check out the full post and a selection of gorgeous photographs on the Picotte Weddings blog @ photo + cinema . a brooklyn, ny wedding in dumbo.

November 22, 2010

Where the hell have you been?

There's oh so much to write about.

I could recount Russell Brand's excessive elephant ride proposal in India or ponder the buzz about William and Kate. Or I could draw some interesting parallels between the new TSA pat-down screening process and asking someone for their daughter's hand in marriage.

What I won't do is regurgitate old material or put out mediocre posts (present post not included). What I can't do is reveal too much about our wedding -- photos in particular -- since we are hoping for publication in one of our favorite wedding magazines.

What I can do is tell you that my absence has a purpose. A certain passion project (a few of them, in fact) is soaking up any and all spare minutes I may have, and I promise that the end result is going to be so much more worthwhile than the occasional post about ... Eva Longoria's idiotic husband. Who would cheat on Eva Longoria? No -- I'm not even going to get into it.

But I will check in now and then. There are surprises and guests posts on the horizon. And know that I do miss the daily posts. If you're new to The Groom Says, get on the mailing list (see the right sidebar) to get crack-of-dawn emails when new posts arrive. And check out the old shit. 2E's loves the one about the disaster that was our registry day, also known as G-Day. And the proposal story, of course. In other words, she loves the ones where she's the central character.

much love, be well,
madman

November 15, 2010

Interview Series #5: Justin

In June, 2E's and I will be attending a wedding in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, for our dear friends, Justin and Gill.

Having known Gill since my freshman year at New York University (we somehow managed to live in the same dorm, choose the same major and sign up for all the same classes), I wanted to take a minute to get to know her fiance before the two of them tie the knot in Gill's old stomping grounds, the Berkshires.

(Justin -- I'm aware that this intro makes it seem like we've never had a single conversation before, which is ludicrous, because we have had several, but the interview is so much more dramatic if you come off as a total stranger. Just FYI.)

The ever-elusive Justin stopped by this past weekend to answer some hard and some not-so-hard questions about some groom stuff.

- - -


SO JUSTIN... WHAT WAS MORE EXHILARATING: ASKING YOUR LADY TO MARRY YOU, OR CHANGING YOUR STATUS ON FACEBOOK? 
Definitely asking Gill to marry me. It was the most exciting thing I've ever done. I don't expect many things to live up to that moment or that whole evening.

SO ... THAT'S A NO FOR FACEBOOK THEN. 
Facebook isn't real life. 


WORD ON THE STREET IS THAT YOU AND GILL GOT ENGAGED TWICE, BUT THAT CAN'T BE TRUE! 
I have a strong belief in equality. I think men and women should be treated equally in all aspects of life. Gill and I had talked about getting married for a long time. Our engagement was sort of a formality, but even so, Gill was getting pretty anxious for me to pop the question this past summer. A couple of times when she was playfully nagging me, I would say something like, "Well, I don't see a ring on my finger?! Why can't you propose to me?" 

TOUCHE, SIR. CONTINUE. 
I went away for a long weekend for my brother's bachelor party, and when I got back, Gill had me close my eyes and led me into the kitchen. When I opened my eyes, I saw a banner hanging across the kitchen. It read, MARRY ME? 

Gill had a box in her hand that she opened as she gave it to me. Inside was a watch. She said, "I'm giving you this watch because I'm counting the minutes until you propose to me." Some might think she was pressuring me... I see it as her understanding that we will enter marriage as equals. 

SO, WAIT -- DOES THIS MAKE YOU MORE ENGAGED THAN MOST GUYS? 
I wouldn't say I'm more engaged, but it did show me that Gill's love and respect for me is immeasurable. 

THAT SOUNDS LIKE A NICE WAY OF SAYING "I'M MORE ENGAGED THAN YOU." 
We decided to say that we were "engaged to be engaged." 

PUT THAT ON A HALLMARK CARD. SO THEN THE BALL WAS IN YOUR COURT, OBVIOUSLY... 
Well, she didn't know it at the time, but I had already bought her engagement ring about a month before. I had spent the weekend talking with my brothers and our closest friends about proposing. I didn't really have a plan ... I just knew it would happen within a week, and I had a general idea of how I would do it.

Gill suggested we go out to dinner on Friday. When I got home from work, I quickly when to the gym (I had to be ripped in order to propose), and on the way home, I scouted out a couple of gardens in the neighborhood that we could walk through. When Gill came home, I suggested we get dressed up a little and go to Bliss Bistro, a great little French restaurant.

Gill knew what was coming. While I was in the restroom, she texted her friend, I think it's going to happen tonight! When we finished dinner, I suggested a stroll through the gardens, but Gill was taking her sweet time finishing her glass of wine. I rushed her along and ended up downing half of her glass to get her moving.

Once outside, Gill was a little cold--all a part of the plan. I took off my blazer and helped her into it. The ring was in the breast pocket... but, seriously now, how often does a woman reach into her man's blazer's breast pocket?

UMM... NEVER?
So we made our way to a garden a couple of blocks away and stopped to sit on a bench. No one was around ... the night was calm ... and I knew the moment had come. I reached into the jacket pocket and pulled out the ring. Gill was in tears before I could even finish. After a few minutes of her moaning over how beautiful the ring was, I said, You haven't answered me yet. Gill said, I forgot the question -- can you ask me again? I had to ask her twice. 


WOULD YOU RECOMMEND DUAL ENGAGEMENT TO OTHER SOON-TO-BE-GROOMS?
Not necessarily, but it can't hurt to let your lady know that she can go after what she wants. She doesn't have to wait for her man to claim her. 

I KNOW A FEW CAVEMEN WHO WOULD STRONGLY DISAGREE. IF IT WAS UP TO YOU (NOT THAT IT IS, BUT) WHAT WILL THE BARTENDERS BE SERVING AT YOUR RECEPTION?
I think I'll be happy with champagne, wine and beer. I'm not tremendously interested in seeing a bunch of people get drunk at my wedding. I'll be having a few drinks, and I imagine a lot of other people will too. My days of shots and cocktails ended with college, but you never know...

WHAT CAN YOU PUT ON YOUR GROOM RESUME THUS FAR?
A few weeks into our planning, I told Gill that I wanted to be more involved. Gill and her bridesmaids were so excited about the planning that I was quickly getting left in the dust. So Gill and I took every step of finding and picking our ceremony and reception sites together; then I did all of the emailing and booking of the date. I also paid for the Thai food that Gill and her bridesmaids ordered when they had their Save the Date crafts night. So I think I can put those down as solid groom accomplishments. 

"Gill is getting totally crafty. 
I expect nearly all of the decorations to be homemade."

YOU'VE GOT SOME GROOM POINTS THERE. IDEAL PROCESSIONAL SONG? 
Star Wars: the Imperial March. 

ACTUAL PROCESSIONAL SONG?
Star Wars: the Imperial ... didn't I just answer this question?

I HEARD YOU AND YOUR BETROTHED ATTENDED A "SURPRISE WEDDING" THE OTHER DAY... PICK UP ANY TIPS WHILE YOU WERE THERE?
Yeah, the wedding we went to was a baby shower and a surprise wedding simultaneously. A lot of what I've taken away from weddings I've attended in the past few months (including yours, Madman) is that more isn't always better. What the bride and groom want is most important, and no matter how big, small, simple or fancy the wedding is, all that really matters is that everyone is together.

FIRST OFFICIAL ACT OF HUSBANDRY?
I'm gonna kiss my bride.

ANY TIPS FOR ALL THE FRESH-FACED GROOMS OUT THERE?
Helping with the wedding planning, even a little bit, goes a long way in her eyes.

November 7, 2010

Honeymoon, Part I

So I'm being absurdly lazy on our luxurious balcony in the nicest bathrobe I've ever worn (and I've worn a good four or five), sipping at what remains of the two tropical-flavored cocktails that we were handed upon our arrival at our resort. If I were to jump from the railing, there's a good chance I might hit water. That's how close the shoreline is.

2E's crashed the moment we got in the room -- it's been a weird 15 hours, what with a late LAX departure last night, five hours to kill at Miami International, an hour and a half flight to Montego and an hour long drive with the riskiest chauffeur whose ever transported six strangers, ever, and whose Jamaican-spin on Lady in Red was inspirational at worst. Thank god 2E's took her dramamine.

The van ride to the resort gave us the Cliff Notes version of Jamaica. Overall it was uneventful -- aside from one intersection where uniformed men with automatics were pulling over all but the tourist transport vehicles. The hills were spotted with shacks in some areas (all which appeared to be 3/4 complete, with cement columns stacked atop furnished first and second floors) and miniature mansions in others. Goats fed on grass along both shoulders, and abandoned, lopsided fishing boats bobbed just offshore. It reminded 2E's of New Zealand; it reminded me of The Road. We must have been looking out of opposing windows.

- - -
Hours have passed now, and we've had our orientation, there's a bottle of champagne on ice in our suite and we're headed down to dinner. And we're just thankful that we're here sans Hurricane Tomas. And so thankful for Barbara Oliver at Bliss Honeymoons, storm tracker extraordinaire. Barbara kept us up-to-date on the storm all week; she checked in with us about whatever a couple of kids from Los Angeles might have questions about; and she made sure that we didn't miss a thing. She was a lifesaver.

I'm not spending a moment longer on this computer.

love
madman

November 1, 2010

Mitzvahs that cost 3x as much as our wedding

The other night, 2E's and I were fortunate enough to attend a bat mitzvah at a stunning private residence in Bel Air. We've been to our fair share of high profile events since we moved here at the start of 2008 -- both as guests and as photographers -- and bar and bat mitzvahs have comprised most of those events. (2E's knows all the tween socialites.) We've grown accustomed to indoor parties with DJs, straightforward catering and a chocolate bar of sorts ... but the hosts of this weekend's mitzvah raised the bar. What set them apart was not how much was spent but rather how it was spent and the people who made it happen.

First, we were thrilled to learn upon our arrival that our old friends at Coolhaus (who provided the dessert at our wedding) would be making their ass-kicking ice cream cookie sandwiches at the close of the evening. I've never seen a horde of thirteen-year-olds so willing and eager to get in line for something.


But before we got busy on dirty mint chip ice cream wedged between soft-baked goodness, the kids and I partook in some Double-Doubles c/o In-n-Out Burger's convenient Cookout Trailer.


According to one of the men who was working the truck, the average price for a 4-hour event like this (which includes a full menu with unlimited burgers, potato chips and soda) is about $1,250, which -- considering the response from the crowd -- is beyond reasonable. (As a vegetarian option, In-n-Out can do grilled cheese sandwiches.)

And all food aside -- we were introduced to a man named Karl Johnson, Master Scissor Artist Extraordinaire from a company called Cut Arts. Karl sets up a card table, empties the contents of his briefcase, invites guests to sit down and gets to work on what he calls Original Silhouette Portraits. While I was hesitant at first, watching him sculpt 2E's precise silhouette out of cardstock and a pair of scissors was both bizarre and mind-blowing.

 Eerily on-the-money

Contact Karl via his website or via email at karl@cutarts.com.


October 25, 2010

Special Invite for my Angelenos

The engagement and wedding ring specialists at Robbins Brothers are hosting an exclusive Rock & Roll Engagement Party at the hot W Hollywood Hotel this Thursday.

"Join us as we celebrate recently engaged couples ... with complimentary champagne, appetizers and a private pre-tour concert with Lovely Day musician Donavon Frankenretier."

 Rock & Roll Engagement Party
W Hollywood
6250 Hollywood Boulevard
28th of October
7 - 9pm

Interested couples must RSVP here:

For more info on Robbins Brothers, visit them at:


October 22, 2010

I expected to cry at my wedding ... but not more than the bride.

Very rarely do I cry during a movie. In fact, the last time I teared up at the cinema, I was having a man date with Best Man Justin, and he was a little emotional himself. In cases like those, it's clearly a ploy by the director and the editor to make men cry. That doesn't count. Heightened stakes with dramatic scoring doesn't count.

(The movie was Hot Tub Time Machine, by the way.)

I typically don't cry in moments of sadness. I'm much more "find the silver lining," "let's move on to the next thing," and "let's not make a scene here at Pinkberry." Between the two of us, I do about 90% of the consoling around the house, and I'm perfectly happy to carry out that role.

Gene Wilder makes me all blubbery

But I was almost certain that I would be an absolute mess on our wedding day. Why? I'm a happy crier. Someone with a degree in something or other might say that I don't express myself outwardly, so I become overcome with emotion, and that emotion releases in the form of tears.

(I should consider myself lucky. It could very well have released in the form of involuntary moaning, or puffy fingers, or even break dancing.)

What I did not expect was that I'd be crying more than my 2E's. Clearly she's a sad crier. And in this sick, twisted world, that kind of makes us a perfect match. I can console her when she's sad, and she can calm me when I'm happy. Synergy.

Having said that, here are some preventative measures I could have (and perhaps should have) taken in advance of the big day:


6 WAYS NOT TO CRY ... SISSY 
by the groom says

1. Think sad thoughts.

If it's happiness that starts the waterworks, why not prep yourself with misfortune? Read the business section of any newspaper just seconds before you step up to the altar and you should be fine. 

2. Consider tear duct removal.

Sure, it sounds painful. It probably is. It'll most likely cost a fortune. And sure, you'll never be able to cry ever again. But think of all the money you'll save on Kleenex!

3. Try therapy.

Perhaps your balance is off, and you need a licensed professional to rattle your insides a bit. After all, you never did get that Barbie Dream House...

The source of all the pain

4. Add a Best Man duty.

The Best Man has little to nothing to do during the ceremony. "Holding the rings" doesn't require too much. So in addition to the brass, ask him to hide a long, thin needle or a rusty shiv in his jacket - which he can proceed to poke you with should you start to cry at inappropriate moments. ... Oh, and the kids'll love it!

5. Don't pee. 
 
That's right. Drink a load of water and hold it. You'll be so worried about pissing yourself, you won't have time to cry! And if you DO piss yourself, you'll be too embarrassed to cry! It's a win-win.

6. Deal with it.

You'd be surprised how many wedding web forums I've come across -- portals of distress where grooms have expressed their fear of "ruining the big day" because they cry heavily at anything. Unless it's that  uncontrollable, can't-get-through-a-single-sentence kind of crying (making the vows pretty painful for your guests), my advice would be to own up to it. Cry away. It won't emasculate you. If you can put up with a few wisecracks the next morning from the manly men in your family (and, more likely, HER family), then you've got nothing to worry about. 
 
 
Now go watch Bambi, you coward. The director's cut.
 
love
madman

October 19, 2010

Groom (Takes) Pics

I care about animal rights almost as much as I care about the rights of grooms...

...which is why I put up no struggle when Lindsay from Kiss Me I'm Vegan, the best vegan-inspired blog in the Western Hemisphere, asked me to accompany her on Sunday morning at the Animal Acres Farm Sanctuary in Acton (about 45 minutes from Los Angeles) and document our field trip.


Please check out her most recent post to see some photos from our trip. And while you're there, note the blog's all-around awesomeness. You don't have to be vegan to appreciate everything that Lindsay does for the cause ... but it doesn't hurt.

http://kissmyvegan.blogspot.com/2010/10/brian-leahy-is-awesome-animal-acres-is.html

much love
madman

October 11, 2010

The Man Stylist

2E's and I walk into the formal-wear section of Large Unnamed Department Store (men's edition), and we're staring at hundreds of racks of suits at discount department store prices, and the salesman confesses,

"We actually don't have navy."

Gesturing to the thousands of jackets and pants on the hangers around us, at the suits and separates that seem to stretch for miles, 2E's put on her best huh face. "I'm sorry, you don't have navy?"

$11 well spent

I tried on a smoke grey suit per the man's suggestion, but I looked like a salesman. Like a jackass. Not at all like a groom. It just wasn't what I wanted. (Side note: My boys ended up wearing the same brand, style and color, sans jacket, on our wedding day, and they looked nothing like jackasses.) I had done my research, and I specifically wanted navy.

So we promptly departed Large Useless Department Store, and 2E's dragged me into Other Large Adjacent Department Store, Bloomingdale's. And that's where we met David Chan, official Man Stylist, who approached us while we were looking through some Theory-brand suits. David didn't need measurements. He brought me some options (yes, all navy), and they all fit perfectly. Within minutes, I had my suit. My suit. And it was navy. It was probably the easiest purchase of anything I've ever bought ever.

(Gross exaggeration.)

The truth is, in modern wedding planning, a good number of grooms will spend as much time debating their wardrobe as brides do debating "the dress." And they'll spend at least as much money. (Twice the amount, in our case.) And who better to steer you in the right direction than someone like David,  a connoisseur of men's clothing ... a wardrobe wizard ... someone opinionated who's less interested in making the sale and more concerned with making you look good on your wedding day.

Recently, Jacqueline Weppner from Merci New York paid a visit to Kleinfeld Manhattan's newest department -- Custom Menswear -- under the supervision of Man Stylist extraordinaire (and bow-tie enthusiast), Frank Jedda.

 courtesy of Merci New York

"A suit or tuxedo is not a uniform, it is made of elements that can all be chosen specifically to fit your needs ... If [a groom] is purchasing, and especially if he’s purchasing custom, the options are endless."

(Read the full article here: Kleinfeld Men: Custom Clothing for the Groom)

So what is it about men like David and Frank that makes them so invaluable -- aside from the fact that we grooms can hardly dress ourselves? Well, it's the attention to detail. It's the endless options that they can provide. It's the fact that these guys know far more about color and fabric and style and etiquette than we ever will. And it's the comfort in knowing that they're there to personalize your outfit and to make sure that you not only coordinate with your bride and "the dress" but that you also look far inferior to her.

(Not that you could ever look better than her. Fool.)

Bottom line is, we could all use a Pocket Man Stylist: a conveniently-sized man with a passion for fashion who can fit snugly into the pocket of your jeans and give you advice both at home and at the mall on what works and what doesn't. But until mini pocket edition David becomes available, you'll have to settle with the lifesize version. And no, you can't take him home.


(Los Angelenos -- if you are looking for a suit either for you or your boys, don't hesitate to contact David Chan directly at davidkchan@aol.com.)

(And no, for your information, David did NOT give me a free or discounted suit in exchange for this post. I'm just happy to refer him ... lifesize or otherwise.)

October 8, 2010

Obama Responded!

2E's and I are so grateful that President Obama took the time out of his Backyard Chats to respond to our wedding invitation. (We are so much more important than all that other stuff he has going on.) It would have been nice if he had used the response card we sent him ... but ... whatever ... this will do.

Gotta love his "O"

Mixtape Love(r)

In certain circles, I'm considered a mix(tape)ologist. I'm kind of famous like that. I credit this skill to two things: (a) a deep appreciation for 80s music, and (b) an almost obsessive amount of attention paid to the logical order of songs.

Previous albums include 
  • Raw Sound Mix
  • Hip-Hop for White Adolescents
  • El Mix-o Perfecto, which opens with Ben Folds' haunting cover of Golden Slumbers and climaxes with Hotel California, Gypsy Kings edition
  • and our post-wedding Vintage Cab Playlist, which we gifted to the cab driver upon departure

So when Amma at Beyond Beyond asked me to compose a virtual, six-track wedding mix-tape for their blog, I could not refuse. I ran back into the studio.

Beyond Beyond is an invitation design studio based in London with a unique take on wedding and engagement invites, announcements, wedding websites and beyond. And I think it's safe to say that The Groom Says has an overseas blog crush on BB's graphic designs.

(And the accent helps, too.)

Check out the Mixtape Love session here, which includes our recessional song ("You Are the Best Thing") and the final song in our Vintage Cab Playlist (Cat Power's cover of "Sea of Love").

cheers,
madman

October 6, 2010

Guest Responses Revealed


               (other) :  21
               i smell open bar :  14
               in a brooklyn heartbeat :  11
               omg duh lol ;) :  10
               only if 'the groom says' is there :  8
                i'm totally packing a taser bro :  6
               finally! :  5
               my mom says i have to :  4
               (no selection at all) : 

               boo i'll catch it on youtube :  4

- - -

Apparently the majority of our guests believe themselves to be more clever and/or witty than we are. Well, on behalf of the cleverer and the wittier, here are some of our favorite write-in candidates:

all of the above
our son is making us
let the wild rumpus start
i'm bringing a monkey
wherever there's an empty pole needin' dancin', i'll be there



Being Married

Q:  So what's being married like?
A:  It's a lot like being engaged ... only you smile a lot more. 


Warning: This post contains none of the answers you're looking for. This post has ambiguity for days.

On the evening of October 1st (my mother's birthday, the date of our Rehearsal Dinner and the eve of our wedding), the rain halted and the clouds parted and for 48 hours the world as we knew it was beautiful. We had the most beautiful wedding ever imagined. 2E's was the most beautiful part of it. And I was there, too.

I -- we -- have so much to share. And clothes left to unpack. And photos to process. Shoes to get cobbled and torn suit pants to get sewn and this new wedding band to get acquainted with. I spin it compulsively around my finger. I'm convinced that it's going to slip off my hand and into a sewer drain. Yes, this is my biggest fear in life at present.

I am so anxious to talk about this dumpster...


...but I just can't right now. And I can't tell you (though it was the most popular question at the reception) what's happening with this here blog now that I'm no longer a groom. How could I tell you something like that? How could I begin to answer a question like that? It's cruel. It's cruel of you to ask. Would you ask someone what shots their cat is getting at the vet ... in front of the cat? No. Come on.

For now, all I can tell you is that we're home, and we're wedded, and in the spirit of sharing, I'll share a little something. Stepping into our venue sometime in the latter half of the five o'clock hour, our guests received a 4x6 card with the following text -- text I had hoped to post on this blog in real time, but what the hell was I thinking. I was a friggin' train wreck, for chrissake.

Anyway, here it is. Enjoy.
- - -

OCTOBER 2, 2010

"I still think it's amazing that two random people can meet up; say, Hey, I like the hell out of you; and then decide to make some new people together." - 2E's

She's right. It is pretty amazing.

And yet I can remember like it was yesterday how we met up; how easy it was to like the hell out of her; to fall in love with her; and how I'm still dealing with this wedding thing enough to completely ignore that whole "make new people" bit. Let's focus on the next six hours. Let's see how that goes.

For those of you in attendance, feel free to congratulate me on how calm and collected I appear. Grab a soda. Browse the literature. Not in that order. Feel free to stand. We'll move at a brisk pace.

Right now I'm just genuinely amazed that 70-something people can meet up; come from all over the country; say, Hey, let's get together and get these kids married; and then decide that this was all in the best interest of the universe. So for those of you in attendance, thank you.

Seriously, grab a soda.

love,
madman

September 28, 2010

Bachelor Party, Approved

When James Bennett, Firefly Events' CBPO (Chief Bachelor Party Organizer) and all-around savior of men, tells you that he approves of your bachelor party, you don't take that compliment lightly. James' idea of a good time is making root beer on a stripper cruise; sword fighting after a 4-hour wine tasting; and paint-balling magicians. While bungee jumping. James has done and will do it all for the benefit of mankind and man's right to one final evening(s) of unadulterated fun.

So when James posted a snippet from our own Bachelor Party hijinks on the FireFly blog, I had to share the news with Best Man Justin. Apparently I'm not the only one who values a weekend spread across two states and two National Preserves, crammed with rock climbing, ATVs, gambling and a visit to the classiest country club I've ever seen.

Please check out FireFly's post here ... and if you missed the Bachelor Party post, feel free to scroll down or click here.

cheers,
madman

September 24, 2010

Bachelor Party Wrap-up

Disclaimer: For the safety and by the request of those involved, all questionable actions, events and occurrences have been substituted with less questionable actions, events and occurrences. Those changes are reflected in bold. Most events have been omitted altogether.

----- 

Two days before departing for my Bachelor Party, I received a rather cryptic voicemail from the party organizer, famed Santa Monica booze critic and Best Man Extraordinaire, Justin Fair: 

We're going to pick you up. At your house. At 11am. On Thursday.

Bring nice clothes. Bring swimming trunks. Bring desert clothes. Bring suntan lotion. Bring blankets. Or a sleeping bag. Or blankets. Bring $20 in pennies. And bring your good wit. And good will. 

That's it. 

What did most these things have in common? Not a damn thing. But I packed in blind faith, throwing both dapper dress shirts and dirt-stained cargo pants into a duffel bag. Leaving LA in a rental car with a max speed of 65, we began the trip with a riveting game of 20 Questions. 

Odin: Is it a solid?
Patrick: Yes.
Odin: Is it long?
Patrick: Yes.
Odin: Does it require batteries?
Patrick: Yes.
Odin: Ooo, ooo. I know. It's a remote control

And so on. And after 3 hours of that, we arrived at our first destination: Joshua Tree National Park, the reliable decoy that Justin and I had employed last June. We spent the afternoon and the following morning climbing up and sliding down rock faces, skirting birth and appreciating some outstanding views of the park. And talking about kittens


After seeking out the prime camping spot, and after realizing that we'd packed a tent bag sans tent poles, we dug up our scouting and survival techniques, fashioned a rope from a jagged rock to the antenna on the rental car that we then looped through the tent fabric, and built a campfire. While Odin prepared the most amazing meal of sausages, potatoes, beans and peppers, the rest of drank lots of Mike's Hard Lemonade and talked about The Jonas Brothers.

 Our first "oh shit" moment of the weekend

The next morning, en route to Vegas, we stopped at the Carousel Diner in Twentynine Palms for a $3.50 pancake-sausage-and-egg breakfast (with the exception of Patrick, who is too good for bargains) and the historic Kelso Depot, where we discovered an abandoned post office, a life-size replica of the elusive Desert Tortoise, and a bunch of old luggage. We Neil Young-ed through the Mojave National Preserve, past plains of white mush and deserted pink shacks, and made it to Vegas around 2PM -- with just enough time to check in at the Paris, check out the room, have a slice of bread and be at the hotel's rear entrance at 3PM.

The fourth surprise of the trip (the first being the Josh Tree; the second being some righteous, personalized coffee mugs filled to the brim with Johnnie Walker Texas Ranger; and the third being a set of kick-ass, custom-made The Groom Says ball caps that my brother Javier had made specifically for our trip) turned out to be an ATV tour about 45 minutes outside of Vegas in a small town called Logandale. For two hours, Justin, Patrick, Odin and I rode at mild speeds through the red clay Valley of Marshmallows, at times with super visibility, skirting birth for the second time on our trip.


As Odin put it, "I just love that we actually ate each other's dust." Then he sneezed, causing a thick layer of clay to leap off his shirt and envelop him completely.

What we did in Vegas for the remainder of the trip was entirely dependent on how hungry we were. We built our days around the buffet. Odin consumed a hundred pounds of snow crab legs. The rest of us consumed a hundred pounds combined. We made ourselves physically fit. We walked the Strip and decorated until we fell over, took serious advantage of all open container policies and seriously considered a Broadway musical featuring relaxing mud facials. We had minor wins and suffered no losses at the Let It Ride table and had some fine Cuban cereal during the Bellagio fountain spectacle, made famous in Ocean's Eleven (and Twelve, and Thirteen). On our final night in Vegas, we hopped into a long, luxurious golf cart that took us to a country club just off the Strip. There were more polo shirts in there than we knew what to do with.

We finished the night off with another round of Mike's Hard in the room, reflecting on golfing highlights.

 Bad asses

In truth, the boys may have done more harm than good: I was spoiled rotten. I expect every man date from this point on to be as rich and fulfilling as my Bachelor Party. I won't settle for less. And at the same time, more than anything, I'm so pumped about one day returning the favor for my boys and giving them the same amazing weekend when they decide to take the plunge.

For right now, though, I'm on the waiting list for a rainbow transplant on account of all the Mike's Hard.

We've Stopped Showering/Ice Cream & Soda

The last Man Registry guest post was no exaggeration. And neither is the title of today's entry. We're foul. We reek.

I imagine our biggest faux pas thus far has been our countdown. We've been telling ourselves that we have n number of days left ... completely ignoring the fact that we're leaving for New York five days before our wedding date.

We don't have 8 days. We have 3.

- - -

With the big day only days away, 2E's and I are spending this last week confirming rental orders, rushing to secure groomsmen attire (future post) and fighting the urge to run into on-coming traffic.

Oh, Madman, you're so morose!

I know, I know, but I think I'm entitled. Need I remind you? We don't have 8 days left. We have 3. Our mornings are good; our afternoons could be better; and by the evening we're shivering and strung out, verbally abusing sales reps who don't abide by estimated shipping dates (those are GUARANTEED, RIGHT?!).

But at the end of this torturous road is this beautiful event and all of the love and joy and nerves that come with it. I reread my vows and begin to feel OK again, not because I'm satisfied with them -- oh god no, they're by far the toughest thing I've ever had to write, and I'll keep revising them until the hour before, no joke -- but because the promise that I've put on paper reminds me what this whole thing is about.

"Quit thinking about yourself," Best Man Justin reminds me. "This day has so little to do with you. I'm totally bringing a cardboard cut-out of you in case of an emergency."

"OMG. How did they get Zac Efron to come to their wedding?!"
"I don't know, but he's kind of stiff."

- - -

2E's has been jonesing for some ice cream sandwiches. She's convinced that the ones at our wedding are to taste even better than usual. Just because. And she was thrilled to learn that Natasha (one of the co-creators of Coolhaus) is going to be traveling to New York to be at our reception -- Coolhaus' first east coast wedding gig!! How friggin' cool is that? I've never been so excited to not have cake.

Click here to read about Coolhaus' wedding services.

As for the ceremony -- 2E's and I knew we needed something that would set the tone for the evening, that would (in essence) tell our guests, Loosen your tie. This is not your traditional wedding. Get onboard.

Our inspiration came from a roadside organic market in North Carolina where we stopped for smoothies and snacks before a 3-hour drive. The market featured an entire fridge full of "old fashioned pop," including a personal favorite of mine -- Black Cherry Boylan Sodas.

My no-hesitation answer to the "if you could have one thing on a deserted island" question

It comes as no surprise that Boylan uses pure cane sugar as opposed to syrup (hence, it doesn't taste like syrupy crap), and their bottles have an awesome vintage look that make them the ideal non-alcoholic option at any ceremony or reception. Loosen your tie. Have an orange soda. Get onboard, people.

While there are lots of regular and diet options to choose from (full Bottleworks flavors available on their website), 2E's and I decided to keep it simple and old-school with Black Cherry, Root Beer and the original Cane Cola. Groomsmen will be handing them out to guests as they arrive, adding an air of sophistication to the whole charade.

Yeah, we're pretty damn sophisticated if I may say so myself.

- - -

Boylan Bottling Co. was kind enough to supply us with some complimentary sodas in exchange for this here post and the stock photo I've inserted above. Blogspot.com and its affiliates are in no way endorsing Boylan Sodas -- though, if they had them, they would immediately know that I was right all along.

September 9, 2010

Guest Post: When You're Expecting

Hi readers,

Check out today's guest post, courtesy of The Man Registry. Men -- you may want to sit down for this one:

What To Expect In Your Third Trimester (of Wedding Planning)

Yes, the waddling is normal.

much love,
madman

September 7, 2010

Not-To-Miss in NYC

Join my good friend, renowned celebrity event designer David Beahm, at the "Pre-Wedding" Wedding Party with special guest Darcy Miller from Martha Stewart Weddings. It's where I would be if I wasn't, well, 3000 miles in the other direction.

p.s. There's also a cake tasting c/o Ron Ben-Israel. It didn't come from me.


Tuesday, September 14th from 6-9pm
The Registry on 6
59th Street
Bloomingdale's

Please RSVP to (212) 705-3340

My Side of the Story

We say we officially became a couple on April 26th, 2004. By New Years Day, 2009, I knew that a proposal was in my near future. And it only took me seven months and a handful of outright lies to get there.

---

Sometime in April, I dragged my best friend (and soon-to-be Best Man) Justin to the Santa Monica Father's Office, an upscale pub for upscale people having upscale conversations, and I told him of the half-assed proposal plan that I'd concocted thus far. I had all the W's down (the who, the what, the where, and most certainly the why), but the HOW was haunting me. The HOW was keeping me awake at night. I asked myself the same question over and over again, as if my subconscious had buried the solution somewhere deep down, and after enough interrogation it would eventually submit. 

HOW the hell am I going to sneak off to North Carolina to get her parents' blessing without her knowing? I mean, we're not one of those too-cool-to-care couples who go without seeing each other for weeks at a time. God no. This is the girl who occasionally peeks at my email and monitors my monthly credit card statements...


So, as men are prone to do, Best Man of the Future and I threw back some craft beers and threw together the most cockamamie, unrealistic, this-shit-will-never-work plan of action ever created. It was a ruse if ever there was a ruse. And the ruse went something like this: 

Honey, so, before we go on the cruise - [cruise: A 2-week Mediterranean getaway that my mother had gifted our entire family to celebrate her long-anticipated retirement] - I have to spend some time with Justin. He feels like I've been ignoring him lately, and we need some "guy" time, so he wants to go to Joshua Tree for a day - [Joshua Tree: a National Park located 2-1/2 hours east of Los Angeles, first made popular in 1987 by the band U2 and more recently by HBO's Entourage] - and the only time we're both free is the day before the cruise, so I thought we'd drive up the night before at like midnight, and that way we can spend the whole day there, maybe do a few shrooms - [shrooms: magic mushrooms] - and then come back that night. We'll probably be back around 10 or 11, and then I can pack real quick before our flight leaves at 4 AM. Okay? Yes, it'll be fine. I promise. I promise. Yes, I promise. I promise.

The ruse was rough at best, but all of the key elements were there. Motivation (Justin's emotions), travel time (5 hours round-trip) and the antagonist (enter: shrooms). And she bought it. She was semi-furious, and she no doubt detested Justin for that short period of time, but she bought it. Ruse, Part I, accomplished.

Mom and Dad were kind enough to charge the flight to North Carolina on their credit card (to conceal the purchase from Ms. Nosy-pants), and Justin agreed to house the ticket and the itinerary at his apartment. I bid 2E's farewell and drove to Justin's with a pair of sunglasses and what looked like a bag that one might take to a National Park in the middle of the California desert. He then drove me to LAX, where I caught a flight with a one-hour stop in Atlanta. I used the downtime in the AirTran lounge at ATL to investigate the Joshua Tree park website and learn about it's most notable features: the twisted Joshua or yucca trees that populate the park (see below); the existence of desert bighorn sheep; the visitor's center and cafe; and the abundance of nature hikes and trails.

I texted Justin throughout the evening, cluing him in as to what we were supposedly doing in Joshua Tree, what landmarks we were supposedly visiting, the fun we were supposedly having. It was crucial that the timing of our activities was in sync, that we remembered similar but not identical things about our trip, and that we knew enough but not too much about a place where we'd spent the last 20 hours (and half of that time in a drug-induced haze).

Welcome to the paranoid, detail-oriented mind of a writer.

---

When I arrived at Raleigh-Durham, I was relieved to share the details of our until-then successful ruse with the woman at the Enterprise customer service desk, who I was certain could in no way spoil the surprise. She hooked me up with their cheapest, most economy-sized rental, a blue Chevy Aveo with automatic nothing, and pointed me in the right direction as she wished me the best of luck.

I drove to her Dad's place first. When I was later asked about that choice, I surrendered, I wanted to get the scary part out of the way. Aside from a storm in Dallas that caused some turbulence on the first leg of our flight, the trip had been surprisingly smooth until this point ... but when I drove up to his two-story home on the western outskirts of Chapel Hill and noticed the absence of cars in the driveway, I thought perhaps that this was a sign of things to come. Should I have notified them that I wanted to do the whole have your daughter's hand thing in person and spoil the surprise? I might have debated that option sooner.


So I drove to her Mom's place, eight miles out and a few minutes north of the UNC Chapel Hill campus. You can't imagine my relief when I discovered not only 2E's Mom but also her brother Patrick, returned home after completing his spring semester at Indiana, peeking through the window of her office at the Aveo pulling up the drive and the vaguely familiar but still very unfamiliar figure approaching the front door.

Patrick tells me he knew the purpose of the visit almost immediately. I suppose it was the way I was walking -- a swagger I had practiced for weeks in the full-length mirror of our bedroom in Los Angeles. The can-I-ask-your-daughter-to-marry-me swagger. As for her Mom, she was clueless, asking me several times Why are you here!? before I gave in:

"Today is that really cool day when I get to ask if I can marry your daughter."

We made a flipcam video to honor the occasion, but I was still somewhat bloodshot from the red-eye. And I stunk -- but I couldn't shower. I was supposedly in the middle of the desert in mid-June, exploring nature trails, riding big horn sheep. I would have to remain as I was. God help the neighboring passengers on my return flight(s).


While her mom ran to the safety deposit box to retrieve her great-grandmother's wedding ring (which I'd known about since 2E's and I first started dating, and which would become 2E's engagement ring), Patrick and I went to see Reid, who was now home after a morning of writing/caffeinating at the local coffee shop.

As it turns out, he was napping when we arrived. We crawled into bed with him (don't ask), but he was deep in the fog of his waking sleep. So Patrick and I caught up and read the paper until he came out into the living room, at which point I asked him what I intended to ask. And when he asked me if I would love and protect and support his daughter, I'm almost certain I said, Well, I know at the very least that she can support me.

And while I fudged "the talk" with the FOB ... Justin, in essence, disappeared. For those 20 hours, he did not exist. He revisited old movies and walked around Santa Monica, doing nothing, speaking to no one, not existing.

With engagement ring and two parental permission slips in hand, I drove back to RDU with time to spare. Who knows -- perhaps I could catch an earlier flight and arrive home a little earlier than expected. Sweeeeet.


Of course, life never works that way, never the way you'd want or expect it to. The storm in Dallas (the cause of those 30 minutes of turbulence en route to Atlanta) had now developed into "tornado weather," and all flights west had been canceled. I downright panicked. I went from airline to airline, hauling ass from terminal to terminal, hoping to get a flight anywhere that would then get me to LAX. Or Bob Hope. Or the OC airport. I just needed to get out of Raleigh.

In less than 12 hours, 2E's and I were supposed to be boarding a flight from LAX to JFK, where we would then board an international flight to Barcelona. If I missed any one of those flights, I could potentially miss the entire cruise. Granted, I could meet them all in New York, but it would entail 2E's packing for me, locating my passport and flying solo to LAX, which would require some sort of explanation. Inevitably, I'd have to spoil the biggest surprise of her life.

And yes - this is where everyone goes Well WHY did you WAIT so LONG to do this??? WHY did you do it SO last MINUTE?!?!

Look, her parents were both out of town in the month before the cruise (her Mom traveling here and there on business, her Dad in Africa or Australia or one of those continents that begins with an A), and this was the one 20-hour period that was available. These 20 hours were sacred. So there.

The first leg to Atlanta was canceled, then it wasn't. Then it was. I tried to read a book but What the hell am I reading??? I can't focus on anything! 2E's Mom sprang into action and texted me updates throughout the evening, but it was code red at all airlines, total chaos, all ticketing desks overwhelmed and overbooked and understaffed and we all assumed that we'd be spending the night in the airport with a carry-on for a pillow and one of those meal coupons for Church's Chicken. 

After a two-hour setback, the flight to Atlanta decided to officially depart. I got on, praying that the storms in Texas were clearing and that the second leg of my flight was also conveniently delayed. "It is," the gate attendant assured me. "It'll be there when you get to Atlanta." And I kissed him. Her. Them.

---

People were batshit in Atlanta. There were hundreds of travelers crowding each and every gate, everyone late to whatever they were headed to, the entire airport in low spirits and high stress, but in my mind I know that no one is in the same shitstorm as I. 2E's Mom continued to send me reassuring text messages even though it was past midnight on the east coast. I did the one thing I could do -- I sat patiently on the floor like everyone else, waiting for the improbable news that my flight was by some remote chance actually leaving tonight.

And you never dream of the day you'll say it -- but thank god I booked with AirTran, a company that cares so little about the safety of its passengers that it will fly in pitch black through miles of tornado weather. When no one else would get me home, AirTran would.

I did the math as I boarded. It's 12:30am on the east coast; that's 9:30pm on the west coast. 5-hour flight. I would be home at 2:30am. I texted Justin furiously. I was coming home.

The plane figure skated around the runway for half an hour -- surprise, surprise -- and I fidgeted in my seat, unable to sleep while all the other passengers passed out around me. I counted the minutes until landing. And I prayed that Justin had come up with some amazing excuse as to why we weren't home. He would have to explain a 5-hour delay.


We landed just before 3AM, and Justin was there at Arrivals looking ragged, looking almost as beat as if he'd driven for five hours through the desert, hiked several nature trails and consumed a ziploc baggie worth of shrooms. We raced home, and I showed him the ring -- which in his mind, for all this trouble, should have come with a built-in hologram or something. It was 3:30AM, and 2E's had passed out from concern. Her bags were packed and at the door, and an extra bag was set out on the living room floor. I showered and dressed and threw all of the clothing I owned into the luggage she'd set out and located my passport and unplugged all the appliances and by the time I was through just after 4AM. It was time to leave.

---

On the flight from LAX and JFK, 2E's and I played my least favorite road trip game: Where the Hell Were You? Justin had given her a litany of excuses --
  • that the trip took 3-1/2 hours as opposed to 2-1/2
  • that the day had gone by so fast
  • that we'd waited too long to take the shrooms
  • that they took longer than we'd thought to wear off
  • that my phone had died because it was searching for a signal all day in the middle of the desert 
  • that we had stopped to eat at a diner on the way back from The Tree 
  • and that I had passed out (most likely sick from bad shrooms) in the backseat of the car
-- and this was precisely why I couldn't be hassled to speak with her when she phoned him worriedly at 2AM in the morning. He had avoided her calls for several hours while I waited in the ATL airport. But when he got word of the departure, he promptly rang her back. I'll have him home by 3, he promised, and he nearly kept that promise.


I verified his story. I said the same things, but not word for word. I remembered everything he remembered, only slightly differently. I did well for not having slept at all the night before. I texted Justin now and then to praise him for building a solid foundation. He had executed the ruse to perfection.

And while she vented to her mother on the phone (oh, the dramatic irony), I snuck off to the Hudson News shop in the airport to purchase a $10 phone card. I tried to phone the restaurant in Brussels, but I couldn't figure out the damn international code. I decided to wait until Europe to make the call.

---

The vacation was out of this world. We spent two days in Barcelona before boarding the ship. We had excursions in Naples, Sorrento, Tuscany, Rome, Nice, Cannes and that small, Italian city on a hill that acts as the backdrop in Clooney's The American.


We then flew to Paris, spending three more days with my parents, my siblings and their families, soaking up every minute of it. All the while, I carried a small ring box in the second pocket of my backpack, tucked in a pouch beneath two traveler's size packs of Kleenex.

We bid farewell to my family on our third day in Paris as 2E's and I had decided to take a side trip of our own to the romantic city of Brussels, only 300km away by train. I'd spent the last month planning out our itinerary, seeking out quirky activities for two quirky anti-tourists, discovering the gems of the city via travel websites and guidebooks. We dined at one Spanish-Belgian restaurant with a moving conveyor belt; you simply pick up the color-coded plates that appear appetizing, and you pay by plate. We had original Belgian french fries. We walked the Rue Royale, stopping by the storefront of the premiere florist in Belgium as well as the shoppe of the best chocolatier in the city, who has supplied chocolate to royalty of every kind and almost every American president in the last few decades.

The only thing I hadn't planned out was the where. Where would I pop the question. I knew the city fairly well from my research, but you never know how things are going to appear in person. After devouring our chocolates and stopping at a bank of pay phones in a nearby hotel to ring a certain restaurant for a reservation, we continued down the Royale to the Jardin Botanique, an ornamental, maze-like garden centrally located in Brussels. In reviews it was majestic; in person, it was creepy. In reviews, there were "quiet places for lovers to sit and whisper"; in person, those quiet places were primarily occupied by high schoolers and drug dealers. I wasn't about to propose here.

 Geometric gardening & Belgian junkies

We walked and walked and walked. I didn't know where the hell I was going. Well -- I did. We were headed toward the restaurant, our final destination. But parts of Brussels, like parts of any big city, can be creepy, and we hit almost all of them en route to dinner. Our feet ached. I was beginning to think this wouldn't happen.

And then it just did. As it did in Atlanta -- when AirTran decided to just ignore the tornado warnings and just fly -- I decided to stop trying so damn hard.

---

The restaurant was called L'Idiot du Village, a spin on one of our favorite restaurants in Los Angeles, The Village Idiot. It was appropriately pricey and supposedly a celebrity hot spot and I'd been dreaming of taking her there since, well, New Years. The restaurant lived on an alleyway of sorts, about two hundred feet of cobblestone and silence, nestled in the heart of this sometimes romantic, sometimes creepy, but all-around lovely city. I asked 2E's to set up the video camera on a window ledge in the alleyway; we'd been videoing ourselves these last two weeks, documenting our travels, and this would be the last segment. The final recording. I'll hide behind you, you start to say something, and then I'll jump out! I said. It was the best I could come up with.


When I didn't jump out, she turned around, and I was on one knee, and in my hands I was holding her  great-grandmother's ring ... the ring that I had stowed away in the pocket of my jacket ... the jacket which I had kept tucked at the bottom of a shopping bag ... the shopping bag that I'd been hauling around town since we left our hotel at the outskirts of Brussels that morning.


That night we ate one of the best meals of our lives, made even better by an expensive bottle of wine, a flurry of French accents and the three-hour-long tale of -- well, the tale that I've just described to you. All of the ins and outs of a ruse that, at many intervals, had the potential to fall apart entirely but never did. And I loved telling it to her.

August 28, 2010

Movies I'm watching to take my mind off that other thing that's happening this weekend

Hours before 2E's departed for her Bachelorette Weekend, her MOH sent her a text, requesting -- in addition to the sunscreen & Bowie knife -- that 2E's bring along a photo of her groom. A photo of me. And not just any a photo of me. Oh no. 

"Please note, it should be a photo that you don't mind getting besmirched."

Besmirched.

Merriam-Webster definition: to be smirched.

To be honest, I don't know what to make of it. What could it be used for? I race through the possibilities:
  • Dart board
  • Pin the tail on the groom
  • Sorcery
After a night on the couch -- tossing and turning at the thought of the girls, up there in their beach-side hotel, with all of their conjuring and voodoo and room service -- I've decided to spend the remainder of the weekend catching up on old movies, a good distraction from all of the smirching taking place two hours northward. I picked up the following films at the local Blockbuster this morning:

The Craft
Three socially outcast high school girls dabble in occult practices, and when they notice that the new girl has the powers of a natural witch, they talk her into joining their coven.

Girl, Interrupted
A depressed and directionless high schooler befriends the band of troubled women in her ward at a mental institution.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
Four best friends spend their first summer apart from one another and share a magical pair of jeans, which inevitably gets besmirched with all of the adventures and traveling and passing around of the pants.

And finally --

Very Bad Things
A prostitute is killed during a Las Vegas bachelor party and hilarity ensues.

"OMG, Bridget totally besmirched the crotch on our pants."

August 23, 2010

What Men Think Happens at a Bachelorette Party

2E's received the following e-request from her MOH this morning:

Dear Bride,

Please pack the following items for next weekend, in no particular order:

- Bathing suit, sandals and sunglasses
- Beach towel
- Sunscreen
- Party dress
- Hiking boots/sneakers
- Clothes you'd wear into the wilderness
- A Bowie knife
- A sweater


 
 Well one of these items can go in your carry-on luggage

She giddily tossed her phone aside and sought out the perfect sweater; meanwhile, I was baffled. Until this morning, we knew little to nothing of her Bachelorette itinerary -- aside from the drive up north to Santa Barbara with her BFF bridesmaids -- and this list of necessities is no help at all. I have to assume that there are some diversions here. Clearly the sunscreen is a red herring.

Piecing together what I can with no assuredness at all, here goes nothing:

2E'S BACHELORETTE WEEKEND ITINERARY

Friday, August 27th
5:00pm - Bachelorette weekend begins with a drive up to Santa Barbara
6:35pm - While 2E's gabs in the front seat, excited about all the knitting and nailing filing that's going to be taking place this weekend, Bridesmaids Julie and Laura rifle through her luggage, depriving it of all except the Bowie and the sunscreen (apparently it wasn't a red herring)
7:15pm - The MOH deviates from the road to Santa Barbara and into the Northeast corner of the Los Padres National Forest, leaving 2E's, her hiking boots and her lightened load in the middle of the California woods
12:05am - 2E's decides, after five hours of waiting around and mourning the loss of the perfect sweater, that she should rest her head on her bag and spend the night outdoors

Saturday, August 28th
9:00am - 2E's, a sworn vegetarian, fastens a trap from her luggage bag, captures a Santa Barbara native wild boar, Bowie knives it and eats it raw
12:40pm - After walking in the direction of the ocean aroma for over an hour, 2E's tethers her sandals to her hands and begins a four-legged sprint to save time
12:50pm - She gives up on that four-legged business, opting to eat the leather off of the sandals for a small boost
7:30pm - At nightfall, 2E's uses the Bowie knife to chop down a redwood tree and build herself a cabin, using the spare wood for her living room fireplace

Acquired taste
 
Sunday, August 29th
7:00am - Satisfying her new infatuation with wild boar meat, she consumes a large breakfast (served with a sunscreen-sweetened au jus), locks the cabin and resumes her sprint westward
11:45am - She completes the 40-mile jaunt across the forest, stopping at every ocean-side hotel and resort in Santa Barbara, scanning poolsides for three bridesmaids sipping cocktails
2:10pm - 2E's locates her BFFs, who welcome her with open arms and a pina colada, purchased with the $ made from selling 2E's beach gear
2:30pm - Bored, 2E's drags MOH Teresa, Bridesmaid Julie and Bridesmaid Laura out of the hotel and into the woods, and together they spend the remainder of the evening in her newly constructed cabin, knitting and nail filing beside the fireplace

And I thought Bachelor parties were inappropriate. Geez. Turn it down a notch, girls.