June 28, 2010

Nice to Meet You. Now Let's Get You Two Married.

Bridesmaid-with-a-Mission Julie sent me the following NPR article this past weekend, knowing full well that it would inspire me to write something (offensive) on the topic.

More Couples Have Friends Perform Wedding
by Randy Wenner

In the article, Wenner points out that more couples are asking friends and relatives to officiate at their weddings than ever before. 2E's and I knew that this was a trend we'd want to partake in the moment we were engaged -- it was a no-brainer. Neither of us are religious (we tend to lean toward agnostic theism), and we felt that asking her uncle to run the show would be more in tune with our personalities and the tone and feel of the wedding as a whole.

Let me just put this out there -- I have nothing against pastors and priests performing ceremonies, esp. when the couple has known that person and relied on him/her for spiritual guidance for years and years. In those cases, it's not only a sensible but a tangible connection; the guests can sense that there is a unique bond between these individuals. Plus, I've been to several weddings where the Father has thrown out some dark, borderline offensive humor, and I am ALL about that. Dirty jokes are best told in white collars.

But I do have a problem with the Reverend James Wind's comment on the issue:

"When we do a wedding ceremony, there's a set of values that has been carried along for centuries in these religious communities that are resources for making this very important relationship, a bedrock relationship in our society, for making this work."

I don't know about the centuries of "religious communities," but I do know the essence of community, about being surrounded by people who love and trust in and care for you, people who have your back, people who have seen you at your best and your worst and think nothing more or less of you because of it. What could be more important? Are those not the bedrock values that are going to sustain a marriage?

In today's world, when the attitudes toward religion are at both extremes (those who adhere to it without hesitation, and those who question its very purpose), we can't deny that friendship and family are as critical to some as faith is to others. Is it not our family and friends who will help us get through the worst of times, who will comfort us when we experience loss or heartbreak or disappointment, who will help us stay grounded when we feel anything but.

The person who marries 2E's and I will not be a man or woman who we've just met, someone who may know us fairly well from our answers to a template questionnaire. It'll be someone who knows us well, knows us both as individuals and as an "us," and will give us the strongest foundation possible to begin this new life together.

As for the appropriately named gray area -- or the legal issue -- it's a debate I'd love to engage in. It brings us to some much larger questions: "Who should be permitted to perform marriages? Are our marriage laws old-fashioned, or based on ancient principles?" The states with the toughest marriage laws allow for clergyman, clerks, state officials and state judges and justices to perform ceremonies. What do these individuals have in common? What common thread ties them together? When did legal marriages and religious marriages become one entity?

Damnit, NPR, now you've got me all worked up. Ugh. Let's close with a relevant, off-color cartoon.


Inspiration #71: More Fan Mail

Why Skype Saved Our Wedding, Pt 1

I imagine the "what is the point of Twitter" questions will never cease. I hear them at least once a week, and The New Yorker has no want for old-fashioned writers and their quibbles about teens texting and twittering their every waking moment ("just woke up" "just ate breakfast" "just finished breakfast"). And as long as those criticisms drag on, I'll continue to tell the site's cynics about the hundreds of amazing people who 2E's and I have met since September, people we never would have met otherwise....

...people like Elif at My Big Day Planning. Elif messaged me during the Irish Curse run and came out to see one of our performances on a whim. Exchanging post-show emails, we talked about how she could help fill the gaps in our own planning. My Big Day does consulting of all kinds, from engagement parties to ceremonies, from tenting and draping to catering and tasting. But where 2E's and I need the most hand-holding, we discovered, is not with pre-event services but with on-site, day-of services. We anticipate being an absolute mess that weekend. That week. Both of us. Two absolute messes sweating through their formal-wear.

Because Elif is located in New York, and we're ... well ... not, we decided to have our introductory meeting over Skype, the free video and voice software that made AIM look like child's play and led, undoubtedly, to the chatroulette phenomenon.

The verdict? I love Skype. Never have. Now I do. Why?  Simple. It's just as convenient as meeting for coffee, except that the coffee is brewed in the comfort of your own home, and you don't even have to shower. 2E's poured herself a cup of joe, and I spritzed my hair to give the impression that I'd bathed recently.

In all seriousness, we can't be more thrilled to have My Big Day on what we are now referring to as our Kick-ass Wedding Team. We have no doubt assembled an awesome crew of talented wedding peeps to help us execute this thing, and Elif is no exception. We sent her what documents and schedules we had, and she asked us to walk her through October 2nd from beginning to end. Occasionally she'd jump in with a Have you thought about this, which of course we hadn't, or a You could do this instead, which of course would be a far superior option to the one we'd originally planned on.

We were like Skype sponges, adhering to the glass around our built-in webcam, soaking up any bit of advice we could steal. We expressed some concerns we'd had, like, We don't have anyone to take care of this thing, and she'd say, calmly, Oh, we'll do that. We'll cover that. We'll handle that. Apparently Elif was sitting in front of her personal computer in such a way that we couldn't see her 16 pairs of arms.

How do people like this accomplish as much as they do?? And how come we are NOTHING like that???

 Actual Skype Sponges

The best thing is that Elif and all 32 of her arms (and her consulting company/army) are prepared to guide us through the rest of our planning process, answer any pestering questions that may arise between now and October and point out all 600 things that we'll undoubtedly overlook. And serve as a constant reminder of precisely how kick-ass our Kick-ass Wedding Team is, which is very. Kick-ass.

June 27, 2010

Inspiration #70: Fan Mail

Let's Try This Again

The last time I posted a link to AOL's new wedding site, Aisledash, it resulted in a sleepless weekend with online shopkeepers chasing me down with homemade pitchforks.

Not this time, wicker torch-wielding mob. Not this time.

Aisledash just announced their 1st Annual Wedding Blog Awards, which will honor wedding-inspired bloggers in 12 different categories (and yes, one of those categories just happens to be Best Groom Blog).

So, should you feel so inclined, please take a minute to click on the nomination form link and vote for your three favorite blogs in any category. If you need some inspiration, check out 2E's favorite blogs in the right sidebar. And if you don't have a free minute today, no worries! The nomination period is open until July 22nd.

You lucky dog.

much love,

Without Further Delay

2E's and I didn't necessarily celebrate our one-year engagement anniversary, but she (being the awesome photographer that she is) did take some Groom Says-inspired photos of yours truly ... photos that were long overdue, she says.

So, without further delay, my favorite pics (copyright 2E's):

the one where it looks like I actually think before I write stuff

 the one where it looks like I ate my fiancee

and the one where I dramatize the word "marriage"

the one where I reenact our engagement

 and the one where I prove just how to irreverent this blog really is ... also known as the one that where I made that little girl cry when she and her mother strolled by unexpectedly

June 24, 2010


"Wedding, I'd like you to meet my Life. Life, this is Wedding. Wedding's going to be taking over for the next 3 months. Cool? Cool."

99 catapulted me into a mild state of shock this morning. Pulling up the blog, I noticed that my handy Until It Becomes Real countdown clock began with a 0 -- the first indication that this thing is more "real" than not. No longer are we in the three-digit comfort zone. 99 days until we are the guests at our very own wedding ceremony. Christ.

I should have learned something by now, no...? Shouldn't I have some wisdom to impart to those who haven't yet hit the 99-day mark? For those who still find safety in numbers of the three-digit variety?

I guess if there's anything I've learned -- hmm uhh well duh -- it's that you have to move at your own pace. (And yes -- that goes for the girls and the grooms.) Months may go by where you feel like nothing significant is getting done. And then there are those when you look at your to-do list and say, "Oh, that's all?" And we're somewhere closer to the latter right now. It's fantastic. Yesterday I managed to knock out an all-inclusive contact list and a ceremony breakdown.

Boom. Done.

And for us, too -- we've realized that we can't plan a wedding if our lives are in shambles. Whether it's auditions or dishes, we've figured out that the wedding work won't get done as long as there are mounds of silverware in the sink. We need to be exercising. We need to be washing our cars. We need to be going out on Friday nights and not discussing escort cards.

Why? Well, as far as I can tell, it's about balance. It's your personalities -- yours and your 2E's -- that play the biggest part in your decision-making. The wedding will feel and sound and maybe even smell like you -- smell like you on a good day, anyway -- so you can't be planning and designing and decision-making if you're a train wreck. A good state of mind will lead to good choices. Creativity just won't flow in a chaotic state -- not for very long, anyway. Ask any actor, any writer. Ask me. It won't flow.

So you've got to learn to mix it up. Some days you do nothing. Other days you accomplish more than you need to. Some days you talk through transportation for guests. Other days you drive down to Disney for the day. Some days the bride is getting things done; other days she's getting her nails done.

And for 15 minutes every day, do the damn dishes.

Oh -- and take an extra 10 minutes and get in the friggin' shower. This wedding is gonna smell like gym sweat and onions. Ugh.

June 21, 2010

And ... Moving On

While a certain sect of the internet marketplace dwells on the past and continues their manhunt (yawn), we're moving on. Our wedding is a day closer than it was yesterday. Two days closer than the day before. It's Day 63 of the BP oil spill. Let's move forward, people.

2E's and I are thrilled with the look of our invites and response cards, and in an effort to not completely ruin it for our guests, we won't be posting the images until all parties have received theirs in the mail -- hopefully by early July.

In the meantime, now that the invite design is over, we're designing the envelopes.

Yes, grooms, in the list of things you never thought you'd have to do, simply because it didn't sound like an actual task, you can add "designing envelopes." Working backwards, here are the three essential components of proper envelope embellishment:


Plain old licking doesn't cut it anymore, guys. Apparently you need a custom-made sticker to leave an impression on the back of the envelope ... a costly, custom-made sticker with a cutesy design and return address that your guests will smile at momentarily and then TEAR through to get to the contents.

Our smart-chic graphic designer took a small component of the invite design and incorporated it on the return label ... so you get the a taste of the tone of our wedding from the moment you pick up the envelope. It's almost as smart-chic as she is.


Brides care about stamps. Which means you care about stamps. She wants them to match but not be too matchy. She wants them to tell the story, but not the wrong story. She wants people to notice them, but they better not steal the show. And you want all of those things too. So start browsing now.

P.S. Don't even mention the official "Love and Wedding" stamps. Don't. Even.


While we were content with mediocre calligraphy on the Save the Dates -- that would be my mediocre calligraphy, thank you -- we decided we should top ourselves for the invites. So we hired awesome artiste and kickass Maid of Honor (oh, and -- cripes -- Etsy shopkeeper) Teresa to bless our envelopes with her playful, ethereal handwriting.

We stuck her next to an orchid plant, fitted with her a plaid button-up shirt and put a pen in her hand. Without food or water. Boy what a difference dehydration makes!

In all seriousness, we're beyond blessed. I've absolutely underestimated penmanship -- and it is a much more laborious task that one would think. Thankfully Teresa spent years in the Philadelphia prison system, so laborious tasks are nothing new.

June 19, 2010

The Real Groom

(or How to Upset An Entire Website's Worth of People)

In the last 24 hours, thanks to the magic of internet forums, I've managed to anger hundreds of people (and entertain a handful). My MEN vs ETSY post on Aisledash.com brought on a sea of comments, mostly from Etsy lovers, buyers and sellers with some choice words for the guy who hates people who make things.

And those of you who know me (or know this blog) know too that I am not that guy. I hate very few people. None of them make things.

I was going to publish this post later in the week, but I see now that this is actually the only way to put out this ever-expanding fire:

2E's and I have been exploring options for our out-of-towner gift bags ... and to save you all a load of time and energy, you should know that "99-cent vintage viewfinders" just don't exist. Without telling the 2E's, I decided to browse a certain online shopping center to find something chic and unique ... and perhaps in the 99-cent range.

What I stumbled upon was ChickPrint's storefront (vowing "old school stationery for all") and her both chic and unique Brooklyn greeting cards. How cool, I thought, to personalize each gift bag with a greeting card and give your guests the impression that theirs is not just one in a slew of bags scattered throughout adjacent hotel rooms.

When they arrived this afternoon, "You bought something off Etsy?!?!" wasn't the first thing out of her mouth, but it did come shortly after.

P.S. I captured the above photo the very moment we opened the package -- not for my own posting purposes but rather by request; ChickPrint wanted to see 2E's reaction when she saw the cards for the very first time.

Product Sampling: Coolhaus

The other night, 2E's and I took a break from serious wedding planning to do a little taste testing. We've had Coolhaus booked for the dessert portion of our wedding for a few months now ... and, believe it or not, we'd never tasted their product.

Granted, the "product" is ice cream sandwiches, so...

Like all LA food trucks, the Coolhaus party van makes stops all over the city (follow them on twitter for updates and location announcements), and we caught up with them across from CBS studios on Bev, doing some promotion for the USA Network.

(promotion = free taste test)

The verdict? The "product" is ridicu-licious. I went Southern and got the Red Velvet on a pair of fresh-made chocolate chip cookies; 2E's went out-of-the-box and got some bacon-or-something flavor on some other kind of cookie. Our sandwiches were made in, uh, seconds, and the bizarre flavors aren't at all overwhelming (only on her second-to-last bite did 2E's proclaim, "There's the bacon!"). It really is the perfect end-of-the-night treat after four hours of hardcore celebrating. 

The one thing left to consider: the mess factor. We had the good fortune of having the Beverly Boulevard sidewalk beneath us, but we may need to hook our guests up with courtesy plates to avoid a red velvet and bacon-flavored dance floor. And to prevent our guests from licking said dance floor. I think there's a surcharge for that.

June 16, 2010

The Conversation Starter

I can't begin to tell you how refreshing it is to have a caterer who cares ... and not only cares about what they do, but cares about the food that they are going to serve at your wedding; cares how it all blends together; and cares enough to chit chat on the phone for 45 minutes, bounce ideas around, throw the pasta on the wall and see what sticks.

(So to speak.)

2E's first conversation with Kim Pistone, in truth, lasted much longer than she anticipated. Being twenty-six and raised in a Google-infested world, 2E's and I converse primarily over email. Kim, on the other hand, needs to have a conversation. She's got a vivid personality, and a certain amount of electricity when talking about food. And her food has a homemade quality because, well, that's where it originated: "We used to have this ----- ------- when I was a kid. I don't know where the hell it came from, it sounds ridiculous, but it was so good. You could totally have that as a passed hors d'oeuvre." She's up for suggestions, and at the same time ready to dish some out if you're still not won over. It's remarkable.

It's not to say that, at some point, we didn't glance at a menu -- we certainly did. But rather than a strict menu of options...

Select 3 Stationery Plates
Select 4 Passed Hors D'oeuvres
Select 2 Main Entrees and 2 Side Dishes
Select 2 Desserts

... Kim's was a jumping off point. A conversation starter. In fact, I believe it was just a sample menu from a wedding she'd done previously. Sure, she has her favorite apps and dishes she knows will succeed, but she can appreciate that every event is unique and that having only four options on a menu can only limit the possibilities. She considers the average age of your guests; she considers the season ("Ooo... a --------- ------ ---- would be perfect for early October."); she takes it all into consideration, and then she'll expect you to call her. Cause she can't email you when she's standing over a stove all day.

Point taken.

I can't neglect to mention: when we first met her at our reception venue back in March, Kim presented us with a Glad tupperware container of homemade truffled macaroni and cheese, which we (and some friends who were happy to indulge) thought was simply out of this world. Kim later emailed -- totally out of character -- and apologized. Her 6-year-old son tasted the leftovers and told her it was too bitter. She had to agree.


June 12, 2010

A Guide to Ploys Disguised as Romantic Getaways

It looks like Palm Springs. It smells like Palm Springs. Everything around you would lead you to believe that you're in Palm Springs.

Where you are, really, is smack in the middle of another wedding ploy, courtesy of your 2E's.

Remember when it was you who wore the pants in regards to sneakiness and secret getaways? That was your territory. You were so friggin' good. (The one at Six Flags? The one with the picnic at the coroner's office? Yes, you were truly awesome once.) But lately she's been pitching in in the "surprise" department -- which is heartwarming until you realize that it has nothing to do with you at all.

You just lost your sneakiness merit badge, groom. You are no longer the sneakier one in the relationship.

2E's throws me in our new SUV on Thursday afternoon after ordering me to pack an overnight bag with no clue as to where we're going or how I should dress. We drive 80 miles an hour down a road that I don't know, and I'm panicked. Where the hell are we going, I screamed, but no, nothing.

Then we're in a hotel and it's got a private patio with a remote-controlled fireplace, and we're ordering room service by the pool, which has free floaties. What the F?

We're having cocktails and going on bike rides and taking photographs and I'm thinking about chewing through my metaphorical arm to get through these handcuffs that bind my emotions

And all the while, see, while I'm being pampered and inebriated and romanticized, we're doing work. We're drafting an hourly day-of schedule. We're creating to-do lists and planning vendor walk-throughs and sketching out response cards. We're getting things done -- and, worst of all, she's not the one instigating. All this ordering and throwing and chewing and emotional handcuffs has me in such disarray that I'm taking the reigns. I'm the instigator. I'm the mastermind.

What the heck is wrong with me? Who the heck does she think she is?? Where did my metaphorical arm go???


June 8, 2010

Inspiration #69

"Venuegate is Over"

Why did Madman's 2E's burst into tears the very moment that he walked into their cozy Los Angeles apartment yesterday afternoon? (Please circle one option below.)

   (a) She was just so overjoyed to see his face
   (b) She was overcome when she saw the bouquet of pink mini roses he'd bought for her
   (c) She found a ceremony venue that is available, affordable and in walking distance of our reception venue, and she was just so effing relieved that she couldn't contain herself
   (d) all of the above

If you guessed (d), you're cute, but no.
If you guessed (a) or (b), you haven't been reading.

That's right boys and girls, brides and grooms, the correct answer is (c), and today -- on this day -- I can't blame her. You know the Photobooth cloud? That grey, looming, egg-shaped thunder cloud that hung over her head when she realized that we couldn't possibly afford to have an old-school photobooth at our reception?

Well the Photobooth cloud was nothing compared to the London Tower edition ball and chain ceremony venue shackles (patent pending).

In the words of my childhood, this stupid, poo poo-faced ceremony hunt has kept us in a wedding planning slump for months. It's left us dragging ass with rejection after rejection, letdown after letdown. It's even left some family members wondering whether the wedding would happen or not...

(...which is fascinating, because if this blog never existed, never came to be, then no one would be clued in to our venue setbacks.)

And the problem was not motivation or lack of resources. The problem, you see, is that 90% of the venues in New York City exceed our (apparently) meager budget. 9% of the remaining 10% are either too remote or too small or too ugly. That left 1%. One-friggin'-percent. One percent is a blessing and a curse. It narrowed our search, but it also narrowed our search.

(The statistics above are absolute bullshit.)

What saved us was dedication. What saved us was 2E's setting a goal: to find a place within walking distance of the reception space, whether it be a restaurant or coffee shop, art gallery or artist loft, warehouse or whatever. If it held 85 people and wasn't rat infested (and we mean infested), we were going to make it work.

In the final days of my new york city residency, the Best Man and I took a visit to Brooklyn to see a few more places and do a walking tour of the neighborhood. The results? Well, the first place we had an appointment with totally dropped the ball and forgot about us (sign of things to come?). The second place didn't have air conditioning ... ever. And the other places were either closed or down dark staircases or up long and winding staircases. It was not looking more and more like we would be in Brooklyn Bridge Park, nestled beneath the Manhattan Bridge, with an AMAZING view of the East River and lower Manhattan but with no rain back-up and god knows how many random strangers walking through and around our ceremony.

And then powerHouse Arena came along.

"WELCOME" is right. WELCOME to our kickass venue.

powerHouse (also powerHouse Books) is a "boutique, book store, performance, and events space ... with soaring 24-foot ceilings on the 5,000 square foot ground floor with over 175 linear-feet of glass frontage and amphitheater-style seating." It's raw and city-like; it's got great levels built into it; it's nothing like our reception venue; and most of all, it's very us. We've passed it what seems like hundreds of times in our trips to Brooklyn over the years; we just never thought we could afford the rental cost.

And in truth, we can't. To hold our wedding there would put us at least $3K over budget. But to hold just our ceremony there -- a fixed 2-hr window plus an hour for set-up -- is do-able. YES. FINALLY.

And the best part is ... those of us who can manage will be walking from the ceremony to the reception. It's 0.2 miles. It will take 3-4 minutes. 5 minutes in heels.

As bride, fellow blogger and groom supporter Lara said last night, we are "so glad #venuegate is over." And now we can move on to the other 8 million things we have to do, cloud-free, shackle-free, and on-budget. For now.

June 5, 2010

The Photobooth is only the beginning (a Rehearsal Dinner fable)

2E's has had this cloud hanging over her head for the past few months now. A small, oval-shaped thing. Dull grey. You may have seen it.

We call it the Photobooth cloud.

2E's has wanted an old-school photobooth at the reception since the moment she first jotted down a single detail about our (her) wedding ... since she storyboard-ed the event in her academic calendar ... since before Photobooths were the trend. (2E's is very before her time.) But the truth is that Photobooths are the "thing to have" these days, so rental fees are through the roof. It's nothing short of a small fortune to borrow a rectangular, walk-in closet with a built-in camera for the evening. Who would have thought?

A few months ago, we decided to put the idea to rest. We moved on. And then the cloud rolled in. And that was that.

But now the cloud's existence has been threatened with our recent booking (or near-booking) of our awesome Unnamed Rehearsal Dinner space.

We began hunting down rehearsal dinner venues as I imagine most couples do: thinking of our favorite restaurants, calling them and suffering extreme disappointment when the special events manager laughed and told us, pityingly, "Ohhh, we don't do that." Having no clue how much these things cost, or what restaurants' policies are with this sort of thing, it was too much like stabbing in the dark. And we've maimed a lot of strangers along the way.

Then 2E's Aunt Robin came along and helped us get on track. From her home in Boston, Robin was able to secure availability and pricing from several restaurants in the Cobble Hill area of BKLYN, places she'd never been to but could vouch for through previous event photos and Yelp ratings. This was do-able. There are over 18,000 "eating establishments" in New York. If we can't find one to accommodate us, then we're not working hard enough. Fine. Good. Great.

With Robin's awesome options organized in a GoogleDocs spreadsheet, 2E's and I thought we'd expand our search into Manhattan. Why the hell not? So from our living room in Los Angeles, she began hitting up restaurants with private rooms & special events rates -- not places that we'd have to "shut down" (most places in that category quoted us $10-15K to close ... or didn't offer to close at all).

So when 2E's came into town for the closing of The Irish Curse, we dined like royalty ... or at least the kind of royalty who for one reason or another have to pay for their meals. We ate here and there and this place and that place. We gained several pounds and hoarded to-go cartons and dreaded the next meal for fear of being completely and utterly stuffed. I never considered eating to be "work" until last weekend.

But what we ended up doing, unexpectedly, was falling head over heels for Kickass Unnamed Restaurant. From it's exterior on Third Avenue b/w 10th and 11th (near the Loews Theater there, near Webster Hall, a minute from Astor Place), the restaurant looks not unlike a dimly lit bar that happens to serve food; so we were pleasantly surprised to find that they has some of the best service we've encountered in Manhattan and, more importantly, a fantastic American bistro menu with some of the best "upscale bar food" we've ever had. Sure, the manager-on-duty swooned us and comped a few side dishes, but that's not what won us over in the end...

... what made the place truly exceptional was the above: the gem at the bottom of the stairs. The private room beneath our feet. Clean, faded black walls with antique photo collage trimmings and a parquet ceiling, wooden tables and simple decor (hardly any, really). Spacious -- able to accommodate 75 but perfect for 50-ish. Sliding doors that cut off the din from the raucous bar atmosphere above ground. iPod hook-up. And -- to top it off -- a photobooth in the adjacent hall.

Yes. Goodbye ominous cloud.

I took the Best Man over there last week for a beer (ooo...and great draft beers from local-owned breweries), and he agreed that "this is the place." Mom and Dad just adore it (in part because we can't stop talking about it), and they've helped us craft the perfect menu for our guests. We're just thrilled.

Between our rehearsal dinner & the honeymoon, we really feel like things are picking up. The biggest weekend of our lives is finally taking shape ... progress from the amorphous mess it appeared to be a month ago. And with yet another new ceremony option to investigate on Monday, we're optimistic. You know ... wedding optimistic. Which is kind of like sunny with a 40% chance of rain. But with no clouds overhead. Slightly humid.

Okay, weather metaphors aside, we're good. Today we're good.

June 4, 2010

But What About THIS Place?

Those are the kind of emails we would send to the wonderful, personable, PATIENT Barbara Oliver over at Bliss Honeymoons. No lie. 3+ months of this:

Dear Barbara,
We've been doing some googling. What about this place? Is that affordable?
Love, Us

Dear Barbara,
We're still at the same budget, but our standards just won't budge. ::mischievous smiley face:: Oh well. How's this one?
Cheers! Us

Dear Barbara,
What we want is a hotel that no one goes to but where there are a million activities available. Walking distance but, like, remote. Modern but rustic. Beach-side jungle. All-inclusive. Practical stuff like that. Like this.
Kisses, Us

If we were Barbara, we would have given ourselves a swift, digital kick to the ass months ago. But Barbara is a world traveler herself, so she understands the struggle between the dream vacation and the affordable, achievable vacation. And, best of all, she knows how to meld the two together.

Affordable ... for two nights ... if we swim there.

2E's and I never considered Jamaica -- we wanted something more "unique" or whatever -- but that's precisely where we've ended up, and we couldn't be happier. We never wanted an all-inclusive resort -- we were SO "above" those -- but it turned out that Couples had all the amenities and activities we wanted and was well inside our budget. Without Barbara and Bliss, we'd probably be hunting down hotels on stilts straight through the summer, pinching pennies and enduring 4 or 5 layovers just to cut down the cost.

Look, do we wish we could be vacationing in Ladera in St. Lucia...? In one of those awesome villas in the jungle...? The villas that are walking distance from the water but are so secluded that you can literally walk around naked and have breakfast naked and do other things naked...?

I totally sat on that bed naked.

Of course we do! But we can also accept that we're 26 years old and that we have many, many years ahead of us ... years full of jungle villas and naked things.

If you think Bliss Honeymoons is, like, some kind of crazy, charge-an-arm-and-a-leg travel agency then you just don't know nothing. For a small fee, Barbara did a huge amount of research, presented us with dozens of options that fit our style and price-point (with awesome video slideshows), and managed to get us some great deals on both round-trip flights and Couples Tower Isle resort packages.

And so, come November (yes, we've delayed our honeymoon a month or so since we're having a high-stress "destination wedding," or so it seems), we'll be toasting Barbara for hooking us up big-time. And we'll be water-skiing. And eating a lot. And drinking a lot. And getting naked. On the designated naked beach. Or not. Whatever. Naked.

(Follow Bliss on Twitter @blisshoneymoons)

June 3, 2010

Quotable Moments from Wedding Planning (and Things Grooms Should Never Do)

2E's SAYS:

You know what would be so fun...? If we went to a bridal store, and you went through all the dresses and tried to pick out the one that looks the most like what I bought.

The wedding she always wanted

I'd only been home for four hours or so ... but when a man's DVDs are not alphabetized, his books not sorted by height and category (Fiction, Non-Fiction, Reference and "Hers"), that man must act. And so I abandoned unpacking and set out to re-organize the life that I left behind. Doing so, I stumbled upon an old appointment book that belonged to my 2E's -- a dusty, spiral bound journal from 2006-07...

...and no, to answer the question that's already percolating in some of your minds, I did not snoop or skim or whatever you wish to call it. I was a perfect gentleman about it. I presented it to her and kindly asked her to throw it away.

"I can't throw this away!" she gasped, snatching it from my hands like an under-appreciated artifact. "This is like a time capsule."

Troubling, I thought. If an academic calendar is a time capsule, what else is she inclined to keep around the house? I pictured the halls of our future home, decked with receipts from dinners we had long ago, tax returns in standing picture frames, our tables and chairs and armoires all decoupaged with Post-It notes and grocery lists.

"Look! You're my emergency contact," she said, flipping through the yellowing pages, "and next to Relationship, I wrote yes please."

The calendar -- a crude collection of handwritten names and numbers, hours and locations. And past the October due dates and December vacations, the March meet-and-greets and June reminders, there was the address book, an area designated for contacts and fax numbers but never used for that purpose. Instead, 2E's took the lined, vacant pages to list life goals, spending budgets, "Places to See," Christmas wish lists and (of course) a detailed account of our (her) ideal wedding.

That's right, it's got color schemes and themes ("tropical? colors of fruit?"), food stations ("sushi"), to-do lists ("rent tent" and "make own invites"), drawings of the kids who will be in the processional, the schedule for portraits, a 200-person guest list (featuring teachers from her childhood and every classmate either of us have ever known), SEATING CHARTS, song suggestions, entertainment ideas and a complete day-of schedule, something we don't even have for our actual wedding.

In fact, the only thing not included in this tome is a wedding budget. Better check the 2007-2008 academic calendar.