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."


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:


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.

August 22, 2010

Groom Tip of the Week

If your wedding is more do-it-yourself than done-by-others ... and one of your DIY components comes from the pages of a book(s) ... before you begin doing anything, be sure that that book(s) is not a trashy romance novel ... one in which the adjective "hard" is used superfluously ... and the word "stroke," in whatever context it may be, appears on every page.

This has been your Groom Tip of the Week.

August 19, 2010

5 Steps to ::Groom Attire::

Those who know this blog know that actual, noteworthy advice plays little part in the daily posts that populate it. It's not that I don't feel you deserve to hear it; more often than not, it's that I don't feel that I deserve to give it.

But this ::GROOM ATTIRE:: decision has been plaguing me for weeks now, and after spending the better part of today with my seriously better half, "shopping," I feel like I have a handle on this now. It may be one of those flimsy handles that has been known to pop off at a moment's notice, but its a handle nonetheless.

Step 1: Use Your Resources
Groom, this may be the first time you browse the "Real Weddings" out there in the blogosphere and scope out their photo recaps, but it's really the only research you need in advance of Step 2. See what catches your eye -- which colors, which styles -- and come to a general consensus on the tux vs. suit issue.

Be sure to pull some images that inspire you (maybe 4 or 5 directions you're considering) and create an inspiration board of your own. It may seem absurd, but I guarantee -- whether it's printed, folded and tucked into your jean pocket or saved on your iPhone camera gallery --  you'll want to show it to sales rep or dressing room attendant or men's stylist or whomever it may be. It'll save you both a lot of time and energy.

Step 2: Get in the Car
And don't just sit in the car, you far-too-literal groom, you. Step 2 is all about making the trip to the rental place or what have you (JCrew, Macy's, Bloomingdales, Men's Warehouse, or even the John Varvatos flagship store) and trying things on. If you're a guy who's constantly in formalwear, you're rolling your eyes right about now. But for grooms like me who rarely throw on a suit, a trip to the tailor rings of a dental appointment, and my instinct is to avoid it.

The best suggestion I can make is to take your 2E's with you. Make a "day" out of it. Prep her from the beginning -- let her know that you're going to want to try on various things (even that tan sports jacket that you know will look absolutely ridiculous), and the best thing she can do is be open and honest and direct. There's no point in debating over a suit that doesn't work. Ask her politely not to spare your feelings -- the suit or tux will either strike a chord or strike out.

Step 3: Shop Around
Don't buy the first suit you try on, for chrissake. You're bound to build a relationship with your men's stylist (hell, you've never had a stylist, and now you wish you could just bring him with you everywhere for advice and general merriment), but don't feel obligated to buy. They know how this works.

Ask your 2E's to snap some photos for you of your favorite ensembles and to make note of where you found them -- one of them may be the one you come back to the following week. 

Step 4: Remember the Investment
How disturbing is the thought that your suit -- should you decide to buy a suit and not rent your formalwear -- may cost more than your bride's dress?

Yes, at first it's highly disturbing ... but it fades once you realize that you're buying yourself a new, crisp, tailored suit that you're bound to re-use for years to come. If cost is an issue, consider mixing and matching, i.e. purchasing your suit and renting the groomsmen's attire. There are certainly ways to cut costs here and there, so consult with your boys, your 2E's and your FOG (yes, your dad's bought a few suits in his lifetime) before swiping your credit card.

Step 5: Know When It's the One
And when you know -- and when your 2E's knows -- you'll know what I mean. 

Groom (& Bride) Scorecards for Sale!

At the request of numerous readers and blog enthusiasts, the Groom and Bride Scorecards are now for sale here on The Groom Says!

I know what you're thinking. "I already have one of those." Well, that's highly unlikely -- unless you're one of the five people in the WORLD who currently has one or the other.

I copied it from his site and put it on my desktop 
because I thought it was hysterical. 
- Anne Chertoff, AOL's

And I know what else you're thinking. "What charity is my money going to?" Not a single one. To be perfectly honest, the money is going straight into our honeymoon wedding fund, which grows inch by inch, dollar by dollar every day. Call it a good cause if it makes you feel better.

I insisted that Brian send me over one and it’s 
pretty hilarious ... I’ll add certain points to my 
scoreboard, sometimes even if I haven’t really earned 
them ... you know, I can get points for bathing multiple
times in a day. ... If I take two showers, 
that’s an extra bonus point. 
 - Chris Easter, The Man Registry

Scorecards are 10" x 15" and are professionally laminated by yours truly. (Yes, I laminate. Professionally.) They make the perfect gift for a recently engaged couple, recently married couple, bridal or groomal or wedding showers or bachelor/bachelorette parties. Please email orders, questions or special requests to, and check out the pricing guide below.

Groom Rewards Score Sheet + Handy Dry Erase Marker: $15
 Shipping + Handling: $5
Total: $20

Bride Rewards Score Sheet + Handy Dry Erase Marker: $15
 Shipping + Handling: $5
Total: $20

Groom + Bride Rewards Score Sheets + 2 Dry Erase Markers: $25
Shipping + Handling: $5
Total: $30
You save: $10!

August 17, 2010

Wedding Attire Inspiration Board

via Ben the Groom (& a great article on attire)

I'm sensing a dark-colored suit and tie in my future. Just saying.

Inspiration #76

Inviting the Impossible

2E's crossed Invite the President off her to-do list this week, marking the last of our wedding mailing duties...

En route to the Greetings Office, Room 39

... or so she thought.

Inviting the Commander-in-Chief and the First Lady is customary for couples; though, in this case, we'd actually be thrilled to have Barack and Michelle cut up the floor at our wedding. Other traditional invitees include VP Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, your state Governor (or Governator), Pope Benedict XVI, Queen Elizabeth II and Mickey & Minnie Mouse, courtesy of the Walt Disney Company.

But aside from the cartoon character appeal, I think I'd be a bit more selective with my "bonus invites."

A Connecticut Yankee in a New York Cemetery

Mark Twain: Aside from the fact that he's a personal hero of mine, here's a guy who would absolutely get the whole "ceremony in a bookstore" theme. And if he didn't manage to respond from the grave, I think I could forgive him. Then again, if he did muster up the strength to RSVP and wanted to join us on the big day, it would be the best Thriller tribute ever.

A Bed-Stuy Guy

Dante Terrell Smith: I wanted to throw a true, Brooklyn native into the mix, and who better than actor/rapper/hip-hop icon Mos Def. And, if he were to RSVP "Yes," the Mos exciting thing at the wedding would without a doubt be some post-dinner freestyle goodness. I may even save a seat for him at the Rehearsal Dinner.

Let's keep the Rachel Getting Married puns to a minimum  

Anne Hathaway: The Bride Wars/Alice in Wonderland star is certainly a shot in the dark (I'd say Mark Twain is more likely to show up), but she is working on a new film -- The Fiance -- so maybe she'll write it off as "acting research." On the other hand, if she's occupied or just plain uninterested, I wouldn't be disappointed. I think most guys would be thrilled to get rejected by Anne friggin' Hathaway.

On my B-List:
  • Lindsay Lohan
  • Vincent D'Onofrio
  • The United States Supreme Court
  • Marty Scorsese
  • Bristol Palin

August 14, 2010

In the Beginning, It Was Only Magazines

In the beginning, it was only magazines: bridal, wedding, registry. The Knot, Southern California Edition; Brides, the Dress Issue; and CB2. They invaded your home. They occupied the living room coffee table, the dining room table, the desk, the nightstand, the magazine rack, the standing space beside the toilet. They set up residence, and they spawned. And they weren't going anywhere.

 Spread of infection: Week 14

But the wedding magazines have a tendency to propagate outside of their species, and soon it wasn't literature alone that was occupying your workspace, your eatspace, your sleepspace. There were lists, checklists, reminders, spreadsheets, stationery, stuff. The proposals begot estimates begot contracts. The stuff begot more stuff.

Spread of infection: Week 30

And now, christ, you don't have any stuff of your own. It's all been compromised or tossed out in error -- that, or it's somehow blended with the other stuff in some kind of wedding osmosis. You're apparently running a knock-off Crate & Barrel operation out of your home, what with all the bridal shower gifts stacked left and right. The lists and checklists have moved into the bedroom -- better yet, into the bed -- and you sleep atop the things you haven't yet completed. Your dreams are the stuff of unfinished business. 

Spread of infection: Present day

Getting into your home -- don't get me started. It's a natural disaster. What's this new thing; what's that new thing. Oh, right, I put that there, didn't I? I don't even know myself anymore. There are eight kinds of mixers in my fridge for sampling cocktails and my Mac desktop is filthy with icons. I forgot to call what's his name again. Honey, where do you want this panini press instruction booklet to go? Why do you sometimes speak in the third person? Who are you talking to?

And maybe it's because you're watching Constant Gardener and some other conspiratorial melodramas but the world looks wildly different and Walgreens doesn't have anything to fix it and, crap, I think I'm sitting on something. Probably another response card.

It's a response card.

August 10, 2010

8th Wonder of the World

It was one of those times as a groom -- strike that, as a man -- when you knew instinctively that this had nothing to do with you. That nothing about today made it your day.

(And I imagine, in many ways, it was good practice for October 2nd.)

And the jeweler knew it, too. He set the black velvet ring box on the glass display case while 2E's was still recovering from the sight of her own band, sliding it toward me with an air of, Oh, and here's yours buddy. He'd been in the business long enough to know how this goes.

2E's band had been customized to fit the curve of her cocktail engagement ring, and she marveled at the precision of the arch. The Great Pyramid of Giza was constructed over a 20-year-period with the blood, sweat and tears of hundreds of thousands of Egyptians, but this had taken four days and the hands of one jewelsmith and goddamnit it was just as impressive.

We met the man behind the bend in the ring. He was a nameless man, dark-haired, 5'8" perhaps, with a gap in his teeth and a glowing aura about him. This man had inspired the tears of millions of brides and brides-to-be. This man could break hearts. Despite the whole missing teeth and broken English thing.

My band, on the other hand, came directly from the purchase catalog -- a simple, 14-carat white gold twist-on, thicker and heavier and shinier than I'd expected but, otherwise, a perfect replica of the one I'd seen in-store the week prior. It suited me perfectly, me being someone who's idea of everyday jewelry is a LiveStrong band.

 (clockwise from left) 2E's three-prong engagement ring, the 8th Wonder of the Wold, and mine

The band will certainly take some getting used to. I spent a good ten minutes in the store, striking quotidian poses (the "lean against a counter" pose, the "boy my nails are long" pose, etc.) and never felt entirely comfortable. But the shine will fade, they say, and the gold will yellow, and after October 2nd, my band will as mean as much to me as it does to her.

Hell, I bet that damn pyramid took some getting used to, too. 

August 9, 2010

As Promised: The Bride's Scorecard

While he wants nothing to do with the event itself, it's wrong for the groom to not make some sort of scene at the Bridal Shower. So aside from my duties on-camera as part of the How Well Do You Know Your Groom? quiz, I took the week prior to our NC departure to design the official counterpart to the Groom's Scorecard (or Groom Points Tracker), which I unveiled back in November. 2E's had been hounding me for months to create a score sheet for brides, wives and girlfriends alike.

(It was inevitable, really.)

Grooms -- it's not exactly the apocalypse, but it is a taste of what's to come. Hold onto your balls.

Copyright The Groom Says © 2010

Treasure Hunting

2E's and I are both at that age now when our parents' scraps -- their memorabilia and collector's items, their postcards and newspaper cut-outs, so forth and so on -- have an almost immeasurable worth to us, their offspring, and our future offspring (don't get me started). The contents of their photo albums and shoe boxes have passed right through expired, aged, old, and moved straight into timeless, ageless, priceless.

2E's fawning over wedding paraphernalia

Through this journey, we've become (to some unskilled degree) wedding archaeologists, eager to unearth the ABCs of our parents' nuptials, 2E's gasping over every handwritten note, every Polaroid picture, every vintage-y element employed by her hippie parents and their June 1980 Massachusetts wedding (see ancient catering menu below, with a grand total of $900 to feed 125):

Dale and Reid's overwhelmingly vegetarian catering menu, which did, thankfully, include sugar cubes

And what we've found is far more valuable than any inspiration board or "Real Wedding" we've encountered in the last fourteen (yes, fourteen) months. What we've found is a style that cannot be duplicated or replicated because it is inherently theirs. We've found personality etched into every nook and cranny of every last detail. Take, for instance, the generic Marriage Ceremony guide -- a word-by-word playbook of the traditional Christian wedding -- with which they had spliced their own ceremonial words and typewritten vows, savagely sewn into the pages with bronze Scotch tape.

The "this is the word of our Lord" remix

What we've found -- and never intended to find -- is that, when our own children look back, dig up the scraps of our October 2010 Brooklyn wedding in (god help us) 30 years or so, they'll find that we -- like our own parents and their parents before them -- kept it simple, kept it personal and captured some truly unique moments in the course of one very hectic day. They'll wonder at our Save the Date as you might wonder at some crushing historic revelation, turn the pages of our digital photo album and marvel at the technological simplicity of our self-made wedding website; most importantly, though, they'll see personality in every element, and, as my dad would say, that'll be really neat.

In the meantime, my future mother-in-law has fixed me a foursome of vodka and lemon juice cocktails in twist-cap airplane bottles to slip into our carry-on bag and soothe the cough that's been haunting me this week. And I can't imagine anything more motherly-in-law.


August 4, 2010

The FOB Says

Six years ago you were terrified to meet him. Last year you hopped on a plane, hopped into a rental car, drove to his Chapel Hill home and woke him from his sacred midday nap to ask him for his daughter's hand in marriage. And in less than two months, he'll be escorting your 2E's down the aisle, jotting down the bullet-points of your vows on the palm of his hand and ensuring that you uphold those promises for, like, forever.

But at this moment in time, Reid Wilson -- FOB and father-in-law to-be -- has stopped in with a semi-fresh pot of coffee and a bowl of peanuts to answer some groom-related questions and to help ease our nerves. So to speak. 

Isn't it the other way around? If Steve Martin is playing me, doesn't he have to fill my big sarcastic shoes? And speaking of Steve Martin, shouldn't you and your 2E's be working on your vows about now...? Only 58 days left. 

As I recall, my wives and I worked on our vows separately and then compared notes later. That's about all I remember now.

I'm not one for giving advice, but I think there is some expectation here since I've read the BM and the FOG and the MOO interviews...

Right. So. OK...

(a) Absolutely memorize your vows, and don't bring the script up there as back-up in case you "get nervous and black out." Man up!
(b) When my brother Phill turns to you and signals, ask in a quiet but audible voice, My turn? When he nods, shrug your shoulders innocently and begin. This will get everyone's attention. You know how they tend to drift of during those monotonous parts.
(c) At some point during your vows, create a pregnant pause and appear to get somewhat choked up. (I saw you do it in that college production of Macbeth, so I know you have it in you.) Helps get the audience on your side.

(d) Don't use rhymes. Not even iambic pentameter.
(e) Don't promise anything that you can't actually pull off. And while poetry itself is out of the question, you can certainly take poetic license in service of sentimentality. Remind 2E's that you love her deeply and that you will always keep her best interests in mind throughout your lives. That's what's important. Say the stuff that makes them go, "Ah."
(f) But drop the "obey" stuff. It's not expected, and it sounds pedestrian.

Oh, yes. And no, absolutely not. 

Oh, nuts! I forgot to worry about that minor detail ... I've been so wrapped up in the bathroom floral arrangements. Now I have a little pain in my tummy.

I have the utmost confidence in Phill, and you should, too. Every time he's had master-of-ceremonies-type responsibility, he never fails to pull off some masterful prank. He's a hoot! Like three years ago, at Uncle Ralph's funeral, he -- oh, well, I don't want to spoil the surprise.  

Reid (right) and 2E's Uncle Phill, hamming it up circa 1955

Actually, I did play the role of the priest at our parents' 50th wedding anniversary, set in the basement of the Catholic Church in Boston. But the collar I'd fashioned was way too stiff, and I moved around like I was in a body cast. And I was far too serious during the homily -- it seemed right when I was writing it, but people like to be entertained. You won't have that problem with Phill. He's a riot.

As I experience secondhand your involvement in the process, I am filled with severe regret. If only I had known that I could have taken a 5-hour event and stretched it out to a joyous year's-worth of "honey do" lists...

 Reid's clerical work and the infamous collar 

I'm missing the point of this question, Madman. I mean, you've already made your decision. This sounds like a fluff question. Like you're just trying to fill space.

Hey - wait! Is this whole interview, like, to just fill space? Like, existentially meaningless?? 

Actually, I didn't get away. I went through with both weddings in their entirety. And I have absolutely no regrets.

 ...oh, hypothetically speaking, if I were to need a getaway vehicle, I'd pick a stationary bike.

Tradition Dictates

Check out today's long awaited guest post on The Man Registry's wedding blog for men, 

Taking the Scenic Route to the Rehearsal Dinner

much love,

August 2, 2010

Chicken Breasts

Naturally, a family beach week lends itself to numerous and lengthy conversations about our impending wedding -- not only with the bride but with the input of her loved ones. Mostly they're eager to play catch-up and to aid, in any way they can, in any yet-to-be-made decision-making.

And then occasionally, grooms, you learn something. You pick up new trends or tips or tricks from former brides and grooms -- from 2E's father and stepmother, or from her step-sister Ginger and his husband Mike -- who are more than pleased to pass the baton to us newbies.

Like chicken breasts, for instance.

And because it's family, nothing is off-limits. As is the rule with my own immediate kin. Every Christmas, sitting around the tree with my parents and siblings -- me being the youngest of the clan -- I think to myself, All of these people have washed my ass at one point or another. Hence, there's no such thing as "off-limits." There's no PC. There's no need to be X, Y or Z. It's all in.

Like chicken breasts.

Yes -- and all this according to Ginger (yes, thank you, Ginger) -- since the beginning of time, brides have been known to wear chicken breasts beneath their wedding dresses. It's apparently customary for those ladies who require a little extra something there.

And by chicken breasts, of course, Ginger is referring to bra pads (or, in 2E's terms, "whatchamacallits"), sometimes sewn directly into the bra, at other times sold separately. See, men, there is a darker side to wedding gown shopping. These pads come in a thousand different shapes and sizes and textures, and they may be called push-ups, and they may be called breast enhancers, and yes, they may even have artificial nipples. And as little interest as you may have invested in this topic -- as much as you'd rather be doing anything than reading about this very subject -- it's important to know what's going on beneath your bride's dress. And no, there's really no better way to phrase it.

Because while our tuxes may be infinitely more complex than our t-shirt/shorts/sandals combo, it's nowhere near as complicated as the intricate maze of lace and lingerie happening under the coveted wedding dress. At any given moment there are strapless bras, underwire bustiers, body shapers, thigh shapers, waist clinchers, lace bikinis, suspender belts, thigh-highs, knee-highs, gel pads, cotton pads, silicone pads, slimmers, corsets and garters. She could dress a small country with that one, single outfit.

(And you thought your bride was going commando under that Vera Wang. You stupid groom, you.)

 The other white meat

So show some sympathy groom, because while we're slipping into our tried and true tighty whiteys or boxers or boxer-briefs, she's got three hours of make-up and hair and "where does this thing go?" And just be thankful that there's no hosiery in our immediate future.