April 29, 2011

Crossing the Aisle, Vol II

Let's start off today's series with a Royal Wedding post that we men folk can actually appreciate. And then we can all go back to pretending it never happened.

Groom-Friendly Designs on the Bridal Blogs

via The Knotty Bride
TKB has located the oddest and most inappropriate RW2011-related merchandise from both sides of the pond. Check out her collage of utter creepiness, including a Will & Kate commemorative c*** ring that will make you ask WHYYYYYY.

via Offbeat Bride
Offbeat's fiance guest blogs with some advice on what to do with that mondo-sized bag of wooden blocks in the closet. #NintendoGroom

via Once Wed
Sweet groom attire and -- wait for it -- beer bottle centerpieces. Enough said.

via Merriment Events
Thanks to Courtney at Merriment, grooms everywhere can breathe a little easier today.

April 26, 2011

We Are Men Who Reek: Justin's Bachelor Party Revealed

As I write this, sitting here in my go-to mega chain coffee shop, it's not hard to notice that people are staring. The table's central location, just a few feet from the register, makes their gestures (the pointing, the covering of their mouths with their hands) and their actions (the complaining to management, the projectile vomiting) that much more obvious.

And I suppose it's in this precise moment when I realize that it's me. I'm the nuisance. Every item of clothing that I'm wearing reeks of campfire. The pores on my skin seep smoke and sauteed onions, overcooked sausages and pure sweat. It's been two days since Justin's camping-inspired bachelor party, and I haven't showered. The stench is so unbearable it's almost impractical; the Starbucks customers are beginning to think that they are the ones who smell and that I, in fact, am the only pleasant-smelling one among us. It's the only rational explanation.

[click photos to enlarge]

The festivities began on Friday, when we stocked the van with two cases of beer, two coolers full of beer, beer wrapped in blankets, and a set of jumper cables. We, amateur group of genuine bad-asses, headed north to an undisclosed occasion, carried on a discussion about hover boards for longer than I can recall, and pretended -- 4-1/2 hours into the trip -- that the countless signs for Yosemite did not exist.

Surprise, Justin!

From left to right: yours truly, Groom Justin, Co-Best Man Odin and fellow groom James

After another five hours of making our mothers proud and photographing ourselves around a national park entrance sign, we shot over to the Mariposa Grove, home to a bunch of giant trees and giant logs and all other things giant.

Notice how the Mariposa map display at the trailhead, typically at eye level, is buried in four feet of snow.

This mock sword fighting moment is hilarious; even more hilarious was the moment after when I fell into the icy water below.

We sought out the "Upper Grove of Sequoias" and the Museum at the end of the Outer Loop trail but could not find either one. (Later we learned that the museum was completely buried in snow. Perhaps that piece of information was on one of the displays engulfed in snow at the trailhead.) So we abandoned the search and started climbing boulders, as real men are prone to do.

That evening we stopped at Yosemite's Ahwahnee Bar (part, of course, of the ornate Ahwahnee Hotel, a not-too-distant cousin of the Overlook Hotel in The Shining) where a sizable surprise was awaiting our groom. Justin's longtime friend Matt had flown in from Baltimore, rented a car in San Fran, drove five or so hours and met up with us the Ahwahnee. He propped a menu in front of his face and sat at the table beside ours, waiting for the perfect moment to reveal himself. It couldn't have worked out better.

The fifth and newest member of our gang stares down a fish

With Matt on board, we ditched the suffocatingly woody Ahwahnee Hotel and found our campsite at Hodgdon Meadow. In pitch black and a light rain, we set up our tents, unpacked our cars, loaded up the bear-proof food locker and cooked a solid meal. We crawled into our sleeping bags in several layers of clothing and rocked ourselves to sleep.

The following morning we set out for the Upper Yosemite Falls (the tallest waterfall in the U.S. at 2,425 ft), a strenuous multi-hour hike with some of the most amazing views of mother nature. We stopped for lunch atop a stretch of rocks about a mile up and then continued on, taunted by spectacular views of the falls all along the trail.

From top to bottom: lunch with a view, sights from the hike, and Odin recreating the "Lower Falls"

And after 3.2 miles of steep uphill climbing, debating whether or not to "go on," and trudging through both mud and snow, we arrived at the peak -- the Yosemite Falls Overlook -- and took in our accomplishment.

Matt left us that evening just before midnight (he drove through the night to catch his plane back to Baltimore), but we had one more manly activity planned for the following morning: Target Practice.

We ventured into the wilderness and set up a shooting range of shoots using three quintessential enemy targets, including a Nazi zombie and the shark from Jaws. Justin and comrades were asked to choose a weapon (either a slingshot with pine cones or a throwing knife) and move from target to target. I'm proud to announce that I was the victor that morning, driving a particular prickly pine cone into our third target, a photograph of Michael Bay.

Kill shot

And that was the close of our weekend, save the hour and a half drive through dense, zero visibility Yosemite fog and the five hour drive back to Los Angeles. We were sore, we smelled like burnt logs, and Odin may very well have punctured a lung; but we were reborn in some way. Redefined. Three days in the earth, in the dirt, in the rain and snow, building campfires from starter logs and NewCastle summer ale cartons -- we were men, in the truest sense of the word. And Justin was returned home, unscathed. All in all, it was a success.

I think Beckett put it best in Waiting for Godot: 

Who are you?

We are men.


- - -

Photos by Brian Leahy for Joanna Wilson Photography

April 25, 2011

Stag Preview (Tomorrow on The Groom Says)

Over the weekend, 2Es took advantage of my three-day absence and infiltrated the high-tech security system at The Groom Says. Believe it or not, she penned a post of her own. She's been storing up sarcasm for this precise moment.

Estrogen Alert: 2Es Takes Over the Blog

But her hijinks are short-lived, as I will regain control of the blog tomorrow, give you the skinny on Justin's survival themed stag weekend, and try my best to explain the actions that led up to this moment:

More to come tomorrow!

April 23, 2011

Estrogen-Alert: 2E's Takes Over the Blog

Yes, you read the title correctly. It is I, 2E's. I'm making my very first written appearance on this beast of a blog since its inception nearly 19 months ago. The estrogen is already seeping from the pores of your computer.

As you might have noticed, 1E seems to live in a virtual world, tweeting his coffee shop musings, groom-approved findings and mild-to-harsh harassment of other men in the wedding biz. Sometimes it's the only way I can locate his whereabouts. But just after midnight Thursday night, he tweeted the following:

Out of Office Reply: I will be unavailable from Fri thru Sun as I am hosting a killer bachelor party. I'll return your email when I recover.

I have not heard from him since.

Looking back, I really should have seen it coming. He had been doing odd things all week. On Tuesday he asked me for all the small bills I had in my wallet. Wednesday morning he stripped our bed and put all the sheets and pillows by the door. And by Thursday, our living room floor was covered in the strangest things: army canteens, banana chips, a photo of Michael Bay, whiskey, bug repellent, a giant blow-up doll, 5 hunting knives, Mike Tyson's phone number and several bottles of aspirin. I wasn't really sure what to make of it all, so I figured it was in service of another crazy photo shoot for The Man Registry. Hey, he's done stranger things.

Honestly, reading that tweet left me feeling mildly relieved. At least I knew when he might return. But being the curious wifee (spelled with 2E's) that I am, I wanted to know more. After a little digging in his inbox, I found 4 unread Facebook friend requests, 2 expired Groupons, a bunch of adorable photos of sleeping cats, and this:

- - -

Dear Mr. Justin Fair,

In observance of your pending nuptials, an invitation is extended to join in a weekend of freedom and revelry, supervised by Mr. Brian Leahy (Eagle Scout; Member, Order of the Arrow) and Mr. Odin Ozdil (Turk, Town Elder), in the company of fellow groom Mr. James Darling.

Should you choose to accept said invitation, the items listed below should be packed into a single bag and left outside your bedroom door and two and one-half hours past nightfall [ 21:58 ]. You shall set your alarm for [ 7:00 ] on [ Friday, 22 April ], shower promptly, dress in comfortable and casual clothing, and be prepared to depart at [ 7:30 ].

Should you have any questions, you are permitted to ask them, unless they pertain to (a) what the weekend entails, (b) what the items below may reveal about what the weekend entails, or (c) the legality of said weekend.

Brian Leahy
Co-Best Man



  • 3 pair underwear
  • 4 pair sock (long or knee-high, preferably)
  • 1 pair gloves
  • 1 pair thermals (upper and lower)
  • 2 pair terrain-worthy jeans
  • 3 pair terrain-worthy t-shirts
  • 1 hoodie
  • 1 pair sunglasses

  • 1 emblem of your bachelorhood, with which you wish to part
  • 1 sock full of nickels
  • 1 guitar (optional)
  • lip balm, should you require such a thing

- - -

Posted at the bottom of the email was this image:

And with Justin's adorable bow tie and beret staring back at me, I have come to realize that I don't want to know what they are up to. They have gone to great lengths to keep the weekend mysterious and testosterony, and I am not about to burst their bubble. They have prepared themselves surprisingly well for the occasion. They have hunting knives and whiskey and aspirin. They have all our nice bed linens.

And if worse comes to worse, they have Mike Tyson's phone number.

I think they'll be fine.

- - - 

2E's is The Groom Says' biggest fan. When not performing her wifely duties, she acts and photographs people. Follow her on Twitter at @jofosterwilson.

April 20, 2011

Just Some Dudes Dressing Another Dude: A Straight-Up Photo Chronicle

Enough with the dress shopping. This is how men shop for wedding attire. Click to expand photos. Straight up.

We don't walk. We take the escalator, yo. And no, we don't walk up it.

We shop for ties first. Why? Cause they're easy, and cause we don't have to commit to one right away. We found 800 ties that worked that day. Boo-ya.

We ain't ashamed to look at prices.

We don't buy new shoes - cause we don't wanna wear 'em in.

Men eat lunch mad early. We get busy on pizza slices and shawarma. We flick each other off for no reason at all. 

We find a store and occupy a single fitting room for several hours straight. We ask for every combination of everything in every size. You're right, I'm not XXL. But we'd like to see how it fits.

And after a full day of retail shopping, we make zero decisions and purchase one item under $100 which may or may not contribute to the final ensemble. 

Why? Cause we don't know how to do this. We're our fathers' sons. So when you go to Bloomingdale's, we go to the shoe store next door. We don't need shoes. But we'll pretend that we do. Word.

- - -

Photography by Brian Leahy for Joanna Wilson Photography

April 19, 2011

Royally Pissed: my take on the Royal Wedding w/ Wedding Republic

Wedding Republic hit me up last week and asked if I would offer the groom's perspective on Will and Kate's pending nuptials. Check out my suggestions (including a Fear and Loathing-inspired stag weekend) on how to turn the Royal Wedding into a royally bad-ass wedding.

Royal Wedding Q&A with Brian Leahy of The Groom Says

Will & Kate cardboard cut-out not included.

IM Seeking IF: An Interview with the Stars of "When Harry Tries to Marry"

The average American male is typically depicted as one who avoids marriage until the last possible second, content in the cold comfort of his uncomplicated life, until he meets the one girl who challenges his "man is an island" complex and truly sweeps him off his feet. Extended bachelorhood is a pretty common characteristic in Hollywood's leading men (see: George Clooney in any movie).

So I suppose it's pretty jarring when Harry, the title character in the new film When Harry Tries to Marry, calls up his estranged uncle very early in the film and asks him to find him a suitable bride. Harry's a young, Indian undergraduate student living in New York City; but rather than spending his college years exploring the dating scene, Harry (played by Rahul Rai) wants nothing more than an arranged marriage with an Indian girl whom he's never met. For American men -- this might be a tough plot point to swallow. Thankfully, Director and Co-Writer Nayan Padrai introduces your average American girl (Harry's classmate, Theresa, played by Stefanie Estes) to challenge Harry's unusual behavior and show him the joys of simply "getting to know someone."

With their New York and Los Angeles premieres fast approaching, I've asked the two stars of WHTTM to sit down with me to get their perspective on American vs. Indian weddings as well as some tips on how to get colored powder out of hard to reach places.


TGS: Stefanie -- coming from a guy who blogs entirely about weddings, are women intimidated by guys like Harry who need to settle down? 

SE: It depends. I think a willingness to settle down can be very endearing and refreshing given that's what you're looking for in a partner and a relationship. On the other hand, if you've been on two dates with a guy, and they start talking about what kind of flatware you are going to register for or what you will name your first born child...

TGS: That's a bad sign.

SE: Yeah, that's kind of creepy. 

TGS: Is Harry totally out of touch when it comes to modern romance?

RR: I actually don't think he's out of touch at all; if he finds the right girl, he'll romance the hell out of her. In terms of his austere approach to the bachelor life ... I can understand that approach. He has no care to "taste the different types of wine," like his dad wants him to. He just knows what he wants in a woman. 

Stefanie Estes as Theresa & Rahul Rai as Harry, skating through that ever-awkward "this isn't a date" conversation.

TGS: Is there anyone in your circle who you would trust to arrange your own marriages?

SE: Oh man, that's hard. I would feel really uncomfortable having someone else arrange something as important and intimate as marriage.

RR: To me, finding that person is a necessary journey to take. I'd rather make the decision myself. I guess I'm a little selfish in that respect. Since I have to commit the rest of my life to one woman, I might as well choose who she is, right?

SE: I suppose if I had to, I'd have one of my best friends do it ... preferably a best friend who has also lived with me and understands my hidden quirks. Then they could find someone who's not only a match in terms of personality and temperament but who's also okay with the fact that (sometimes) I dip carrots in ketchup and that I will spend an entire evening on the couch watching infomercial bloopers on YouTube.

TGS: Theresa refers to Harry's arranged marriage as the "Ultimate Blind Date." On that note -- tell us about your worst blind date.

SE: I've actually never had a blind date, and now that I think about it, I wonder if it's even possible anymore with how much you can find out about someone online. Facebook and Google seem to provide the means for any pre-date stalking you might need.

RR: I'm not big on the dating scene, so I've never been on a blind date either ... and I hope never to be on one. I'd rather let things like love and relationships happen naturally. 

SE: Though I have been on dates where I didn't know it was a date. I went to a fancy benefit with a friend of one of my old bosses. I really thought I was just doing him a favor, but by the end of the night, he was talking about bidding on the romantic getaway package offered at the silent auction. I realized that we were not on the same page. It didn't help that he was old enough to be my father (gross!), but I did get a pretty superb free dinner and gift bag out of it!

TGS: Stefanie -- rumor has it you're a bridesmaid in a friend's upcoming wedding. I'm gonna assume that a movie wedding is a little easier to coordinate than an actual wedding.

SE: Well, I will say that filming a movie takes a lot of energy. We shot the pre-wedding celebration (or Sangeet) scenes over the course of two nights. It was exhilarating to be on location with tons of singers and dancers and wearing a stunning costume ... but at 4am that exhilaration starts to wane. I think a bunch of us actors took an herbal supplement that was supposed to give us the same energy as five Red Bulls or something. 

TGS: Wow, we'd love to get our hands on some of that. While we're on the topic -- who's better dressed: American grooms or Indian grooms?

RR: Indian grooms are better dressed, no offense. Just more thought into the whole clothing deal with Indian weddings. We are much more colorful and glamorous grooms. We probably wear twenty pounds worth of jewelry and clothing, and women probably wear their weight in the same. It's sounds crazy, but when you see the wedding pics, it totally pays off. There's a hefty price for glamour and beauty.

SE: I'd also like to see American brides adopt some of the colors from Indian weddings; they're so vibrant and really lend themselves to the spirit of celebration. Vera Wang has nothing on some of the saris and lehnga cholis worn at Indian weddings!

TGS: True, but Vera does have some sweet mattresses. Any other customs of ours that pale in comparison?

SE: Well, the Sangeet ceremony certainly makes the western rehearsal dinner look pretty stuffy and lame. It's a huge celebration that happens before the wedding. I think a lot of couples get stressed out about the wedding, and it can become tense. The Sangeet ceremony seems like a great way for everyone involved to relax, enjoy themselves and remember what a great occasion it is. 

TGS: We only caught a glimpse of Harry's bachelor party. What kind of atrocities took place when the cameras cut away? We have a feeling your roommate Louis got arrested...

RR: What happens at the bachelor party stays at the bachelor party. I'm under a special code to not disclose any such information.

TGS: Hey, we're all about the man code, but that guy certainly has some odd habits. What's up with the intense man-scaping?!

RR: Hey, whatever floats your boat (and your woman's boat). I guess it's a polite thing to do for your partner.

TGS: The holi scene (in which Harry and Theresa toss and smear colored powder on each other) is clearly one of the most memorable moments in the film. Are you guys still finding powder in unexpected places?

SE: No, thank god. I am not kidding when I say that I spent hours in the shower getting that powder off. Don't get me wrong -- doing Holi and shooting that scene was amazing. Just be forewarned: the powder likes to stick around long after the party is over.

TGS: In the film, all of the characters seem to follow their own rules on relationships. What does your own rulebook say?

SE: I've never been able to follow a set of rules when it comes to the dating game. You know, like "wait two days before texting after the first date," and stuff like that. I've always done what I want in the situation. And honestly, as I think about, doing what you want is the really the best rule you can have. I feel like the times when you are true in your relationships are when they are able to blossom and grow. I guess my rule for relationships would be to throw out the "rulebook" and be true and honest to yourself and to the other person.

RR: Falling in love is a natural part of life, so why run away from it? Embrace it. It will never happen at a certain age (like 28 -- which is apparently the "right" age to get married), and it will never happen at an opportune time. It'll just happen naturally. There may be a million and one excuses to run away, but it's a risk we should all take.

- - - 

"When Harry Tries to Marry" opens on April 22 in New York City and on May 6 in Los Angeles. Visit the film's website to watch the trailer, check out special web features and purchase tickets. You can also become a fan on Facebook and follow the film on Twitter at @whenharry.

April 14, 2011

Crossing the Aisle: Groom-Friendly Designs on the Bridal Blogs

Beginning this week, we're going to be joining our friends at The Man Registry in sharing our favorite links on the world wide web. But unlike Chris at TMR, I'm not giving you the manliest of web material. I'm plugging groom-friendly wedding elements and designs that I've found while snooping around on those wedding blogs that are primarily enjoyed by the women folk.

So, men, don't be afraid to "cross the aisle" and see what the ladies are offering this week. You won't be disappointed -- and it may give you some inspiration for your own wedding.

groom-friendly designs on the bridal blogs

via Green Wedding Shoes
We have much to learn from Jill and Jed. For grooms who don't understand what it means to "choose a theme" (or how that's at all helpful), this post is for you. Not to be missed: sweet invite designs; decked out "sweetheart" table; and wedding portraits that don't suck. 

via 100 Layer Cake
The newest addition to the man cave that's constantly evolving in my mind. Unique, groom-friendly styling by Jillian Event Design.

A little love for the groom on The Ritzy Bee Blog - Forage bow ties available online

Rock 'n Roll in Bali
via Grey Likes Weddings
A beach-themed engagement shoot with as much verve as a Weezer concert.

North Peak Brewing Company
via Brides.com
When the ultimate bridal blog boasts local brews, we have to re-post.

Texas Ranch Wedding by the Nichols
via Style Me Pretty
Horseshoes and mismatching groomsmen; coffee can centerpieces and customized car hoods. Check out this SMP wedding that isn't too feminine and isn't too Texas.

April 13, 2011

Gaga turned George Michael: Why Bachelorette Parties Aren't for Men

East Side Bride crashed the 100 Layer Cake blog late last month with the 10 perfect ingredients for a Gaga-inspired bachelorette extravaganza.

Well, with new groom Justin's bachelor weekend less than a month away (and still having no good ideas of my own), I thought, Do ESB's ideas apply to women alone? Why can't men partake in this Gaga awesomeness?!

So we printed out her directions and followed ESB's orders to a tee. This is what happened.

- - -

Dear ESB:
How do I plan the most awesomest bachelorette party?
(designed for women, executed by men)

1. Invite all the bridesmaids, obv, check and anyone else the bride wants to add to the list check. Don’t be afraid to include a rogue friend-of-a-friend who is known to be fun and a little bit crazy yup, we got a dude who's been to prison, check.

2. Reserve a hotel suite somewhere cheap(ish) but cool like The Standard or The Ace. We actually misread this as "cheap(ish) and uncool." We booked a junior suite at the HoJo Airport Express. There's free wifi.

3. Gaga it up with a record player disc man, headphones blaring, and some scented candles bathroom air freshener while you hang out and do each other’s makeup now it's a typical Friday night.

bachelor party trifecta

4. Have an early drink somewhere scene-y to get in the mood. Wow, you're right, this place is incredibly scene-y. Practice flirting with the bartenders. We just got kicked out of the bar.

5. Eat dinner. Done and done. We don’t want the bride barfing later when she does too many shots on an empty stomach. Absolutely not. And Justin is prone to barfing, trust me.

6. Suit er up with a pink feather boa and a gigantic flashing diamond ring. Yeah, well, the "rogue friend-of-a-friend" managed to leave both of these at the bar. Asshole.

7. Outside the next bar, arrange for a couple of adorable young actor/musicians with a guitar and a ukelele to serenade the bride. OK, we managed to find an adorable musician and an actor with a ukelele. Perhaps with an acoustic version of a Lady Gaga song? They claim not to know any, which you know is total bullshit. Followed by a romantic old favorite that may or may not make her melt into a puddle on the sidewalk. Oh, they're Russian. My bad.

8. Have some drinks. This bar is less scene-y. Pecker Party Straws are FUNNY! but optional. Justin has Pecker straws at home ... so we nixed that and roofied his drink instead. Helping him to the bathroom is FUNNY! but optional.

9. Hit another bar. We're still in the bathroom of the last bar. Are you picking up on the theme here? Not a theme necessarily, but definitely a George Michael vibe here in the john. I’m certainly not endorsing wild, out-of-control, binge drinking oops, but I do think it’s important for this wild child to have a last hurrah. Yeah, I think this will be his last. If she struts around a bar in a pink boa, men will buy her drinks. Right, right. And she’ll remember that there are other men in the world. Uh-huh. And then she’ll realize (all over again) that her man is the man she wants to be with. Oh, that's the theme? See, this is why you should read ahead.

10. Hide some good snacks in your luggage. I've been munching on the leftover roofies the whole ride home. You’ll thank yourself at the end of the night. I can't find my face.

- - -

A huge thank you to East Side Bride for allowing us to mar her good words, which originally appeared on 100 Layer Cake
See the original post HERE.

April 11, 2011

What Your Choice in Condom Reveals About You as a Groom

Your protection preference tells your fiancee a great deal about you and your manhood. Even your condom inventory -- whether it's the Costco-sized packs in the bedside drawer, or that singular raincoat stashed discreetly in your wallet -- reveals too much.

Well, little did you know that your Trojan selection also speaks volumes about how you'll behave as a groom. Let's break it down.

Her Pleasure, Her Wedding
Boy do women love you and the warm, tingling sensation of your latex lubricant. Why? Because you are all about her. If she wants you and your groomsmen to have your own set of hot pink bouquets to "soften" your look, you're certainly not going to be the one to tell her no. Because like that ribbed and contoured design, your only real purpose is to make her happy ... even if you never get to make yourself happy.

Sensitive to Her Needs
For the groom who's barely there, and the bride who doesn't seem to care.

...to go with that XL boutonniere.
Apparently you're 30% more involved than the average groom. Wow. Congratulations. You must be really proud.

Unless you're one of those guys whose extended involvement is just a means of compensating for your performance in other areas. Just don't let your groom responsibilities slip as a result of your headiness (or lack thereof).

No Bells, Whistles or Lubrication
One thing this groom isn't is contemporary -- and neither is his wedding. Expect a straight-forward courthouse ceremony and a small gathering at his mother's house that afternoon. And while the excitement may die down before it even begins, at least this bride knows exactly what she's getting.

My lord, this cake is dry.

An Extended Engagement
You courted this girl for close to a decade, and the two of you have been engaged for, what, three years? And now that the date is around the corner, your only input is that the party should go all night. It almost seems, groom, like you don't want this wedding to come to an end. Perhaps it stems from a very real fear that (despite the special additive "Climax Control" lube) the evening is going to end prematurely out of sheer anticipation.

Stay strong, groom. Just think of baseball.

April 8, 2011

TGS Goes Corporate (with JWP)

Six months ago, I sent my boys (along with now Co-Best Man Odin) to The Art of Shaving Barber Spa in Midtown Manhattan for a luxurious pre-wedding shave.

Four months later, 2Es and I -- equipped with camera and facial hair -- visited the Los Angeles retail store for an interview, photo session and GROOM GIVEAWAY

And just now we learned that 2Es' photos are on The Art of Shaving website, gracing their re-designed Barber Spa page. Please check them out here, and tell TAOS how much you enjoy the new look and the new photos that go with it.

And please ignore the dude in the barber chair. It's clear he's not a model.

© Joanna Wilson Photography 2011

April 7, 2011

Co-Best Men: Retracting & Acting like the Coen Brothers

Long ago I wrote a post on this here blog in which I (in effect) shat upon the title of Co-Maid of Honor and the trend of having two people perform the duties of one person. I won't quote myself, because then I'll truly feel like tool, but I may have said something along the lines of:

"Men would never let this sort of thing happen."

::Swallows pride::

A few months ago, my best friend (and former Best Man) Justin approached me about his own wedding ... about serving as Best Man at his wedding ... and about doing so alongside our mutual friend Odin. It was like the birth of a sitcom premise. One wedding, one groom, one role -- two men. CO-BEST MEN.

(I hear that Two and a Half Men time slot is wide open right now.)

Justin (center), Odin and I at my pre-wedding brunch

I love Odin like a brother, I truly do. He was there throughout my own planning process and during our wedding weekend, assisting however he could and bringing humor and a fresh perspective to those tough and tense moments. And while the thought of co-piloting rather than spearheading this project solo still makes me question my manhood, two things stick out in my mind: (1) if I had to co-pilot this with anyone, it would be Odin, hands down; and (2) it's a huge sigh of relief.

It's nice to have another dude to brainstorm with, to bounce ideas around with, to coordinate with. We're each other's checks and balances. We're like the two houses of Congress, only efficient. And being that we're both in the entertainment industry, we have some trailblazers to look up to.

Like me and Odin, Ethan and Joel Coen are a writer and director, respectively, and their partnership has created more works of genius than I care to name.

Ron Howard & Brian Grazer: if this platonic, Hollywood power couple can come together to put out Apollo 13 and Cinderella Man and Randsom and Frost/Nixon and Backdraft -- then I think Odin and I can throw a killer bachelor party. And we'll just hope it doesn't turn out like The Dilemma.

Speaking of which ... there's no better idols for two Co-Best Men than Favreau and Vaughn. From Swingers to The Break-up to the Iron Man franchise, these guys know the value of putting yourself aside and showing some man love.

For now, Odin and I have bonded over the joy in providing Justin with skewed details of our stag weekend (happening at the end of this month). At first we thought that visiting all the bridges from The Bridges of Madison County would be lame, but the idea is really growing on us.

April 4, 2011

"MOBBED": Why Justin's proposal irked but ultimately worked

Mobbed is a new series on FOX that premiered after last week's Idol. Howie Mandel hosts the program, which exploits celebrates the more-popular-than-ever flash mob phenomenon and uses it to deliver private messages -- messages like Will you marry me?

No surprise that Howie's first episode centered around a groom; large-scale proposals (esp. those involving singing and dancing) never fail to rake in huge viewer numbers on YouTube. And I could sit here and bash the newest addition to our reality-based scheduled programming, but it would be far too easy. Instead, I'm going to take the road less traveled; I'm going to find the good in the intolerable.

[FYI - major spoilers here, so if you're genuinely concerned about that sort of thing, I would suggest watching the episode first.]

My primary issue with the planning of the flash mob proposal and subsequent wedding (yes, the couple got married moments after he popped the question at the Americana at Brand in Glendale) was that the creators/planners/organizers didn't take the personalities of the couple into consideration. Howie's plan involved an elaborate hoax, some occasional singing and acrobatics, and a crowd of hundreds breaking into spontaneous dance sets. But does that over-the-top proposal fit every couple?

Think back to that popular Madison Square Park proposal (like I said: two million plus viewers). Woodrow, the groom who orchestrated that impressive number, is clearly a performer by nature. I watch that video, and without hesitation, I believe that that proposal was precisely what he wanted and that he coordinated the performance, the t-shirts, the signs, the whole bit. It's an extension of his personality and, hopefully, of their relationship.

Justin, the groom on Mobbed, is no Woodrow. He's uncomfortable with his body, generally low-key, and in no way a song-and-dance man (though he does he mean "dice throw"). Howie dreams up this elaborate event that occurs over the course of an hour, involves over a thousand people and spans an entire outdoor mall ... but Justin seems uncomfortable. In his audition tape, he confessed that things had been rocky in their relationship, and he wanted to show that he was 100% committed to Nikki. In this groom's humble opinion, the best way to do that is to plan and deliver a heartfelt proposal that reflects you as a couple. This proposal, despite the bells and whistles, was entirely Howie's creation. Unless the editor was given specific direction to cut Justin out of the planning process as much as possible -- it's clear that the groom played a less than pivotal role in shaping this event. He may have popped the question, but the environment in which it happened (the Disney Main Street pandemonium, the Broadway-style performances, the three-ring circus) was the work of another man.

So why doesn't this critique matter? Well, (a) I'm not their demographic, at least not in this episode. I like a good flash mob as much as the next guy, but I suppose I'm more drawn to the darker, more subversive side of that world -- more like the happenings orchestrated by the creative minds at Improv Everywhere.

Moreover, (b) the bride loved it. She was in tears for more consecutive minutes than any person in the history of televised proposals.

When I turned to my 2Es, sitting on the sofa beside me, I knew that the proposal (flaws and all) was successful. She was a mess. Typically unimpressed by pageantry, she was swept up in the emotion of the moment and sincerely touched by Nikki's reaction. And after reading fellow bloggers' responses this weekend, I see that she wasn't the only one who found the proposal touching and somewhat magical, though many were less than pleased with Howie's idea to turn the flash mob proposal into a flash mob wedding.

So ignore all that stuff I said at the beginning and watch the episode because 2Es (and millions of women across the U.S.) found the sentiment in the spectacle. And just don't think about the couple's drive home that evening, when a glowing, newly-married Nikki asks Justin, How the hell did you plan all of that?, and he has to give all the credit to that guy from Bobby's World.

April 1, 2011

Fridays are for (Archive) Lovers

Here are three interviews from the Groom Says archives that, in my totally unbiased opinion, you simply cannot miss.

Brush the dust off these links and enjoy in your early weekend haze:

80% Diet, 20% Statham: a groom's guide to looking and feeling good
No "Shedding for the Wedding," no CW reality show drama. With the Trenta iced coffee available in Starbucks across the country, everyday brides and grooms need to make fitness a priority before the big day, and Damon Valley gives us the incentive to get off the treadmill and get some serious training.

"I downed three trentas before breakfast."

Submarines, Stooges and Seersuckers 
Christina Matteucci talks about her new role as Executive Director at david beahm destinations and introduces us to the most man-friendly underwater toy ever created: the Necker Nymph.

The (Father of the) Groom Says
My dad destroys this interview. Enough said.