Getting engaged was so easy; all I had to do was ask. Now, things are much more difficult. Did you know, unless you are bananas-rich, you are kind of expected to plan an entire wedding by yourselves? Venue, invitations, colors, flowers, caterers. (For example, Papa John’s requires a two-month lead time for weddings! And they don’t do cakes.) You even have to be sure of things like “will the wedding venue have a sadsack on hand in case one of your wedding guests besmirches the restroom?” It really is that detailed.

I spoke with a caterer today (not that I’m better than any of you) about one particular venue I’d found attractive, and she warned me their rental fee doesn’t include basic services like trash removal. This is not a question I would ever think to ask, although perhaps I’m not the gold standard for inquisitive first-time wedding planners. Here is my standard checklist of questions for all venues:

  1. Is this space large enough to accommodate 150 seated guests, and a dunking booth?
  2. Are you insured for freakdancing mishaps?
  3. Where do I plug in my fog machine, boss?
  4. Can I black out these windows?
  5. Does your fee include a private suite where the bride and groom can go between the ceremony and reception, to “do it?”
  6. Is it OK if we have our wedding at 4:20, if you know what I mean? (they never know what I mean, until I pinch my index finger and thumb together, put them to my lips, pretend I’m inhaling very deeply, start coughing, explain “I’m ok, I’m cool…I just need some water or something,” and then throw my arms around them and croon, “I’m soooo weeded, buddy!”

So far, it’s been an interesting learning experience, even when it comes with the inevitably crushing disappointment of realizing certain ideas I had for the wedding are probably unreasonable/not feasible. I suppose this is a good dress rehearsal for the kinds of compromises my therapist says are inherent in a life shared between partners. (She did not use those exact words because she is not the weird and horny caftan-clad therapist from HBO’s “Tell Me You Love Me,” but she did say something similarly grounding and useful, minus the cringe-inducing stuff. However, my previous therapist might have expressed herself using the sage-scented language of Self-Help. That was more her style. She liked to use words like “partner” and “visualization”, “navajo” and “sacrum,” and I would often respond in kind, with words like “sigh”, “blecchh” and “can i climb out of this adult-sized papoose now?”) I think Lisa and I will still have a lovely wedding, because we care about these things and are lucky enough to have many creative friends upon whose contributions we can hopefully rely. I just might have to resign myself to the fact that, given our budget, timeline and space constraints, I will probably have to abandon my plans for a Cop Land-themed wedding. At least I can stop scouring the Internet for vendors that sell working police siren centerpieces.

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