Not so long ago, I went through one of those Major Life Events,
which in this case involved Getting Hitched, to
the Woman of My Dreams, a.k.a. Kathleen.
I think it's fair to say that their wedding is one of
those things most men dread. Sort of like a prostate
examination, except that a wedding's not quite as intimate.
When I got right down to it, though, it turned out that it's pretty easy -- for the guy. For him, getting married is like being strapped into a "Marriage Mountain" ride at Disneyland. You announce your intention to family and friends, wait a long time, then get taken along for a ride where you're completely in the dark. All this weird stuff is happening and you're being thrown from side to side, so you dimly realize that something momentous must be going on out there, but all you really know is that it's kind of fun and that your partner, next to you, is screaming.
Turns out that she's screaming because getting married, for a woman, is much harder work than for the guy. When we first got engaged we went to a big department store to make a gift registry, and the helpful customer liaison person gave us a checklist of all the responsibilities, both bride's and groom's, along with when they should be finished by. That was actually a high point -- Kathleen was already months late on all sorts of things, while I was comfortably caught up, without ever lifting a finger. That's because the list of things the bride is supposed to do is a densely printed sheet that they had to put on legal sized paper in order to fit everything. The groom's responsibilities, on the other hand, were basically: "1. Remember to show up at the wedding. 2. No, really, it's important to her." I figured I could handle that.
What was harder to handle was the Bridal Industry. The Bridal Industry is a $32 billion dollar a year concern in the U.S., and they were eagerly sharpening their ceremonial cake servers to extract their pound of flesh from us. It turns out that going to a department store to register is like being herded into the entranceway of a giant Bridal Industry meat processing plant. Whirling knives inside separate you from as much money as possible, and you are repeatedly sliced and re-rendered until out of the other end pops a linked pair of sausages.
Fortunately, Kathleen handled all this pretty well. I wanted to get this book called "How to Have a Dirt Cheap Wedding for Tightwads", but she wasn't into that. She found one she wanted called "How to Have a Big Wedding on a Small Budget", so as a compromise, we got the one she wanted. It turned out pretty well -- we didn't have to sign away the rights to our firstborn child, no parents had to take out a second mortgage, etc. Supposedly the average wedding costs upwards of $15,000, so it's not like it's trivial thinking about these things.
We had the ceremony at Kathleen's mom's house, which was a nice and intimate place to do it. My aunt, who is a minister, performed the ceremony. (Halfway through, one of my cousin's young kids noticed my aunt up there. "It's grandma!!" he yelled. "Hey grandma, what are you doing up there!?")
It all seemed to go pretty fast. One thing I found out is that when it's your own wedding, you don't have time to really experience it. There are more people than you can talk with, and you are too busy to have much cake. Which was too bad, because it was an excellent cake -- we took the top part on the plane with us to have on our honeymoon.