July 26, 2005

Wedding As Client

Where have I been? Why the sparse updates? In between loads of work, which I will finally be able to reveal soon, I have also been trying to plan a wedding… which is now just mere months away. Perhaps it’s the fact that it comes interspersed with client work, but sometimes I can’t help but think of the wedding as its own client. The type of client that thinks it’s OK to call you on Saturdays, or give you revisions as they leave the office at 6pm to be done for the following morning. And to top it off, all the work I do for them is pro-bono. Between registering, planning, peace-keeping, fittings, and tastings, this has become my night-job. Every time I check something off the wedding to-do list, five more things appear, “You’ve got to be kidding me! Now he wants an invitation too?! Where the hell did we find this client?”

Just like a client, there is a big dose of niceties you have to adhere to. We are already over our number of people we set out to invite, and we still weren’t able to get everyone on the list. When you sit down to prepare your guest list, you will look at family and friends in a whole new light. Everyone you know suddenly falls into tiers of importance. In an effort to trim names, you start to say silly things to rationalize guests’ potential “invited” or “uninvited” status like, “Well, Jim did finish off that last piece of cake at last year’s party. Would a real friend do that?” Uninvited! All of these imposed tiers of friends and relatives are interconnected. If you don’t invite some people, you can’t invite others in their place… because people talk:

Friend 1: Hey, did you go to Stan and Liz’s wedding?
Friend 2: They got married?
Friend 1: I… er… mean…
Friend 2: *punches fist into hand* I’ll get them!

So you have to invite, or not invite, whole groups of people at times. So goes familial politics. Damn you, big Italian family. You suckered me in with your tasty meals. I should have known you would come back to bite me in the ass. It’s not entirely worth getting upset about, I realize it will be wonderful and fun and I will be too inebriated to care when all is said and done anyway. I will have a lovely wife and the wedding planning will be over. Luckily, the wedding client doesn’t really constitute return business. Have any wedding stories to share?

And now for something completely unrelated. Are your walls naked and lonely? Kevin has just launched the Bearskinrug Store. There are three beautifully silkscreened motivational Mojo posters (dubbed Mojovational), Go!, Do It, and Dream, which will surely give you the kick in the ass yoursorely need, and a lovely giclee print of a distorted streetscape, Rue 15. I doubt they will last long, so you better hop to it.

Lastly, I will be in Chicago all next week with Liz and Rob. I have never been to Chicago before, so I plan to drop in on some friends and do lots of exploring. While I am away, some friends will kindly fill-in for me in the Daily Photography section. See you soon!

Commentary (26):

1. ian says… jul 26, 2005 | 10:46 am

Don’t let your future wife hear you talk that way about her promise of eternal, undying love for you.

2. Liz says… jul 26, 2005 | 11:02 am

we are in the dark underbelly of wedding planning. the very dark underbelly that few people talk about but those who are married know. i can’t imagine how bride’s whose fiances don’t lift a finger in wedding planning get it all done. as you can all imagine, stan is more on top of all this shit than i am. he keeps the lists and never hesitates to email me all of the things that i need to do. gotta love the stan for his impecable organizational skills. stan is the kinda guy that girls dream about marrying. and somehow i managed to snag him up. i am the luckiest girl alive.

3. Keith says… jul 26, 2005 | 11:22 am

Oh boy, do I know how you feel. I’m just 2 weeks away! Things are starting to really heat up now.

I tell you, the hardest part for me, so far, was registering and then when the stuff began to roll in. I mean, Staci loves it, but for me it was boring, frustrating and messy.

Ah, anyway, congrats and great luck. Enjoy it as much as you can!

4. Mike S. says… jul 26, 2005 | 11:41 am

Wow, I didn’t even know. Color me oblivious. Congrats Stan and Liz (not that you actually know me or anything ;^)

Btw, is there anyone not getting married?

5. Jason Santa Maria says… jul 26, 2005 | 11:52 am

Thanks guys, and of course Liz. I am really looking forward to the light at the end of the tunnel :D

6. Kim Siever says… jul 26, 2005 | 11:54 am

I am so glad all of that is over. We just celebrated our tenth anniversary this past May.

Our reception ended up having around 300 people in attendance. It was pretty nuts, but we threw a big party and had a four-hour dance afterwards and everyone said it was the best reception they had ever attended.

Oh, and the entire wedding (including clothes) cost under 1000$.

7. Ryan says… jul 26, 2005 | 11:59 am

I had this great idea for my wedding. I wanted to pitch a large tent in the backyard of my mother-in-laws house (in northern Germany) and sit on blankets, eat, drink, dance, and just generally be happy. Hippie-style. I wanted to avoid the stress that goes along with planning the wedding.

And then my mother-in-law said the three magic words: “I will pay.”

I threw up my hands and expressed my desire for a good time. A good time it was indeed.

Now, the cultural experience I was going to have was enough to make it memorable and completely fascinating, but it went beyond that.

While my wife and I did plan a lot of the wedding all of the really cool stuff was planned - in secret - by my mother-in-law. It was very sweet and, as expected, quite memorable.

So, instead of sitting on blankets and being “one with the earth,” we married in Northern Germany, in a 400 year-old stone chapel. With champagne in-hand, we were driven in a 70s Cadillac convertible to the reception where we were absolutely spoiled by the stellar service and hospitality.

Only a few times did I worry. And it always about just how high the bar tab was going to be. Those Germans are friendly with the beer.

8. Andrea Piernock Barrish says… jul 26, 2005 | 12:01 pm

Now if you drive 5 hours to an out-of-state location and only invite your parents and siblings, no one can get mad at you! Instead they think it’s beautiful and intimate ;) Good luck with everything, and congrats!

9. Peter Santa Maria says… jul 26, 2005 | 12:26 pm

Doods, the wedding planning can totally get outta control. The hardest part for me and Marina was indeed the invitations part… so many family politics, ya gotta invite people who haven’t even seen you since you were in diapers, it is ridiculous.

And remember, at least you don’t have to plan T-W-O weddings like we did! ; P

10. Steve says… jul 26, 2005 | 12:39 pm

Well, yes, Congratulations and good luck. Marriage is, well… different. Planning and family politics is fun.
One really heavy piece of wisdom that was passed to me and I will impart on you… it is your wedding, don’t worry about offending to many people, in the end, someone’s going to be pissed but you two have to be happy.

And by the way Stan, that’s not a light at the end of the tunnel, it’s a train heading right for you!

11. RJ Hampden says… jul 26, 2005 | 12:46 pm

Where do we as Americans come up with this idea that we have to throw lavish, expensive weddings? Granted, a celebration should be marked by good times and maybe a little extra sugar on top, but I can remember when things were simpler.

Men would circle the outskirts of the fire circle and a virgin would be brought to dance for them. Afterward, she would be carried to a goat skin settee draped in silken cloth. The men would each have a chance to impress the virgin with his own dance routine. At this point she would inspect their teeth and choose one, his father would slaughter the fatted calf and they would consummate their marriage with rough, uninitiated teenage sex as the party raged outside.
I guess people were just poorer back then.

12. miko says… jul 26, 2005 | 2:00 pm

You have a good wedding photographer?

13. wayne says… jul 26, 2005 | 2:01 pm

my seventh (seventh!?!?!?!) anniversary is next week, and i have to tell you that it won’t take very long for you to forget about all the planning headaches. it’s like studying for a big test—once it’s over, the prep work tends to fade. only the highest and lowest points will stick out in your mind. so just keep making lists, drink lots of fluids, and remember whose party this is.

14. Jeni says… jul 26, 2005 | 2:29 pm

I keep trying to convince my fiance’ that we should go to Vegas. Mostly, it’s just a strange facination with being married by Elvis. It would make life a lot easier, though.

15. Gerard McGarry says… jul 26, 2005 | 2:37 pm

At least you’re not battling parental input. When I got married, the future in-laws and my parents tried to dictate the guest list. We promptly restricted the extended family to eight couples on either side - damn them all!

Good luck with the preparations - I hope all goes well on the day (and every day after that)!

16. Joe Clay says… jul 26, 2005 | 3:10 pm

Good luck with everything! I hope you have many years of happiness…and by many years I mean until you guys are corpses, not like 25 years and divorce, that sucks. lol

17. Mike D. says… jul 26, 2005 | 3:44 pm

I think I just thought of a great new enterprise. Start a fake wedding registry where people can “buy” you all sorts of things like pots and pans and china sets, but really, the registry just takes their cash and passes it straight onto you, minus a small cut.

That way, you just figure out your “cost per guest” and invite anyone and everyone you know who figures to give you a “gift” worth more than that amount.


18. John Athayde says… jul 26, 2005 | 3:49 pm

Yeah, at a point you just have to say “Sorry.” Which really really really pisses some people off. Meh, they were going to get a cheap present anyway ;)

19. Rachael says… jul 26, 2005 | 4:58 pm

Wow… with all that prep and deliberation you & Liz will have earned your honeymoon! Good luck with the prep and have fun in Chicago.

20. Jason Coleman says… jul 26, 2005 | 5:00 pm

Well, first of all, congratulations. Since you asked about planning stories: My (now) wife and I had planned a great ceremony in the park where me met at her hometown and then a reception at a nice historic house just nearby. We got an e-mail one day saying that the place had closed it’s doors for good and they were sorry for any inconvenience. We had spent months working it out and then re-planned the whole thing in the next two hours; all over the phone from the neighboring state.

That was all over three years ago, and I honestly don’t remember much of that whole day. You said it best that at the end of the day, you’re married to a great girl. Just try and enjoy it as best you can.

21. Eric TF Bat says… jul 27, 2005 | 12:08 am

My Beloved and I had a wedding last October. It was at her parents’ farm, in the back yard. We invited exactly one friend, plus immediate family and one non-immediate family member who was over from Scotland (so we figured she’d earned a place in the circle by dint of extreme effort). We had a celebrant and wrote our own vows (it helps that we’re both literate and sane, so these were not the hideous schmaltz you’d otherwise get). For the reception, we booked out our favourite restaurant and had a big Ethiopian dinner with about fifty friends and family. We didn’t have to worry about family/friend politics, because we decided not to invite anyone we didn’t both see regularly, and we don’t see people regularly if we don’t like them.

We made two simple rules. First: tradition is all well and good, but this was our wedding, and we weren’t going to do it any way but our way. Second: since it was us getting married, not our parents or our friends, our feelings were more important, and if they didn’t like it, they could plan their own weddings. As it turned out, my mother coped because she knew there was no way she was getting a daughter-in-law of such quality any other way! My wife’s mother coped because she would have been happy if we eloped, and this way it was almost as simple.

The result: a fun, memorable wedding with (wait for it, this is a shocker) no stress for any of us. And we’re just as married; we have the paperwork to prove it. (But not the rings; we couldn’t see the point, so we got an engagement fridge-and-freezer instead!)

22. Matt says… jul 28, 2005 | 11:06 am

Hang in there, Jason. Soon you’ll have the one ring.

23. Tim Hill says… jul 28, 2005 | 10:21 pm

Hey good luck with the wedding, congratulations!

ps my invite is in the mail right? its just its been a few weeks now…

24. Paul says… aug 4, 2005 | 3:25 pm

Just don’t update the ol’ blog during the honeymoon. And I would not recommend checking email or other blogs either ;)

25. MBStuart says… aug 4, 2005 | 4:52 pm

I just had my wedding on 7/30/2005
I understand all the craziness associated with planning. We had 250 people - and still ran into a number of “close” friends that we couldn’t invite.
Some advice:
1. Don’t lose focus. You’re doing this because you love each other, and no matter what happens the two of you will be married at the end of the day.
2. Don’t forget to get your R&R, you don’t want to be worn out by the BIG day.
3. Get yourself a Perfect T-Shirt, I know I did.

26. Ross says… aug 4, 2005 | 8:32 pm

My wife and I are coming up on our 6 year anniversary. Our wedding was great, but as far as who was there - most of it is a blur. And you’ll feel guilty about not having enough time to spend with each person there - but don’t! Remember, this day is about you and your new wife, not about everyone else. There will be too much going on that day for you to worry about spending time with other people. After you’re married, everyone will want to invite you over for dinner anyway; spend time with them then.

We had trouble knocking our list down too. It gets tough. I think at one point we even thought, “Well, at $50 a head, whose going to spend at least that much on our wedding gift.” Terrible, I know.

Finally, with 3 months left until your wedding, things should start settling down. Hopefully all the final decisions about everything are made, everything’s ordered, invites are going out, etc - then you just have to wait. And that waiting seems like it goes on forever.