November 24, 2003

Faux Pass

Still a little sniffly, I mustered the strength to go to work today but opted out of going to dinner with a group of my friends. Better I should head home and relax, lest the cold come back full force in time for the big turkey dinner Thursday.

One of the things that I love about L is how comfortable she is with my friends. They have become hers as much as they are mine. So, even though I went straight home from work, L decided to join everyone for drinks.

She called me from a cab on her way to the restaurant. As we were talking, she quickly interrupted, "Ooh, I just went by a store filled with all the shades of blue I want to use at my wedding." She paused. "I mean our wedding."

A rare slip-up from L. I'll let it pass...this time.

Posted by The Groom at 10:51 PM | Comments (3)

November 21, 2003

DIY FUBAR

From the "I Had Too Much Time On My Hands" file:

I was home sick from work yesterday, finally losing the battle against a cold I had been fighting off all week with echinachea, Vitamin C and early bedtimes. Instead of hopping on the F train, I hopped on the couch and watched a significant amount of television - hours and hours of "breaking" Michael Jackson coverage. Years from now I'll always be able to remember where I was the day the King of Pop was arrested two days before the 40th anniversary of the day JFK was shot.

Earlier this week, L had picked up a box of our thank-you notes from the stationery store, but when she got home we found that the store had forgotten to include the envelopes. L has been incredibly busy this week and has not had an opportunity to go back. So when I needed to make a supply run to replenish a diminishing OJ supply, I decided to stop by the copy shop.

When I entered and explained my situation to the woman behind the desk, she looked at me as if I was crazy. No, they did not have 300 white linen envelopes to match my 300 white linen notecards. In fact, there were no such thing as white linen envelopes at their store, even though there was such a thing as the white linen card stock on which we had the thank-you notes printed. "But that isn't what your salesperson told us when we ordered these two weeks ago," I said. The woman, who was now joined by the store's owner, an older man, explained that the salesperson must have mispoke, because all they had were plain white envelopes. Wouldn't those still match the thank-you notes, they asked?

Technically, yes, but I knew we were working with a different definition of the word "match." When one asks "Will these white note cards come with matching envelopes?" then any affirmative answer would lead me to expect white envelopes with my white notecards, right? Every color matches white, but the stationery store would not be honoring the spirit of my initial question by giving me red, yellow or blue envelopes. I wanted my white linen envelopes!

While we did not want to drop significant cash on thank-you notes, we felt it was important that they still looked classy. If people are going out of their way to send us gifts, the least we can do is send them thank-you notes that don't look like we picked them up at CVS for $5.99 for a pack of 20.

Already in a bad mood because of my cold and my inability to breathe out of my right nostril, I had little patience to argue about something as trivial as paper. Either the store screwed up the order or they didn't and they were either going to do something about it or they weren't. I just wanted to go home, flip on "Oprah," and drink some juice.

The owner agreed to call other stores he does business with and see if anyone had white linen envelopes for us. It might take a few days, he said, but he promised to call me as soon as possible.

So now, here it is, two months after we received our first gift and one week before we'll see our giftgivers at the Thanksgiving weekend engagement party and still and we still haven't sent out a proper thank-you note. The notes, written out and ready to go, are awaiting their proper white linen envelope counterparts.

If I was willing to make such a stink about notes, I can't wait until we have to pick out invitations. Let's hope I'm not sick that day.

Posted by The Groom at 09:42 AM | Comments (0)

November 19, 2003

The New York Observer

Full names and all, our engagement is profiled in the "Countdown to Bliss" section of The New York Observer, a snarky weekly newspaper published on a peach-colored broadsheet. Pick one up the next time you're at a newsstand in the city. Tell 'em PlanetGordon sent you.

For the record, I am 5-foot-8 only after sleeping on a medieval stretching rack. Additionally, L and I had the "Where is this going?" conversation before we moved in together.

Enjoy the article. We're the second couple of three profiled.

Posted by The Groom at 10:38 AM | Comments (3)

November 17, 2003

A Clean, Well-Lighted Place

L and I decided to buck the WeddingChannel.com trend just a little by registering at a local housewares and design store. We had, of course, already gone to Bloomingdale's and Williams-Sonoma, but decided that we also wanted to do something unique. A mixer is a mixer is a mixer no matter where you buy it, but we wanted to avoid sticking to chain stores if at all possible. As my sister commented in her endorsement of the idea, we don't want people leaving our home thirty years from now saying "Their house is nice, but it is so Pottery Barn 2003." Yes, these are the gut-wrenching considerations one must make when getting married.

So we woke up bright and early on Saturday morning and headed down to Living on Seventh. The owner, a small woman named Eva with platinum-frosted hair, met us one hour before the store's normal opening time. With some classic Ella Fitzgerald playing over the store's stereo system, Eva showed us around, answered our questions and made some helpful suggestions. There was no scanning gun, just a short German woman with a pad and paper, ready to write down our picks.

We were in and out in less than one hour, able to make our choices before Eva had to open the store to her regular customers. It was an altogether pleasant experience, as the peaceful surroundings helped ward off the shopping fatigue so common when navigating crowded department stores. Of course, the entire endeavor was very early 1990s, as our list will not be available online. But there was something much more satisfying in dealing with an actual person and not feeling like I was feeding some giant and impersonal wedding industry. Danke schoen, Eva.

Posted by The Groom at 10:46 AM | Comments (2)

November 14, 2003

Aloha, PlanetGordon

Check it out. PlanetGordon has caught the eye of a reporter at The Honolulu Advertiser.

Today Hawaii, tomorrow the world! (Insert maniacal, evil James Bond villain laugh here)

Posted by The Groom at 10:09 AM | Comments (2)

November 13, 2003

No. Thank You.

As I've mentioned, we've received some gifts. As a result we've had to take care of thank-you notes.

We had gone to a fancy stationery store a few weeks ago and, while we are prepared to spend a little bit of money on invites, we agreed that dropping significant cash on thank-you notes is a waste. Aside from Valpaks and free address labels from the Humane Society, I can't think of too many things that have a less direct route from the mailbox to the trash can than thank-you notes. That's not to say that the sending of the notes themselves is not an important act - we are, of course, grateful for the thoughtfulness of our friends and family - but I doubt any of our thank-yous will end up on our guests' refrigerators. Aside from my grandmother - who will probably have hers bronzed before attempting to dedicate it to the Smithsonian - most people will probably read their note, think "That's nice," and then toss it.

After sifting through books and books and books of samples, we realized we could do something very similar ourselves for a lot less money and left the store. L put together a very professional looking note card using a graphic she found online (The graphic will make sense to anyone who knows how we met). It's almost identical to the one at the fancy place that would have cost us the equivalent of one month's rent.

We then took the final design to a local copy shop. Think Kinko's only smaller, dirtier and without the apron-clad employees who would rather be chewing glass than working at Kinko's. The process was generally painless - no long lines, a generally helpful staff - until I heard the two words that every man fears most: "color swatches." We had to pick a color for the text - our names - on the note's front flap. I put in my two cents and was done. I wasn't going to waste too much energy arguing the relative merits of Blue, Dark Blue or Deep Sky Blue.

I've been complimented on my progressive, get-involved nature as a groom, but designing these things has not been something with which I was altogether involved. I offer much gratitude to L for taking on this project. Now that I think of it, I might even send her a thank-you note.

Posted by The Groom at 12:03 PM | Comments (4)

November 11, 2003

PlanetKevin

For a little diversion - and for a story that will undoubtedly be linked to by thousands of bloggers - try this gem from the folks at The Onion:

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"Mom Finds Out About Blog"

It's not wedding related, but I love that the guy's blog is called "PlanetKevin." For the record, my mom knows about my blog. Enjoy.



Posted by The Groom at 08:08 PM | Comments (2)

November 10, 2003

Enter the Matrix?

In my last entry I talked about wedding presents. We've only received a couple, but more are bound to follow. L and I are tracking things as they come in, noting addresses and reminding ourselves to send out thank-you notes as soon as we have some printed. Being the type of geek whose next four trips to the movies will be for another viewing of The Matrix: Revolutions and three of Return of the King, I created a handy Excel spreadsheet to track gifts, addresses and thank you notes. It's nothing fancy; just a few rows with people's names, addresses and other relevant information.

As I was putting headers on each column and labeling each row I was struck with this thought: if the publishing, fashion and catering industries have all responded in kind to the demand for wedding-related goods and services, wouldn't the software industry want a piece of the action?

A Google search lead me to My Wedding Companion, wedding planning software which bills itself as "The Wedding Planning Software Leader." It says that it will make planning easier "whether you are inviting 100 or 1000 people." One thousand people? Does J. Lo know about this?

Then there is Smart Wedding 4.0 which claims to make it "easy to take complete control over your wedding details." Unless it comes with two tickets to Vegas and subsequent entry in the witness protection program to hide from our families, I can't imagine a computer program powerful enough to give L and me "complete control" over anything.

But is this what we really want? Comptuer-generated planners that make our wedding a carbon copy of every other person who purchased the software? When your checklist looks like everyone else's, won't your wedding?

It's hard to read the claims these programs make and not come to one simple realization: the entire wedding industry is built on fear. This is perhaps not so revelatory to anyone who has already gone through a wedding and not too dissimilar to other image-dependent business such as fashion or media. But it's worth noting nevertheless. L and I aren't afraid of planning our wedding. Overlooking one or two minor details will not derail our entire celebration. By seeing our wedding as a privilege to plan and not a potential disaster to be avoided we'll probably save ourselves a lot of aggravation, time and money, the least of which would be the $39.95 to download some useless software.

Posted by The Groom at 03:47 PM | Comments (5)

November 07, 2003

The Ocean State

Our first two engagement presents came recently and both were from friends or relatives in Providence. Which is weird, really, because most of our guests are coming from Boston, New York City and the midwest. With only a small percentage of our guests coming from our nation's smallest state, it seems like some strange coincidence that our first two gifts should come from the Ocean State. Who knew that Rhode Islanders were so organized?

One other thoughtful gift showed up yesterday. A recently-married friend of L's sent her a handy wedding organizer: a three-ring binder with nice folders, business card holders, Post-It place holders and other tools to keep L's wedding-related papers in order. It couldn't have come at a better time, too. Now that she has suffienciently torn through about 300 magazines, L finally has a place to put each ripped-out photo and article. Come to think of it, someone should really publish a wedding magazine comprised solely of pages torn from other wedding magazines. That would save everyone a lot of time and money.

Posted by The Groom at 10:31 AM | Comments (1)

November 05, 2003

Getting Animated

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Perhaps the cartoonists at The New Yorker have been reading Salon.com. Coincidence? That's a question for you to answer.

Posted by The Groom at 08:14 PM | Comments (8)

November 03, 2003

Scary Movie

Friday being Halloween, we did what any recently engaged couple would do on a night filled with parties, parades, and copious amounts of candy. We stayed in.

We're not usually that dull, but it was an exhausting week for the two of us so we decided to keep it local, make dinner, relax and watch a movie. I'm a Netflix junkie and had lined up 28 Days Later to arrive in time for the holiday.

I had the DVD ready to go when L decided to make the night a double feature. "Let's just watch this one before we start yours," she said and popped a cassette into the VCR. What unfolded on our television was the most frightening movie I had ever seen.

It was a wedding video. And not just any wedding video, but a compilation of sample wedding videos shot by a videographer who is among the few we are considering to shoot our wedding. If there's anything more boring than watching the wedding video of people you know, it's watching the wedding video of people you don't know. There, in our living room, an anonymous couple fed each other wedding cake to the sounds of Celine Dion's "Because You Loved Me." Another bride and groom danced in slow motion in video that looked like it had been filtered through three inches of gauze for use on a Barbara Walters special. Titles introduced us to each "starring" member of the wedding party. Innocently enough, L wanted us to watch these videos to "get some ideas." I peeked through slightly spread fingers to spare myself from the terrifying images.

It won't surprise anyone to know that I'm not one for flashy wedding videos. I don't need fuzzy-bordered footage of me and L dancing to adult-contemporary music by Diane Warren or slo-mo shots of the two of us being raised in chairs to the sound of clarinet-infused klezmer music. All I really want is a video documentation of the day, something I can show my kids and grandkids years down the road with minimal cringing.

When it comes to wedding videos, my number one influence is the film of my father's bar mitzvah, which my mother had transferred to video back in the pre-digital 1980s. No director is credited, although the cinematography is stunning in its simplicity. It's shot in a typical home-movie-from-the-early-sixties style with vivid color and no sound. There's no music, no silly chyroned graphics ("Starring N As the Bar Mitzvah Boy!"), just images of my dad, uncle, grandmother and some long-deceased but fondly-remembered relatives as they enjoy themselves.

L and I will continue our search for a straightforward, documentary-style videographer, although the vocabulary of cheesy music and fuzzy lighting seems so ingrained in the minds of wedding videographers that we're starting to wonder if we might be better off handing a camcorder to a college student and letting him loose around the reception.

Posted by The Groom at 11:54 AM | Comments (5)