Camp is empty and we're hanging with remaining family members. Much to report on and I'll start back up on big stuff when we've caught up on sleep and are back in New York.
The big news of yesterday morning? I mean, besides us getting married and all? We made the New York Times. No mention of the website, though, but L is still very excited. (And me too, I must admit.)
Our first guests have arrived, my sister here, my grandmother is arriving shortly and we're all running around like crazy - thank goodness for the camp golf cart - so it's time for me to sign off. The next update will be sometime later next week once L and I have settled and recovered from wedding stuff.
Thanks for reading, thanks for your comments, and thanks for everything.
We did seating last night, numbering all the tables and juggling who should sit where, who should sit next to whom, who can't sit right next to the dance floor and the band's speakers, and all the other considerations that go in to seating guests. It went well and we have a feeling no one will be unhappy with where they are sitting. The room is so big, there is hardly a bad seat in the house.
This morning we joked about the ways in which this could have been easier. Since we're at camp, I suggested lining up our guests on one side of the dining hall and having people (table captains, as my dad suggested) pick "teams." We also suggested counting off, one through twenty, repeating until every guest had a number. I guess it was a sign of how relatively easy things went last night that we could joke about it today. (Although L is re-printing a handful of namecards that were either wrecked in the transport from New York or mispelled or formatted incorrectly.)
Any suggestions on creative table assignments?
We spent this morning at L's parents' house near camp putting together gift boxes. Not bags, boxes. Since the wedding is at camp, we're going with a "care package" theme to welcome our guests to the wedding.
And in each box - read no further if you are coming to the wedding and are holding on to whatever surprises are left - are:
Tissue Paper, one bottle of water, Hershey's kisses, handfuls of candy, one CD, one jar of Wisconsin honey, one granola bar, fruit roll ups, sunscreen/insect repellent wipes, two Cow Tales, and a welcome note to our guests.
We still have about 40 left to do for all the people staying at camp. My parents arrive at about 1 PM today and we'll spend the rest of the afternoon getting ready. I've already declared that no matter what happens today, we all take a break tonight and go out for dinner and, of course, frozen custard.
L got another call from the editor at the New York Times regarding our possible wedding announcement. The editor had contacted an office at Wisconsin, L's alma mater, to verify that L got the degree she said she got from the university she said she went to, but the university doesn't give that information out over the phone. Instead, they use a service which charges a little bit of money for retrieving transcripts and degree information, which the New York Times, understandably, does not want to pay for. So, L has to fax a copy of her diploma over to the Times. She is, of course, very excited that it looks like we'll get in, but I must admit that I've had job interviews with fewer reference checks than what's involved with this.
My volunteer gig is over and now it's back to wedding stuff. L arrives in Milwaukee before 1 PM today (the time stamp on this site is still set to EST) and we head to camp tonight with her mom. Tomorrow's agenda includes putting together the gift boxes, making signs for the rooms so everyone knows where they are staying, and putting together the AV system L's dad bought for the rehearsal dinner.
From every other Julia Roberts movie to weekly Oprah episodes, pre-marital jitters and left-at-the-altar plotlines are such a part of mainstream culture that I think people are having a hard time understanding why I am not nervous to get married. I'm excited as hell, in fact, and the only thing I'm nervous about involves our wedding cake, a broken box, a delivery van, and 10,000 banana peels.
That's not to say there aren't other things making me nervous - a wedding is a huge logistical undertaking, after all - but at this point what can I do about them? If we're short one plate of food or a random cousin decides to bring 10 of his closest friends or it pours rain all weekend, there really isn't anything I can do, can I?
I understand people's intentions when they ask if I'm nervous. Most just want to wish me congratulations and are simply seeking another way to keep the conversation going. That's fine, but one guy I met at the Edwards rally kept pushing the subject, wondering if I was going out for one more drunken night with the guys - no, the only guys around are my future brother-in-law and one-year-old nephew - or doing anything to blow off some steam before the big day. Any strip club trips planned for the next few days? No. Any plans at all with the fellas? When I said no, that I had had my bachelor party back in March and that I was ready for the big day, he said, "Well, that's too bad. Good luck to you." That the guy was volunteering his time to help out at the rally was the only reason I didn't think he was a complete jerk.
I did have a fun night last night, hanging with A (the future brother-in-law) at a Kerry event sponsored by Young Wisconsin Leaders. It's not every day that a week in Milwaukee gives me the chance to meet Tom Barrett, the current mayor of Milwaukee and chat up the former mayor of Milwaukee, Marvin Pratt at the bar over some microbrew, but that's what happened last night. Chris Heinz, son of Theresa and the featured speaker of the evening, offered me his congratulations and had nothing but kind words to say. Perhaps he's been too busy campaigning to see any Julia Roberts movies.
I'm pretty sure that the five guys who will be my groomsmen do not read this blog with any sort of regularity, but I'm certain that their girlfriends, wives and other friends do. So, if you are one of my groomsmen and are catching up on some reading, don't go any further. And if you are in any sort of contact with one or more of the guys, please don't tell them about this post. You've been warned.
I had debated for a long time what to get the guys. There are five of them: two in New York, two in Boston and one, my future brother in-law, in Milwaukee.. (There's also an honorary groomsmen, S, who can't come to the wedding because of a conflicting acting gig that weekend.)
It's a diverse crowd as far as groomsmen go, and I knew the typical gifts for groomsmen I was finding online wouldn't do. Spending $100 for a silver flask with their names engraved was a) financially impossible for me right now and b) stupid, since at least two of my groomsmen hardly drink. Most of the other stuff traditionally given as groomsmen gifts tends to be in the sit-on-a-shelf-and-collect-dust category, which was also not something I wanted to do.
So, in true metro fashion and in keeping with the tradition of this blog, I decided to get the guys things they could really use: a whole lot of stuff from Kiehl's. During my trip to Boston, the salespeople at the Newbury Street store helped me load up a bunch of boxes with shaving cream, aftershave lotion, toner, and some other "product." The salespeople told me that quite a few grooms had come in over the past few months looking for gifts for their groomsmen and that many felt the same way I did. Stuff that winds up at a garage sale is not good; stuff that winds up giving you baby-soft skin is fantastic.
Granted, had I had a little more time I could have done personal gifts to reflect the individual gifts of each of the guys. Some are big musicians, one's a big sports fan, another likes biking, but thinking of my groomsmen as a great team, I think buying them all the same thing was a good idea. Now, let's just hope they are all okay with embracing their softer sides so they can enjoy the gifts.
While I know it is not a guarantee that we will be included in this Sunday's paper, we did get a call from someone at the New York Times last week looking to verify all our information for our wedding announcement. L and I spoke to the reporter/editor separately, while she double checked everything. I can understand how they would never want a repeat of the infamous Vows-gate scandal.
Since we'll be busy with the wedding on Sunday, many of you will probably know if we got in before we do! Do me a favor, please? Save us a copy if you can. It might not be that easy to get a copy once the day is over.
Day three of my great swing state trip is well under way and, in the short time I've been in Milwaukee, I've had my fair share of beer, cheese and frozen custard. What else is there to do?
I saw John Edwards speak at a rally yesterday on the south side of the city - pictures later - and am otherwise doing my part for the Kerry campaign. He gave an impressive and impassioned speech; he's truly one of the most gifted politicians around. However, since he seems much younger than his 50+ years suggest, I have one suggestion to the campaign: don't let anyone play "Put Me in Coach" right before he takes the stage. It's not exactly the song that will give him gravitas.
My soon-to-be niece, who has been practicing her role as flower girl by using a basket filled with shredded newspaper, is very excited for the upcoming weekend at which she has told me I'm going to be the king. She's four, so it's okay if she doesn't quite get what a groom is, but she is onto something. L has already said she plans to be the queen.
Poor, L, though, who is still in Brooklyn, having to go to work all day and deal with wedding stuff in the evening. She's on something like day thirty seven of trying to format the place cards. Turns out she didn't like the way one of the colors looked and has to redo about one fifth of the cards before she leaves to come out here. To be honest, taking a break from wedding work by doing campaign work before going to camp to do more wedding work before the wedding weekend begins was a great idea.
It's not every day that a trip to Newark airport ends with a livery cab driver threatening your life, but that's what happened to me today. My trip from Brooklyn in a filthy car with one permanently-open window and a barely-able-to-keep-up AC with a driver who never met a speed limit he didn't want to break was the absolute worst I've ever taken in years. In addition to speaking on his cell phone most of the way and being generally rude to me when I asked him the smallest request - to turn up the AC - we stopped at a gas station so he could fill the car's tires with air. Now that's some routine maintenence one would hope a driver takes care of before he picks you up.
So, after doing a top speed of - no joke - 100 MPH in New Jersey despite my requests to slow down, this driver was definitely not getting my money. As a New Yorker, I've received some appallingly bad service, but never before had I gone through with my threats to not tip someone. This, time, though, I was pissed enough to follow through.
With two of my bags and our ketubah in the trunk, I knew I'd have to be careful, lest the driver hold my bags hostage. So, he pulled up to the terminal - missing my airline's door, of course - and let me out. I grabbed my bags and he placed the ones from the trunk on the curb. Then I handed him the fare, no tip. He flipped out. To make a long story short, he threatened my life, saying that if he ever saw me in my neighborhood he would either punch me or kill me. Great. All this from a guy who actually picked me up at my apartment and knows where I live. (Interestingly, with all the heightened security at the airport, and despite the fact that our altercation happened barely fifteen feet from a Skycap station, not a single person came to investigate the situation, which quickly escalated beyond a level even the most agressive person would be comfortable with.) That L is still home, of course, is of some concern, but I think things will be okay.
Escaping the driver's reach, I went inside, my adrenaline slowly dropping back down to normal. After a number of calls to the livery company and promises from them to deal with the driver and get back to me, I checked in and made my way through security.
Here's something I hadn't really thought of before I left for the airport: how do you explain a ketubah, with its strange Aramaic writing, to federal Transportation Security Administration screeners? No fewer than three screeners came to take a look at the ketubah and each time I had to explain, "It's for my wedding." It was a minor hassle, but when the last screener offered me her congratulations, I felt it had been worth it.
So, one Diet Coke, one bag of Chex Mix and one chocolate chip cookie (care of Midwest Airlines) later, I arrived in Milwaukee.
Friday in Milwaukee, of course, means a fish fry and I was not disappointed. With the most of the new in-laws (sister, brother, mother, niece, nephew) I went to the weekly fish fry and polka night at The Lakefront Brewery. It was a great opening to my weekend in Milwaukee, a very authentic experience.
Tomorrow will be my first day of volunteering for the Kerry campaign. Rumor has it he'll be in town sometime tomorrow or later. I'll keep you posted.
Uh-oh. Although the weather is famously unpredictable, even L's magic rabbi powers might not be able to change the 10-day outlook for Oconomowoc, WI. Bring umbrellas, people, and start writing angry letters to Al Roker.
Tonight L and I will go out to celebrate our last night in New York as a simple engaged couple. The next time we're together in the city we'll be a simple married couple. Seriously though, I actually do feel different, like something big is about to happen. It's exciting, to be sure, but I never really thought about how everything would suddenly come together like this.
The strange thing is that I'll be spending the next five days with L's family, crashing with her sister and brother-in-law in Milwaukee and also seeing my future mother-in-law, not to mention my cute soon-to-be niece and nephew. It will be fun, but I'm calling it the In-Law Airlock. Before I can go to weddingland safely, I have to pass through this very important chamber. In a way it's only fitting since barely three weeks after L and I started dating she spent four days on a charity bike event from New York to Boston with me and my parents, hardly the most ideal conditions for meeting your new boyfriend's mom and dad. No bicycle pun intended, but for L it was truly a crash course in all things Gordon.
L and I are heading to Union Square Cafe for dinner tonight. In addition to being the end of one part of our lives and the beginning of another, it will also be a good way to empty our heads and just be together before what will certainly be a whirlwind week or so leading up to the big day. For anyone about to get married, I highly recommend taking some time to just have a date with your fiancée. I can't imagine starting this next step without it.
One last anecdote before I leave tomorrow.
Reminiscent of her earlier Jessica Simpson-esque moment, L and I were talking about our dinner date.
L: What time are we meeting?
ME: Our reservation is at 8:45
ME: Union Square Cafe.
L: Where is that?
ME: Union Square.
Many thanks to the M-M's for their gift. We'll lift a glass to you tonight.
There are only two days before I'm scheduled to be in Milwaukee volunteering for the Kerry campaign and what should arrive in the mail but this greeting from a couple in Washington, D.C.:
I'm left-of-center politically, but even I have to admit it was pretty cool to get a letter addressed from the White House. Thanks, George and Laura! (Then again, Wisconsin is a swing state, so perhaps the re-election team wants to get on my good side before I leave.)
Although L and I never got around to inviting our favorite Law & Order actor, S. Epatha Merkerson, we did send a save-the-date card to the White House greetings office months ago. I give a lot of credit to the person who keeps track of what must be thousands of invites sent each year.
At a risk of offending my readers, however, allow me to describe something I was thinking after I read the card. Would the White House send greetings to gay and lesbian couples? If I have any readers in same-sex relationships who are engaged to be married - or whatever your home state will allow you to call it - before November, I'd love it if you could do a little experiment for me. Send your invitation to the White House and see if you get a response. I see no reason why wishes of congratulations and statements that a marriage celebrates "your love and commitment to each other" should be limited to heterosexual relationships.
Anyway, there was one other interesting thing about the envelope.
Notice the cancellation stamp. Why is White House mail cancelled with an image of Shrek? Remember, if the White House doesn't inadvertently shill for commercial movies then the terrorists have already won.
The funny thing is that they are offering a free magazine to clergy. Does that mean L, a rabbi, gets one for herself?
Having met at least one of them, I can tell you that the guys running Stag & Groom are very nice and they put out an interesting and entertaining magazine.
Let it be known that at precisely 10:29 on Wednesday, August 18th, in the year of our Lord, 2004, I burned the last CD for our wedding.
Here they are, 99 CDs, ready to be shipped:
Why 99? Because I'm saving one here in the apartment for me and L.
What do 80 CDs, all stacked one on top of the other, look like? Well, take a look:
That's almost enough for one in each gift box for each camp or hotel room. I'll make a few extras for the sake of insurance. I designed a cover and, with some help from my friend S, formatted it with some liner notes to go in each case. (FYI, clicking on the link would be a bit of a spoiler for anyone coming who would rather experience the absolute thrill of seeing the CD for the first time.)
As much as I had hoped to be done with everything by yesterday, the stars did not align to make that possible. Looks like I'll be doing stuff up until I leave for Wisconsin on Friday.
Last night I took my New York-based groomsmen out for what I called "Groomsmen Appreciation Night," a night to thank them for all they've done for the past year and all they are about to do at my wedding. Two of my friends, M and S, were able to meet me at John Allan's for an hour of haircuts, manicures, beers, and shoeshines. All very metro of us, I know, and a far cry from the debauchery of our trip to Las Vegas in March.
Then it was on to Le Parker Meridien hotel and its hidden-away Burger Joint for dinner. J who had been unable to leave work for the grooming part of the evening met us for dinner, and anyone who knows him won't be surprised to learn that he wasn't disappointed about missing the manicures. Burgers, fries and milkshakes are a fry cry from cuticle cutters, emery boards and hair gel.
Wouldn't you know it? In the same week I post a picture of my wedding ring, someone lists this set of rings on eBay. The set, originally costing $2500, has a starting bid of $695. Sounds like a deal, right? But look at the picture closely and perhaps you'll see why there are currently no bids on the set. Does anyone really want little spermites - the seller's term, not mine - inlaid into the metal, even if they are 18K spermites?
I'm not sure why this is so important to people, but I've received five emails from different people (or perhaps five emails from the same person using different email addresses) asking to see my ring.
It's not really that exciting. I mean, I'm excited about the wedding and wearing it and all, but at the end of the day, it's still just a plain metal band. L's is much more interesting but she's not home right now to model it and there's no sense in me putting it on for a picture. At least not before my manicure.
My "To Do" list is getting smaller, now that there are only three days before I leave for Wisconsin. I finished the DVD/Slide show for the rehearsal dinner last night, mailed about a dozen thank-you notes yesterday, and have to pick up my tux at the tailor's today. Thanks to my workouts with Patrick, it had to be taken in at the waist about one inch. An update on the great CD burn will come later.
WeddingChannel.com has added a new feature - at least it's new to me. The wedding giant will make a donation to the charity of a couple's choosing anytime someone buys a gift from the registry through the site. There are a number of charities available, ranging from the environmental to the educational and adding a charity is as simple as reading from a list and clicking on a link. WeddingChannel.com does the rest. According to the site "your charity could earn up to 3% of the gifts purchased." While that could mean anywhere from a few pennies to a few dollars per gift, it's better than nothing. Best of all, there is no additional cost to guests and 100% of the donation goes to charity.
L and I chose Lambda Legal one of the leaders in the fight for full civil rights for gays and lesbians, and of particular interest to us since our engagement year has coincided with landmark rulings and, of course, giant setbacks in the ongoing fight for full equality for all adults.
By this time two weeks from now I'll be married. You'll all finally be able to call me by my married name, Mr. Gordon.
Actually, the name game is something L and I have spoken about a lot recently, mostly because at this stage in our pre-wedding process it's the one question we hear more than any other. (Now that everyone knows most of the wedding details, I guess it's one of the few unknowns left.)
For now we've decided not to decide, since without kids in the picture we don't really see much of a reason to make any changes. We're both trying to make a name for ourselves in our chosen professions and changing who people have know us as doesn't seem like the right thing to do right now. And anyway, we've been who we are for over 30 years. Why make any change at all?
I won't go in to too long a rant about changing one's name, as with less than two weeks to go I still have a ton to do and can more easily articulate stories about burning CDs, printing programs and getting my tux altered. But for an excellent article on this subject, check out this piece on Salon.com by Lynn Harris.
We have thought about hyphenating and have some friends and relatives who chose that as an option. It works for them, but even they would admit that it can lead to some problems down the road. What happens when Joseph Smith-Jones marries Mary Johnson-Stevens? Do they then become Joseph and Mary Smith-Jones-Johnson-Stevens? And what about the generation after that? In about a generation or two we'll need extra wide phone books.
Some people combine their names, creating a new name altogether. But somehow this feels like an even worse solution than having just one person make the switch. When Laura Bush and John Kerry become Laura and John Berry, instead of losing the sense of history behind one surname, they lose all of it.
Gordon, my last name, is a damn good one. The only problem is that L's last name is a damn good one, too. This would all be a whole lot easier if her last name were Lipschitz or something similarly change-worthy.
Woven throughout all this, I admit, is a fundamentally sexist thread. At no time have I ever considered that I would change my name. I may be a liberal groom, but on this issue I am staunchly conservative.
We have, however, agreed on one modern twist to this whole name issue: after the wedding, L will switch from her maiden AOL to a new @planetgordon.com email address.
Due to a recent request from a reader for more "manly" stuff at my online store, I've added a few products. And what can be more manly than a barbecue apron? Also, for those looking for a more subtle declaration of their engaged status than a T-shirt, I've added a "Taken" button.
I've written before about the many software companies offering programs specifically designed to keep track of wedding details and how I think it's a waste of money to spend $40 or $50 on such software when there are plenty DIY solutions. To help you along, I've added a specially designed wedding planner. Its special design features 80 blank pages on which you can fill in all your important wedding details.
Ever since we got engaged, gifts have trickled in to our Brooklyn apartment, enough so that I'm beginning to feel embarrassed everytime I see Ken, our UPS guy. This week, however, along with a deluge in the tri-state area that downed power lines and flooded streets, has come a deluge of deliveries. Here's the growing stack of boxes in our front hallway:
Each of these boxes has come loaded with so many packing peanuts that I've made three trips to the UPS Store a few blocks away in the last two days. They reuse the peanuts, which is a heck of a lot better than all that styrofoam going into the garbage. It's hard to get all of them out of the apartment, and I know we'll find dozens of them hidden under furniture when we eventually move out of here.
That stack of boxes isn't so bad as it represents only four presents. What is bad, however, is that one of the boxes contained only this:
Nuclear waste is shipped with less protective packaging than this. To give you some sense of perspective, this five-piece place setting came in a box big enough to fit two small children.
No, I am not responsible for the picture that graces one of our registry pages at Felicite.com but thanks for asking. Our rings are white gold, and I don't think anyone will see too many white ribbons or lace at our wedding. I did not pick so frilly a picture, nor do I know how to change it, nor do I really have the time right now. I leave for Wisconsin in one week and L comes four days after me. Only 16 days to go.
49 CDs copied, 51 to go. Still to do: make covers for the CDs, get my tux altered, copy welcome letters to go in the guest gift boxes, finish the slide show/movie, get a hair cut. I leave for Wisconsin one week from tomorrow.
I'm quoted in a humorous piece on modern grooms in today's USA Today. It's by columnist Laura Vanderkam, soon to be married herself.
If reading the story online isn't enough for you, pick up a copy at the nearest newsstand. That is, of course, if there are any copies left after my mom buys as many as she can find.
About 20 of them are on the floor of our apartment and the pile is growing larger by the minute. Well, larger by the hour, since it takes about 3 minutes to burn each CD. (Add another :30 if you count the time it takes to eject each one, insert it in a plastic case and label it.) I'm adding more to it tonight, trying to get about 100 done by Sunday. Then, of course, I have to have inserts made with some clever graphic and a list of the songs.
I had a momentary panic when, after copying 8 mixes, a window opened up automatically in iTunes when I attempted my ninth. It seems any playlist which contains music purchased through the iTunes music store can only be copied 8 times. The way around that? Copy the songs onto an MP3 CD, delete them from your computer, then reload them back on to your computer via the still warm CD. Voila! iTunes lets you proceed. L is going to kill me for revealing that information, as she thinks the Apple police will come knocking on our door. Sorry, L, but I say bring 'em on.
The final list of songs will hopefully satisfy our diverse demographic. To avoid spoiling the surprise for our guests (some of whom could probably care less anyway) the list is included in the comments section below and includes the title.
Caution: this entry contains two minor wedding spoilers about flowers and table decorations.
L is a fan of The Amazing Race on CBS and after watching a bit of the show I would like to suggest a new challenge for the show's contestants.
First, racers would have to drop off a few sheets of paper, let's say a wedding program, at a local copy shop and arrange to pick it up later that day. Then they'd have to run home, realizing they forgot an even larger amount of paper sitting in a box by their front door, pick it up and get on a Manhattan bound F train, switch to an A and then make their way through the streets of Manhattan on a hot and sunny summer afternoon without bumping in to anyone.
L and I had ordered large sheets of paper for the reception. The tables will have white table cloths and minimalist centerpieces - gerbera daisies - with one 2' x 2' square sheet of the green (acutally "honeydew") paper under each vase. The problem was that the sheets of paper only came in rectangles and needed to be cut. Too big for normal paper slicers like the ones you might find in a school or in your office's copier room, I decided to bring the box of paper to the store from which they were ordered, Pearl.
So, that's how I found myself on Canal Street, dodging pedestrians and street vendors and barely avoiding knocking a few of them over with my box. The only problem was that when I got to Pearl and lugged the box up three flights of stairs to their paper department, I was told by an employee that they don't cut paper. They sell paper, and they sell paper cutters, but they don't cut paper. Remember those TV ads for the phone company that showed people driving to a concert only to find it had been canceled? The tag line was "Call first." Well, I should have called first.
The guy behind the counter at Pearl was very nice and suggested I go to the Kinko's at Astor Place. So, I lugged the box back down to Canal Street and headed to the Subway. Hotter than hell, I went down the wrong entrance to the subway and wound up spending about ten minutes underground, walking up and down stairs and following about a dozen different signs pointing me to the 6 train. When I finally got to the correct platform and a train arrived, it was packed. It was a good thing I only had to go a few stops.
Kinko's, however, was my salvation. I know I've bad-mouthed them before, so I feel as if I owe Kinko's an apology. When you spend almost two hours at a giant paper slicer, you get to know a few people. Everyone there was courteous and one of the store's employees even helped me cut a few sheets, speeding up my task.
Rather than lug the box of cut paper back to Brooklyn, I shipped it all straight from Kinko's. Sure, it cost a little more than doing it at my local post office, but at that point I would have paid twice as much as what I had to in order to avoid going back on the subway.
Back in Brooklyn, I stopped in at the local copy shop to pick up the wedding program. The program had not been copied as promised, but not because of any fault of the store's. I had printed the wrong date on the cover thanks to an auto-complete function on Microsoft Word that I neglected to undo. In fact, in multiple edits of the programs, L and I failed to notice this and it was only thanks to the eagle-eyed Eddie at the copy store, who was observant enough to notice that June 29 2004 had already happened, that we weren't stuck with 250 programs with the wrong date.
So I ran home, printed out a new cover and brought it back to the copy shop, four blocks away. I spent some time with Eddie, helping him fold the programs, thanked him profusely, and then ran across the street with 250 hot-from-the-presses programs and shipped them at the UPS Store.
I came home to find L sitting on the couch, watching "The Amazing Race."
So, those are two major tasks that are now done. My goal is to have all of my wedding-related jobs done by Tuesday so that I can relax and enjoy my last two days at home before I leave for Milwaukee on Friday, August 20th. I still have to get my tux altered, put the finishing touches on the slide show/movie for the rehearsal dinner, and burn about 90 more CDs.
Our good friends M and R got engaged recently and have quickly found themselves immersed in some big details. One of those details, of course, is picking a date in 2005.
One thing weighing heavily on their decision is September 11th, a day on which few pepole would want to celebrate something as joyous as a wedding. September 11th will be on a Saturday this year and on a Sunday in 2005. That means that for many people, the next two Septembers might as well only have three weekends. The New York Times examines this factor in an article today, noting that reservations for cake makers, hotels and other wedding-related services are down sharply during what is typically the second-most popular month for weddings.
I wouldn't want to share my wedding anniversary with September 11th and agree with M and R's decision to look for a different weekend. However, I wouldn't go so far as one of the people quoted in the Times piece, who describes the thought process of those who chose 9/11 anyway: "Some have the attitude, we go on, because if we don't, they've won - the terrorists." Man, if there's one thing I'm sick of it's people who say, "If we don't do X, then the terrorists have won." As in, "If we don't force people to wear heinous bridesmaids dresses and eat dry wedding cake, then we might as well just lay down at the feet of Al Qaeda."
I think Osama bin Laden and his pals are more concerned with U.S. policy and military action in the Middle East than whether or not regular people have their weddings on a Saturday in September. Although it is interesting to imagine such a scenario:
INT. CAVE - SOMEWHERE IN PAKISTAN - NIGHT
OSAMA: Are our plans set? We attack in ten days.
RECRUIT: Uh, boss, that's the same weekend as the Leibowitz wedding.
OSAMA: Really? But I did not get a save-the-date.
RECRUIT: They sent it out five months ago. Perhaps your mail was not forwarded from the old cave.
OSAMA: Infidels! Who's free next Thursday?
Outrageous, I know, but if you consider the wedding magazines that mysteriously showed up at our door within a month of us getting engaged, perhaps Modern Bride and Wedding Bells have better intelligence operatives than the CIA.
Received the ketubah in the mail, wrote 15 thank-you notes, tracked down some of the people who haven't RSVP'd (you know who you are), finalized our registries, bought suspenders to go with my tuxedo, shipped candy for the gift bags to L's mom, sent the play list (and do-not-play list) to the band.
We also had another dance lesson on Thursday night and spent some of last night practicing in our living room. We had to be a little light on our feet as the creaky floors in our old Brooklyn apartment can probably be heard a mile away. We have one more lesson scheduled between now and when I leave for Wisconsin; hopefully it will be enough time to turn us into Fred and Ginger.
L pointed out that we haven't heard from the New York Times yet, and we're taking that as a sign that we aren't going to get in. There's still time, so if you're reading, Sunday Styles gatekeepers, we're waiting for your call.
If you've recently gotten engaged and are creating a website to track wedding details, you might like DaisyPath.com. DaisyPath.com is free and, while not incredibly interested if you have only a few weeks to go, is worth checking out.
For L, I picked a design that matches some of the flowers she picked out.
Now, I don't want to toot my own horn and I certainly don't want to build up L too much only to have scrutinizing eyes analyze our every move at the wedding reception, but, damn, we can dance. Okay, so we weren't Fred and Ginger, but considering we had our first lesson last night it looks like we'll be able to hold our own on the dance floor.
Scheduling a dance lesson had been my responsibility and clearly I waited until almost the last possible minute. I initially wasn't too excited about taking lessons since I thought they fell under the "everyone else is doing it so why don't we" category, a way of thinking that I'm already against. Anyone who's read my post on bouquet and garter tosses will understand this philosophy.
But L insisted, talking up her sister and brother-in-law who, ten years after their pre-wedding dance lessons, still light up the dance floor with their moves at other people's weddings (note how I'm attempting to deflect attention away from me and L by touting other people's skills).
In one hour last night with our instructor Laurie, we learned some basic swing steps and a simple Foxtrot. I was surprised by how quickly we took to them both. We made a few mistakes, of course, but we both liked Laurie a lot and by the end of the class we felt excited and ready to schedule one more lesson with her before the wedding.
So, let me offer this public apology to L. You were right and I was wrong. We should have done this earlier. Admitting one's mistakes is a skill I'm learning that's as important to a marriage as good dance moves.
With less than one month until the wedding - a fact hammered home in about ten emails I've received this week from WeddingChannel.com, Crate & Barrel and Williams-Sonoma - a number of people have either emailed or asked me directly about what I plan to do with this site once the wedding is over.
Some people have jokingly suggested that I pretend that the wedding has been postponed so I can extend the site's life at least for a month or two. It's a funny suggestion and would have the advantage of adding a little drama to my daily postings but I certainly wouldn't want to lie to my readers. Even if I were so inclined, getting away with something like that would require the cooperation of over 200 invited wedding guests and various coworkers and acquaintences. Just figuring out when everyone is arriving in Wisconsin has been difficult enough.
Some people have suggested I keep the site going as a newlywed blog, but that subject has been beaten to death at this point. L and I have lived together this entire year, so the whole novelty of figuring out how to split chores or pay bills together has worn off. And, as L and I have no plans to have a baby for at least a few years (sorry, Moms) a daddy blog is not in the cards.
So, my current idea is to keep the site going for about two weeks after the wedding. That should give me enough time to tell a few good stories from the weekend and our mini-moon. Considering that the entire raison d'etre for this blog is to describe the engagement year leading up to a wedding, it is somewhat ironic that the one time I won't be able to post at all will be during the wedding weekend itself, but blogging during the reception is out of the question. (Although my laptop, a white iBook, would match my tuxedo and L's dress perfectly. Note to self: find out if the reception hall is a Wi-Fi hotspot.)
After those two weeks have passed, after I've gotten used to wearing a ring, after most of the thank-you notes have been written and after we are finally allowed to use our gifts, what more will there be to say? PlanetGordon.com, at least as it has existed for almost a year, will be over, done with, kaput.
There are many more posts to come in the remaining weeks ahead. I would, of course, welcome your suggestions. Any thoughts on the future of PlanetGordon.com?
L and I are still working out the details of our honeymoon. It will actually be a "mini-moon" since L just started a new job and I'll be starting one myself one week after the wedding. Our current plan is to just chill at a resort in Wisconsin - yes, they have resorts on beautiful lakes there - since flying to Hawaii or Europe would cut into our valuable vacation time. Later in the year, perhaps during the winter, we'll head to New Zealand and/or Australia for a proper honeymoon.
While we're lounging around the pool or strolling along a beach, we will definitely not be wearing these:
(Click on the picture for a larger image)
After nearly a year chronicling stupid wedding-related products even this one leaves me floored. Are there no items of clothing that marketers have decided to leave free of wedding messages?
The black flip-flops, of course, are for the groom, but they also come in white for the bride. You know, nothing says eternal, everlasting love like stamping "Just Married" in sand about to be washed away by a rising tide.
One day after the deadline 190 guests have replied positively. That's a decent number, but it does not include the 50 (!) people who simply did not mail in their cards. Now, I am aware of at least five people who are coming but who didn't send in their cards until only a few days ago, but each of those people called me or emailed to let me know what was going on. Until we track these people down, we will be unable to declare a winner in the great wedding guest estimate. Interestingly enough, not one RSVP card arrived at L's parents' home yesterday, the very day they were due. C'mon, people! Get with the picture!
I was in Boston for the weekend, and while I was there I had brunch with my friends Amy and Adam who were married a little less than one year ago. Adam and Amy warned me of a certain type of guest: the ones who simply do not show up, even though they have RSVP'd. Adam said to be prepared for as many 15 people to do this and, while it's far easier to deal with than the people who show up after not RSVP'ing at all, it's still a pain as it results in unused food that we'll still wind up having to pay for.
One reader of this site emailed me with an even more awkward type of guest: the one who shows up uninvited. No, not the person who shows up after failing to RSVP, but the person who wasn't sent an invitation in the first place. For the brides and grooms who don't want to create a scene at their weddings - and I would imagine that's most of them - I'm not quite sure there's any good advice I could give on how to deal with this one. Any thoughts?
Today's the day. August 2nd. It's the deadline for our RSVPs. We're at about 200...with a few phone calls to make to stragglers. More later...
I was home in Boston for the weekend - I'm probably still on the train back to New York as you are reading this - for one last weekend with Mom and Dad before the big day. Even a weekend with the parents included some wedding details as my mom and I went into Boston and, on Newbury Street, were able to take care of the gifts for my groomsmen. I don't know how many of them are reading this, so I'll hold off on revealing what I got for all of them, but let's just say for now it's an appropriate gift from someone labeled a "metrosexual" by the London Observer and a "girly groom" by the New York Post. More on gifts later, once Amtrak delivers me savely back to the city.