May 25, 2005

Worst. Sex. Ever.

There's a commonly held myth that sex on your wedding night is supposed to be an earth-shattering, oh-my-god-it's-never-been-this-good experience. Even if you haven't saved yourself for marriage and have known your wife- or husband-to-be outside the before the bonds of holy matrimony, there is still a lot of pressure for couples to start things off with a bang. (And, yes, I mean that in every sense of the word.)

However, most newlyweds have a not-so-dirty little secret. Ask anyone who was married recently and more than a few will tell you that the last thing they did was have sex the first night they spent together as husband and wife. Scratch that. It wasn't the last thing they did, because they didn't do it at all.

"We stayed up opening presents and totaling up the checks," says one anonymous emailer. "By the end of it all we were too exhausted to move and went to bed."

For my book, I'd like to take an honest look at the wedding night, whether it's spent in a Jamaican hotel room on the first night of a honeymoon, or back at a couple's new home together as husband and wife. How was it for you and your partner the first night you slept together after your wedding? Was it storybook or textbook? Did it happen at all? Or did you crash?

Without giving away too many details - my mother and mother-in-law read this, for pete's sake - I will say that L and I were so tired and hungry at the end of our wedding day that we spent our first few minutes alone together as husband and wife in our hotel room eating sandwiches, fries and Cokes we had picked up from a Burger King drive-though. Romantic, isn't it?

Don't be shy! I think this could be a very funny part of the book, something unusual as far as wedding guides go. You can remain anonymous if you like, but please know that anything you post or email me will become fodder for the book. Thanks for your help. (And thanks to Rachel for spreading the word.)

Posted by Doug at 10:43 PM | Comments (11)

May 24, 2005

QOTD: Ring-A-Ding

Today's questions for the grooms: how long did it take for you to get used to wearing a wedding ring, especially if you had never worn any sort of jewelry before? I was constantly playing with my ring, sliding it up and down my finger, and tapping it against tables.

Has wearing a ring been weird for you or do you hardly notice it?

As always, please leave your first name and hometown in your comments or emails.

Posted by Doug at 04:02 PM | Comments (3)

May 21, 2005

QOTD: Money, Money, Money

I've been doing some research for my book and was interested in this article from CNN/Money. According to a survey of over 1,000 brides by The Fairchild Bridal Group, the average cost of a wedding is now $26,327, more than the cost of a year of college at most schools and a 73 percent increase over 15 years.

More interestingly is that the survey found that almost half of all newlyweds wind up spending more than they originally budgeted. My feeling is that those who spent more than they originally budgeted probably didn't have much of a fixed budget at all and instead piled on one expense after the other without re-evaluating their finances during the planning process.

So, did you make a budget? If so, did you come out under, over or even? If you found costs spiraling out of control, how did you stop them? What expenses surprised you? Any money saving tips?

Email me or leave your comments below. I'd really like to hear from grooms on this one, since the survey also said that almost one third of couples pick up the tab for the weddings themselves. Not to sound sexist, but I'd imagine guys are a little more interested in money than flowers, so I'm assuming this is one area where grooms tend to get more involved. Be sure to let me know where you are from if you email or comment.

Thanks.

Posted by Doug at 03:38 PM | Comments (8)

May 18, 2005

QOTD: Problem Guests?

I'm writing a section on common wedding headaches and their sources. While L and I were blessed with perfect guests, I know that some people have huge problems with their friends and family. From the guest who demands a lactose-free, all vegan, organic meal or the family member who wants you to pick him up at the airport ten minutes before the ceremony, sometimes the biggest problems are caused by the very people you invite to your wedding.

What were the biggest problems you encountered? Once the invitations went out, did the problems start coming in? What kind of special requests did your guests make that seemed unreasonable? Were any guests particularly annoying? How did you deal with them?

As always, you can email me at groom [at] planetgordon dot com or comment below. Leave your first name and hometown so you can be properly credited in the book.

Posted by Doug at 05:05 PM | Comments (8)

May 17, 2005

The 65,000 Question

I emailed my editor with a question the other day, one that seems so basic I should have asked it from the beginning:

How long should my manuscript be?

We had discussed how long the book will wind up being and I can easily picture what my book in paperback form will look like. But until yesterday I had absolutely no idea how one page in a Word document translates into a printed book.

So my editor gave me a target word count: 65,000 words.

65,000 words! The average PlanetGordon.com entry is barely 200 words. This entry, one of my more popular postings, is on the long side at 627 words.

Even though my jaw dropped when I read that number, it quickly set back into place when I started looking at my outline and my manuscript pages so far. With what I have left I'm on track to be in that ballpark.

Stay tuned...

Posted by Doug at 12:14 PM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2005

QOTD: Gender Bending Groomsmen

Okay, grooms, here's today's question:

Did you have any groomsmen who weren't men? Was your Best Man a woman? And no, I don't mean that in any sort of Crying Game way, but rather did you have a best female friend stand on your side or a close sister give the toast at your reception?

I had a best man, but I also had my sister stand among my groomsmen with the honorary title of "Doug's Best Sister."

If you made a less traditional choice, I'd like to hear from you. Email me or leave a comment below and please be sure to include your first name and your hometown in any and all correspondence.

Posted by Doug at 01:06 PM | Comments (3)

More Coffee Chronicles

Ate breakfast this morning at Dizzy's, a local coffee shop, in an attempt to start off on a full stomach before settling into what should be my most intense week of writing yet.

As the mercury is finally rising to appropriate mid-May levels, I ordered an iced coffee, which I quickly polished off before ordering another. But before delivering my refill, the waiter warned me that it would not be free.

"Sorry, but we don't do free refills on iced coffee," he said.

"Why not?"

"Just the policy, I guess," he replied.

"I see," I said, pondering for a moment. "But you do offer free refills on hot coffee, no?"

"Right."

"And I can get as much iced water as I want, right?"

"Yep," replied the waiter, smiling as he saw where I was going with my line of questioning.

"So can you bring me a cup of hot coffee and a glass of ice water, but hold the water?"

I wasn't quite Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces, but my waiter and I shared a good laugh.

Posted by Doug at 09:25 AM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2005

QOTD: Strip Clubs - Pro, Con or What's the Big Whoop?

I'm working on a part of my book about bachelor parties and alternatives to the traditional last-minute blowout with the boys.

I wrote about my opinions on strip clubs and my friends and I went to one during my bachelor party in Las Vegas. L had a mostly neutral opinion on the subject. She didn't have much of an issue with me going once for the bachelor party, but she wouldn't exactly want to be married to the type of guy who is as well known at his boob bar the way Norm is at Cheers.

I'd like to hear from women. What are your thoughts about strip clubs as a bachelor party option? I'm going to include a section titled "Women Talk About Strip Clubs" where I include quotes from brides and newlywed women. I'd like a variety of opinions, so are you pro, con, ambivalent or indifferent? Why? What did your groom do and how did you feel about it? Did you talk about it beforehand or did you just trust your groom to not let things get out of hand.

Don't be intimidated to respond. If you are adamantly opposed to strip clubs, I'd like to hear from you.

Email me and be sure to include your first name and hometown. If you prefer to remain anonymous, please say so and I'll respect your wish.

This will likely be the only place in the book where I quote women, so here's your chance to see your opinions in print!

Email me at groom [at] planetgordon dot com or leave your comments below.

Thanks.

Posted by Doug at 01:11 PM | Comments (9)

May 10, 2005

Modern Times

Much ink has been spilled and many pixels have been, um, pixelated describing the effect that the digital revolution is having on the entertainment industry. Musicians are seeing their songs traded for free online and movie studios are nervous about ever-faster broadband connections that allow computer users to download feature-length movies in a matter of seconds.

One overlooked victim of our digital age is the professional wedding photographer. Tech Dirt looks briefly at the challenges faced by the modern wedding photographer. Scanners, photo printers and online services such as Flickr are changing the way in which brides, grooms and their families get reprints of their favorite wedding snapshots.

Thanks to Michael for the heads up.

I am knee deep in book writing and spent half of today researching marriage license information - how to get one, waiting periods, fees - for every state in the union. DC, too. If you want to know how much it costs to get married in Spokane or Springfield, I'm your man. And if you're thinking about marrying your cousin, I now know more than I ever wanted to about where that's okay.

Posted by Doug at 06:49 PM | Comments (2)

May 09, 2005

QOTD: Picking a Date

Today's question:

How soon after you got engaged did you pick the date of your wedding? What were the biggest factors for you when choosing when to get married? You can email your answers to groom [at] planetgordon dot com.

Posted by Doug at 09:36 AM | Comments (2)

May 07, 2005

Star*ucks

I'm not what you would call an environmentalist, but I do my part. I do my best to recycle paper, glass and plastic and make sure I turn off lights when I'm not using them. Because I was spending so much time at a local Starbucks doing work that I began referring to it as my field office, I bought a travel mug to use rather than waste a grande-sized cup every time I get my latte fix. (The cup comes with the added benefit of entitling me to ten cents off every drink I order, which might seem like a paltry sum but quickly adds up after four hundred vanilla skim lattes.)

Today, before I got settled into a solid two hours of writing, I ordered my drink from a familiar barista, handing her my cup along with my four dollars and change. Rather than call out the order to her fellow barista who manned the espresso machine, she wrote the order on a paper cup and then placed the paper cup inside the travel mug. After my drink was made the paper cup was thrown in the trash, giving it a total lifespan of about two minutes.

And we expect human beings to fix global warming?

Posted by Doug at 02:44 PM | Comments (2)

May 06, 2005

QOTD: Destination Weddings

Keep the emails comin'!

I'm working on a section of my book about destination weddings. I have strong opinions on the subject, but having only been to one in my life - a fun weekend in Puerto Rico - I have a limited perspective. What are your thoughts on destination weddings? Whether you hosted one or were simply the guest at one, was it worth the effort and expense? I've noticed that destination weddings tend to be smaller affairs, presumably because fewer people can afford to fly to Rome or Jamaica than, say, Cleveland. Has that been your experience?

As always, your emails or comments might be included in my book as I'm looking to fill a few holes by including the thoughts and opinions of Real Live Grooms. Thanks for helping.

Posted by Doug at 12:35 AM | Comments (2)

May 05, 2005

Question of the Day

In an effort to get quotes for my book, I present to you the following question to the men in the audience:

Did you and your wife have a weekday wedding? Recently, "off-peak" weddings, so to speak, have been touted as a great way to save money or to beat the crowds when reserving those ultra-exclusive beach resorts or penthouse reception rooms with the sweeping skyline views. Vendors typically charge less for such occasions as photographers, caterers and florists don't typically find themselves busy on a Tuesday or Thursday night. If you had a weekday wedding, why did you choose one? What were the advantages? Were there any drawbacks?

Email your responses to groom [at] planetgordon dot com.

Thanks.

Posted by Doug at 09:23 AM | Comments (0)

May 04, 2005

There Goes the Groom?

Not willing to let the Runaway Bride story go quietly into the night now that Jennifer Wilbanks has turned out to be a fraud and not dead, the media is hot for another story of an engaged person gone suspiciously missing.

To wit:

South Bay Groom Disappears Before Wedding. (Story via NBC4.tv)

One gets the sense that junior news producers and cub reporters everywhere are being ordered to unearth every missing bride or groom story from the last five years in the hopes of breaking a big crime story and ushering in yet another 24-hour news cycle.

Posted by Doug at 10:24 AM | Comments (2)

May 03, 2005

Calling All Grooms!

As I settled in to write my book, I realized something that might really bring some color and perspective to it all: stories from other grooms.

So, if you are getting married or were married recently and where involved in the planning more than the average groom, I'd like to hear from you. I'll throw out more specific requests in the future, but for now I'd just like your general thoughts. How were you involved? What did your family, friends and assorted wedding vendors think of your involvement? What resources, if any, did you find for grooms? Did having a strong opinion on something ever get you into trouble?

I can't make any promises, but I might include random quotes from real grooms in the book. Please note that I can offer no compensation, only the satisfaction of seeing your name in print. And maybe a free book.

You can post your stories or comments in the comment section below or you can email me at groom [at] planetgordon dot com.

Thanks for your help and stay tuned for more requests. Brides, stay tuned as I'll have a few questions for you, too.

Posted by Doug at 11:57 AM | Comments (1)

There Goes the Bride, Part Two

In New York state, pulling a fire alarm when no fire exists is a felony punishable by up to one year in prison. It's a reasonable law, as far as laws go, since calling in a fake alarm can divert necessary resources away from actual emergencies. What may seem like a harmless joke to one person might actually result in a terrible tragedy for another.

That's why I don't find the Jennifer Wilbanks story all that cute, and have a problem with the "Runaway Bride" moniker the media has bestowed upon the Georgia woman. The Julia Roberts movie from which that nickname comes involved a woman who left a string of men stranded at the altar. Would audiences have been rooting for Julia's character to find true love had she left a string of emergency response workers stranded in the woods, searching for clumps of hair, torn clothing and body parts?

Bear in mind that this isn't some 18-year-old child bride from backwoods Georgia who might not have had the background to know better, nor the resources to face the true consequences of her actions. Wilbanks is 32 and her wedding was going to be a six-figure affair at the Atlanta Athletic Club. Looking at the couple's registry, the membership director of the Wedding and Bridal Association of America estimated the couple's potential gift haul to be about $100,000.

CNN reports that Duluth officials may seek to recoup the $40,000 - $60,000 they spent searching for Wilbanks by suing the woman. Add that base sum to additional expenses incurred by volunteers, officials in Albuquerque and federal agents, and it's not hard to imagine the grand total for her search soaring higher than the sum total of her ice buckets, bed linens and flatware.

Calling Wilbanks the "Runaway Bride" mischaracterizes this case in another way. In the movie, I don't remember Julia Roberts blaming her problem on a Hispanic man. Yes, Wilbanks included a white woman when describing her non-existent abductors, and it might be a stretch to call Wilbanks the bridal version of Charles Stuart, the Boston man who murdered his wife and then blamed it on a black man, but her choice to bring a different race into her fictionalized kidnapping makes me question her already questionable ethics.

I commend her groom for sticking by her - for now - and realizing that a couple's committment to each other begins much earlier than when they say "I Do." But each statement of loyalty I hear from him leads me to another reason why I believe this woman is undeserving of the sympathy she's received in some media circles - not the mention the movie and book deals she and her groom are likely to receive in the future. By skipping town just days before her wedding, she turned the man she loved, the man whose ring she gladly accepted, into a potential suspect in her disapperance, a Southern Scott Peterson.

Of course, the media is probably disappointed that they won't have another Peterson-like trial to cover now that the Michael Jackson case is winding down. But leave it to our trusty cable news talking heads to turn lemons into lemonade. This week we have been treated to a host of stories on cold feet and wedding day jitters, as if shaving your head and taking a bus across the country is a common course of action among nervous brides. Focusing on such an eggregious example does a disservice to the many couples who might actually be a little nervous about getting married or who have witnessed their wedding planning spin out of their control.

Posted by Doug at 11:12 AM | Comments (3)

May 02, 2005

There Goes The Bride

jenniferwilbanks1.jpg

Somehow I doubt this is the veil Jennifer Wilbanks wanted to be photographed in on her wedding weekend.

One random thought. After viewing the Wilbanks gift registry on WeddingChannel.com, I'm surprised that a couple that had a 600 person guest list and whose wedding was supposed to be the toast of metro Atlanta society was registered at Macy's, Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn, three rather mundane choices. L and I registered at similar places, so how high-society could these people be?

Posted by Doug at 01:26 PM | Comments (3)