April 26, 2001
Second Time Around


The nice thing about planning a second wedding, they tell me  --  especially a midlife second wedding  --  is how much *easier* everything is, the second time around.

The typical forty-something bride, they explain, has already been down this road a time or two (or eleven). This means that she is more stable, and more emotionally mature, and more adequately equipped to handle complex wedding-related decisions than her less experienced, first-time bridal counterpart might be.

Similarly, the prospective second-time groom, they say, is also usually more mature and stable  --  both emotionally and financially  --  and is therefore in a better position to assist with wedding-planning. The couple has probably lived together for a while, enjoying a more seasoned level of committment and commonality of purpose. They know how to work together to achieve a goal.

As for planning the wedding itself, they say ... this is one situation where experience truly is the best teacher. Whatever you liked or disliked about your first wedding  --  whatever worked or didn't work or blew up in your face  --  serves as a helpful *template* in planning your second wedding.

Relax, they tell me. Have fun. Enjoy the experience. You've earned a carefree, stress-free, crisis-free wedding, the second time around.

You want to know what *I* think?

I think *they* are full of shidt.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

I've had a headache for three days now.

It's lodged on the right side of my skull, in the tender pulse point just above my ear  It started on Tuesday afternoon  --  when I was writing about my experience with Scary Bridal Shop Lady  --  and for the past couple of days it has ebbed and flowed. At first I couldn't detect any pattern. It has taken me until tonight, in fact, to figure out that the pain is worst when I'm thinking/worrying/panicking about the wedding.

And since I'm pretty much starting to think/worry/panic about the wedding around the clock ... I'm *flowing* lots more than I'm *ebbing* right now.

      *      *      *      *      *      *


As always, whenever I'm bitching and moaning about wedding preparations, I must hasten to acknowledge the fact that I'm getting tons of help from my family in TicTac ... especially from my mother and my sister. They are tackling a lot of the nuts-and-bolts wedding stuff  --  flowers, food, decorations  --  that would be a logistical and financial nightmare, otherwise. We could NOT be doing this without them, and I am grateful beyond grateful for their support.

Having said that ... now I'm going to bitch and moan.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

Lately it feels ... how can I describe this without sounding impossibly infantile? ... like I'm sort of doing all of the wedding planning  --  at least, the stuff that needs to be done from here in California  --  by myself. And I'm starting to feel ever so slightly not-completely-happy about it.

David pays lip service to the idea of helping out with wedding plans. "This is our special day," he says, "and I want to be fully involved in the planning, blah blah blah blah blah."

But when it comes right down to it ... he's a guy. A big, adorable, useless sack of testoserone, just like the rest of them. We've been engaged for  --  how long? four months?  --  and in that time I think it's accurate to say that I have made 99.9% of the decisions relating to the wedding and the honeymoon  ...  everything from the date and location of the wedding, to the honeymoon destination/vacation schedule/airline reservations, to what kind of music should be playing before/during/after the ceremony. I've tried to get him actively involved in as much of the decision-making process as possible  --  the invitations are a good example  --  but even there I only received support and input from him up to a point ... and then it just stopped. Once the votes were tallied, I'm the one who ordered the invitations. I'm the one who paid for the invitations. I'm the one who wept over the invitations, when they were delivered. I'm probably going to be the one who writes and addresses the invitations next month.

He'll go to the Post Office and mail them when I'm done.  IF I remind him.

I know he's not trying to be irritating. He just can't stay focused on any of this wedding stuff. It's like you can lead him to a certain level of cooperation  --  you can sit him down in the little chair and hand him a crayon and ask him to draw you a bumblebee  --  but if you turn your back on him, even for a minute, the next time you see him he's on the other side of the playground hanging upside down from the monkeybars.

It's driving me crazy. It's sucking a lot of the *fun molecules* out of all of this. And every once in a while, it makes it difficult for me to stay focused on why we're doing this getting-married stuff in the first place.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

Right now, for example ... I'm trying to figure out the photography situation.

A few weeks ago, a member of my family in TicTac e-mailed me and generously offered to "help out" with wedding expenses. Wonderful! I wrote him back. How about helping us find a photographer? I was thinking maybe freelance local person ... a hobbyist maybe, someone who does it on the side for a little extra cash. (Someone cheap, in other words.) My relative called around and made some preliminary inquiries, up in TicTac, but it didn't take long for him to discover that 1.) Wedding photographers generally need to be booked a decade in advance, and 2.) Wedding photographers all probably own vacation villas in the South of France. I'm afraid this is a little beyond my budget, my relative sorrowfully wrote me back. I hastily assured him that it was OK, no problem, don't worry about it ... maybe he can help us outfit the Tots for the ceremony or something, instead. Any help is helpful, as they say. But in the meantime we still don't have anybody to officially photograph our wedding.

"What about Graham?" I ask David.

Graham is one of David's best friends from high school. A skilled photographer  --  we have several examples of his art displayed in our apartment  --  he has already expressed interest in flying to TicTac and coming to the wedding. "Do you think he would be interested in doing some of the photography?" I suggest. As tacky as it may be to ask a guest to double as photographer,  it really isn't like we have a whole big bunch of options right now. Our wedding is going to be too small and too informal to warrant spending thousands of dollars on a professional. Our tiny budget is squeezed enough as it is.

But then I remember something else.

"Are you asking Graham to be your best man?" I ask. That would make it difficult for him to take pictures, probably. "Or are you asking your brother?"  Rumor has it that at least one of David's brothers will also be attending the wedding ... but like everything else *groom-related* in this wedding planning process, the rumor remains unsubstantiated. I have no idea who  --  if anyone  --  from David's family is currently planning to be there. I have no idea who David is asking to stand up with him as best man. I have no idea about anything, basically.

"I don't know," David replies.


"Do you think maybe you could ask him about it, the next time you talk to him?" I suggest. David agrees, and a few days later he calls me at work to see if I would be interested in attending a baseball game at the new SF ballpark on Friday night. Graham has extra tickets.

"Great!" I say. "You talked to Graham! What did he say about the wedding?"

Silence. "I forgot to ask him," David says sheepishly.


      *      *      *      *      *      *

I'm not mad at David. I'm just frustrated.

It's not like he's doing anything overtly awful. He's not deliberately trying to sabotage the wedding. On the other hand, he's not doing much to advance the planning process, either  ...  and that surprises me. I guess I was expecting more initiative on his part: more of the aggressive, Ю僱êrvØ¡ take-charge attitude I see him display in all other important areas of his life: his work, his family, his message board posts. Instead, there is this sort of vague, *not-really-there* quality that washes over him, whenever the subect of the wedding comes up. You can see it in his face. It doesn't matter whether it's the big stuff we're discussing  --  rental cars, wedding rings, formal wear  --  or the little stuff  --  writing our vows, making a wedding mix tape, choosing a best man. He tunes it all out with equal attention deficit. The next thing I know, I'm making all of the decisions/handling all of the arrangements/calling all of the shots by myself again, not because I'm determined to choreograph every detail of this wedding myself, or because it has to be *my* way or *no* way ... or because I have really fixed and inflexible ideas about how everything has to be. I don't. I am totally making this stuff up as I go along.

I'm doing it because if *I* don't do it, it won't get done. Period.

And that's what's troubling me today: this feeling that I am in this thing all by myself, unsupported by my partner  ...  a partner who until now has always, always been there for me when it counts  ...  but who has just sort of unaccountably turned up OTL when it comes to planning the biggest day of our lives.

This weekend I plan to sit him down and have The Talk. I haven't decided what I'm going to say,  exactly, but I know it's going to go something along the lines of Look: the last time I checked, there were two of us getting married here ... and unless you honestly don't mind four hours' worth of Celtic Harps and Lilith Fair ... or unless you want Matt Lauer as your goddamned best man ... then you'd better start kicking in with some feedback.

Plus I want to know exactly who is paying for what. Plus I want to know who from his family is going to be there. Plus I just want some HELP with all of this, because at this point the "second time around" is turning out to be about a bazillion times more difficult and more stressful and more work and more EVERYTHING awful than the first one was.

My head already hurts, just thinking about it.

one year ago: how to control your toddler boss

throw a rock