|March 16, 2001
I've found the perfect wedding invitations.
It has taken weeks of diligent hunting on my part -- including tons of library research, combing through endless websites, browsing countless paper catalogs and magazines and printed samples -- but at long last I have found the invitation that truly speaks to my heart. It's elegant, but not stuffy. It's romantic, but not cloying. The colors and the motif and the layout appeal to the artist in me. I will probably rework the wording a little ... maybe add that Antoine de Saint-Exupery quote I'm so fond of ... but other than that, the invitation is perfect.
Plus it's not going to cost us an arm and a leg (and another arm, for shipping & handling). At this price, I can probably afford the matching response cards AND the thank-you notes, while I'm at it.
I'm thrilled beyond words. This getting married stuff is really going to happen!!!
Originally I was hoping to design the wedding invitations myself ... something sweet and simple and a little offbeat, maybe, sort of like our romance. A loyal *FootNotes* reader even researched the Japanese Kanji characters for "Couple Holding Feet in Bed" so I could incorporate them into the design. I may still use the characters she sent me -- maybe have them printed up as stickers, to use on the envelopes when we mail them out in a few weeks -- but otherwise I've had to abandon the idea of personally designing the invitations. Too many obligations right now ... too few *time and energy molecules.* So finding a predesigned invitation in a catalog -- an invitation that manages to convey both my sense of icky, yearning romanticism, coupled by my newly-acquired midlife sophistication and stuff -- seems incredibly serendipitous.
I mention it to David almost as an afterthought. "I'm going to place the wedding invitation order tomorrow," I casually announce. "You didn't want to be involved in the decision at all, did you?"
No, of course not.
"Yes, of course I do," he says.
"I'd like to at least take a look at some of the choices," he says. "Maybe there's something there I'll like that you haven't considered yet."
Frankly, I couldn't be more surprised if he'd just announced that he planned to try on my wedding dress a couple of times before the ceremony, just to make sure that it fits *both* of us properly. Men don't "do" wedding invitations!
Nothing in my personal experience has prepared me for this. Logically, I understand that at some point I'm going to have to quit comparing my upcoming second marriage to my first marriage -- that one relationship has virtually nothing to do with the other -- but right now, my first marriage is all I've got to use as a point of reference. And here is what my first marriage taught me about men and their curiousity about/appreciation of/desired level of involvement in wedding preparations:
So this is coming as a huge surprise, let me tell you. But it's a good surprise.
Intrigued by the idea of having a fully-engaged partner in the decision-making process, this time around, I jump back onto the Internet and quickly call up the website where I found my perfect wedding invitation. "Don't look until I'm done," I warn David, and he retreats into the safety of the living room. I quickly print out a color .jpg and description of the invitation I like best. While I'm at it, I print a couple of other designs that appeal to me but didn't make the final cut. Then I hippity-hop to some of the other sites I've bookmarked during my search, and I print out a variety of different invitations from each one ... including a few that I don't like (and don't think David will like, either), to serve as ringers. Finally, I tear a few pages out of the mail-order catalogs I've received. When I'm done, I staple the whole mess together and hand it to him.
"OK," I say. "Tell me which one you like."
We curl up on the bed together, and I watch him flip through the pages. He comments briefly on each one. My face betrays absolutely no emotion ... not even when he glances at *my* choice and dismisses it out of hand. "This one doesn't speak to me at all," he says, and he goes on to the next page.
When he's done, he has summarily eliminated the "ringers," as I knew he would -- "No crayon stick figures," he says in distaste -- and he has chosen the one design he likes best. As it turns out, he has picked my second-favorite. I'm honestly surprised by his choice. I wouldn't have figured him for such a romantic, and I tell him so ... but he quickly explains that this particular design "looks like something his mother might like."
Ohhhhhhhhh. So THAT'S where we're going with this.
No, he says ... that's not where we're going with this. This isn't about whether or not his mother "approves" of the wedding invitations we choose ... or whether *my* mother approves of them, for that matter ... or whether anyone else on the planet besides the two of us approves of them. It has to do with respect for the institution of marriage, and respect for the way certain important members of our families -- in this case, his mother -- might feel about the sanctity and the seriousness of the wedding ceremony. And our invitations should reflect that.
In other words: no unicorns and rainbows ... no dancing champagne glasses ... no babies dressed in tuxedos and wedding gowns.
It's a more sensitive and carefully-reasoned response than I might have expected, under the circumstances. This is a man, after all, who once posted a picture of himself as a pig on his website, where his poor mother has almost certainly cringed over it a time or ten. And -- as is usually the case when David surprises me -- I am surprised in a good way, and I'm more impressed with him than ever, and I love him just that much more.
But this still leaves us with a dilemma: which invitations do we choose? *His* first choice ... or *hers*? Do we toss a coin? Do we draw straws? Do we duke it out in a dark back alley?
Or do we ditch both choices and go back to the catalog search, starting from scratch?
"You realize," I say, "that there is only one fair and logical way to make this decision, right?"
"We'll abide by whatever 'they' decide?" I ask ... wanting to make sure we're in absolute agreement here. "No whining, no bitching, no second-guessing allowed?"
"Do it," he says.
So ... I'm doing it:
That's right: we want YOU to help us pick out our wedding invitation.
We realize that it may seem a little unorthodox -- Cranky Denver Lady is probably dialing Jerry Springer again, even as we speak -- but it makes perfect sense when you stop and think about it. You know us pretty well, after all. You read about us every day ... or almost every day, anyway. You are privy to all sorts of intimate secrets and factoids and details of our lives. (Probably lots more "privy" than you're actually comfortable with, once in a while ... but that's another story for another day.) We respect your opinion and your judgement. We know you have good taste. We know you love us and want us to have the very best.
Plus we're just too stoopid and indecisive to make the decision ourselves.
So click on the link ... look at the invitation styles we've posted there: sorry if it's slow-loading, but I wanted you to be able to see as much *detail* as possible (and even so, it's probably gonna be murky: if you have any questions, just ask) ... read the little catalog blurbs we've included ... and then pick the one *you* like the best. We promise that we'll be totally thrilled with anything you pick out.
(Just don't tell our moms, OK? They think we're flipping a coin.)
Look for the results early next week. And in the meantime ... have a great weekend, everybody!
p.s. in the interest of fair competition, we're not telling you which invitation style is my fvorite and which is david's. [feel free to guess, if you want to. i'll let you know if you're right or wrong.] also, we've thrown in a *bonus* third choice -- one we both like & would be perfectly delighted with, should it be chosen -- just to mix things up a little.