Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A book for him

I'm embarrassed to admit that I've had wedding magazines for a few years now. Back in early 2004, when my friend Karen got married, my other friend Marjorie and I (both bridesmaids) were in charge of favors for her bridal shower (thankfully, her mother recognized that we could not afford to throw even the most modest of showers, so just put us in charge of the favors). We decided to meet in Hartford, Conn., one day -- me driving up from Philadelphia and she taking a bus down from Boston -- for a bridal show. It was a pretty fun day -- we wandered around to the various vendors, answering the question that every vendor asked us, "So, who's the bride?" with a sad, "Neither of us, actually...", looking for fun decoration and favor ideas. We actually ended up finding two projects for inspiration, one of which had us grabbing a phone book and driving to every Michaels craft store in the greater Hartford area searching for clearance Valentine's Day cookie cutters, as well as calling everyone we knew and sending them to all of their nearest Michaels to find the same clearance cookie cutters. I told you: I'm really good at bargain shopping.

Anyway, I digress. I also entered a sweepstakes drawing for something or other -- a honeymoon, probably -- and ended up winning a one-year subscription to Modern Bride magazine. And while the magazines caused some raised eyebrows from my friends (remember, this was three years ago, when there was no ring on my finger), I justified their presence in two ways: 1) I was getting ideas for my friend's (and future friends') wedding, 2) they were free. I marked some pages for future reference, and saved all those issues. But when the subscription ran out, I didn't renew (aren't you proud?).

But the day after we got engaged, I made a point to walk over to Borders and buy all the magazines I wanted -- A Modern Bride, Brides, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Louisville Wedding. After all, why not? I had to figure out which one(s) I might want a subscription to, right? Well, I ended up getting a joint subscription to Modern Bride and Brides (they're really the same magazine, published by the same company, in alternating months) for a really good price, but decided against MS Wedding. It's just too expensive for so few pages, I think. Although the craft ideas are really, really good. Maybe if I find myself with some extra cash after the holidays...

I've been pretty happy with my magazines. There isn't a whole lot of substance in them, but I'm more likely to go to the gym if I have one to read, so that's a good thing in my mind. I also read a few wedding blogs, including Weddingbee. And on Weddingbee a few weeks ago, I read a post from a contributer who recommended this book:

Well Groomed: A Wedding Planner for What's-His-Name (And His Bride)

And I immediately put it on my online library request list (which, by the way, is the best thing in the world, especially for an under-funded library system that doesn't carry all books at all locations). I got it last week and immediately started reading it -- and immediately started laughing. I read the whole thing in just a few days, and have convinced Eric to read it as well -- and believe me, it didn't require much convincing, because it's that funny.

Basically, it's a wedding how-to for the groom, but it's completely irreverent. Well, much to my surprise, the first chapter hit surprisingly close to home:

Chapter 1: How can a magazine cost $12.95 and not have pictures of naked people in it? An introduction to bridal magazines

Immediately after you become engaged, and in some cases as you are putting the ring on her finger, your brand-new fiancee will celebrate the commitment you have just made to her by leaving you alone at home while she goes off to buy bridal magazines. This isn't to suggest that she doesn't already own several bridal magazines. She does. But she's hidden them, just like you've hidden your porn. Now that she's officially engaged, though, it's time for a new crop of magazines that can be proudly displayed in public. (Your porn, however, should still remain hidden.)

... [Your] new bride-to-be ... will proceed to buy every bridal magazine in the store, for a total cost of $409.83. Even if your bride isn't particularly interested in bridal magazines, this is her one big chance to buy them and she feels obliged to do so. Not getting them would be like going all the way to Egypt and then skipping the pyramids because you decide it's too hot outside.

The chapter ends with a comparison between wedding magazines and porn. Surprisingly accurate, I might add.

Well, it could have been worse. I spent much less than $409.83 and only bought 4 magazines -- there are a lot more on the rack at Borders, including British ones that are very, VERY expensive. I haven't been tempted to buy any of those yet, probably mostly because I don't have much free time (thankfully!). But I was still pretty amused that what I thought was a fairly unique reflex to getting engaged is, in fact, a universal one.

But I highly recommend this book. If you are engaged or have been married in the last five years or so, you would get a pretty big kick out of it. Besides, if you read it yourself, I won't have to risk plagiarism issues for copying the whole thing into this blog.