How to Really Test an Event Coordinator

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Visiting wedding venues can be a nerve-wracking experience. My fiancé and I visited five over the course of one weekend up in Maine, and it felt like there was a lot of pressure to pick the exactly right place—the spot that screams “you” as a couple, but screams it in an elegant, Derek Jacobi-type voice.

So it wasn’t great that my fiancé was feeling unwell when we started our Saturday morning off at the first venue. You want to be on your A-Game on these visits: asking the right questions, looking for the important flaws, and imagining where your stoner friends are going to scurry off to when they inevitably duck out to get high.

It was even less great, when, moments after we arrived at the second venue of the day, he projectile vomited in front of the events manager.

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That Awkward Moment: When The Times Wedding Section Makes You Choke Up

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FOR SAPS ONLY:

You know when you’re reading a story in the weddings section of the Times, and suddenly there’s a surprisingly romantic, or sweet moment, and it gives you a little catch in your throat? I’m often caught off guard by those moments, because they can even occur in the most obnoxious of Vows columns. For example, there was one about this super Type-A bride a couple of weeks ago, who spotted a cute guy on the subway and hoped he was going to get off on her stop. When he didn’t, she got off at the wrong stop and literally chased him down and asked for his name.

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A Few Bitchy Gay Asides About The Second Episode of Looking

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The Internet had some really, really strong reactions to the first episode of Looking. A lot of the thinky pieces were written by critics, who have seen more episodes than most of us, but I still think the extreme response is a bit premature. How do we know what story this show is going to tell if we’re just one (or two, or four) episodes in? Richard Lawson outlined my feelings well in a great piece he did on VF.com. But mainly, the point is this: the show is not trying to represent what life is like for every gay person, just as Girls is not trying to depict what life is like for every human out there with a vagina. It would be impossible to make a show about “gay life” because there are so many different ways to be gay and be alive. It’s just a show about these three guys, who are particular kinds of people (video game programmer, Puerto Rican, artist, couple, waiter, 40something, etc) that happen to be gay and looking for sex and love. It’s interesting to me because of that latter thing, but also because it’s kind of nicely written and the characters are likeable and it’s only a half hour long.

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Gay Wedding Videos, Or Teaser Trailers For Marriage Equality?

I love gay wedding videos.

I cry at happy movies, not sad ones. The sappier, the better. For example, I feel like the Internet has come to a conflict over Love Actually, lately, but to me the perfect movie scene is the one where Colin Firth goes to Lisbon to find Aurelia, after having learned Portuguese so that he can propose to her. She responds in English, having learned it “just in cases.” And she says yes. Please watch:

And then I sob like I sobbed at the end of the musical The Color Purple, the first night my fiancé ever pretended he didn’t know me.

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Looking at Looking: Eleven Minor Things I Found to Be Unrealistic About The First Episode

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For many years I used to recap TV shows for New York Magazine—and much of the time it involved counting. I would add up who won each episode of NYC Prep, or I would list out all the reasons why Jill Zarin was a monster. And for most if its six seasons, Jessica Pressler and I would tally up what was real, and what was fake on every episode of Gossip Girl. So at this point in my life, I watch TV and find myself absently counting along as I watch. How many times does Rebel Wilson’s American accent fail her on Super Fun Night? How often do I spot product placement on Cougar Town?

Anyway, I couldn’t help count along with Looking, the new HBO show that was hyped as the “gay Girls,” and whose promotional materials are plastered all over New York City. This time, it was the things that seemed unreasonably false about the show. So here, a list.

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Navy and White Stripes

Navy and White Stripes

We met with our wedding planner today and she introduced a theme of navy and white that will hopefully carry throughout the wedding. I like it because it seems simple and masculine. (There will be other elements, like leather and metal !!! apparently). My fiance is a little concerned that it’ll seem dull, or there won’t be enough pops of color, and I think he might be right. . . . This is how you find yourself in bed late at night with your laptop, Googling “White Wedding Cake With Navy Stripes AND COLOR.” Straight guys do this too, right?

A Canoe Filled With Beer

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This is a picture of a canoe filled with beer.

I know you can see that it’s a canoe filled with beer, but I just wanted to be clear: there’s not a name for this contraption—it’s not a “thing.” You don’t see these at Fourth of July parties, and it’s not on the list of catering options when you book a soiree at the country club. It is just a canoe that someone filled with ice, into which they stuck a bunch of beer.

This also happens to be a picture from my “Wedding” board on Pinterest.

The state of affairs wherein I have a mood board where I’m pinning “inspirations” for my “dream day” is, on the face of it, a little bizarre. And then the idea that I went out, found a picture of a canoe filled with beer, and then put it on that Pinterest board, is some next level shit.

I’d started the board because the wedding planner we are working with had told my boyfriend and me to each make one, so that she could get a general sense of our taste and what our vision was. “Pin anything, it doesn’t have to be wedding stuff. It could be clothes, colors, whatever!” So I did that. I pinned painted mussel shells that someone used as seating cards. I pinned Maine-themed bottle cozies.  I even pinned those stupid hand-painted sign-boards that everyone now has, with directions like, “Drinks! Thatta Way. Dancing – Up Heah!”

I actually wasn’t really thinking very hard about it when I pinned the canoe image. I don’t even remember doing it. I think I had Googled “Maine Weddings” or had searched that team on Pinterest, and the photo turned up. I was probably pinning pictures of lobster buoys and sailing pennants when I came across it. (More on that later.) I imagine I thought, “Oh, canoe filled with beer, duh.” And then I pinned the image and moved on.

Not long after, the wedding planner e-mailed the event manager at our wedding venue, with a list of questions. One of them was this:

“We are considering bringing in a wooden canoe as a part of the cocktail hour bar service to fill with ice and chilled wine, beer, etc. Is it an issue for your bartenders to serve from this? (Have attached at photo.)”

I’m sure my fiancé read those particular sentences with great interest. Was this woman already running wild and loose with our event? Who had told her we needed a canoe? I remained mum.

Later, after some light miscommunication between the two women, we had a follow-up e-mail from the wedding planner that included the following paragraph:

I will ask [the event manager] again when I meet with her about having a canoe for bottled beer – she has not answered the question yet. I am sure a piece of it is liability. But I think if the canoe is monitored by a bartender next to the actual bar (perhaps they even grab the bottles out for service) that it really shouldn’t be an issue. Or another idea is to use the canoe as a part of the dessert display…. 

So now the canoe was a thing. Part of me wanted to say, “Forget the canoe filled with beer! I wasn’t even thinking when I pinned that!” But then another part of me was like, “Um, hello? A CANOE FILLED WITH BEER. It makes perfect sense.”

Because, actually, at weddings, I find it frustrating when the cocktail hour begins and everyone has to wait in a long line to get a drink at the two overworked bars. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just cruise up to a giant beer canoe, get a Sam Adams, and then start your chit chatting? Best canoe ever! That’s a good ten-fifteen minutes where you get to talk to your real friends instead of getting stuck waiting in line next to the couple you kind of know from that one dinner party when the couple tried to “mix up their different friend groups.” (Oh man, more on that later, too.)

This is the kind of thing that happens when you plan a wedding in the era of Pinterest, and e-mail, and when you are a gay man in your thirties. Something you click on after having thought about it for half a second becomes an “inspiration” for someone else. Communication through e-mail becomes fraught and over-serious. And when you’ve been to dozens and dozens of weddings (because you are in your thirties and you are gay) you actually find that you do have very firm opinions on the way things should work.

I’m not sure whether we’ll end up having the canoe. It sounds like it’ll be logistically difficult, and even though we’re not inviting children to the wedding, it could be a legal issue. But I do like the idea of it—I like the way it looks in the picture: so simple, functional and straightforward. There are even bows on it! It’s functional, uncomplicated, and fun. Just the way a wedding should be.

When at first W…

When at first Windsor and Spyer longed to marry, neither New York nor any other State granted them that right. After waiting some years, in 2007 they traveled to Ontario to be married there. It seems fair to conclude that, until recent years, many citizens had not even considered the possibility that two persons of the same sex might aspire to occupy the same status and dignity as that of a man and woman in lawful marriage. For marriage between a man and a woman no doubt had been thought of by most people as essential to the very definition of that term and to its role and function throughout the history of civilization. That belief, for many who long have held it, became even more urgent, more cherished when challenged. For others, however, came the beginnings of a new perspective, a new insight. Accordingly some States concluded that same-sex marriage ought to be given recognition and validity in the law for those same-sex couples who wish to define themselves by their commitment to each other. The limitation of lawful marriage to heterosexual couples, which for centuries had been deemed both necessary and fundamental, came to be seen in New York and certain other States as an unjust exclusion. —Justice Anthony Kennedy, United States v. Windsor