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Not Getting Married (By Me)

January 23, 2013

I've reached out several times before but will try again. My fiancé and I will be getting married in October at the EMP Sky Church. We are huge fans and appreciate the work you did to help win marriage rights in Washington State as well as your work creating the It Gets Better Project and your other activism. We would be downright giddy if we could somehow convince you to be the officiant at our wedding. We weren't sure the day would come when this would be legally possible, and we would be honored to have you conduct our ceremony! Please mull it over! We hope to hear from you!

Ian and Obie

I'm sorry about missing your first few e-mails, IAO. I've been busy finishing a book and having the flu and getting married myself, and I haven't been keeping up with the daily deluge of mail. Forgive me for being so hard to reach. (The book is called American Savage, it's really and truly finished, and you can—you must!—preorder it now. Both my flu and my marriage remain unfinished.)

I'm even sorrier to say that I can't do this for you. Marrying someone? That I can do—my husband is so nice, I married his ass twice—but I can't perform marriage ceremonies for other couples. Well, that's not entirely true. I can perform marriage ceremonies, of course, it's not like there's some sort of restraining order that prevents me from getting ordained online like everyone else. And years ago, I did marry a few couples. It's just that...

With the exception of one couple—hey there, Sarah and Ben!—all of the people I married back when I did that sort of thing were strangers. And it felt deeply weird to be marrying people that I didn't know personally. And those feelings were particularly acute when I married a couple that, based on first impressions alone, I didn't think should be dating, much less marrying. So I let my online ordination expire and got out of the marrying business.

So thank you for asking, IAO, and a big thank you to all the other couples that have asked me. I appreciate being thought of—I really do—even if I have to politely decline. But you're not going to come away from this column empty-handed. Here, in no particular order, are a few getting married dos and don'ts courtesy of your married friend Dan. They apply equally to straight and gay weddings.

1. Don't ask me to officiate. I just wanted to emphasize that point. While I love weddings—and while I always cry at weddings—I have no interest in officiating at the weddings of strangers. Or people I know. Or anyone. If I know you, I'll come to your wedding and drink your booze and eat your cake and cry on cue. If I don't know you, I don't even want to come to your wedding. I'm sure you're all lovely couples, but you'll have to find someone else to drink your booze, eat your cake, and cry at your wedding.

2. Do not have a destination wedding. Expecting your friends and relatives to show up at your wedding with a gift? That's reasonable. Expecting your friends and relatives to burn through their vacation time and spend thousands of dollars they don't have in order to show up at your wedding on a beach in Hawaii or in a castle in Spain with a gift is the height of assholery. If you can't afford to fly your friends and family to Hawaii or to that castle in Spain, and you can't afford to put them up, you can't afford a destination wedding.

3. Do not go into debt to pay for a wedding.

4. Don't ask for money from your parents unless you're cool with your parents having opinions about what your wedding should look like, where it should be held, who should be invited, what food should be served, and on and on.

5. Fuck first. Trust me: At the end of your wedding day—after the wedding, after the reception—you'll be too physically and emotionally drained to fuck each other. If you don't fuck first, i.e., before the ceremony, you might not fuck at all on your wedding day, and then you'll have to worry about What It Means that you didn't fuck on your wedding day. Or, worse yet, you'll force yourselves to fuck on your wedding night, despite your exhaustion and all the food in your stomach, and the sex will be rote, hurried, and passionless. There will be plenty of time for passionless fucking—going-through-the-motions fucks, let's-get-this-over-with fucks—after you have kids or you're sick of each other, whichever comes first. Fuck first and you can fall into bed together without any pressure or expectations—and if you have the energy to fuck again, well, that's great. You get a nice little bonus fuck.

6. Don't stress out about shit that goes wrong. People love wedding disasters. Perfect weddings are perfectly forgettable. Disastrous weddings are delightfully memorable.

7. And, finally, one "do" specifically for same-sex couples: Set a good example for the straight people. I loved what the Very Rev. Gary Hall told NPR about his decision to open Washington National Cathedral to same-sex weddings: "One of the things I think that same-sex marriage has to teach straight people is about the possibility of a totally equal and mutual relationship," Reverend Hall said. "Handing the bride over to the groom: The vows in the prayer book, up until 1928, were love, honor, and obey for the woman. As much as we've tried to revise our marriage service to make everything equal and mutual, it still has with it some connotations and vestiges of premodern ways of understanding male-female relationships. I think one of the ways in which gay and lesbian couples really can teach something to straight couples is the way in which they hold up the possibility of an absolute equality and mutuality in marriage."

As same-sex couples, you get to make up the rules. You get to write your own sexual and social contract, and your ceremony can reflect that.

That's all I got. I'm sure other folks will have plenty of advice for the about-to-marry. Share 'em in comments.

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Comments (170) RSS

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Posted by that senator on January 22, 2013 at 6:08 PM · Report this
Hallelujah on the destination weddings! I truly do not understand this trend. (Unless, as Dan says, you pay to fly in everyone you want there.) How about using the destination to which you've always wanted an excuse to go for, oh, the honeymoon?

6 is very true. I still remember the wedding at which the groom realized the main tent was about to collapse in the torrential rain (the section where I was sitting just had). He grabbed the knife from the table with the cake, leapt onto another table, and stabbed the rapidly-filling canvas so the roof drained rather than collapsing. Damn good wedding. (Yes, they are still married more than a decade later.)

The only spot I disagree: I did not find 5 true at all. There's way too much to stress over the morning of the wedding: once it's happened (see 6) and there's nothing left to forget or mess up, things are great. (This does suppose you leave your reception as though there is something you'd like to do that evening besides hang out all night with 100 of your closest friends.) It had a "wow we're married now" glow--the happiness is the only part I clearly remember.
Posted by IPJ on January 22, 2013 at 6:27 PM · Report this
nocutename 3
I would go one further than IPJ @2, and say that a couple shouldn't even assume they will have sex at all on the wedding day. There's too much stress, often too much to do, family and old friends all around, superstitions about not seeing each other, whatever. Afterwards, if they're not too exhausted, and as long as expectations of the quality are realistic, sure, but expecting great sex at the end of a long and busy, and perhaps highly emotional day/night might be a bit much. I'd suggest planning on a newlywed snuggle and being happy if more than that occurs.

But the next day should be a total fuckfest. And in between, eat the leftover wedding cake.
Posted by nocutename on January 22, 2013 at 6:45 PM · Report this
Well said Dan, so very good.

My personal opinion is that most weddings are witless. Not getting married mind, but weddings. I think it's a ghastly money grabbing industry where you are sold on this "fairy tale" nonsense.

A small intimate wedding with only your closest friends and family you LIKE is the way to go. Fuck the rest.

Back in the 80s when I was supposedly straight, I got married and we (by which I mean she) spent north of $20,000 of money we didn't have on this stupid wedding that didn't last. (Because she was a bitch incidentally, not because of the not-straight thing, which would have killed it eventually)

Chances are north of 50% that you are going to split up. Don't. Waste. Money.

Finally, Dan is SO right. Do NOT have a destination wedding. We have declined two so far in the last couple of years and it has strained friendships. I don't care. I don't see why we should spend thousands to watch you get married with a high chance of failure and then exchange three words at the reception.

Still, I am older than Dan (his real age) and have no gravitas, however, listen to this old fool young people. You CAN learn by other peoples' mistakes. Nothing kills a fairy tale quicker than starting life with unnecessary debt.
Posted by JJinAus on January 22, 2013 at 6:56 PM · Report this
@2, that groom sounds like a superhero!
Posted by clashfan on January 22, 2013 at 7:06 PM · Report this
Re 4, the odds of success are slightly better than 50%, and higher than that if neither of you has ever been divorced.

Posted by IPJ on January 22, 2013 at 7:21 PM · Report this
lolorhone 7
Re: Spending Money on Your Wedding. If you're going to splurge, splurge on an open bar. Goes a long way towards everyone's happiness. Seriously.
Posted by lolorhone on January 22, 2013 at 8:15 PM · Report this
I honestly can't remember, 20 years later, if we had sex on our wedding day. So don't sweat it. Enjoy all the family that you have the rare opportunity to see together. Honeymoons are for sex.
Posted by Nixie Bunny on January 22, 2013 at 8:46 PM · Report this
Yaay again, Dan, on another great column! Spot on advice for IAO.
IAO---congratulations and all the best!

@7: Spot on about providing an open bar! Cheers!!
Posted by auntie grizelda on January 22, 2013 at 8:46 PM · Report this
I am as shocked as Mr Woodhouse could be that any self-respecting same-sexer would ever actually EAT wedding-cake.

Don't ask for money at all. People may choose to offer, and decide on the relative gains and losses then, but never ask.

When in doubt, cut - especially the guest list. And above all do not give in to pressure to invite unrepentant homophobes. Make them recant for the record, because it isn't just for the sake of one day.
Posted by vennominon on January 22, 2013 at 9:01 PM · Report this
"Fuck first" on your wedding day is possibly the most male advice I've ever heard Dan give. It took long enough that day to get my hair to cooperate; there's no way I was going to roll around all over it before the ceremony.
Posted by lulubelle on January 22, 2013 at 9:18 PM · Report this
Well, I'll be back next week since this was a complete snore. Let's get back to something interesting, like hash smoking straight guys having sex with trans sex workers.
Posted by FrankG on January 22, 2013 at 9:37 PM · Report this
Our wedding was this huge casual summer event with a free bar, big buffet and giant cake. Everyone remember the day and though we didn't get to fuck on our wedding day, we have been happily married for 1½ years now.

To the happy couple I'd say to do what makes you happy. Though I agree with Dan on the destination wedding - if that's what makes you happy - you'd better pay for it yourself.
Posted by The monogamish on January 22, 2013 at 10:11 PM · Report this
I'd scale back the definition of destination wedding from Spain and such to this:

If a guest has to stay in a hotel in order to be there, do not expect that guest to be me.
Posted by SifuMark on January 22, 2013 at 11:51 PM · Report this
nocutename 15
@13 I'd tell the happy couple to do what is affordable and makes the most number of people happy, while not making the bridal party especally *uhhapy.* Your day should as beautiful and wonderful and special and unique as you can afford without going into debt or taking charity. Fuck the night before, if possible, and then write the wedding day/evening off entirely. It's a day of stress and preparations, of clothes and hairdos that should stay looking intact until the whole party is over.And everyone wants a piece of the bridal couple. It's a public day/evening. Then comes the exhaustion.

The cool thing, and the thing to remember about getting married is that there will hereinafter be tons of opportunities to have sex; slow, loving, romantic, "honey-I-can't-believe-we're-really-married-now sex," wild, joyful, "we did it!" sex; hot, kinky "now you really belong to me, and this is what you will do, my slave" sex. You two have literally all the tine in the world to have precisely the kind of sex you want to have--at least while there are no kids . . .

Posted by nocutename on January 22, 2013 at 11:58 PM · Report this
Destination wedding? No. Elopement? He||s yes. We didn't surprise anyone by running off to get married--everyone knew we were getting married, and everyone knew when and where it would be. But we didn't expect (or, let's be honest, even want) guests. So instead of spending our budget on renting a venue, catering, a ridiculous wedding cake, dress, rehearsals, flowers and whatnot... we spent it on a wonderful and unforgettable honeymoon. When we came back, we had a reception for family and friends. Incidentally, family and friends also seemed pleased by this arrangement--they were not required to buy bridesmaid gowns or rent tuxes, and didn't have to sit through rehearsals. No one had to think up "toasts" or worry about oddly-outdated wedding rituals.
Posted by AllyCat on January 23, 2013 at 12:58 AM · Report this
@16 has it right.

Also buy real estate.
Posted by JJinAus on January 23, 2013 at 1:01 AM · Report this
Sensible advice about weddings, Dan, especially the one about not going into debt!

I also approve of your disdain for the destination wedding fad. I hope that passes into fad history as it should, although I'm pretty sure a lot of touristy places are to blame for the whole trend, and will fight tooth and nail to keep it going.

Personally, my husband and I had a common law marriage and were very happy for 21 years until his death. I like attending others' weddings, but still cringe at the idea of being the bride at one myself.

That said, I did not start out with all the matching, registered gift stuff that my formally-married family/friends got and divvied up during the divorces.
Posted by Xweatie on January 23, 2013 at 1:05 AM · Report this
I disagree about not having wedding night sex. There's something extra special about getting it on while you are still wearing a tiara. It's a freakin' tiara, Dan!
Posted by Crepuscular muffins on January 23, 2013 at 2:10 AM · Report this
@14 SifuMark I appreciate and understand the sentiment, I really do. I certainly don't want to burden family and friends unnecessarily in order to attend my wedding. But SOMEBODY is going to have to travel, because my family and his family live about seven hours apart by car. Not to mention that his mother is in another province entirely (24 hours or so of driving away).

It sucks and I'm sorry for it and I certainly won't be upset with anybody who can't manage to travel or get accommodation (we have some space to put people up, but not enough to accommodate everybody). But there's really nothing we can do to fix it.

We're aiming for a casual event, and we're spending most of the wedding budget on booze and food. I think that people mostly won't find it too odious to attend, if they can manage the travel aspect.

As for the "fuck first" advice, I don't think that can apply here so well, Dan! The time leading up to the ceremony and reception is almost guaranteed to be filled with planning and adjustments. No time to fuck until later, no energy to fuck afterward. Best just to save the fucking for the honeymoon.
Posted by Engaged on January 23, 2013 at 7:00 AM · Report this
In terms of wedding advice, for the love of God (or a reasonable facsimile thereof), do counseling. If you're not in a faith tradition that does it, get a counselor. Sitting down with a professional and going through what each of you expects from your life together is invaluable. A good counselor will ask for four or six sessions, and will take you through what sort of expectations your families of origin have given you. You'll also cover money, kids, family roles, careers, where to (or if) you'll settle down. It's a great way to find friction points and get them into the open before they become problems.

Any clergy worth their salt will require it, but if you're getting a wedding for hire they may not bother; and of course if you're going to the courthouse or justice of the peace (do we still have those?) counseling is well outside their brief. I know it sounds like a pain in the ass, but it's seriously worth it. Best money and time you'll spend on your wedding.
Posted by Nomti on January 23, 2013 at 7:11 AM · Report this
Destination wedding--depends on the destination. We're eventually going to get married, and would love to do it at a bed and breakfast along the California Coast where we've been going for years. OF COURSE we will pay to rent out the entire place.

Since it's a three hour drive from where we live, though, I'm a bit torn about offering people gas money. One part of me says yes, don't make people pay for anything. The other part says people might be insulted if I hand them each $30.
Posted by sfguy on January 23, 2013 at 7:20 AM · Report this
Do not have an open mic for toasts for whoever the hell wants to drone on and on. Vet your best man and maid of honor (or best men, maids of honor, whatever) toasts.
Posted by Chicago Fan on January 23, 2013 at 7:29 AM · Report this
We had our wedding on the beach in Malibu, and brought the whole thing off for less than two grand. Big, lush, expensive weddings are ridiculous.
Posted by Dragonrose36 on January 23, 2013 at 7:35 AM · Report this
Spend the money necessary to provide your guests with excellent food and free alcohol, if you're going to offer them a meal at the reception. That's what the guests will remember ten years later, not what kind of party favors they took home afterwards.
Posted by My Name Here on January 23, 2013 at 7:42 AM · Report this
I've never been a wedding person. My husband teased me that I missed out of the "bride gene". I wanted to do a destination wedding, with 8 people on a beach. That's it. (Incidentally I agree with your destination wedding opinion. If you want 50+ people to see you get married in Istanbul, you better be prepared to pay for it. I only wanted parents and his 2 brothers)

My (then) fiancé was the one who went wedding crazy and wanted the big huge thing. I'm sure it's because he grew up seeing HUGE catholic weddings. So a big wedding we did. It was important to him and his family. We did make it our own though, and didnt spend crazy money on it.

In the end I am glad that we did the big wedding, because his mother died only a few moths after that and it was wonderful to have that memory.
Posted by Awilixx on January 23, 2013 at 7:56 AM · Report this
If you're doing a buffet sort of thing after the wedding--as opposed to a sit-down meal--have someone stash a plate of food for both of you so there's some left when you're done with all the congratulations and photos and such. Then when you realize just how fucking hungry you are--having barely eaten all day, and maybe even fucked at some point--you won't be picking over the last few sweaty chunks of cheese.
Posted by turtlemilk on January 23, 2013 at 7:56 AM · Report this
I've always thought that the bonus of a destination wedding is being able to keep the party small without making anyone feel left out, by making them decline instead of just not inviting them. I have a cousin who did just this. He and his wife went to Vegas to get married and told the family, we won't be upset about anyone who can't make it, but anyone who can is welcome. Then, a few months later, they had a larger party at home to celebrate with those who couldn't make it to the real deal.
We have a large family, so had they gotten married at home, it would have been really hard to have a small wedding without some feelings getting hurt, this solved the problem.
Posted by KateRose on January 23, 2013 at 8:05 AM · Report this
smajor82 29
Some friends of ours chose to have a destination wedding specifically to make it so that certain people couldn't come without having to actually not invite them. I thought it was a brilliant idea - a small group of friends and close family took a vacation together and the asshole family members regretfully declined.

Posted by smajor82 on January 23, 2013 at 8:06 AM · Report this
To Number 22, what about providing a bus from a central location? Also helps avoid drinking an driving.
Posted by OldBiddy on January 23, 2013 at 8:18 AM · Report this
Re: Fuck first, I've never married but I've been party to many and theday-of is generally more hectic than the ceremony or reception. I'd recommend taking a cue from the Jews and scheduling some alone-time while the guests enjoy cocktail hour. (Yes, this is a euphemism, and yes, this is when the marriage is traditionally consummated.)

Immediately following the ceremony, the bride and groom, now husband and wife, are escorted to a private room where they have an opportunity to spend a few moments in each other’s company (Yichud means alone-together). During this private time in the Yichud Room, they may not be disturbed. Seculsion in the Yichud room immediately following the Chupah is only practiced by Ashkenazim. Those Sephardic couples whose custom it is to be secluded in a Yichud room, generally do so after the reception.

Posted by phartnokker on January 23, 2013 at 8:49 AM · Report this

To say nothing about the kind of drama that results from having the bad drunks at your wedding!
Posted by gromm on January 23, 2013 at 8:53 AM · Report this
Having a destination wedding as a way to trim the guest list isn't brilliant. It's cowardly.
Posted by My Name Here on January 23, 2013 at 9:08 AM · Report this
I'm another vote for keep the guest list low enough that you can afford to have an open bar. But @32 makes a good point to consider.

Think of the wedding as a big party, and plan accordingly. It's not the only party you'll give, and it's probably not the most important party in your friends' lives that year. If you don't have a receiving line, table hop to make sure you connect briefly with everyone who came.

Leave yourselves time the next morning to sleep in (aka fuck) before you head over to the brunch for the out-of-town guests leaving that day. If you end up missing the brunch, everyone will understand.
Posted by EricaP on January 23, 2013 at 9:19 AM · Report this
Confidential to @19: you can still wear the tiara the next day, at least until 2pm. Really!
Posted by EricaP on January 23, 2013 at 9:21 AM · Report this
@33, I think it depends on your reason for doing so. If it's because there are people you don't want to invite, but feel like you have to, then, yes, it's cowardly.

For reference, my parents' wedding had about 400 guests. Not all of those are still alive, but most likely, there have been 2 births for each family member that has passed away. What if I would like all 400 of those people to be at my wedding (honestly, I don't know if I ever even WANT to get married, but that's besides the point), but would like to have a smaller wedding at the same time?
If people count themselves out, you can invite all the people you'd like, knowing that many will decline, leaving it up to them.
There are plenty of people in my family that wouldn't be invited just because I wouldn't want them there. And if they were offended, oh well.
Posted by KateRose on January 23, 2013 at 9:25 AM · Report this
Since gay weddings have two queens, not one, I expect twice the drama.

Posted by Hunter78 on January 23, 2013 at 9:37 AM · Report this
First off, I think the point of many destination weddings is to prune the guest list while still being able to say "Hey, I sent you an invite to my wedding!"

Also, the fuck first thing is OMG best advice ever. Which I unfortunately did not take, so we had to settle for the day after.
Posted by zegota on January 23, 2013 at 9:45 AM · Report this
All Best Men and Maids/ Matrons of Honor should follow Chicago Fan @23's advice and keep their toats SHORT. Also, don't try to be funny - humilating the bride or groom on their wedding day isn't going to amuse anyone but you.

The best wedding toast I have ever heard was "May the best days in your past be the worst days in your future. I love you both." That was the entire speech! Everyone remembered it, not the long rambling 'funny' speech given by the best man.
Posted by Schweighsr on January 23, 2013 at 9:48 AM · Report this
I had a destination wedding and wouldn't have done it any other way. I didn't EXPECT people to come, nor did I expect gifts from the people who came. It was just a great way for a few of our closest friends to have an excuse for a vacation and relax together. What's unreasonable, is being expected to invite everyone and their dog to a local wedding. THAT, I could not afford.
Posted by Argentara on January 23, 2013 at 9:48 AM · Report this
Regarding the last point, as a straight unmarried woman I'm finding the lesbians' embracing of the word 'wife' to be very liberating. It's a word I've had Issues with due to it's alternate meaning of. 'person in the relationship who can be beheaded for suspected misuse of their own sex organs' but seeing my cousin and her wife make it their own and in doing so expanding the meaning of the word has taken some of the sting out of it for me.
Posted by Elizabeth247 on January 23, 2013 at 9:49 AM · Report this
I love destination weddings. Makes it really easy to decline the invitation!
Posted by ol bean on January 23, 2013 at 9:49 AM · Report this
Regarding destination weddings...what if there really is no central location for your guests? What if your friends and family are spread out all over the place? It's almost guaranteed in that case that your wedding will be a destination wedding for most guests. Sometimes people can't avoid having destination weddings.

So basically, I don't think destination weddings are a no-no. BUT I do think it's unfair to expect gifts if you have a destination wedding, especially if it's in a pricier location. Their presence is your present.
Posted by Tessa on January 23, 2013 at 9:52 AM · Report this
"As same-sex couples, you get to make up the rules. You get to write your own sexual and social contract, and your ceremony can reflect that."

The same actually holds true for opposite-sex couples as well. You can use the script society hands you, or you can use your own.
Posted by Captain Mike on January 23, 2013 at 10:01 AM · Report this
"Fuck first" made me laugh. Maybe if you already live together and don't have family/friends coming from out of town who want to spend as much time with you as possible, and you don't have any preparations left to do the morning of the wedding. Otherwise, what are you going to manage except (at most) a hurried screw before the next person comes looking for you or the next thing has to be done? That doesn't sound like much fun. "Quick, Aunt Bertha's going to look in this closet next, I can hear her coming!" (OK, I recognize there are those for whom that's the perfect set-up...)

But I don't think it matters either. There's no reason any couple should have major angst about Oh God We Didn't Make Love On Our Wedding Night We Are Horrible People And Our Marriage Is Doomed - Doomed, I Tell You! My feet were so sore when we finally got to bed, I sat there for ten minutes before I could make myself walk five steps to the bathroom even though my bladder was about to burst. We had some very joyful cuddling, fell asleep in each other's arms, then made up for lost time in the morning. And our marriage has - somehow - survived that awful trauma for almost eight years.

Go into your wedding day with the attitude that you are going to have a wonderful day, no matter what. You're there to make a commitment to the person you love in front of other people you love. Anything else is unimportant. If you're going to either forget about it or laugh about it in ten years (or five or one) anyway, why not forget it or laugh about it now?
Posted by Mad Scientist on January 23, 2013 at 10:01 AM · Report this
I can say that I happily followed rule #5 (fuck first) on our wedding day. As someone who rarely has the energy for sex at the end of a regular day, I knew I wouldn't have it at the end of our wedding day. So we switched it to the first thing.

Folks, it was amazing. We had some of the most intense and connected sex that we have ever had. It wasn't about consummating the relationship, but rather about knowing that this was, finally, our day where we were committing ourselves to each other. It changed everything.

Seriously, folks, even if you can't bring yourself to forgo post-wedding sex, at least let me beg you to add pre-wedding sex. It was awesome.
Posted by upsidown on January 23, 2013 at 10:02 AM · Report this
My best advice is to plan the marriage not the wedding. The wedding is a single day, a ceremony, a show of a commitment. But the marriage is the part that matters. I didn't have a wedding. We couldn't afford it and our families couldn't agree on what would be acceptable(we come from different faiths but are both atheists). So we said screw it and had a friend who was a wedding celebrant sign the papers and we called it a day. I think we might have gone out to dinner, but I don't even remember that part.
11 years later, we've outlasted a lot of marriages that started after ours. We've been through highs and lows and a lot of utter garbage that was thrown at us. I don't mind not having had a wedding one single bit. So what I never got to be princess for a day.
Posted by NicoleS on January 23, 2013 at 10:07 AM · Report this
It's really weird how many people are claiming that their family and friends exactly divide into:
a) People who can and will pay thousands of dollars to travel to destination while using up their limited vacation time and money on a trip someone else chose and set the price point for AND are the only people they would want to invite
b) People who cannot afford the destination or will not give up all their vacation time and budget on a place they would never have chosen to vacation AND are the people they wouldn't want at the wedding.

Have a small wedding with the first group in attendance. If you want to take a vacation with your parents, or your four closest friends, just do that! Rather than relying on a perfect convergence of acceptances and refusals. Of course, the other vacationers then get some say in it, rather than feeling obligated to go along with everything the people providing the "excuse" want to do, no matter how extravagant.

Posted by IPJ on January 23, 2013 at 10:14 AM · Report this
My husband and I didn't get to fuck at all on our wedding day. Way too much stress. In the end it didn't matter. We had plenty of time on the honeymoon and ended up bringing back a souvenir of all that fucking. Our first child is due exactly 9 months after our wedding.

Everything you said was perfect.
Posted by nuit on January 23, 2013 at 10:21 AM · Report this
@34 makes a good point: Your wedding is probably not the highlight of your friends' year.

@43: Get married in one spot, then over the first year you're married do visits to the other spots at which you have a party. This party could be anything from you or your parents throwing a big sit down dinner to setting up a potluck in the park or night at a bar. This worked for friends of mine with bride's family from England, groom's family from California, and most of their current friends on the East Coast.

If they had announced "We always wanted to spend two weeks in Thailand, and now we have an excuse!" and then invited everyone they knew, hoping the icky people would realize they didn't really mean them and the true friends would not get some sort of uncaring "but I don't have $4000" hang-up, it would have been quite different.
Posted by IPJ on January 23, 2013 at 10:31 AM · Report this
Fortunate 51
My two favorite weddings were my eldest sister's and mine.

When my sister got married she was living in CA and pretty much everyone else in the family was in NY. She got married in a quick, civil ceremony, but a few months later they came out to NY and at pretty much the last minute decided to have a wedding that the whole family could attend.

My mother arranged everything in three weeks. It was around Christmas and they were able to get a banquet room in a local lodge, just pay for the buffet, and hired a college kid who was just starting out as a DJ on the cheap. The whole place was already decorated for Christmas with lights and poinsettias all over the place so flowers weren't an issue.

My sister wore my mother's wedding dress, the wedding was at my mother's church.

It was cheap, low key, and lots of fun. One of the best weddings ever, and it didn't cost a lot and took only 3 weeks to arrange.

My own was even more low key. We decided to marry during that window of time when it was legal in CA, where I now live. Most of the family are still in NY so I arranged it when a few aunts and uncles and my mother were all going to be in town for a conference anyway.

It was them, and a few close friends. Ceremony conducted at city hall in the afternoon during a weekday. I actually went to work in the morning, changed into my tux in the bathroom and snuck out without too many people noticing and asking why I was dressed up (and as a part time musician I already have a tux so no rental fee).

Got married in San Francisco City hall in the rotunda under the dome at the top of the main stairs. I had some family, close friends, and a bunch of total strangers watch and cheer. The Judge performing the ceremony was the nicest woman. Although she had probably read the ceremony hundreds of times when she did it for us it wasn't rote. She was very attentive to everything she said and was not just reciting but speaking to us and the people with us. She was clearly genuinely happy for us.

Later on I took everyone out to our favorite fancy restaurant for dinner.

We had a great day, got married without any drama, and the cost was in the hundreds rather than the thousands.

The moral of the story is that you don't have to go into debt, inconvenience everyone else, or act like a diva to have a great wedding. Low key and laid back makes for a much better time for everyone involved.
Posted by Fortunate on January 23, 2013 at 10:32 AM · Report this
So what are you supposed to do if you live on opposite ends of the country? We live near his parents and family, my family lives over 2,000 miles away. Isn't it kind of a destination wedding either way? Either my family has to travel here, or his family has to travel there, not a win-win in either case.
Posted by boon on January 23, 2013 at 10:37 AM · Report this
Jesus did this comment thread have to become everyone sharing their wedding stories? News flash, if I don't know you, I don't give a shit about your wedding. Isn't that essentially what Dan was saying in #1?
Posted by wxPDX on January 23, 2013 at 10:38 AM · Report this
When I got married the second time, I wanted a big party without the wedding crap. I highly recommend it. I had the stuff that is important to me - food, drink, music, family and friends - and no hassles.

I also totally agree with Chicago Fan #23 to control the toasts. I wonder if Chicago Fan was at my first wedding in 1988. Totally random people got hold of the mic and proceeded to bore and confuse everyone. It was a disaster. Don't do it. If you can't be sure, skip toasts altogether.
Posted by lizvocal on January 23, 2013 at 10:46 AM · Report this
I heartily disagree with #5. The act of commitment that is so integral to a wedding brings a heady intimacy that's unlike anything else; bringing that into the bedroom right after is a special experience not to be missed.

And when you see your about-to-be-spouse coming down aisle (or however your big reveal is set up) you want lust to be right up in your face along with fear, exposure, love, trust, and that feeling you get before jumping off the high dive. But satiation is no fun in that spot.

Besides, ain't there a little room in your big day for the antici...pation!
Posted by CBBaltimore on January 23, 2013 at 10:50 AM · Report this
Fortunate 56
@53, bitter much?

And no, that's not what Dan was saying. He was saying he had no interest in attending the wedding of someone he didn't know. He didn't say he never wanted to hear about other peoples' weddings.

It would be odd if he did, since he wrote an entire (very entertaining) book about his own (1st) wedding. Clearly he has no issue talking about weddings with people. He just doesn't want to actually go to them if he doesn't know you.

If you don't like the discussion skip the thread.
Posted by Fortunate on January 23, 2013 at 10:56 AM · Report this
We're planning a destination wedding, and it never dawned on me to think that expecting our immediate family be willing to travel to our wedding was rude. Don't a lot of parents still pay for some or all of the wedding for their kids? We are paying for everything ourselves except travel expenses for the family, and if my parents couldn't be bothered to go someplace outside the town in which they live to attend my wedding, I'd be pretty offended. Like what @43 mentioned, none of our family lives where we live. None of them live in the same place as each other. Regardless of where we had it, it'd be a destination for all or nearly all of our immediate family. It actually seemed more fair to have it at a neutral location where everyone has to travel as opposed to bringing the entire wedding to one family member and making all the others travel. We're not going to do a traveling road show and have weddings all over the country so that no one has to be inconvenienced. If we had a big wedding where we live and invited friends, our entire family would have to travel (as well as friends). If we only invite family and have it at a "destination," our entire family has to travel. Given that the entire family is traveling regardless, what is wrong with having it someplace fun? (We're going one state over, not to Tahiti.) This is immediate family only - about 6 people. We do not want gifts from anyone, attending or not. I would imagine situations like this are increasingly common as families continue to spread out. To us, a destination wedding is essentially an elopement where we're inviting those who would be upset about not being allowed to come the opportunity to join us. It was the most practical option for us and it never even crossed my mind that it could be seen negatively!
Posted by destination on January 23, 2013 at 11:02 AM · Report this
Destination weddings can be fine; it's the attitudes and expectations of the people getting married that make it blah for the invitees or not.

In my case, I didn't want to have to deal with the stress of planning a wedding and finishing off my work term for the end of my degree. My now-husband was a willing and equal partner in deciding on the wedding stuff, but I didn't want to foist the planning all on him, which is what would have happened without a destination wedding. And we both wanted something fancier than a local justice of the peace. Choosing a hotel and a wedding package in a location so agreeable was much easier for us, and it was nice to get away.

My husband's immediate family who live halfway across Canada from us all wanted to be there for the ceremony, were willing to travel anyway, and all love Las Vegas. My immediate family was in our province and really liked the idea of going to Las Vegas. It was a great, fun, and relaxing time for everyone. Quite a few of our guests actually made a larger trip out of this by also visiting the Grand Canyon or California.

We certainly didn't expect our family and friends to go if they didn't want to or couldn't go, and we didn't expect gifts. We were gratified that so many people wanted to and were able to go. We weren't put out at some of our friends not being able to or wanting to go, but we enjoyed nice dinners with them after the wedding.
Posted by canada girl on January 23, 2013 at 11:12 AM · Report this
We fucked first on our wedding day, and it's the advice I've given all my soon to be married friends, and we gave up on sweating any details because it was in NYC the day after hurricane Sandy cleared. (All the details were totally screwed, but we still got married, and some of the people invited still got to come, so it all worked out in our book.)
Posted by Hoppy2005 on January 23, 2013 at 11:35 AM · Report this
here i am. My name is danton. i told the Mormons at the 10th ward that my name is Danton gibbs, which is not a lie. You see, thats' my middle name. So when i have problems actually identifying selm Blair on her new television show alongside Charlie Sheen, its probably because i never knew her face was chubby. plus its' true, Miss Smith, looked good; like a stripper from the Silver Dollar in oregon.
So there may be dissapprovals, and i have gotten alot. Everywhere from Questionland onto the Seattle Times and even YELP websites have given me crap about certain postings, I hate that.
I doubt that its true that these nuptials are being serious. Rape hapenns everyday.
With or without spray paint. With or without mental cruelty. i just gave up an awesom sweater from Geoffrey beene because i went into the ICEBERG dumpster here in saint George UTAH to grab a snack.
Shame? maybe. It wouldn't matter if i were in a tuxedo, if i was hungry and knew nobody, plus daily put in applications and resumes plus got no response, I'de end up trashing that too.
i know , no girl wants me. Which leaves me to wonder is it your abs? is it your ass?
As I exited the dumpster area, i wondered if the people in the drive thru lane were going to sit and eat. Good Question huh? Lie back and next week, I'm sure the SAVAGE column will be just as entertaining.
Posted by misterdanton on January 23, 2013 at 11:57 AM · Report this
@52: It's not a "destination" wedding if any one of the guests would have to fly to attend. It's a destination wedding if everyone does. The former sort, where you get married near where the two of you live now and family and old friends fly in from all over, is more flexible for them: they can just take the weekend, they can choose where to stay. The latter is where you decide everyone needs to be able to get substantial time off--hey, it's got to be worth it for flying eight time zones away, right?--and will stay at the designated romantic resort, taking part in designated once-in-a-lifetime recreational fun or be labeled a cheapskate party pooper, etc.

The solution to family on two coasts is not to make everyone fly to a castle in Spain on their own dime.
Posted by IPJ on January 23, 2013 at 12:17 PM · Report this
Dan's missing the point on destination weddings. You don't have one to force guests to attend: You have one as a filter to keep out all the guests you have to invite but don't want to attend. ;)
Posted by Committed Positivist on January 23, 2013 at 12:25 PM · Report this
seandr 63
Do not have a destination wedding.

I disagree. If you and your friends are all young and broke, a destination wedding is probably a bad call.

Otherwise, destination weddings rule!

I went to a fabulous gay wedding in Palm Springs almost exactly a year ago. It was the first vacation my wife and I ever took without the kids, and it was a blast. Most of the guests were middle-aged and gainfully employed. Those strapped for funds used frequent flyer miles and shared hotel rooms to keep costs down. We were all in a resort together, so different groups got to hang out and get to know each other. The number of guests was around 50, which felt both festive and intimate. Best wedding ever!

@62: Yes!
Posted by seandr on January 23, 2013 at 12:57 PM · Report this
Dan is now giving advice on weddings. Gag.
I'm never reading this column again. :-)
Posted by wolfhound on January 23, 2013 at 1:05 PM · Report this
Kevin_BGFH 65
Totally love @16's idea of a not-hidden elopement followed by a nice reception at home.

Also, agree with @21 one hundred percent. Pre-marital counseling is so important. Doesn't matter what your sexual orientation or religion or anything is, or how long you've lived together, or anything else. People have different expectations about what it means to be married and how that changes the relationship. Which is fine, as long as you're both on the same page -- which is the whole purpose of pre-marital counseling in the first place. It's not about telling the couple "Person X" believes/wants/assumes this and "Person Y" believes/wants/assumes this other thing, and then figuring out in advance how to come together on any differences.
Posted by Kevin_BGFH on January 23, 2013 at 1:07 PM · Report this
We didn't have an open bar. We didn't have a bar at all. About 1/4 of the guests were underage, 1/4 were in recovery (or just didn't drink), and 1/4 should have been in recovery, but weren't. When we figured out how much it would cost to set up an open bar just to take care of the remainder, we decided to serve tea and ice water instead.

We were in a second floor ball room. The hotel had a bar on the first floor. We figured that the people who felt like they had to have a drink for the night to be complete would just go downstairs. They did. Nobody complained (to our faces, anyway), and I'd do it the same way all over again.

Posted by Clayton on January 23, 2013 at 1:11 PM · Report this
One excuse for the destination wedding: a compromise location when the families of each prospective spouse live on different continents. Then it's fair to ask them both to travel. My (east coast American) cousin married an Aussie in Hawaii. I think that was as reasonable a compromise as could be had. Course, it didn't much get my nose out of joint since I was living in CA at the time. But not all family members on both sides were willing/able to make it.
Posted by suburban peasant on January 23, 2013 at 1:23 PM · Report this
nartweag 68
"As same-sex couples, you get to make up the rules. You get to write your own sexual and social contract, and your ceremony can reflect that."

And so can heterosexuals, as my husband and I did.
I was also not "given away" as I didn't and don't "belong" to anyone. We were together the whole day before and after the ceremony, as I was not a mail order bride fearful of him running away when he saw me.
No fluffy white dress either, but I see that as more a personal preference thing.
Posted by nartweag on January 23, 2013 at 2:09 PM · Report this
@16 & @17: Spot on!!
Posted by auntie grizelda on January 23, 2013 at 2:30 PM · Report this
@56: I LOVE your Bugs Bunny icon!!
Posted by auntie grizelda on January 23, 2013 at 2:33 PM · Report this
seandr 71
@19: Hold onto the dress and tiara, you'll want them for role playing "wedding night" in the future.
Posted by seandr on January 23, 2013 at 3:02 PM · Report this
Just one comment on destination weddings as a gay couple. Living in the South, my husband and I had no choice but to choose one of the open-minded states that allows us to marry, forcing us into a destination wedding. We chose NY, where we met and lived for many years, but it meant that several important people in our lives had to travel to NYC with us. The airlines and NYC hotels made out, but we and our party paid much more than we would have liked. And of course, our backward state of North Carolina didn't benefit a penny from our wedding. Huh.
Posted by maxiF on January 23, 2013 at 3:22 PM · Report this
I Hate Screen Names 73
I loved what the Very Rev. Gary Hall told NPR about his decision to open Washington National Cathedral to same-sex weddings: "One of the things I think that same-sex marriage has to teach straight people is about the possibility of a totally equal and mutual relationship," Reverend Hall said. "Handing the bride over to the groom: The vows in the prayer book, up until 1928, were love, honor, and obey for the woman. As much as we've tried to revise our marriage service to make everything equal and mutual, it still has with it some connotations and vestiges of premodern ways of understanding male-female relationships. I think one of the ways in which gay and lesbian couples really can teach something to straight couples is the way in which they hold up the possibility of an absolute equality and mutuality in marriage."

I think this is what scares the shit out of religious fundamentalists.

The fundies continually insist that gay marriage will somehow ruin straight marriages. This makes no sense-- it's not like straight people will stop getting married if gay people can wed, or that straight couples will suddenly divorce. And when pressed about it, they give evasive and duplicitous responses on how same-sex marriage could possibly be damaging.

If approached socially, fundies will ask same-sex couples strange questions, like "who's the wife" or "which one wears the pants." That's because fundamentalists treat women as second-class citizens who are supposed to submit to the leadership of their husbands. To them, marriage inherently has two roles: the dominant "husband" role and the submissive "wife" role, and those roles are "naturally" to be filled by men and women, respectively.

That's why same-sex marriage terrifies them: because it provides a model without gender roles and thus permits equality between the spouses. That's why same-sex marriage is a "threat" to their version of straight marriage-- because for them, marriage is an inherently unequal institution as created by God Himself. And heaven forbid women learn that they don't need to put up with that shit.
Posted by I Hate Screen Names on January 23, 2013 at 3:26 PM · Report this
GauchoGal 74
On a similar note to the destination wedding... Don't have your wedding on a three day weekend, thinking you are doing your guests a favor somehow. Weddings, no matter who is getting married, are in part an obligation. You have to wear stockings and/or a tie. Most people have fun and casual traditions for Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day and will feel bitter that they need to hand their day off over to celebrate you instead. I am missing an annual Mexican camping trip with a group of friends on Memorial Day to be at my best friend's daughter's wedding... so thrilled for the bride but bummed I had to choose.
Posted by GauchoGal on January 23, 2013 at 4:00 PM · Report this
I am an ignorant, illiterate foreinger and I'd be really interested if someone could explain to me the concept of getting ordained online and being able to marry others. Yes, I know it exists (I've seen Homer do it, at least) but I'd like some clarificationes. Maybe a link. Ordained as WHAT??? and in which religion? And is it legal? No civil ceremony, no one checking if the groom has a weapon to his kidneys or the bride is a trigamist? Just wondering
Posted by ferfer on January 23, 2013 at 4:23 PM · Report this
1. OK to marry young.

In other columns Dan has said don't partner/marry in your early 20s.

Disagree. Still going strong after 2 decades and partnered young, if you meet "the one" early don't give up.

2. Live together 2 years before making partnering/marrying type commitments -- enough for the surge of passion to wear off, and to realize if this is someone you want to spend lots of years with.

3. Don't immediately unpartner/divorce when one or both of you change, cheats, disappoints, etc.

It's OK to end a marriage/civil union, that's not failure, but people can and do grow over significant obstacles. Even if you have what appears to relationship ending issues, wait a bit and see if it works out in a year.

4. Do wait 5 to 10 years before having/adopting kids.

You'll still be able to have them, and 10 years in a relationship feels a lot more mature & different than at 2 yrs or even 5 years.

Some young same-sex couples and most other-sex couples really seem to rush into the kid thing way too soon. All the parents I know who waited till they were 30ish or 40ish before becoming parents are just fine, a bit less physical energy than 20-ish parents -- but way more money and emotional maturity for their kids. And you might find you never want them and are just fine joining the ranks of couples who are happily child free.
Posted by delta35 on January 23, 2013 at 5:05 PM · Report this
I would like to point out early ceremonies as an advantage to having sex on your wedding night, I think ours was around 2 or 3 pm and the party was done by 7 or 8. We were sleeping at the venue, so we got to chill in their hot tub, watch a movie, have a snack and have sex all at our own pace. Very low stress imho.
Posted by skittlesloli on January 23, 2013 at 5:39 PM · Report this
To add to my @76, number 5: Consider a $0 zero cost wedding / civil union / etc. Just you, your beloved, and whatever govt. official is needed to sign the paper. Then a party with friends & family, or multiple mini-celebrations with family. Back when I was poor and young this was the only option and it worked out OK.
Posted by delta35 on January 23, 2013 at 5:40 PM · Report this
@75: Ordained as a clergyperson of a made-up religion that exists to ordain friends of a couple. Often done when the couple have no religious affiliation and would prefer a ceremony led by someone who actually knows and likes them, just like a eulogy from someone who actually knew and liked the deceased is often a lot nicer than one by a chaplain who never met him or her and is going off notes.

It is legal, though I've never heard of any legal privileges (like clergy confidentiality? hospital visits?) attending to online ordination other than performing a marriage. Ensuring that the groom doesn't have a gun to the kidney and such is done by the person issuing marriage certificates.
Posted by IPJ on January 23, 2013 at 6:04 PM · Report this
Some major complaints about the survey Dan suggests we take -- hard to believe "serious researchers" have made these mistakes. Hope the researchers are reading and anyone else who does a survey, so I'm going to post gripes here.

Survey asks if mother / father is aware of sexual orientation. What about people who had same-sex parents, uncles / aunties, single parent, dead parent(s)? Survey uses the more appropriate "parental role" in Part III but not up front in Part I.

* Survey asks if respondent lives in rural or urban area -- um, how is that defined? And what about those of us who (pro-taxation apologies to the 99%) have a city residence and a country place?

* Survey asks if respondent disagrees with "It’s not difficult for me to get close to others". Survey design 101 -- avoid negatives in questions, creates a double-negative when respondent evaluates "disagree" with "is not" and a triple negative when the modifier to "is not" is itself a negative (difficult).

Respondent head explodes.

Could be rewritten as "It's difficult for me to get close to others" and if you need to check reliability, ask the opposite for the repeat: "It's easy for me to get close to others" then reverse-score the answer.

Lastly, I spent 30 min. of my life, the least you could do is make it easy for me to get a copy of the results when they come out by optionally letting respondents put in email address just for results without having to write & ask or get bombarded with more surveys. Dan: please have one of your science experts take a look at a survey for design feedback before you put the link out for the entire world in your syndicated column.
Posted by delta35 on January 23, 2013 at 6:09 PM · Report this
Re 76: "All the parents I know who waited till they were 30ish or 40ish before becoming parents are just fine."

I did wait almost five years to have my first child, but I married when I was 22. Having gotten pregnant effortlessly in my mid-20s and only with extreme difficulty and years of trying thereafter, I would not wave any "you know, people close to 40 get pregnant just fine" over people in their early 30s who just married.

Biology is unfair this way. But it's not like you can negotiate with it to get with a modern program of delayed marriage and financial stability.
Posted by IPJ on January 23, 2013 at 6:10 PM · Report this
Wait... No destination weddings? That's reasonable.

No 3-day weekends? That's ridiculous.

Posted by Hunter78 on January 23, 2013 at 6:25 PM · Report this
Without reading through the previous comments, here is my advice for the engaged couples:

1. Remember you are not just choosing your wedding date, but also your anniversary dates. Do you really want to be stuck "having to" celebrate your anniversary on a holiday, or make your loved ones choose between your celebration and many other possible events?

2. If you can't or won't fuck first, fuck in the morning. (Seriously, we were so tired, we fell asleep right in the middle trying to do it that night!) It can wait, really. If you are traveling very far to your honeymoon destination, sex may have to wait anyway.

Hope someone finds this helpful.
Posted by mozie on January 23, 2013 at 6:28 PM · Report this
mydriasis 84

"Fuck first" means "Fuck first"

As in: before you do your hair.

I actually rock the bedhead myself for this very reason - no one can tell when I have sex hair :)
Posted by mydriasis on January 23, 2013 at 6:56 PM · Report this
mydriasis 85

Um, hi, this is my friend google, I don't think you two have met…
Posted by mydriasis on January 23, 2013 at 7:09 PM · Report this
A friend of mine doing a post doc in social science and public health decided to get pregnant at 29 because of that very graph. (It took 2 months; the second pregnancy in her 30s took a couple of years and fertility drugs.)
Posted by IPJ on January 23, 2013 at 7:28 PM · Report this
In my wedding celebration, there was a room with a mattress on the floor, candles around, and a TV running porn DVDs. I didn't go that night to that room, but I was later told several people had sex there that night. We organized it in an abandoned factory that belonged to a friend's family, so there were a lot of different spaces. Most of it was outside in the huge garden. There were several fires, and a stage with live music (a friend's jazz band), and a bar with a topless, sexy barwoman, and a lot of other stuff going on.

This took place in my country, in South America. Two days later, I took a plane to the US. Actually, that was the reason why we got married. Let me explain.

I met this guy (my future husband) one December night (summer in my country) and we fucked that night (a threesome with the female common friend who introduced us). We liked each other a lot, so we spent the following weekend together, in the beach. Three days later, I was in a bus to the Amazon region - I had bought my ticket before meeting him and, despite I was crazy about him already, my feminist thoughts prevailed and I didn't allow myself to cancel or postpone a trip because of a guy I had just met. A week later, I wrote to him from a small town in Colombia. The email said I was thinking about him all the time and that he was welcome to join me in my trip. He arrived 2 days later and we traveled together for a month.

Back at my office, my boss told me I was being transferred to Washington DC. I called my new boyfriend: "we need to talk." He thought I was pregnant and came immediately in his Vespa. "I am being transfered and have to leave as soon as possible," I said; "that's wonderful news, congratulations," he reacted enthusiastically, "do you want to come with me?" I asked, "sure," he answered. We went in his Vespa to the US Embassy to ask about his visa. "No visas for fiancés or boyfriends, only husbands." Back on the Vespa, driving, we talked loudly, over the traffic noise: "So what do we do?" "I don't know, maybe get married, right?" "What do we need to do to get married?" "I don't know, let's go to the Civil Registry and find out" He drove the Vespa to the Registry: "You need your Government IDs and two witnesses to register to get married." Each of us called a friend, the friends came, and we registered. They gave us an appointment for the following month.

We got married 11 years and a half ago. We are still in love, and still fuck like crazy.
Posted by otonyo on January 23, 2013 at 7:38 PM · Report this
nocutename 88
I guess the kind of wedding you are having dictates whether or not you are in a position to fuck first. In my case, I was 23, and the wedding was the kind with the poofy white dress. There were close to 200 guests, many of whom had flown in from out of town, so the days before were full of parties. My fiance and I lived in a different town several hundred miles from where the wedding took place, which was in my home town. Both of us were staying at our respective parents' houses the night before the wedding. Though the ceremony was called for 5:00, the earlier part of the day was spent in getting last minute details ready, visiting with great aunts and uncles who had come for the wedding, then getting into the poofy white dress, putting on makeup and doing special bridal hair (which involved a curling iron and bobby pins), and taking photographs before the ceremony so the reception wouldn't be held up while we took photos. We actually did have a yichud, which we spent expressing warm, tender sentiments and giggling--but at only 15 minutes long, with all eyes on us as we exited the room, and the knowledge that we were expected at a party looking much the way we'd left the ceremony, having sex, though something we joked about, was not a possibility for us. There was literally no way to have had sex on our wedding day before the ceremony.

The party went on until quite late, and by the time we collapsed in our room and I had showered off the sweat and makeup I didn't usually wear, and pulled out the hairpins, we were too tired to have good sex. We knew that and didn't try, but we made up for it in the morning. Looking back now, I'm glad to think that we were focused on celebrating with all those people we loved, some of whom were dead within the year. I'd much rather know that we shared a joyous occasion with them than that we made sure to have some great sex. I understand the romantic idea of a wedding being about only the couple, and if that's what it is for someone else, great, but for us it was a celebration that included a lot of family.

If I was getting married at this stage of life, no doubt the circumstances would be different and fucking first might be an option. But a wedding isn't a marriage--it's the gateway to a lifetime together in which to fuck. Lack of mind-blowing wedding day or night sex doesn't mean a blighted marriage.
Posted by nocutename on January 23, 2013 at 8:10 PM · Report this
I had the same situation--my husband and his family live in L.A, which is where I was living when we met, and my family is all on the East coast.
We had a small ceremony and a big reception in L.A., and then had another big reception a week later back East. It was lovely. A few family members chose to come to L.A., but those that did not didn't miss out on anything or feel like they'd missed my wedding.
Posted by smoakes on January 23, 2013 at 9:00 PM · Report this
lolorhone 90
@32: There's a downside to everything. But I stand behind the open bar rule. The best wedding I ever attended was at a hotel, 15-minute ceremony, delicious appetizers and cocktails all night. Was there some sloppiness towards the end? Absolutely. It was part of the grand good time everyone had, being well-fed and well- lubricated and well-loved. Those who expect absolute perfection on their special days invite disappointment. Not to mention boredom.
Posted by lolorhone on January 23, 2013 at 9:19 PM · Report this
Ms Cute - As for your earlier post about "making the largest number of people happy", may I add a caveat about not subjecting oneself to the Tyranny of the Middle?

This was brilliantly exemplified by the DP letter a couple of months back from half of a same-sex couple on the brink of committing matrimony with an uncle who, as a state legislator, had voted against marriage equality and (if memory serves) made some of the standard NOMish public statements about the vote. LW didn't want to invite Uncle to the wedding, but was on the receiving end of much Family Pressure to Invite Him Anyway.

One could practically hear the Prudecutorial orgasm as she advised the LW to turn the other cheek, be the bigger person, and give him a good reason to change his mind, in addition to pointing out that he might not have been thrilled with feeling the necessity to take a political stand which might not have reflected his personal views. Of course 90% of the commentariat, if not more, was entirely on the same side. There is nothing that people who pretend to have no prejudice against an oppressed group like half so well as telling a member of that group to Be the Bigger Person.

That is so often the way, that a huge block will keep pushing people who can't stand each other's positions to Make Nice and Get Along just to let the Tyrannous Middle indulge their fantasies of One Big Happy Family while the Violently Opposed get ulcers. And the things they expect people to overlook reveal that their own soundness is much less than one would have hoped.

Posted by vennominon on January 23, 2013 at 9:38 PM · Report this
nocutename 92
Mr. Ven, I confess to be rather surprised to think that you would mistake me to mean back @15, when I suggested that the wedding party do what would make the most number of people happy that that would include turning a blind eye and deaf ear to bigotry or intolerance. I was referring specifically to the post @13 in which the suggestion was made that the bridal couple do whatever makes them happy.

I think a wedding is a community celebration, and was agreeing with Dan about the imposition of the destination wedding. I didn't mean that the attitudes of the guests should dictate the order of the day, which is what I tried to indicate when I added the qualifier "while not making the bridal party especially unhappy" (and thank you for allowing me to correct the previous misspelling). I would not invite anyone to my wedding or any other event that I was genuinely distressed by, and I certainly wouldn't allow someone's offensive views to hijack my event.
Posted by nocutename on January 23, 2013 at 10:10 PM · Report this
To all the people who say "invite who you want, its YOUR day, blah blah blah" what about the strained or possibly ruined relationships with friends or family that you don't invite? Its one day out of your life, shouldn't you put a little consideration into the feelings of others? I mean, you may not like Aunt Betty too much, but what if she thinks the world of you and you don't invite her? If you can't afford a big wedding and a destination wedding is a way of cutting your guest list without hurting anyone thats not cowardly. Its a very decent thing to do.
Posted by kindness never hurt anyone on January 23, 2013 at 10:43 PM · Report this
Okay, I know I'm a little off topic again with my Atkins diet, but for those interested, here's an update: I'm down to 178 lbs. from 195 lbs. for me,
that's good. I'm a big-boned gal, so I'm thinking that 165-168 lbs. is a good weight to shoot for. The really good news (for me, anyway) is that my Buddha belly has really flattened down!

Okay, back to the weddings!!
Posted by auntie grizelda on January 23, 2013 at 10:49 PM · Report this
I always thought a destination wedding only referred to places like Tahiti, Hawaii, or the Bahamas i.e. far off places that people would have to pay a lot to get to hence making them difficult for others. Just because one has to fly to get to a wedding doesn't make it a destination wedding and I think Dan was also thinking about weddings in far off places like Madrid when he said no destination weddings.
Posted by PenguinGirl on January 23, 2013 at 11:59 PM · Report this
hexalm 96
@60: Thank you, mister danton (brother danton? Hah!), for breaking my mind! Great fun.
Posted by hexalm on January 24, 2013 at 12:03 AM · Report this
I wonder what people think is the cut-off, distance-wise and expense-wise, for what counts as a destination wedding?

Last year the guy and I went to a friend's wedding at the beach in another state. It was a 4-hour drive, so we had to get a hotel room (also: open bar). Our friend lives near us, but I think the bride's family lives in the other state.

To me, that didn't really feel like a "destination" wedding, or at least not in the bad way, because it was within driving distance and the hotel wasn't too expensive.
Posted by notfromvenus on January 24, 2013 at 8:42 AM · Report this
@85 @86, I was saying it's fine to wait till your 40-ish to *become a parent*. I did not say to get pregnant!

Lots of my friends became parents without ever getting knocked up, as in gay men, friends of any sexual orientation who adopted, those who used surrogates, foster parents who adopted older special needs kids...

But yeah, if having a mini-you is vital and you are a bio female, then it's really a game changer in terms of when you can easily become pregnant. Friends who've had IVF in 30s and 40s and other similar RTs -- very expensive, quite painful, time consuming, a roller coaster emotionally due to hormones and the nature of the process psychologically, and no guarantee of pregnancy. Higher rates of miscarriage. Has worked OK for some, not for others.

Even for males who want mini-mes, some research shows higher rates of autism as the male ages due to sperm cells having more genetic anomalies
Posted by delta35 on January 24, 2013 at 9:47 AM · Report this
leafqueen 99
Wrote our own vows (no fidelity involved)my husband and I only invited close family and friends who are artists and inspire us. We had a minor "reception" *Before* the wedding, so the people we loved and admired, could meet each other. We paid for 80% of the $2000 wedding and our only problems were that I forgot to put on bug spray, and that the drag queen who was to do my make-up, arrived late and wasn't in drag. (Not her fault being late however). It was a great wedding (bias included)and we had sex after - because the reception was the next day. I highly recommend that... We are part of the 50% divorcing - but we are still close enough friends that I've kept him on my insurance for 6 years after we separated. In fact - we chatted for 2 hours yesterday. Glowing bout our latest loves. heh.
The only reason I'd get married again, is to provide insurance - I like living alone. No offense to my Sweetie.
Posted by leafqueen on January 24, 2013 at 9:58 AM · Report this
@99 Inquiring minds want to know:
A) Why did you care if your makeup person was in drag? Was it part of a performance?
B) Has it occurred to you that her not being in drag may have been related to whatever made her late?
Posted by EricaP on January 24, 2013 at 10:13 AM · Report this
On destination weddings, something I've struggled with. So, yes, if you (as a couple) live in a place, and most of your guests live near that place, it's a dick move to ask everyone to travel really far and spend a lot of money instead of just doing it near home. But what if those potential guests are already scattered across the Western hemisphere? My husband's Belgian, I'm American, and we've lived in Switzerland for the last 3 yrs. We actually got married, just a courthouse thing in Belgium with his parents, 2 years ago, and are now planning the extraordinarily delayed wedding reception. We both make decent money, and we'll pay for the event itself, but there's no way we could pay for everyone's travel. We could have done it in the US, but then all his guests, and about a third of my Euro-guests, would have had to fly over the ocean, plus (assuming we did it East-Coast), some of my West Coast relatives would still have to fly like 6 hours. We could have done it in Belgium, but then all the Americans would have had to fly a long way, and a lot of the Euro's still would have had to fly, because my besties are in Poland, Sweden, Germany, Norway, France, etc. Plus the weather in Belgium always sucks. So we decided on Greece, because it's warm and the food is awesome, and for the Euro's the flights aren't too expensive. And now we're at the invitation-sending stage, and on the one hand I'm psyched to be hosting what I hope will be an awesome party / vacation opportunity for a lot of people, and on the other I feel like an asshole sending invites to American relatives who I know don't get a lot of vacation time and/or run their own businesses and/or don't have much income. Ugh. But it was going to be a clusterfuck any way we did it. So, I don't know, I guess I'm pleading pity for the plight of the expat in destination-wedding-party planning...?
Posted by mechtild on January 24, 2013 at 11:18 AM · Report this
I purchased tickets for my partner and I to attend the live podcast on Valentine's Day as soon as I saw the facebook announcement for the event, and I invited friends (more couples). I didn't see anything about no couples written anywhere at the time. Now I feel like an ass...
Posted by zyanya on January 24, 2013 at 12:41 PM · Report this
Ms Cute - Ah, good. I didn't think you meant that, but I did want to strike a blow against the Tyranny of the Middle as explicitly as possible.
Posted by vennominon on January 24, 2013 at 1:15 PM · Report this
What's the difference between a destination wedding and living across the country from your family?
Posted by Pinkerton on January 24, 2013 at 2:39 PM · Report this
I tried to google it but couldn't find the answer... what's a human cupcake?!
Posted by explainplease on January 24, 2013 at 3:16 PM · Report this
@104: The couple announcing that rather than expecting some guests to travel, with allowances to choose a hotel and trip duration they can afford, everyone everywhere will be ponying up for a fabulous five days in a castle in Spain!!!!! If you care about them and aren't some cheapskate determined to ruin the most special and magical day of their, and frankly your, life.

(Really liking Erica's point that your wedding is usually not the high point of anyone's year but your own. And really, if things go as you hope then your life is not supposed to be all downhill from the nuptials.)

Seriously, this claim that if your brother who lives in New York has to fly in to Kansas it's A Destination Wedding Anyhow, so we might as well suggest everyone pay their own way to fly to Hawaii, is bizarre.

And yes, I have noted people claiming that the purpose of a destination wedding is that most of those invited will think:
a) Person X has invited me to their wedding, a wondrous and thoughtful gesture, and so I shall feel no anger at being excluded from their special day.
b) Simultaneously, I understand that if I actually offer to pay to get myself to Bermuda and the exclusive golf resort they have chosen, I will Ruin It All, because I'm on the list of people they don't actually want anywhere near the wedding.

This seems to require an awful lot of nuance.
Posted by IPJ on January 24, 2013 at 4:19 PM · Report this
@98: Did you read Dan's piece on adopting DJ? Deciding you would like a short person to show up, and having them actually do so, is not a simple or guaranteed process.

I researched adoption quite a bit when I had secondary infertility. Telling people "You're marrying at 36? Listen, wait until you're in your 40s, preferably late 40s, so you get that 10 years in together, then start trying for a kid" is not in tune with reality. Including the reality of what adoption agencies consider a viable age for first-time adoptive parents.

Kids throw a huge wrench into a relationship whenever they arrive. (Just in terms of sleep deprivation and never getting to turn off as the responsible adult in the room, but also changing roles.) If you have a strong enough relationship several years deep to commit to it for life, then a decade of marriage is not going to somehow proof you to do parenting right, or make it so that kids aren't any sort of stress on your marriage.
Posted by IPJ on January 24, 2013 at 4:29 PM · Report this
ShifterCat 108
(Skimming comments)

I'm with nocutename @3; couples shouldn't feel any pressure to fuck on their wedding day, before or after. Even for a casual wedding, there's often just too much shit to do and to worry about. But hey, you're still in that honeymoon suite in the morning, with its big clean bed and its complimentary porn channel...

canada girl @58: My husband's cousin did the Vegas wedding (Elvis impersonator and all!), with just their parents and a few friends attending, no pressure on anyone else to travel. Then they had their reception back in Ottawa for everyone else, showed footage of the actual wedding, and gave out Vegas card packs and shot glasses.

I Hate Screen Names @73: I think you've hit it on the head. And y'know, much as some people snark about couples who write their own vows, there are good reasons not to go with the defaults.

Those of us in opposite-sex marriages are also in a unique position to support marriage equality. Some years ago, Mr. ShifterCat got a call from the Conservative Party asking if they could rely on our votes in the upcoming election. He told them no, and when they asked why, said, "My wife and I disagree with the Conservatives' stance against gay marriage." He told me afterwards that he could practically hear the gears in the caller's head seizing up in confusion.
Posted by ShifterCat on January 24, 2013 at 4:46 PM · Report this
I am a legal mail-order type officiant more than happy to perform same sex weddings. Those who refuse? Do you think you're going to STOP them from getting married, you twits?
Posted by cattycat on January 24, 2013 at 7:01 PM · Report this
mydriasis 110

You think having a 'mini you' is the only reason a person would favour having their own child over adoption?

Are you cracked?

Adoption creates a whole whack of attachment problems and takes breastfeeding out of the equation. To suggest that the only reason someone would want to have a biological child is narcissism... well that's just ignorant as fuck.

Posted by mydriasis on January 24, 2013 at 9:08 PM · Report this
@ #64 --

Dan Savage made you gag! Doesn't that feel great?
Posted by Me2ASDF on January 24, 2013 at 11:21 PM · Report this
@64 --

Dan Savage made you gag! Doesn't that feel great?
Posted by u2wtf? on January 24, 2013 at 11:40 PM · Report this

"Adoption creates a whole whack of attachment problems and takes breastfeeding out of the equation. To suggest that the only reason someone would want to have a biological child is narcissism... well that's just ignorant as fuck."

Ok, yes, adoption causes a lot of attachment problems. And it has nothing to do with narcissism if you don't want to deal with that.

But how does breastfeeding fit in with that? (Apart from breastfeeding playing a role in bonding.) If you want to breastfeed for your own good- that is narcissism. Because that child that you won't adopt will still not be breastfed- so you are not insisting on the breastfeeding for the sake of the existing child. Or what am I missing here?
Posted by migrationist on January 25, 2013 at 5:35 AM · Report this
Funny thing - Just last night my nephew announced that he and his fiancé are getting married on Kauai in May. His sister moaned and made a crack about "destination weddings". He pointed out that this was not a destination wedding since no one was being invited. They are actually eloping and just doing it in style in a beautiful location.
Posted by wolfhound on January 25, 2013 at 6:59 AM · Report this
Fortunate 115
@102 - " I didn't see anything about no couples written anywhere at the time. Now I feel like an ass... "

Pretend you aren't a couple. Make believe that you both just met there. No one else will be the wiser, and you can have a hot time role playing the scenario of meeting and hooking up for the first time.
Posted by Fortunate on January 25, 2013 at 8:36 AM · Report this
Dazzriella 116
My husband and I had a daytime wedding, starting at noon, then scheduled a 3-5 pm break and a meetup at the local pub from for those wanting to keep the party going. This gave us a predetermined alone time . My advice would be to actually schedule some one on one time during the day, so you can enjoy the specialness together and recharge in your own way (or fuck)
Posted by Dazzriella on January 25, 2013 at 10:14 AM · Report this
gueralinda 117
Thank you SO MUCH for chiming in against destination weddings. Jeez, people, you want to be on a beach in Hawaii or a castle in Spain, it's called a HONEYMOON.
Posted by gueralinda on January 25, 2013 at 10:35 AM · Report this
I Hate Screen Names 118
But yeah, if having a mini-you is vital and you are a bio female, then it's really a game changer in terms of when you can easily become pregnant.

You really think this is the only issue? For us, a big concern with adoption is genetic uncertainty: you have no idea whose genes are going to end up in your kid. Both my wife and I come from families that are long-lived, have no physical or mental disorders, are well above average on intelligence (lots of scientists and engineers in the families), and modestly above average on appearance. There are some downsides-- poor vision and weight problems also run in our families-- but we both decided that on average, our kids would be better off having our genes than random genes.

Would the calculus change if we came from families with physical/mental problems or we knew the adopted kid came from Nobel laureates? I like to think so.
Posted by I Hate Screen Names on January 25, 2013 at 11:02 AM · Report this
seandr 119
@delta35, @mydriasis, @migrationist:
Wanting a "mini-me" is a natural, healthy human impulse, and actually having a "mini-me", or several of them, can be incredibly rewarding to everyone involved, including the "mini-mes". Why are we pathologizing it by labeling it narcissism?

Same goes for breastfeeding. Again, how is breastfeeding because one enjoys it in any way narcissistic?

Wanting to have kids the natural way is nothing to feel apologetic about. Given the huge sacrifices involved in parenting young children, however they happened to arrive on the scene, the decision not to have kids seems to me closer to narcissism, although I wouldn't go so far as to call it that.
Posted by seandr on January 25, 2013 at 11:10 AM · Report this
hillpagan 120
At a wedding I attended recently, the catered buffet included whole chickens, as well as lots of other wonderful food. Eventually the buffet was cleared, lots of booze was consumed, and much dancing happened. Late in the evening I looked at the food area and there was a giant pot of chicken soup and biscuits, made fresh from the leftovers. Everyone ate again, soaked up the booze, it was brilliant!
Posted by hillpagan on January 25, 2013 at 11:52 AM · Report this

I get what you're saying that some could regard choosing not to have children as selfish (though I appreciate the caveat that you wouldn't go so far as to call it that). I think the opposite is also true. If you understand that you aren't emotionally or financially equipped to provide for and raise a child, it could be considered selfish to do so anyway.
Posted by KateRose on January 25, 2013 at 12:08 PM · Report this
Once the wedding starts, stop the planning/management and just enjoy your own wedding. If necessary, deputize someone to deal with anything that really needs to be dealt with.

Related: Eat your meals. Other people can wait for you.

I strongly recommended Yihud -- not for consummating the marriage (although go ahead if you like) but as actually getting 10-15 minutes alone to enjoy the fact that you are now married before you start to host a party.
Posted by FromExperience on January 25, 2013 at 12:22 PM · Report this
seandr 123
Agreed, if someone isn't up for the sacrifice of having kids, it's best all around if they don't. Whatever your reasons for not having kids, I fully respect it (can't say the same about the motives behind some people's decision to have kids).

As a parent whose kids are well past the toddler stage, and who experiences some mild PTSD whenever I'm around friends with infants/toddlers, and who hangs out with a lot of (fabulous) childless people who lavish themselves with self-actualization projects using all the disposable time and money they aren't spending on feeding, sheltering, and educating their kids, I just found the designation of parents as narcissists to be, um, ironic.
Posted by seandr on January 25, 2013 at 12:23 PM · Report this
are you any relation to Mr. Mike Savage of the most popular radio talk show the Savage Nation
Posted by david reitter on January 25, 2013 at 12:30 PM · Report this
Bauhaus I 125 is a card, baby.
Posted by Bauhaus I on January 25, 2013 at 12:42 PM · Report this
@119, @121, & @123: Yaaay! A thread I can relate to!! I'm fortunate that while a lot of my parents' contemporaries, friends of my sisters, and gossipy older women branded me selfish---and even stupid for my decision to not have children (you nailed some of my biggest reasons, KateRose: I have considered myself neither emotionally nor financially equipped to bear or raise a child. Also, the idea of going through a nine-month pregnancy, and what it entails leaves me queasy), my truly amazingly loving, supportive and encouraging parents respected my wishes.
Of course, had I been an only child or only daughter (instead of being the youngest of 4 kids), their feelings and expectations about my providing them with grandchildren (or not) might have been much different.
Posted by auntie grizelda on January 25, 2013 at 12:59 PM · Report this
Fortunate 127
All decisions regarding children, to have them or not, are selfish. Most people choose to or not to have children because they think what ever their choice it is the best choice for them.

If someone wants children they should have them. If they don't they shouldn't. Neither option is more selfish than the other. However either choice can be made for the wrong reasons.
Posted by Fortunate on January 25, 2013 at 1:33 PM · Report this
seandr @119:

I don't see having a biological child as more narcissistic than having an adopted child necessarily. I just didn't quite get mydriasis' reasoning re breastfeeding.
Posted by migrationist on January 25, 2013 at 2:40 PM · Report this

I thought your problem was you were big-boned?

Posted by Hunter78 on January 25, 2013 at 3:49 PM · Report this
Dr Sean - As a III, I advise against Mini-Mes. Why else was I put into conversion therapy against my will as a minor? I doubt any of my siblings would have met with the same treatment.

The whole concept of the Mini-Me is to disallow in advance any shred of individuality in the poor specimen before the little bundle even arrives. As for having several of that sort, we should consult the experts - George Foreman II-VI, who are all brothers.
Posted by vennominon on January 25, 2013 at 4:04 PM · Report this
@127: Good points. The decisions I made were for all the right reasons.

@129: I never said I had a problem with being big-boned.
People with preferences towards small-framed dates or spouses
usually have problems with big bones.
I'm on the Atkins diet (no carbs, gluten-free, sugar-free),
and after three weeks since New Year's, have made some
real progress. My problem has been a big belly and not so
much in regards to wide shoulders.
I'm a lot healthier and happier than I was, largely from getting
away from processed foods!!

Why? Do you have a bone to pick?
Posted by auntie grizelda on January 25, 2013 at 5:07 PM · Report this
@129: By the way, I'm not particularly interested in your latest boner.
Posted by auntie grizelda on January 25, 2013 at 5:10 PM · Report this
Hi Dan - I participated in the survey, and will admit to finding it a little distressing that there was no option for genderqueer or other 'not male or female' individuals (there was an option to declare oneself transgender). Lesser niggle, while the survey let me place 'pansexual' initially, I later had to choose from radiobuttons that put me back in the bisexual box. (Writing inclusive surveys be hard?)
Posted by macey on January 25, 2013 at 9:59 PM · Report this
Fascinating and strange to read about such late childbearing ages. I lived in the Seattle area and knew lots of pregnant women in their late 20s. Here in Utah, tons of my early-20s classmates and friends are getting knocked up (and even they struggle with infertility occasionally!). I have a 21-year-old friend who manages to work, set to graduate, and is pregnant. I find it somewhat odd for the norm to be alla Juno - that the only pregnancies are unwanted and in your teens or impossible in your forties.

I'm 25, unmarried and childless, but if I find a life partner soon (and we treat dating seriously here), sure, I'd like to have my first kid in my late twenties, when it's not a fight against biology. I don't think daycare/relatively young grandparents & aunts & even great-grandparents (my grandma isn't even 70 yet) helping out is a problem.

Someone in this state needs to raise some atheist kids. By Darwinian principles, soon enough, the environmental, educational, and scientific principles you hold dear will become extinct. We educated liberals need to fuck early and often for the good of the nation.
Posted by DC270 on January 25, 2013 at 11:41 PM · Report this
mydriasis 135
@ et al.

1. My comment about breastfeeding was just that if I ever have children I'd like to do so with as few attachment handicaps as possible. Adoption's a big one, no breastfeeding is a small one.

2. I have a deep respect, admiration, and thankfulness for people who choose to not have children. Especially if the fact that they are aware they would make poor parents is part of the reason. I don't think it's selfish at all.

Parents who think they can 'have it all', have children and maintain the exact same lifestyle, and put their children at a disadvantage to maintain that lifestyle - they are selfish.
Posted by mydriasis on January 26, 2013 at 5:50 AM · Report this
Sometimes your naivete is appalling. Adoption does not "take breastfeeding out of the equation."

As for your attachment anxieties-- again you're telling more about yourself than you realize.

Posted by Hunter78 on January 26, 2013 at 8:34 AM · Report this
mydriasis 137

No one is, but in a year or two he won't be able to make any anymore, thank goodness.
Posted by mydriasis on January 26, 2013 at 11:03 AM · Report this
@137: LOL, and amen!!!! Good one, mydriasis!!!!
Posted by auntie grizelda on January 26, 2013 at 2:18 PM · Report this
I just picked my wart and am bleeding everywhere. The thread is dead.
Posted by DisorganizedReligion on January 26, 2013 at 8:13 PM · Report this
@139: Okay, but I'm still laughing.
Posted by auntie grizelda on January 26, 2013 at 10:06 PM · Report this
seandr 141
@vennominon: Ha ha, I was fortunate (or unfortunate) not to come from the sort of stock that tacks roman numerals onto the end of the names of its scion's. Really, my lineage would be happy if we could just get one right.
Posted by seandr on January 27, 2013 at 9:06 AM · Report this
So true about wedding disasters. We still remember the one in the summer (so the door to the church was open), where a dog wandered in and walked down the aisle in front of the bride. That both bride and groom thought this was enchanting showed they were meant for each other (and they're still together 24 years later).
Posted by pippenpippen on January 28, 2013 at 5:54 AM · Report this
AFinch 143
Heh...well, I'm coming up on my second wedding - 23 years after the first one - and the input is great. I wish we would simply elope (I went beyond hinting and flat-out pushed eloping in Hawaii), but it's her first wedding and she wants friends and family, and I'm cool with that. It does wind up being kind-of a destination wedding because all of her friends are strewn all over the country; I guess I can cop out since for my crew it's a local affair.

@118 - while I share the same kind of genes you do, you also, I hope, realize how, um, stuck up (as opposed to narcissistic) you sound?

On that note: people toss around PD diagnoses like candy, but everyone should remember that these are cluster traits which are all normal in some degree - the disorder is a matter of degree, not binary yes/no. Having a little bit of narcissism is actually healthy.

As the step-brother of an adopted child I'd like to suggest there are other reasons people might prefer to know something about the genes they're getting: like it or not, genetics have an incredible influence on personality tendencies. Very very oddly, the adopted child (random genetic roll of the dice) had far, far less in common with his adoptive siblings than his step-siblings did - that is, the step-siblings were the genetic offspring of parents who selected one another (for personality reasons) and were more alike than the random was to either of the other groups.

Although a lot of new evidence suggests (persuasively) that nurture matters a heck of a lot more in 'long term success' than genes, a child who shares your genetic makeup is much more likely to be familiar in terms of personality.
Posted by AFinch on January 28, 2013 at 7:52 AM · Report this
Instead of marring, why not work at getting rid of this archiac patiriocal institution? Why do we gays have to buy into this hetrosexulization of our lives? Wasn't the 60's free love, shacking up, a revolt against this?
Posted by jeffy on January 28, 2013 at 7:57 AM · Report this
Late to the party -- or reception -- here, but I sell (ie, "market") destination weddings on behalf of a major travel company, and I've gotta say, I feel really bad about it. We mau-mau regular middle-class folks into spending ungodly amounts of money to get entire wedding parties to the Caribbean, or Hawaii, or Vegas, or Tahiti. Somehow, some way, the company makes big money with these weddings, but as a married person myself -- one with two dysfunctional families, just like every other couple -- I couldn't imagine trying to convinve my family and friends to spring for a "vacation" like that. My prescription? Just elope, go on a honeymoon, and then have a nice big family-and-friends party when you return.
Posted by ninja3000 on January 28, 2013 at 9:38 AM · Report this
I Hate Screen Names 146
@143: I'm aware of it, but I couldn't think of a way to make the point without coming off as "stuck up." And it's a valid point.

I'm also aware that considering family genetics is less popular among Americans, as it seems to go against the individualistic notion that people should not be painted with the same stroke as their family members. It's much more accepted among, say, Asian cultures.
Posted by I Hate Screen Names on January 28, 2013 at 9:59 AM · Report this
AFinch 147
@146 - it is very anti-egalitarian to overtly consider it, and flies in the face of the American conceit that "all [wo]men are created equal", where equal implies subjectively 'equivalent", instead of having equal rights. We truly buy into both meanings of the word and like to imagine that our social and economic mobility are greater than anywhere in the world - that meritocracy and personal 'morality' or 'character' are what differentiate our success. I think it has more to do with that than with any kind of "sins of the father" or familial individuation.

We don't like to think about the alcoholic smoker who lives to be ninety-five and dies of natural causes while the tofu-scarfing vegan who adheres to an austere asceticism to intense only room-temperature water is permissible keels over from a massive MI due to atherosclerosis at 45 after finishing a pre-dawn run and yoga, but it happens more often than you'd think.

FWIW, coming from a long line of "American" anglos (like four centuries), I can promise you that while these things may not be spoken of, they are most certainly considered.

@75 - see for a wonderful example of ordination qualifications. A friend's father will be conducting mine as a civil ceremony, using a "service" we write ourselves.
Posted by AFinch on January 28, 2013 at 10:42 AM · Report this
Fortunate 148
@144, "Instead of marring, why not work at getting rid of this archiac patiriocal institution?"

I'm assuming you mean 'patriarchal"? rather than "patrilocal". Being a guy married to a guy there is nothing patriarchal about my marriage. What's more, gay people getting married, the formation of legally recognized marriage unions between people of the same gender, is simply another blow against patriarchy. The more gay people, and for that matter straight people who manage to wed and not fall into patriarchal roles, marry and demonstrate what a non-patriarchal marriage can be the weaker patriarchy becomes.

In fact I have no doubt that on some subtle level that is what the anti equality crowd fears.

"Why do we gays have to buy into this hetrosexulization of our lives?"

Again, marriage doesn't have to adhere to some heterosexual model. There is nothing heterosexual about my marriage. The structure of my relationship before and after my wedding is indistinguishable. What, somehow taking a marriage vow suddenly made my homosexual relationship instantly heterosexualized even though there was no discernible difference in it's structure and arrangement?

Sorry, but those arguments make about as much sense as the homophobic anti marriage arguments.

"Wasn't the 60's free love, shacking up, a revolt against this?"

I keep hearing people talk about 60's free love as if it were some great successful experiment that we should emulate for all times. But really, having had my childhood in the 70's in the aftermath of the 60's free love experiment my recollections, even if I didn't fully understand what I was seeing at the time, are not pretty.

That aftermath seemed like a rather dismal and depressing time.

Some good things came out of the 60's free love experiment. But let's not fool ourselves into believing that it was one, big, happy experience for everyone that we should try to stick with. It was still rife with sexism, and people using each other, and other negative aspects as well.

But the idea of sexual liberation is rooted in the idea that people should be free to pursue the relationships and sexual expression that they feel is right for them.

Trying to push, shame, or otherwise get people who aren't comfortable with it to engage in relationships or sexual expression that they don't want to is a blow against sexual liberation, regardless if that manifests as denial of participation in the institutions of relationships generally acknowledged in our society, or pressure to engage in what is generally considered more progressive forms of relationships such as open relationships, ploy relationships, or some form of 60's "free love".

Freedom means the freedom to choose. Marriage equality isn't about forcing gay people to marry. It's about gay people having access to all the options available straight people so we are free to make our own choices.
Posted by Fortunate on January 28, 2013 at 2:27 PM · Report this
Mr Fortunate - I agree with what you say, but suspect there might have been an unspecified side to the question or what it would argue.

While I personally favour selective assimilation, I suspect that the case could be made that the characteristics (I refuse to call them "qualities") formerly reserved for/associated with straight married couples which are being most heartily embraced by same-sex married couples are all the wrong ones. It's getting to be practically an orientation on its own. Personally, if a couple would rather present as M rather than L, G, B or anything else, I have no desire to interfere with their choice, but, for instance, if we lose the concept of the Chosen Family - one of our greatest victories, and already it's starting to crack - the straights will have gotten the better end of the deal out of that bride (or groom) price. If they herd enough of us into kyriarchal, insular, exclusionary little families just like their own, they may be able to crush us yet.

At least the case can be made to that effect. I remain unconvinced, and, as almost always, find it more problematic to attempt to restrict individual choice than to cope with the fallout from those choices.
Posted by vennominon on January 28, 2013 at 5:26 PM · Report this
I hope sales "American Savage" also boosts sales of "American Salvage" by Bonnie Jo Campbell. A totally unrelated but very worthwhile book.
Posted by anonymous1 on January 28, 2013 at 5:54 PM · Report this
I kinda wish someone had commented on Myd's "in a year or two he won't be able to make [boners] anymore, thank goodness," beyond Griz's cackle.

Posted by Hunter78 on January 28, 2013 at 7:03 PM · Report this
for some reason the expression "live by the sword, perish by the sword" is coming to mind...
Posted by EricaP on January 28, 2013 at 8:05 PM · Report this
@151 Hunter: Come on, laugh with me! As someone who has just been diagnosed with something really horrible, and discovering to my relief and joy that it's reversible, I was going for humor, not to tromp on your toes. The laughter was a release, and I needed the outlet.
Posted by auntie grizelda on January 28, 2013 at 9:18 PM · Report this
p.s. I am going to have one hell of a surprise for my VA docs when I go for my annual exam this year----no more Buddha belly!!!

Geez--I have more energy at 48 than I did at 28!
Posted by auntie grizelda on January 28, 2013 at 9:22 PM · Report this
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh, shit! I'm having another Brad Pitt attack again!
What IS it about that thievin' little smooth-talking J.D.?
Posted by auntie grizelda on January 28, 2013 at 9:24 PM · Report this
I just asked my partner of 19 years if he would not marry me. He said he wouldn't that we will shack up forever. It was the most happy day of my life. I can hardly wait until Mar h when we will celebrate 20 years of living in sin.
Posted by jeffy on January 28, 2013 at 9:43 PM · Report this
AFinch 157
@154: Conga-rats on making a big, and ultimately extraordinarily healthy change. Whether one calls it "Atkins" or "South Beach" or whatever the flavor-du-jour is, getting off the sugar alone will make one feel a gazillion times better. Best Wishes for your continued success!
Posted by AFinch on January 29, 2013 at 6:29 AM · Report this
@156 thanks for sharing and congratulations :-)
Posted by EricaP on January 29, 2013 at 7:59 AM · Report this
Ugh to all of it. The best advice of all is don't get fucking married.
Posted by Starmartyr on January 29, 2013 at 8:42 AM · Report this
Fortunate 160
venominion @149: "While I personally favour selective assimilation, I suspect that the case could be made that the characteristics (I refuse to call them "qualities") formerly reserved for/associated with straight married couples which are being most heartily embraced by same-sex married couples are all the wrong ones."

Can you be specific about what actual characteristics you are refering to? I certainly don't see any of the choices I have made regarding my marriage to be wrong, nor do I see any "wrong" in the relationships of the other gay married people I know.

I'm not sure what it is you are seeing that seems to be the wrong choice for embracing.

What my partner and I take, particularly from the model of my parents' marriage, are the love, commitment, and support they exibited as the foundation of their marriage.
Posted by Fortunate on January 29, 2013 at 9:29 AM · Report this
Thanks for the wedding advice, Dan. I am a Baptist minister, regularly read your column, wed gay and straight couples, and advise said couples to be GGG, and to read your column for more suggestions. Keep up the good work.

paz y gracias.


Posted by Rev Jamie on January 29, 2013 at 1:26 PM · Report this

Perish is the right word. I can only assume Myd was hoping for my imminent demise.

I have never wished ill for any of my fellow correspondents.

I rule out that she was possibly predicting some age-related sexual dysfunction. After all, in this age of Viagra, even Myd cannot be so stupid as to not recognize that I still have decades of stuffing boners in female orifices ahead.

Posted by Hunter78 on January 29, 2013 at 3:31 PM · Report this
VelhoSorriso 163
Great survey!

Adults (18–49) of all sexual orientations are needed for an important study on the relationship between sexual orientation, rejection, and the attachment system. Go to…

Thanks for the plug.
Posted by VelhoSorriso on January 29, 2013 at 4:02 PM · Report this
@159: That works for me.
Posted by auntie grizelda on January 29, 2013 at 10:41 PM · Report this
mydriasis 165
so in summary...

Posted by mydriasis on January 30, 2013 at 7:18 PM · Report this
@165 mydriasis: See Starmartyr's comment @159.
Posted by auntie grizelda on January 31, 2013 at 11:23 PM · Report this
@157 AFinch: Thanks! I haven't lost any weight, but I HAVE noticed that some definite inches have melted away over the past five weeks. No more
Pillsbury Doughboy!!
I guess my body is trying to tell me that I can't be a "Blue Box Kid" anymore,
and be a grown-up when it comes to wining and dining.

I'm hoping that I can graduate back to a little dark chocolate and local berries (without added sugar, of course!) by my next birthday.
I'll never have a bikini figure again, but.......
Posted by auntie grizelda on February 4, 2013 at 8:22 PM · Report this
I sampled the comments and so must add my own...
I boiled it down to this - do what will make you happy within your budget. If you have guests, you must be hospitible to them, (yes, that means food and drink, including alcohol they don't have to buy) If you want the day to be all about you - elope. If you want to get hitched in a remote locale (I did) don't expect people to traipse along. I remember the dilemma of my best friend (for whom I was best man). He and his bride lived in Itlay, were both from the West Coast, and attended school on the East Coast. They finally split the difference and had the wedding on the East Coast and paid for it themselves. If folks could not attend (and only one Italian relative was able to make it), that was fine with them. The then travelled to the West Coast to have a party for those who could not come out, then back to italy for another party for those folks. They had the wedding they wanted and nobody felt left out. Sincerity is most important. (they are still married 21 years later)
Posted by David Kidd on February 5, 2013 at 8:37 AM · Report this
We had a courthouse wedding and then immediately took off for the coast. Two days later (on a Saturday) we had our reception. It was so relaxed and casual, I highly recommend doing things in this nontraditional way. PS: It's been 10+ beautiful years so far.
Posted by tj777 on February 6, 2013 at 8:54 PM · Report this
I have to disagree on the not having a destination wedding. Family from two different states. You have to pick one, right? So one family has to travel and the other doesn't. Make 'em all travel. We got married in Hawaii and it was awesome. We also had a reception in both states for those who couldn't go. Vacationing en masse with 20 family members and friends was absolutely unforgettable. I highly recommend it! And we videoed the ceremony for those who had any desire to see it. :D
Posted by Crabbey on February 7, 2013 at 1:59 PM · Report this

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