From a Guy’s Perspective

I’ve been married three times, so I feel qualified to offer a few words of wisdom on the subject of weddings. (To get into why I had to keep running to the altar would require several pages. Suffice to say, I’ve garnered a bit of experience along the way.) I also keep my hand in the business: writing stories based on interviews with wedding professionals; and, attired in a tuxedo, I enjoy working weddings from behind the wheel of a limousine, with the newlyweds nestled in the backseat, sipping champagne.

So, here goes with my advice...

Go with the flow. Planning is important, yet even the best laid plans may go awry in ways well beyond your control. You plan an outdoor event, but the skies open up, as once happened to me. You plan an idyllic honeymoon, but you cannot go when your bride comes down with a toothache. Don’t panic, rather prepare for the unexpected: your ex riding in the car beside you; teenage daughters who show up late for their father’s wedding; or your favorite uncle can’t make the wedding as he’s caring for your aged aunt. Weddings are fraught with emotion. Regardless of these crises, the event itself, the magnitude of getting married, carries the day.

Trust the professionals. When you plan a wedding, of course you want everything to be absolutely perfect. So let others worry about matters in their areas of expertise. Your service professionals – wedding planner, caterer, photographer, and musician – are adept at managing situations that arise and chances are they’ve worked together before on the Island. They have seen it all, whether the bride’s limousine is stuck at the drawbridge, a musician is late, or the photographer misses a key shot. Let them handle the issues they have dealt with time and time again. Your job is to enjoy the experience.

Keep an eye on that nagging dollar sign. Weddings are expensive, especially on the Vineyard. But you needn’t mortgage your wedding to future earnings. A little planning, with a dose of common sense, should prevail. Limit your guest list: Smaller is better, for you and your pocketbook – and your guests, who will appreciate more time with you. Also, consider the venue: The sites for the ceremony and reception can affect the cost, and they also lend a certain ambiance to the day. A church sets the stage for a formal event, while an outdoor setting or a private home can be more casual.

Take a tip from Goldilocks. The first time, I was married by a justice of the peace in the seclusion of his office, with his secretary as our witness. That was too small. The next time I rented a mansion and had an impressive catered meal, and that was too much. Number three was a charm: We were married at a family home with close friends, sumptuous hors d’oeuvres, and a small dance band. Do what’s right for you.

Enjoy yourself, but watch the clock. At most of my weddings, I was too nervous or excited to relax – that’s pretty much the norm. There is that rare groom (and a couple of brides) who projects a calm demeanor, putting everyone else at ease. In each of my experiences as a groom, the common denominator was time:
It all went by so fast. As the bridal couple, remember to look at a clock and say, “Hey, wait a minute. We’re in the middle of our wedding!” If you can capture that moment, you will have accomplished something.

Don’t skip the honeymoon. You don’t have to scale the Alps or board a cruise ship. My favorite honeymoon was the simplest. We took the mail boat out to Monhegan Island, ten miles off Port Clyde, Maine, and cuddled in a cottage for a few days. It was peaceful and picturesque, a poignant experience I’ll always treasure. Honeymoons are memorable because they have none of the pressures of the wedding. You have time to celebrate your new life together.

Hopefully I won’t be the groom in another wedding. My experience makes me wiser, but enough is enough already.