Tag Archives: Wedding

The Douche Files: Wedding Douchebag

( #douche )

I had a good weekend. My wife’s friends got married: the ceremony was beautiful, the reception was in an awesome place, and the couple’s unique spin on classic wedding traditions made the whole event really nice. This post is not about the wedding, but what happened after.

Like most weddings, there was a little gathering at the hotel bar. We went downstairs to have a drink with one of my wife’s college friends (we will call her Z-Go) and say hello to the bride when she made it down. We were seated at the bar when one of the other guests goes up to the bartender, who was clearly Hispanic, and says the following:

Douche: Hola Amigo, Musica?
Bartender: (Looks confused and somewhat annoyed)
Douche: Amigo… Musica!?
Bartender: You want me to play music? (Bartender walks over to turn on the music)
Douche: Si, musica!
Douche: Gracias!

The bartender looks at me and rolls his eyes, I immediately say “I am not with that guy” and he laughs. Z-Go had a look of horror on her face. “Did he really just do that?” He did.

I had to ask the obvious question: “Maybe he was Hispanic too?” It was later confirmed by the bride that he was not Hispanic and had a history of “going Spanish” while drunk.

A bit later, we decided to go to bed and we went to say goodbye to the bride who was talking to a group of friends. The Douche was in the group. He began to touch Z-Go’s necklace and said “those are pretty beads”, she gives him a dirty look and walks away. As we get into the elevator Z-Go proceeds to let loose a series of profanities capped off with “If it wasn’t a wedding, I would have punched that guy in the face.” If only she did.

Take note douchebags: Don’t speak in languages that are not your native tongue and don’t touch someone’s accessories without accepting the fact that you may get punched in the face. Actually touch away, you deserve to get knocked out by a 95 lb girl.

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Honeymoon: San Francisco

Howdy true be-loggers! I decided to lump all of San Fran into one blog because we did a lot of touristy things and nothing crazy happened, so this will be “by the books” for those that follow and for Allison and I to remember…

Saturday

We drove into the city, dumped off the rental car, walked around the city, ate lunch at a super-tourist trap seafood place right under the bay bridge. Our hotel room was finally ready (our room had the best view of the bay) and we checked in and rested a little while. I read about a walking tour of the city that was conducted by a lady in a “vampire character” (LINK: SF Vampire Tour). It got a lot of good reviews and I wrote down the number before we left, so I called the lady and booked the tour. We walked to the Nob Hill area – which from our hotel was ALL UP HILL. We ate dinner at the Nob Hill Cafe (LINK: Nobhillcafe.com) which was really good and then we went on our tour. I should note that the temperature got super cold and Allison and I had to find a place to buy a sweatshirt, which we did at the Fairmont gift shop. Next time I got to San Francisco – I am staying at the Fairmont – it is the classiest hotel ever.

NOTE FOR LISA AUSTIN – They filmed the grand stairwell scene in Gone with the Wind here…

The tour was cool and we learned a little bit about San Fran History and about the buildings. We learned alot about some of the wackos that have emerged from San Fran as well. Only in California.

Sunday

Sunday was our first full day in the city and we did the cultural thing. We want to the Museum of Asian Arts and the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). The Asian Arts was awesome, MOMA was a huge bore. We then upped the tourist ante by going to Coit Tower. Coit has the best view of the city and to go up the tower you of course need to pay, which is kind of a rip-off since it is a 5 minute thing to do, alas the life of a tourist. We got back to the hotel and researched some places to go for dinner and decided to go to the Thirsty Bear (Link: Thirstybear.com). I really liked this place, good food, good beer, good service. They had a modern Spanish thing going on complete with Spanish dancers and guitar players, but it wasn’t too flashy and we got a seat in the back so we could talk. A good night

Pictures from San Fran Days 1 and 2

Monday

Monday we bit the bullet and did “The Rock”. We went to Alcatraz and I will admit it was pretty cool. There really isn’t much to say that the pictures won’t show you. Although I will say that I didn’t realize that Alcatraz was only used a federal prison for 29 years and JFK was the guy to shut the doors down before he became president. The general rap was the building was falling apart and it was an ecological nightmare, so the doors were closed. The lady from the vampire tour said it was haunted as all hell, so take that for what you will.

Pictures from “The Rock”

Allison and I then went to North Beach (which is the little Italy section). We had a nice lunch at a place called Calzones. We walked around looking for gift to take home but everything look touristy so we bolted. I made reservations to a place called The Cliffhouse for dinner (Link: CliffHouse). It had the best view I have ever had for dinner. The food was good, but it wasn’t outstanding and you definitely pay for the view, but it was worth it.

Tuesday

We were at a bit of a loss for what to do on Tuesday. We didn’t want to go to the Golden Gate. We had seen it from the Alcatraz tour and I just didn’t care to walk over a bridge. Allison and I were hell bent on finding some nice things to bring home as gifts and I will make this short – we failed miserably. Defeated, we went to the best “Mexican Restaurant” in the city. It was called Mexico DF ( Mexico DF). Food was good but very small portions but the drinks were very strong.

We were aimless all day and looking forward to going home. We walked around alot, got nothing accomplished. For dinner, I had read about a place that had an indoor pirate ship (it was at the Fairmont too!) so we went to the Tonga Room (sorry, no website). This place was awesome. We just did happy hour in there and they had a little dinner buffet that we snacked on. I can’t say too much – you guys will have to see it for yourself. We then went to a place called the Four Ovens which was across the street that Allison read about. Food was good, but the service was SLOOOOW. We then went back to the hotel and went to bed early.

Wednesday

We woke up, ate breakfast, went to the airport, listened to a baby scream for several hours on the plane, and I got home a few hours ago and started writing this blog 🙂

Thanks for reading!

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Honeymoon: Days 3 and 4

Sorry I haven’t posted for a few days, the urge to write wasn’t with me and as I read the previous days blogs, I was like… eh. I like to stylize my writing a bit more, but my heart is not in it because everyone in California has been so nice and lets face it, I am usually a mean bastard when I blog. But for the sake of my own memories, let me get this stuff written down as quickly as possible.

On Thursday, Allison’s dad had made reservations to the Sterling Vineyard. I wasn’t too exited about that as we had a bottle for dinner the night before and I didn’t like it. Before we went to the vineyard, Allison suggested we stop at a state park that was on the way, and I was all for it it. We got there and started on a trail… we did about an hour of walking before I realized we were totally unprepared for a hike – no water, not the right shoes or clothes (in case we ran into poison ivy or lots of mosquitoes) and most importantly, we didn’t have a map and the trails were not that clear. So we turned back and headed to Sterling a little early. The grounds at Sterling were not as manicured as the other vineyards, but the natural beauty surrounding us made up for it. The cool thing about Sterling is that you get to take a gondola to the main vineyard and that is awesome and you get to see a great view. We did the tour and I will say that the wine was the best of the three vineyards we visited. I don’t like white, but the stuff they gave us was OUTSTANDING. We hit the gift shop, got a few bottles and went on our way. We stopped at a few cool houses that looked like castles and then went back to the hotel.

For dinner we ate at a place called Cuvee near our hotel. So far the best dinner since we got there. Allison had braised beef in a red wine sauce and I had pork shoulder in a sauce. (I am just writing that down so I can read this next year and try to remember what it tastes like).

We then went to bed and rested for day 4….

Pictures of Day 3:

Yesterday, Allison and I didn’t have any appointments so we decided to go to Muir Woods and Sausalito. We had a great ride over and when we got to Muir Woods I decided we should do a 5 mile loop with a great view of San Francisco. This loop was 3.5 miles uphill and then 1.5 down. For a guy that does an hour of cardio a day and lifts weights, this was HARD. Poor Allison was cursing me the entire time but she kept up. Once we got to the top and we saw the Pacific ocean we were like, lets get the hell out of here. The way down in some ways was worse, very hard to keep your footing, but when it was done… I was glad we did it.

After our little adventure we were hungry, so we headed into Sausalito for lunch. Pretty town, totally a tourist trap. We found a resteraunt right on the bay. Of course it was seafood (I don’t eat seafood), but I managed to get a ceasar salad. One funny part was when a european couple sitting behind us stiffed the waitress on a tip and she came out and totally called them out on it. It made us laugh. Nice meal on the water and an overall great day.

The ride home took hours because of traffic which sucked. We ordered in last night from the hotel and watched a terrible movie. Went to sleep early because today we leave for San Francisco.

Talk to you guys soon!

Day 4 Pictures:

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Honeymoon: Day 2

I would consider this the first official day of the Honeymoon. I woke up and wrote the first days blog while Allison slept (like she is doing now) and then went down to the little gym to get what was left of the wedding booze out of my system. When I got back she was showered and ready to go. I got ready and went down to the main lobby for a quick breakfast. We ate and ran.

We got to the car and headed for Highway 29 to Oakville which is really where the vineyards are. We arrived at the Mondavi Vineyard early, but the people were very nice and accommodating. Allison’s dad got us a reserve wine tasting (the best press from the best section of the vineyard) but we decided to take the tour first so we could work our way up to the best wine.

Our tour guide Melvin was awesome (I have lots of video which I will YouTube when I get home). He told us all the things to look for in the grapes, the pressing process, how they add the yeast, etc. I had lots of flashbacks to pressing wine in Uncle Freddy’s backyard and the smells of fermenting wine reminded me of Nate passed out on a dining room table. The wines we tasted were all very good. We had a few whites and some reds. I should have written the names down, but I didn’t – I will say that the whites were very good (even though I don’t like white wine). The grounds at Mondavi were fantastic so we hung around til 12:30 drinking.

At this point I had a nice buzz and Allison and I thought it might be a good idea to get lunch. Melvin the tour-guide suggested a place called Mustards down the road. Off we went. Mustards looked like a typical established east coast deli but with new wave California decorations instead of pictures of dead comedians and jazz musicians. We ordered drinks while waiting for a table, Allison got some pommigranite drink and I got a cucumber and vodka infused drink (Tony – they put cilantro in it and I laughed). Allison got a spinach ravioli with goat cheese for lunch and I got rabbit sausage. It was all very good and we headed out to the Opus One Vineyard to close out our tours.

Opus One’s main building was nothing short of spectacular. It had a terrace on the third floor where you can see the entire vineyard/operation, the rooms were stunning, even the basement was awesome. Our tour was a little faster and the guide wasn’t as cool as Melvin. The wine itself was dark and roasty-flavored with hints of chocoloate. Mondavi gave us more to taste at their tour which was nice to get a sense of comparison.

We headed back to the hotel, and chilled for a few hours and then went to dinner. We went to a place called Downtown Joe’s in downtown Napa. Like any typical downtown area, there was no parking, so I had to circle around until I found something. The food was typical bar food. Wings, burgers, pizza and it wasn’t anything to get excited about, we ate a pretty light dinner and then headed back to the hotel.

That was pretty much the long and short of Day 2. Day three we have a tour of the Sterling Vineyard and I am curious to see how that goes. More to come….

– Joey
Here is a picture slide show…

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Honeymoon: Day 1

This one is going to be short and sweet boys and girls. Allison and I left for California at 4 AM EST yesterday. No issues with the flights, everything was on time. We had a little layover in Chicago and I was sad I didn’t have time to see the Great White City. We arrived in San Francisco at 11:21 AM. We had to stand in a long line to get the rental car (a Chevy Bolt? I will say the little bugger has some zip to it). We got to Napa Valley by 2:30 PM (the airport really killed alot of time). The famed Cali traffic didn’t rear its ugly head.

We checked into the hotel, tried to find a snack – seems like Napa Valley shuts down in the afternoon Europe style. We eventually found a little Italian place to grab a sandwich. We got back to the hotel, walked around a little bit, took a little nap, went to dinner at the hotel (very salty), and then went to bed.

Sorry the first day was boring, I didn’t take any pictures. Now its 7:30 AM and I got time and energy to annoy some people…

More to come!

– Joey

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The Wedding Blog: Part Three

The Wedding Blog: Part Three – The Home Stretch

People keep asking me if I am nervous, the answer is always no. With 16 days before my pending nuptials I figured its a good time to do the second to last blog about this wedding. Most of the milestones leading up to the wedding have occurred and I think it is a good time to record and reflect on my thoughts about that and bring this tale into the home stretch.

The Vendors
I think people in the business of weddings are a lot like South Philadelphia contractors – they do the work and call you back when they damn well feel like doing it. This is an interesting model, because nobody seems to want to return your phone calls and they have the lion’s share of the money owed before they do the work. I don’t know how this model came to be, but frankly it is insane. The one exception to the call back problem has been the reception hall, Celebrations, but I ended up getting into a minor scuffle 2 months ago with the owner/manager who is not the person working my account. He copped a major attitude on misprinted information, I got pretty pissed off at him on the phone but to my credit I (surprisingly) kept my cool while also conveying that I wanted to punch him in the throat. I am happy to say that since that day Frank has been nothing but nice and James (our account rep) has always been great.

The wonderful state on Pennsylvania has given me a little bit of concern in our home stretch. As stated before, organized religion isn’t something I am too fond of, so Allison and I agreed early on that a “person of the cloth” was not an option. We hired a very nice woman who is a non-denominational, non-religious wedding officiant. Bucks County, Pa seems to have issues with anyone who isn’t part of a “normal” church. Our officiant has filed all the appropriate paper work and the state has let her perform ceremonies since the new wedding laws have been put into effect, but the whole affair has left a bad taste in my mouth. As long as a person files the appropriate paperwork with the state, why should the state have a say on how the ceremony is performed and who does it. The state’s “concern” is that people are profiting off of the act of marriage, and my response to that is do you have any idea how much a church asks you to “donate” to the church when you get married there. BULLSHIT! Also – the bitch at the Bucks County Court system ripped me off twenty dollars!

More on the PA Laws: Buck’s County Marriage Laws

Bachelor Parties
If you have read the previous Wedding Blog entries (Part Two), (Bachelor Party Rant), (Part One) then you know the bachelor party has been on my mind for one reason or another, now that is is over, some concerns have faded, while news ones have arisen. My bachelor party took place in the Pocono Mountains on a lovely weekend in August. We had a weekend party in a house on a lake. Great location, Anthony made excellent food, an for the most part we just relaxed. My friend Marc couldn’t make the trip and asked for a summary, this is what I wrote:

It started in a hotel room in the middle of nowhere; strong, dark magic was in the air. The dark magic so strong they blew (Name omitted) into an Asian massage parlor in the middle of nowhere that happened to be across the street from our hotel. (Name omitted) partook in the local Chinese customs which eased his sleep that night. The next day presented Pineapple Express, boardwalk fries, and checking into the actual cabin on the lake. Franks and beans were consumed by all, farts were released into Nate’s sleeping mouth.

The next morning our sweet prince Nate and the man known as the Human Dumpling aka H.D. were awoken to a package of firecrackers being set off in their bedroom on a heavy skillet. The fireworks, not content to stay in the skillet, jumped from their origin point and melted the carpet in the room, as well as portions of H.D.and Nate’s bedding. Laughter was had by all except for the HD who took great offense and refused to speak to anyone for the rest of the trip.

The night was spent with local entertainment being called in. She walked in and announced she had a 24 year old son as I walked out onto the deck passing my title of bachelor over to Roland for the nights festivities. After the entertainment left, beers and wrestling ensued with Nate almost killing me and me damaging his throat for at least the following week.

Rural PA offers a variety of tobacco and firework retail outlets, which we took glee in abusing. Every night was capped off with a rousing fireworks and cigar rally. Our last night the good officers of the county finally found us and informed us that we have been made marked men. Apologies and confiscation ensued. No arrests occured.

The ride home was marked with uncomfortable silence as Capt. Tony and the Human Dumpling exchanged harsh words throughout the weekend over the carpet which Tony had repaired at his own cost (which he looked to get reimbursement for – HD was in control of the security deposit funds and refused as Tony was one of the main masterminds). The term rat was levied quite a bit and I am unsure how that whole situation will resolve itself in time for the wedding.

I ate like crap, drank a lot of scotch, saw some drama and really bad fake tits…. it was a bachelor party with all the trimmings.

Pictures:

The weeks following the bachelor party has seen the person referred to as the Human Dumpling in the story almost completely fall of the face of the earth and not return phone calls or eventually call back a week or so later. This person has a role in my wedding, and it has been bumming me out that he has not been involved in the home stretch fun and is adding some stress on my otherwise peaceful path to this wedding.

Allison’s bachelorette’s party seems to have been a very different story. Held in Philadelphia in early September, many of Allison’s friends from out of state came over to help her celebrate, and of course all of the local crew came out to party hard. While Allison was away, I had myself a little party at the house. Nate made a surprise visit, Tarun was annoying, Drew was angry, and both Frank Leones showed up (Reference: Frank Movie) Meanwhile Allison’s friends partied and drank, then Clara showed up and made Allison do a rapid succession of shots (to Andrea’s disapproval), but to her credit, she kept it together (more than I can say for me). The girls got home and partied with the remaining guys (several left at some point to go to a strip club but I don’t seem to remember any of those conversations) and I had a glimpse of what the wedding week is going to look like and I have to say it looked damn good.

The Home Stretch

Vendors must be paid, and checks must be cut, we have to finalize the seating arrangements with the wedding hall. Quick Side Note: We sent invitations to all parts of America and it seems that only Philadelphia managed to lose or deliver our invitations weeks late. The last few weeks we have been going out and doing weeknight social hours with friends and for charities. We hung out with the future inlaws at a wine tasting, good food and conversation was had, seen a lot of Jack and Lorraine, going out to good dinners and concerts, been having good conversations with my parents and my brother in law & sister. I see glimpses of what my life is becoming, it doesn’t look all that different than what came before, but it is a little lighter, a little more… fantastical.

Looking forward to seeing everyone on October 12th.

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The Wedding Blog: Part Two

The last few weeks have been busy on the wedding front and I thought it might be a good time to post updates The wedding blogs are always a change of pace for me since I don’t write with the venom and bile that I love so much. For those keeping track, while the bulk of the work was done, many of the smaller details were left untouched as we focused on dealing with the house. Now that the house has been sorted out, the wedding has come to the fore-front.

The looming issue has been finalizing the menu selections. There has been some potential drama with my family regarding the choices and I needed to “carefully navigate the waters”. Weddings are tricky – you are basically spending someone else hard earned money and I am very mental about it; sometimes you just have to buckle down and make a decision. With that said, the entrees have been selected which cleared the way for us to finalize our invitations.

Invitations have their own tale to tell. One of Allison’s pals agreed to design the “Save the Dates” and the formal invitation. The “Save the Dates” went out with no issue, but I personally felt bad that Allison’s friend was doing this because I know it is a pain in the ass, but she was a trooper and knocked it out. When it came time for the invitations, she was overwhelmed with stuff going on and we had to call in pros. I am not a huge fan of relying on friends and family to do things because people’s time is valuable and I don’t like to impose and I don’t want people thinking I am expecting anything extra… with that said the pros we called were Uncle Flip’s wife Joanie and my cousin Nadia. Joanie and Nadia took care of us and Joanie walked Allison through all the options. Shameless plug time:

Invito
109 N Black Horse Pike
Blackwood, NJ 08012
(609) 517-6098

Something that I find somewhat amusing and somewhat irritating is my family continuing to add people to the guest list. It is getting to the point where there will be at least two tables of people that I either don’t know or I haven’t seen in at least a decade. I don’t get the wedding as a family reunion concept. If you have to introduce your spouse to someone at your wedding, there is a 90% chance that they don’t belong there (that’s just my take on things).

Transportation has been a concern for those staying at the hotel. We don’t want anyone drinking and driving, and we are really pushing everyone to stay at the hotel the night of the wedding so we can extend the fun a few more hours. With that in mind we have been struggling to get a shuttle service as our hotel has committed their services to another event and limo services are more than happy to charge us 500 bucks for 45 minutes worth of work… we are still figuring that one out, but Marie from Celebrations might have come up with a good suggestion.

The DJ has been selected and I had to put the fear of Joe into him. Acts of Assclownery shall not be tolerated. A music blacklist and whitelist is being generated.

The tuxedos have also been selected, and they are damn classy.

We also selected a honeymoon destination. We are over the whole all-inclusive vacations on a beach somewhere, so we opted for San Francisco and the surrounding bay area. We are doing the Napa Valley thing, the national parks, and the city. Party.

Rob, Bill, Nate, and Tony are chugging along with their bachelor party plans and the whole production is keeping me amused. Some things I am allowed to know, other things I need to know because they don’t know, and some stuff is supposed to be a secret (well some of them think that). A general comment about surprises for people over the age of 10… don’t do it. People don’t like surprises and it makes it much harder for everyone.

We are in the final stretches now, we have to finalize the cake and get the marriage papers filled out in August, Allison and I need to finish the ceremony, and the final call on the “Good Looks Jam Session” needs to be made. Stay tuned for part three.

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Wedding Blog: Bachelor Parties

If you have been a frequent reader of this blog, you will know that I am getting married in October of this year (2008). And if you have noticed in the previous blogs, the issues (minor as they may be) we have run into haven’t been between us, it has been with friends and family… but I think that drama is part of the experience. Looking from the outside, one would assume all of the drama comes from the female trenches, but surprisingly, there seems to be an uprising within the groomsmen. Any good captain will tell you that when there is mutiny in the air, you must act quickly and without hesitation…

The issue stems with my preference of bachelor party activities: I don’t want strippers and I don’t want to do a bar crawl. This has made some of my friends quite unhappy. Now don’t get me wrong, I am no prude (which I think is what is pissing off my friends) – we have done plenty of guys nights and bachelor parties with private stripper rooms, we have gotten so drunk we have coated the inside of limos with our bodily fluids, we have had the bar brawls… but that is the problem: we have done it all – a lot.

In September of 1999, my cousin Anthony got a few of his buddies together to explore the cranberry bogs of the Pine Barrens in good ol’ South Jersey. He called it his bachelor party. Sure there was a night with strippers and drunken antics that happened a few weeks later, but for me, the real party happened in the woods, around a camp fire, telling stories and walking around in complete darkness. I have so many fond memories of that weekend (getting to meet some of Anthony’s buddies that I hadn’t met and now look forward to seeing every chance I get) that actually shaped some hobbies I do quite a bit now (that might have been my first weekend camping ever).

At some point in male social interaction evolution, the concept of male bonding took on a homosexual connotation and made good heteros everywhere show their “bro-love” with manly activities such drinking beer, doing shots, smoking, and degrading strippers fearing anything else would look “gay”. Lets break this down:

  1. Smoking – I don’t smoke – anything. I used to smoke cigars on special occasions, but it makes my mouth taste like ground up asshole and I don’t really enjoy it. Yes – I did it because it looked cool, and I just don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks anymore. I am going to take this a step further. I have a lower opinion of you as a human being if you smoke cigarettes. Especially if you are under 40. We all know what that shit does to you, why would anyone do that to themselves? Because you look cool…

    Sure you do.

  2. Drinking – Let me ask my friends to take time out of their schedules (schedules that are a lot fuller now that most of these guys have wives and babies at home) to go out on a bender; A bender that will cost not only money, but will take days to recover from. I have come to the conclusion that people binge drink in groups so they can see their friends get so drunk they do shit they don’t even remember and it can be rubbed it in their faces for the rest of their lives or until they stop talking to the group. Admit it – you pray they pass out at some point so you can do very homosexual things to your pal that five beers ago you would call “ultra-queer”.

    Those blackouts will lead you right into the open arms of…

  3. Strippers – I loves me my naked ladies and all, but really what is the point? Lets all assume that I am a decent human being (I know it is hard), do you think I am really going to get any “champagne room” action going with a stripper on a night celebrating my impending marriage? No? Then what is the point? I don’t want to walk around the rest of “my night” with blue balls. So if the strippers aren’t doing anything for me, the question begs to be asked…

Who’s is this party for?

I can call up two paths of logic for the typical bachelor party:

  • Path One – Your friends get you so drunk that you ending up sticking something you shouldn’t in that stripper and suddenly all of your buddies camera phones are broadcasting live in vista-vision. Smells like a hell of a setup to me. I know my friends aren’t assholes, but you have to wonder what the motive and logic is to plan such an evening
  • Path Two – Your friends know you aren’t going to do jack with the strippers but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to see some titties. Single guy Bob hasn’t been laid in a while so perhaps an extra 50 will get him some relief. Married John’s wife hasn’t been feeling in the mood much since little Johnny came on the scene, John would like to see breasts that are happy to see him (or at least his money) some time this year…

Path 2 is sounding juuuuust right.

So now I get it, this night is about them just as much as it is about me. I can dig that, but I’m still not going to allow myself to be beaten on stage by a girl who has been gang spackled by the Philadelphia Eagle’s defensive line (for those of you who didn’t get that reference, here is a simple formula to help you understand: Pro Football Player + Stripper = Making it rain dollars on them hoes Pacman Jones style).

All hygiene concerns aside, I’d like to think of my bachelor party as a natural progression of my social evolution: A little more refined, and a lot more meaning. For those who have issues, I say trust me, we will have a good time. Those who are looking forward to it, you should, because it is going to be something I hope you will (and can) remember for a long time.

ADDED NOTE:

So it is a few days later and I had a conversation with my cousin about this post. Anthony’s logic regarding bachelor parties is that isn’t about you. He disagrees with the idea, but feels it is about everybody else.

But it seems to me that every facet of this wedding has to consider somebody else’s feelings (and I am not talking about Allison). Mind you have I haven’t necessarily given into other’s whims, but I am starting to buckle under the weight of considering everyone’s opinions (its not one wolf that takes you down, it is the pack). Perhaps these people are the raw materials and the wedding is the formula to creating a new family. Like any good experiment it kicks off with a massive chemical reaction.

Enough bitching. It is what is is.

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The Wedding Blog: Part One

In February of 2007 I officially called an end to my single life: Allison and I got engaged. This came as a surprise to no-one. It also came as no surprise that we almost immediately started to plan the wedding. Truth be told, we were doing research before we even got engaged. I have been itching to do a blog about the wedding planning and experiences with the wedding for a while, but I thought it best to wait and let the story ferment a bit and let some patterns develop. Now that the year is almost up, I figure now is a good a time as any to do a “Part One”.

Section One: The Wedding Ceremony

Allison and I are both moral people, but we do not follow the path of organized churches. This was something we brought up very early in the relationship and made sure we were on the same page, because religious friction is something that no relationship needs on top of the other stuff that goes on in life. Thankfully for me, Allison shared the same views on life, organized religion, and the general path to happiness. While Allison may have shared my values, our parents followed a more traditional Italian-American path.

This is a moment where a person needs to separate themselves from intellectual agnostic with a cause (and a chip on their shoulder about the whole scene) to someone who can listen to other’s views, accept them, but still hold true to your beliefs. The bottom line is that when you do not follow someone’s belief patterns, things can get awkward, but if you behave like an adult and try not to offend, the results can be peaceful and respectful (they aren’t going to be perfect). We had a frank conversation with the parents and basically got it to the point where we said, “if this conversation continues, it is going to offend someone – we can respect your faith, but we don’t follow it.” The funny part is that I started writing this blog a few days ago and last night the religion situation came up again with Allison’s parents. My comments still hold true, but it ultimatly comes down to belief and preference; one thing I will concretely comment on is that I very low tolerance for people when they tell me I will find my way “to the church” again. I will say it now, and I will say it 30 years from now, the Catholic church is a spineless, child-molesting, anti-female, rotten organization and I have no desire to ever become “part of the flock” again. If you believe in what they are selling, more power to you – I hope it brings you peace and happiness, just don’t expect me to agree with you in any way.

The idea of a church wedding seems very off to me, and I know Allison feels the same way. If there is picture book cliché about a wedding, assume that we are going to be running in the opposite direction. It isn’t that we think it is wrong, it is just be done too many times before, and no thought is being put into the actions. The ceremony is just a robotic event people just wait to get through to be rewarded with food and drink. We didn’t want that which is why we are basically writing an entirely new ceremony from the ground up.

Going off the path with wedding ceremonies can be a little dicey. First, you need to find a place that isn’t a church to perform the ceremony. We decided to go with the reception hall. This cuts down on travel and there is a bit of a cost reduction because it eliminates the need to book limos (keeping it green baby!). Now that we have a place, we needed to find someone to make this whole situation legal… well this part is still a work in progress. If you aren’t going to use a priest or a reverend to perform the ceremony, that leaves you with a judge or a wedding officiant. A wedding officiant is someone who gets certified to perform weddings by an alternate, non denominational church – which means to me they aren’t judgmental and set in their ways. We are having a bit of an issue with the officiant option because Bucks County, Pa (which is where we are getting married) might ban anyone who isn’t a judge, priest, or “normal” reverend from doing ceremonies – basically they are cutting out the little guy. We actually met with an officiant and she is a really nice lady, but once we started telling her our ideas and modifying her ceremony, I think I scared her, and hurt her feelings. But we shall see how that goes.

Section Two: The Reception Hall

As I mentioned in section one, we are having our wedding ceremony at the reception hall. The funny things is that I pretty much knew where I was having my wedding reception if I indeed had a wedding in the tri-state area. Celebrations in Bensalem, Pa is a Lombardi family tradition. My cousins Clara, Joey, Paulette, my Uncle Flip, and my own sister had their weddings at Celebrations, which of course lends itself to better customer service and better deals since we have a very good relationship with the management. With that being said, I kind of view having my wedding there as a sellout move, because this was entirely a financially motivated decision, but hey, weddings are a total rip off, and there is no way to avoid it.

Originally, Allison and I had the intention of having a destination wedding. While some members of both families were very into the idea, many expressed their opinions and concerns on not being able to go due to travel restrictions and cost. The idea was ultimately scrapped when it was confirmed that Allison’s grandparents would not be able to make the trip. While I would preferred a destination wedding over the traditional, there are not as many benefits as you would expect:

1. You have to be at the location for a certain amount of days before you can get married. Jamaica is like 48 hours, but Mexico is three full days (which adds to your cost).

2. Traditional wedding receptions cost more, but they also add a financial buffer as guests are likely to give gifts (the rule of thumb with destination weddings is that gifts are not expected or encouraged since your guests have a large travel budget)

3. The tropics (Jamaica, Turks & Caicos, Mexico, Aruba) are not as cheap as you would think. I called almost all of the resorts, and assuming we had 35 guests coming (and you try to have something private after the ceremony), it was going to easily cost S13,000.00 out of pocket. Now while this beats the US wedding average of $26,000.00 – you are alienating friends and family and reducing your cost-offsetting gift intake.

Also, lets face it – the beach wedding is becoming a monster cliché in itself, so there is no winning from a financial or artistic perspective.

Section Three: Photographers

I am going to be honest here.. I think wedding photography is an enormous rip off. You are going to spend 2,000 – 6,000 for a person to move around and take pictures of your drunk ass family on your wedding. I know Allison and I aren’t going to be going back and revisiting the day in picture form any time soon, but I can’t speak for 50 year old Joey, so I doing him a solid and getting it taken care of. We called over a dozen photographers in the area, weeded 9 out on cost and over the phone personality, and met with three. We loved the first guy – he had vision and a sense of humor. The other two companies were amateurish at best: their shots were weak, they were lacking vision, and didn’t come off as professional. So we went back to the first guy who also had the best prices.

Bottom line is that unless you get your aunt who took a digital photography class last month and fancies herself a photographer, you are going to be in the hole for at least 2,000 (remember, there is tax).

Section Four: The Wedding Party

I had a hell of a time picking my wedding party and I haven’t completely resolved some of my issues. In 2004, I was the best man in three weddings and you would think that would make everyone a lock for my crew, but I decided to base my decision to include certain people based on their interactions with Allison. One of my buddies who I talk to, but we don’t see much, and has had very little interaction with Allison, I couldn’t see including in the party. But my friend Bill who spent a ton of time with Allison (even without me) has been asked to be a best man (yes I am having two) even though it would have been easier on paper to return the honor to one of my other friends. I have to say all of my guys have been incredibly cool about the best man (everyone assumed my friend Rob would get the solo spot), but I am close with everyone in my party and I want to spread around the responsibilities to suit everyone’s strong points.

My party has eight guys right now (and I haven’t asked the last guy yet because we thought one of the girls might back out), and I honestly wish I could have done more, but it has to end at some point, but the joy of writing your own wedding ceremony means you can give people jobs to do. So be on the look out.

Upcoming Fun

In the upcoming months, Allison and I have to finalize the menu and get both sets of parents to agree on the costs, pick a DJ (a profession I cannot stand), get the invitations going (and “save the date” notices), pick the officiant, determine where the honeymoon will be (I will share the awesome decision matrix Allison worked up when we get to that), and a million other things… watch as we manage to get it all done without becoming that “stressed out couple getting married”. or at least I hope.

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