I’d like to take you back to my wedding just over two years ago. Actually, let’s go back about six months before that, sometime in the fall. During the planning stages for the wedding, like many grooms, I had a secondary role. I wasn’t terribly concerned about the photographer, the florist, the centerpieces on each table, or which crazy relatives weren’t going to get an invite.
Actually, I did care about all that stuff – however, I wasn’t willing to do any work for it. I just told my wife, “When interviewing the photog, just get a GOOD one. Same for the flower person. Gotta run – Joey is on. No, the show is great, why?”
I only cared about three things – the food, the band, and… Okay, two things. I’m sure there was a third. Anyway, for some reason I knew that one of my only absolute duties (read: not going to be done for me by my wife) was to select, inform, and confirm my wedding party. The initial selection had been done months ago with the wife. You have to match up both sides with a same number of guys and girls. It’s a symmetry thing, I think.
So, with that done, I had only one remaining task – to tell the men they were, in fact, selected. However, this is kind of a weird thing, because you can’t just tell someone, “Hey, you’re in the wedding party. Congrats!” You have to do this sort-of-fakey thing where you ask them first, they fawn excitement and shock, and then they say, “Of course. I’d be honored!” Next, I think you hug. Or watch SportsCenter together. All I know is it involves real connection and emotion. This terrifies me.
I just couldn’t bring myself to ask these guys to be in the wedding. I know it’s stupid, considering I have known everyone in the party (with the exception of Christina’s brother and dad) since high school or before. But I just couldn’t do it. However, it had to get done. So I pushed it off a few months, like any regular American faced with fear and responsibility.
But then, Joey gets canceled. Bullshit, I know. Don’t get me off-track. I wrote some letters. Anyway, I was faced with the cold reality that my wedding party, which I had so carefully and thoughtfully selected, didn’t know they were in the wedding. Now, if you’re having a wedding down at the local American Legion in the so-so part of town, and all your buddies live within the county limit, it’s not a huge deal. Just tell them to show up in a few Saturdays with a tux.
But our wedding was in California, and only three of the eight guys lived there. The rest lived in Illinois. We’re talking airfare, time off work, hotels, car rentals, etc. There’s a lot involved. So, with five months until the wedding, it was time to act.
Like nearly everything else I’ve done in my life to avoid real responsibility, I knew that a good joke lets you get away with just about anything. I actually sat and thought hard about how I could accomplish this task of informing my wedding party without dealing with anyone directly. I know this sounds insane, but to me it was the only way. So, after a week or two, it hit me.
You don’t have to “ask” anyone at all, if you send them correspondence that announces they’re selected.
It’s like a jury duty summons. You don’t ask questions – you just show up. Brilliant, right? Plus, if you make the annoucement funny, people are less likely to bail. Here’s what I did. I got some t-shirts made – those really super lame ones you see bouncers at crappy bars wear that say “STAFF” on the back. But not just any t-shirt. A really tight, effeminate one where the sleeves are cut a little too high, and you can make out a dude’s areolas. Then, I bought one size smaller than what you would normally wear. I didn’t even make one for myself. They were that bad.
The Actual Shirt
Oh, and I forgot the best part. I messed up the date. Well, not really. My wife and I accidentally scheduled our wedding on Easter. Nobody caught it (not the wedding planner, the Biltmore staff, our folks, friends, anyone) until two days after I placed the t-shirt order. And I wasn’t going to drop another $20 on each guy for a t-shirt they were never going to wear. Screw that.
So, while it says “March” in the picture, we didn’t get married until April. Thanks, Easter Bunny. And Jesus.
Then, I made a form letter. I circled what role each man had been selected to fulfill and wrote a few jokes in the liner. Then, I shipped out all individually. Now, here’s the really sad part. Had I just made the phone calls, they would have taken, what, maybe an hour tops? And that’s with bullshitting around about someone’s job and who they think is going to win American Idol, and other stuff before you even get to the wedding thing. I probably spent an hour on each guy just with the shirt, writing the form, the jokes, packing and mailing the whole thing. But it my warped mind, I had won. I successfully avoided calling even one guy. What a moron I am.
Anyway, there are a few good jokes in each letter, and I still think the whole idea was rather brilliant. I’m proud of it. You can judge for yourself.
Click on each man’s head to read their personalized form letter.
|Brett Thomas Henderson||Justin Michael Penn||David Allan Ribando|
|John Carter Chapman||Justin David Ullman||Carl Ivar Johnson|
|Lowell Curtis Johnson||Del Joaquin Paris Jr.|
It actually worked out pretty well. Everyone accepted, showed up, did their part, and seemed to have a great time. Some even got to meet Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath bassist) whose kid got married in the room next to us. All in all, a fantastic night.