Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Common Sense for the Committed by Mr. Pineapple

First, let's just get this out of the way. I already get a lot of grief from my friends (and the Best Man is consistently first in line, daily) for being known as Mr. Pineapple. And, while it's certainly nothing I'll be inviting my softball teammates to use when listing me in the weekly lineup, I'm happy to be a (very small) part of this community and thankful for all that it's given to Miss P.

So, why am I taking a chance writing in this space where I am clearly not the target market? Easy. The target market (you) has a common interest/love/problem of a fiance, significant other, or emergency date for a friend's wedding. I fall in that category, and I have made some very stupid (albeit generally innocent enough) mistakes in the last eight-ish months of wedding planning. Your other half shouldn't say those things. And, while context is king (and/or queen) in all relationships, there are probably a few lessons learned in the Pineapple household that can help out anyone.

1. The light's always right.
Miss P is the dedicated designer of all print media associated with our nuptials. One day, during our bus ride home, she wanted to show me the proofs. I thought it best to wait until we got home where we'd have a nice, big dining room table to spread out the cards and plenty of light. I was wrong. It doesn't matter where you are, dummy. Just say yes. I'll give you (and me) the benefit of the doubt, here - you're excited about all of this to some degree, even it's just because she's excited. So, say yes. And be careful not to drop those proofs on the floor.

2. Knowing she's the expert isn't enough.
I have the privilege of being engaged to a designer, and a damn good one at that. She's also a photographer. So, when someone like that (or her other photography/design kin) is asking for my input, it's easy to feel like an idiot (I've become used to it in all facets of my life, not just in these interactions). "I'm the only one in the room who's not a photographer, so just tell me where to stand and I'll do it," is a remarkably self-aware and cooperative statement, don't you think? Well, try harder. A couple of suggestions here and there go a long way, even if you know bridesmaids, family, and other friends are better at all of this. Be a springboard for her brainstorming. You may even find a detail or concept that is really important to you. I wholeheartedly trust all of her ideas/decisions about the decor, the invites, all of it. She trusts that my differing opinion or other suggestion(s) show a bigger investment in the end product. So, win-win.

3. Filter your pie hole, Pie Hole.
Inertia. It's a law of physics. The first law. It happens. Even in wedding planning. Learn to handle it. Your timeline, assuming it's more than the "Hey, this happy hour was great; let's get married in twenty at the MGM Grand Chapel" version, is going to have periods of a lot of planning and other periods that are slower. There will be waiting. There will be time to be patient and thankful that there are weeks when a payment isn't due, a coordinator doesn't need to be called, and a hotel doesn't need to hear from you. Trust in that fact.

Trust in it, dear reader, so steadfastly that the words "Can we not talk about weddings for one night?" never ever ever cross your lips. It won't matter how bad your day (week, month, etc.) has been at work. It won't matter that your friendly bus driver has been replaced by a mongoose with a Red Bull IV and a love for demo derby. And your witchy next door neighbor with a strange attachment to that specific on-street parking spot doesn't count, either. None of those reasons will do. So don't say it. Some days, The Wedding will develop a mind of its own, and it will control her. Some days, though she won't admit this for years, she'll have Wedding Fever. It's like Buck Fever in the corners of the world (like Western PA) where deer hunting is king. Guys with Buck Fever will shoot a rifle (a rifle!) at their best friend if they get too obsessed (and his buddy mistakingly leaves the Blaze Orange jumpsuit in the truck). Be thankful she's only shooting questions, photos, and other wedding-theme-colored paraphernalia in your direction. The bullets will only start flying if you say something stupid.

As much as I've just rambled, the three core lessons in there are clutch. It won't take much to show her that you care, but that little bit will show a lot. And, if you step back from it, she probably pretends to care about random sporting events and fantasy leagues more than you realize. To your advantage, you're not pretending. Just be smart about it.

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