things to do

When people say “How are the wedding plans coming along?” I say “Umm… fine,” because they are coming along fine, I think, but then the plans themselves start swirling in my head and I fall into a daze. The wedding is now less than three weeks away, and there are a lot of little things to do. Lots of little things to remember.

How do you pin down a plan daze? By making a list.

Here’s my list, for people who sincerely want to know how the plans are coming along:

1. Get rings. Even though we don’t actually intend to wear wedding rings for the rest of our lives, we should have them for the ceremony, I think. So we need to buy a couple. We were supposed to go to Harwin for them last weekend, but that didn’t end up happening. Worst case scenario: we get them at Wal-Mart the night before, or make them from aluminum foil.

2. Get marriage license. We have to do that more than three days before, but less than 30 days before. Or something like that. Something with a timeline, which I’m not good at keeping in my mind. So I put it on my Outlook calendar and it’ll pop up when it’s time. Outlook calendar is the external hard drive of my brain.

3. Get more Xmas lights. Remember I told y’all about the fairyland thing? My cousin’s getting flowers and special “gazebo lights,” but we’re supplementing with white xmas lights and other secret ingredients I can’t tell you about yet.

4. Situate the cake. The cake lady was pretty breezy, last time I talked to her. I said, “Do you need me to give you a deposit or fill out a formal order form?” She said, “Your cake is small, so you can just pay me cash the day of. We’ll talk closer to the wedding and work out the details.” That made me a little bit nervous, so I put it on my Outlook calendar. (“Think about cake” with two-week reminder.) Now I’m a little more nervous because… because…

because I’d told her pina colada cake with pineapple filling, okay? First of all. Because that’s what my son suggested, and I didn’t really have a strong opinion about it.

Then… ( I wasn’t going to tell y’all this story online, or at least not in this entry, but here it goes. Apologies if you already heard it in real life, especially if I told it to you while drinking.) Dat, my beloved fiance, told me a couple of weeks ago that he’d spoken to his dad, and that his dad had asked about a few things regarding the wedding. And… Okay, I’m just gonna say it here. I’m just gonna reveal my own personal last bastion of sexism, which is that men don’t know how to plan weddings or negotiate family issues. Ever. At all. Not as well as women do, I mean. Not for their own weddings, at least. I know most of y’all married women reading this know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, go ahead and think I’m a jerk, but be glad you don’t know. So… here’s our conversation. I’m just gonna paraphrase it here and let y’all see what went down. Keep in mind, for purposes of the story, that English is Dat’s parent’s fifth or sixth language, so I can’t necessarily just call them and hash these things out on my own.

Dat: My dad said my mom said she could get us a cake, if we didn’t already have one.

Me: Oh, really? [Thinking “Wow, they’re really getting into it.”]

Dat: Yeah, he said my mom’s friend knows this really good bakery, and she could get a really nice cake. She said it might be nice to have an Asian cake, since, you know, the old Asian people might not be able to eat American cake, since it’s too sweet. So my mom was all excited and wanted to buy us a cake.

Me: That’s cool. That’s so nice…

Dat: So I told my dad to tell her no, since you already ordered a cake.

Me: What?

Dat: I said to tell her no thanks.

Me: What??? Dat! Call your parents right now and tell them we would love to have the cake and we’re very happy they offered! Jesus. Call them right now! Hurry!

Dat: But you already ordered the cake. Are you gonna cancel the order?

Me: No. Tell them… tell them we ordered the American cake, but that we still need to get a groom’s cake and were still looking for a good one, but that the Asian cake will be perfect for that.

Dat: But they don’t even know what a groom’s cake is.

Me: Then EXPLAIN IT to them. Tell them it’s an honor to provide it, and tell them it’s supposed to be representative of the groom’s personality, and that his mother is therefore the perfect person to pick it out, and that we’re so, so happy that she wants to do that for us.

Dat: [Sighing, looking bewildered.] Okay.

Me: Call them now!

Dat: I will. Oh, another thing… This is funny. My dad asked me what religion you are.

Me: What?

Dat: He said my mom’s best friend Mai [not her real name] wants to know what religion you are, because she wants to give you some gift or something, but she needs to make sure you’re the same religion as her. Or something. Funny, huh?

Me: What religion is she? She’s Buddhist, right?

Dat: No, she’s Catholic.

Me: Oh. Well, so you told your dad I’m Catholic, too, right?

Dat: No. [Smiling proudly now.] I told him you were no religion, just like me.

Me: What the… What the eff?? Dat! Why did you tell him that? Why didn’t you just say I was Catholic??

Dat: Because… uh… I wanted him to know that part of the reason we love each other is that we’re not religious, and we respect each other for not giving in to societal pressure and…

Me: Dat!! Jesus Christ!!! Call your dad right now and tell him I’m Catholic! God! Now they’re gonna think I’m Baptist or something! Jesus!

Dat: But what does it matter? You’re not…

Me: Baby, they don’t care if I go to church. They’re trying to find out more about me. Catholic means something way different from the other Christianities. Come on. You should know that! Jesus. Now they probably think I’m Baptist*… Oh, my God… Who knows what they think? I need to start watching you to make sure….

Dat: Well, I told my dad you were raised Catholic, but that now you’re like me.

Me: Oh! What’d he say?

Dat: He said okay. I think he just told my mom you were Catholic, even though I told him not to.

Me: Okay. Thank God.

Dat: [Long pause, then bravely speaking up.] I don’t get why it’s such a big deal.

Me: No, I know. You don’t. Listen – from now on, you ask me before you tell them anything. Go call your dad right now and tell him about the cake. I’m gonna sit next to you and make sure you don’t mess it up.

* Nothing against Baptists or other Protestants – y’all know I love you just as much as every other religion… but y’all also know how it rolls with old people and religion, especially at wedding time. You don’t want to misrepresent, and Baptist and Catholic are, in my mind, probably less alike than Catholic and Buddhist. It’s all in the idols and the incense, you understand.

So you either read that and felt my frustration, or you didn’t. I told that story to our friends June and Vivek (who are cross-ethnic wedding veterans) over the weekend. Vivek said, “It’s kind of like PR, isn’t it?” I said, “Exactly. I need Dat to represent my brand.” June said, “I don’t get it. I would have said exactly what Dat said.” And I was like, “Look, y’all can rebel against your parents on your own time. But right now, I need faithful representation of my brand!”

Back to the cake thing… So, when Dat’s mom said she’d get an Asian cake, I kind of assumed it’d be taro flavored. But then June heard my story and said, “She’s gonna get a pineapple cake, then, I guess.”

And now I’m thinking I need to call my cake lady and switch my cake from pineapple to… I don’t know. That’s what I have to decide. Italian cream and raspberry? That’s what I need to figure out.

5. Order goi. I think that’s how it’s spelled. Dat’s parents and my cousin Helen are going to make all the food except the goi. We have to have goi (not least because I love it) so I have to remember to order some.

6. “Hair appt.” I’m putting it in quotes because that’s a whole other ball of wax – another thing that shouldn’t have been a big deal but that’s becoming a big deal the farther we get into this. I didn’t want to get my hair done, but then I decided I’d go ahead… partially because my salon peeps are so very excited about the fact that we’re getting married, and they really want to do my hair. You’ll remember, long-time readers, that the woman who cuts Dat’s hair, Linh, believes that she’s the reason Dat and I are getting married. So we told them about the wedding, and they got excited, and Linh said Lan should do my hair, and I said okay… but then Lan said she wanted to do my makeup, too.

And I said okay. But then we drove home and Dat said, “I’m scared they’re gonna do your makeup all hardcore Asian wedding style.” Which, I think, means frosty eyeshadow. So I want to get my hair done and maybe my makeup too, but first I have to find a good picture of the exact look I’m going for, so Lan knows not to veer into iridescent territory.

And then… I don’t know. It’s a long drive over to their salon, and I don’t even know what I’m going to be doing on the morning of my wedding day yet. At first I thought I’d just do nothing – clean up the house a little and then throw on my dress and then get married real fast and then eat cake. But then my friend Ashley said something about this being the day that I get married for the rest of my life. And then I kind of started thinking that I needed to do something. Something girly or womanly or just female, I mean. Something ritualistic. We’re not having a bachelorette party – I put my foot down on that one. But maybe I need to go to a salon and have them smear mud and hot rocks on me. Maybe I need to go to a café with a couple of friends and do slam books or something. You know? Dat says he’s going to spend the morning making sushi, which makes me feel guilty. But, then again, if Dat weren’t already used to cooking stuff while I’m freaking out over superstitious beliefs, then he wouldn’t be asking me to marry him now, would he?

So, my list says “hair appt,” but that’s shorthand for “figure out a meaningful yet not-stressful ritual to mark this momentous occurrence in my womanly life.”

7. Buy liquor. That’s the part I’m looking forward to, actually.

8. Flowers. My cousin Helen is being awesome enough to buy us flowers, but I need to get with her and make decisions on that. We need real flowers and fake flowers. My dress has peach flowers. We have a gazebo thing. Those are the parameters.

9. Paint front door. Our front door needs painting. It’s currently ‘90s Hunter Green. We need to paint it for the wedding, anyway, so we figure why not just go ahead and paint it red and make Dat’s parents feel lucky? (Red door = luck. I swear Dat’s parents aren’t hardcore religious/superstitious, though. I think it’s the Catholic in me… I think “A little extra superstition can’t hurt.”)

10. Finish remodeling the effing bathroom.

11. Shoes, jewelry. Earlier in the process, I felt confident that, on the morning of the wedding, I’d open my closet and find at least one pair of shoes among the zillions in there that coordinate with my dress. Now I’m thinking I need to open my closet a few days ahead of time and make certain. Same with the jewelry. Either I have something, or I need to go to Harwin and snag some faux pearls.

12. Teeth cleaning. My future brother-in-law is a dentist.

13. Rory and Dallas outfits. Josh has an outfit because I found him a nice shirt on clearance at Macy’s last month. Rory and Dallas need outfits. Nice shirts, I mean. They grow so fast that I have to buy them new outfits for every special occasion that comes along. Come to think of it, I’d better check Josh’s new shirt and make sure he hasn’t grown out of it already.

14. Cash for judge. We don’t need it until the big day, but I don’t want to forget. Maybe I should put it in Outlook….

15. Make playlists. We need three playlists, I think. One for the ceremony, one full of mellow music for the early part of the evening, and one full of faster music for when everybody’s drinking. Ironically, that’s the part I’m most worried about. I’m worried that Dat and I will disagree and have a traditional pre-wedding blow-out over how many Delerium songs are too many. (I’m saying now that one is plenty. But I’ll freely admit that Dat might make the same argument about Pavement.)

16. Figure out the tea ceremony. We’re having a tea ceremony, all of a sudden. Which is good – his parents want us to do the traditional Asian thing, which means they consider this a real wedding and not a rebelious whim (heh). But so far I only have Dat’s explanation of the tea ceremony, which means I know nothing at all and need to figure it all out asap.

17. Appetizers. My dad says he can’t eat Vietnamese food because it reminds him of being in the Vietnam war. Most of our food will actually be more Chinese, and we’re going to have brisket and American cake, but I think I need to throw in some appetizers, too, just in case. I need something classy that I don’t have to mess with too much. I’m hoping Specs has something nice that doesn’t cost too much. Otherwise, I guess I’ll have the kids make pigs in blankets.

18. Situate the coolers. Party people know what I’m talking about. One for drinks, one for clean ice. Find the coolers. Clean them. Put them in the right places. Dat already thought ahead and got us a classy new ice scoop. He’s a good man. He’s gonna make a good husband.

19. Update my blog with wedding status so people who are interested can go read about it. At least I can cross off one thing, now.

20. Think up some way to thank everyone who’s contributing. I could thank them here, but that’s not enough. I will thank them here, though. I love y’all — everyone who’s helping or offering to help or even just sending good vibes and wishes. We feel it all, and we appreciate it.

And that’s about it. That’s my list – Dat has his own, I think. It says something like “buy a small snake to clear out that plumbing in the attic,” whatever that means, and fifteen or twenty other things.

I think it’s all under control. I think it’s gonna be good. I’m excited. I can’t wait.

Be Sociable, Share!
Posted in wedding stuff on 05/04/2009 10:28 am

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.