Sex Ed in Higher Ed

College instructor teaching human sexuality rants about the dumbing down of America, the lost art of manners, grammar and (the perfect combination of both) the thank you note. Also includes random rants about life, pet peeves, and sometimes raves about favorite things.

Monday, April 24, 2006

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

No, not that time of the year. That time of the year. I’ve been holding out on you, dear readers. I have a dirty little secret. (My apologies to The All-American Rejects.) Because being a doc student and teaching fellow doesn’t exactly pay the big bucks, I have a part-time job or two. Or twelve. This time of year, my gig is wedding planner’s assistant. I have a friend, let’s call her Saint Fifi, (with the emphasis on SAINT because that’s what you need to be in order to work with brides), who is a wedding/event planner. I have known her for 8 years now, and have helped her out on a semi-regular basis for 7 of those years.

I had planned to post today on two of the weddings I worked this weekend, but I decided that first, we must engage in that age-old tradition, “The De-Bunking of the Myths.” Because with wedding planning, there are many myths. Let us debunk them now.

Myth #1: Wedding planning is exactly like that J-Lo movie, The Wedding Planner. Let me be clear: Cinderella is less of a fairy tale than The Wedding Planner. If that’s what a wedding planner did on a regular basis, I’d throw this whole school bullshit to the wind and open up my own shop.

Myth #2: Wedding planning is glamorous. Anyone who thinks this has never had to help the 90-year-old grandmother of the bride put on her pantyhose. Perhaps the darkest moment of my life. And also, my yardstick for workplace angst. No matter how crazy my life gets, or how annoying and exasperating my students can be, I stop and ask myself, “Self, is this worse than putting on someone else’s grandmother’s pantyhose?” and the answers, to this point, have been, “Nope, not even close.” The day that the answer is, “Yeah, it’s pretty much the same,” I am out of there, wherever “there” happens to be.

Myth #3: Wedding planning is fun. Like attending parties for a living. Well, I guess this one could be true, depending on who you are, and what you usually do at parties. If, for example, at parties, you might be found:

  • Putting cover-stick on a zit on the bride’s father’s forehead
  • Scuffing up other people’s new shoes outside on the sidewalk so they don’t trip down the aisle
  • Holding a sweaty, screaming 4-year-old flower girl who is hungry and needs a nap while her mother ignores you, hits on the 22-year-old groomsman and pretends you’re the babysitter
  • Fending off the advances of drunken ushers and groomsmen all the while being gracious and polite because they think that part of what you’re “paid” to do is make them seem fascinating (hmm . . . similarities between wedding planners and Heidi Fleiss . . . could be?)
  • Convincing the wasted, anorexic and extremely wealthy aunt of the bride that you’re not, in fact, the same blonde who took her coat earlier that evening (because you weren’t even there, but that’s another story) and are not refusing to give it back to her just to be rude
  • Begging drunk guests to be patient just TEN minutes longer because you cannot send a 50-person shuttle back to the hotel with 12 people on it
  • Listening politely to the mother-of-the-bride express her dissatisfaction with the color of the hand-soap dispensers in the women’s bathroom
  • Convincing the hotel manager (for the third time) that they don’t need to call 911 – the flower girl and ring bearer are just a little high-spirited and you will do your best to keep them away from the house phones (again) and you have, honestly, explained to them that dialing 911 is not a good game,

Then yes, I guess wedding planning is a lot like attending parties for a living. Begging, groveling, listening politely, standing on your feet while wearing high heels and "party clothes" and apologizing for things over which you have no control not for you? Then neither is wedding planning.
Stay Tuned for Part II.



Blogger liberalbanana said...

Have I mentioned how much I hate weddings? Because I hate weddings. Planning them would make me want to kill myself.

April 24, 2006 2:39 PM  
Blogger Antique Mommy said...

I can't even imagine. Great post. Can't wait for Part II.

April 24, 2006 2:54 PM  
Blogger Jess Riley said...

Oh wow, does that sound unpleasant. I'm with Banana on the whole wedding thing. Looking forward to reading Part II, however!

April 24, 2006 3:43 PM  
Blogger Chris Field said...

Great insight. Sounds like you've been around a wedding or two. I have been around two. One too many. My own would have been enough, thank you very much.

April 25, 2006 10:50 AM  
Blogger Art Nerd Lauren said...

I think that anyone who has to work with brides for a living should be sainted. Or knighted. Or exorcised, because they're obvious in some kind of relationship with the devil. That's the only way they'd be that crazy.

Mine was enough!

April 25, 2006 1:21 PM  
Anonymous sweatpantsmom said...

I, for one, love weddings, but would probably make a horrible wedding planner. I'd just have to tell that granny to put on her own damn pantyhose. Unless she was my own grandma, in which case I would just politely hand her a pair of knee-highs.

April 26, 2006 2:30 PM  
Anonymous edj said...

ROFL! My husband was a wedding photographer for a couple of seasons. People would say, "Oh weddings are such happy occasions" and after turning quietly aside to puke in a bush, he would make some comment about the combination of a woman and her mother on the most expensive and stressful day of their lives, and how much fun it was to spend time with them.
I hope you survive and they pay you well!

May 08, 2006 2:34 PM  

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