12 Steps Down the Aisle:

A guy’s guide to wedding planning

By David Volk
For Seattle Bride

Traditionally, wedding planning has been the primary responsibility of the bride—and I'm not quite sure why. Maybe it's because women have a higher tolerance for pain, greater endurance or because they just like pastels better than men.

Whatever the excuse, it is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Now that women hold jobs in almost every previously male-dominated field (except for sumo wrestling), I believe men should stand up and assert their rights to plan their own weddings. Although many women believe this would be a recipe for disaster, I disagree. I think if guys were left in charge, the whole process would take far less time, possibly 90 days because we do things faster—like getting lost, running out of gas, and jumping to conclusions. Let me take your fiance through the steps, man-style, in 90 days.

Step #1: Throw away the directions.

No matter what you do, never read wedding planning guides. After all, we're guys. We don't read instruction manuals.

Step #2: Determine the size of your wedding.

This step isn't easy because women use words differently than guys. Consider the word “small.” Guys think 25 people, women think 100 and wedding planners view it as any number under 200. Allow two days to discuss the merits of eloping.

Step #3: Choose a place (otherwise known as driving around).

Hint: It's bad form to get married in the bar where you met. Instead, pick a place that speaks to you and has special significance.

But keep in mind this doesn't always work, because it is apparently supposed to be a collaborative process. I wanted to have the ceremony at the New Orleans warehouse where Mardi Gras floats are built. My fiancée vetoed the idea because we aren't from New Orleans and don't live there.

I was hard-pressed to see her point.

Allow five days to work this out.

Step #4: Pick a person to perform the wedding.

Just like with your wife, it's important to pick someone you're comfortable with and who has played an important part in your life. Wedding etiquette prevents you from choosing strippers, former girlfriends or the friend who ended up getting you arrested as a result of that bizarre fraternity hazing incident involving a goat. Instead, think rabbi, priest, judge or starship captain. Allow three days to make this decision.

Step #5: Composing the invitation list. Hide all the pointy objects before you have this discussion.

Although we wanted only 150 people, our in-laws list included135. Fortunately, we compromised, they cut it to 125 and we each got to invite12.5 people. Allow two days for discussion, five for litigation

Step #6: Choose the invitations.

Apparently, it's not OK to call people and say, "I'm getting married in a couple of weeks. So, you want to attend?" Instead, it's best to pick a tasteful card with cursive calligraphy, more inserts than the phone bill and liberal use of the phrase "RSVP" even though no one knows what it means. Remember, pictures of doves, wedding bells and rings, good. Mariners picture, bad. Allow three days to pick the right one. Printing will take the rest of your life.

Step #7: Mail the invitations.

Allow one week to get them in your car, another week to stop by the post office.

Step #8: Register for gifts.

If you don't want to spend months returning ugly picture frames, go to a store and list gifts you want so people will know what to get. Although Archie McPhee's and hardware stores have registries, fiancées usually prefer crystal and china over lawn flamingos and power tools. Go with it. Allow a week unless the store gives you a scanner gun. Resist the urge to scan your future spouse.

Step #9: Choose members of the bridal party.

This is where you can rely on that guy who got you arrested. Children are also a nice touch. If you and your fiancée have nieces who would make cute flower girls, don't use both. Instead, you should hold a World Wrestling Federation-style flower girl Smackdown! and sell tickets (the admission fees will help cover wedding costs). Allow a week to get in touch with bridal party members and another week to generate publicity for the Smackdown!

Step #10: Interview suppliers.

Cake tasting should be done early and often, you should yank the chains of high-strung artiste photographers and you should tell florist candidates you want a tire centerpiece on each table just to get a reaction. Allow a month for this task.

Step #11: Arrange your rehearsal dinner.

I'm not sure why people have to rehearse eating, they just do. Allow one week.

Step #12: Plan your honeymoon.

Costa Rica, good. Bayonne, New Jersey, bad. Allow one week.

OK, I admit it, this schedule takes a bit more than 90 days (92 to be exact), but wedding planning always takes longer than you think (women already know this, by the way). Remember, if this looks too daunting, you can always hire a wedding planner.