Illustration by James Callahan
As a groom, I think the best way to help with wedding planning is to stay out of it as best you can. Play stupid if you must. For instance, my bride-to-be recently asked which color tablecloths we should have at the reception. I acted like I didn't know what a table was.
As men, it is our duty to go along with everything she says and simply show up for the big day: the day you fill out the Gift Registry. Because make no mistake — she loves you, but not as much as the prospect of new dinnerware.
The Gift Registry is the American experience at its finest and most materialistic: picking out things you want and instructing people to buy those things for you. It's probably the only time you'll get to do such a thing, unless you plan on having more than one wedding in your life. Personally, I'm pretty good with just one. (Unless I don't get everything I want from Crate & Barrel the first time around.)
How fun is filling up the Gift Registry? On a fun-ness scale, I'd rank it below riding a roller coaster with your best friends as many times as you want, but above getting a tooth pulled without anesthesia. It's below eating a bucket of fried chicken and not worrying about the health effects, but above attending a funeral. After going through the process, I came away with a few tips for the big day:
The stores where you register will give you a hand-held device to scan the barcodes of the stuff you want. It's sort of like a laser, except instead of shooting space aliens, this laser is good only for telling you the price on monogrammed dish towels.
Once you get the hang of the scanner, you can start doing trick shots. Try scanning a set of mixing bowls while blindfolded, shoot a set of juice glasses from under a leg, or jump off a rack of Crock-Pots and cartwheel through the air, scanning before you land.
I tested the range of the scanner's scanning capabilities, holding it as far away from the barcode as possible. I attempted a behind-the-back 20-foot scan, but the scanner's capacity is only about six inches. Weak.
Register for knives. Make sure it's at least an eight-piece set that includes a block for storing them, plus a machete no less than two feet in length, even if you don't have weeds in the backyard.
We registered for a gravy boat, and I got all excited — until I found out it was not a vessel for sailing on a lake of gravy.
Unfortunately, she would not let me register at Best Buy, the Porsche dealership or a hamburger restaurant.
Proper etiquette states that you must include registry information on all official wedding correspondence, in your work e-mail signature and on highway billboards.
You'll learn terms you didn't even know existed, such as "duvet," "trivet" and "placemat."
You'll also learn that you need those things.
I thought she said we were getting pirates and got my hopes up because I've never owned a pirate, much less a whole set of them. Then I found out that it's "Pyrex."
A "non-stick" roaster? Are you kidding me? Honey, we'd only use that like once a year. Plus, it's a hundred bucks. That's like two Xbox games, 1/6,000th of a Porsche or twenty-something hamburgers.
If you've never had an argument over towel colors or glassware style, well, my friend, you are in for quite a treat.
Jeff Kelley is counting down the days until his Sept. 10 wedding.