Groomzilla will return next Thursday. Right now he and Fiancé are making the final wedding arrangements and looking forward to their Big Day.
Part 1: "I am a groomzilla, and like the bridezilla sisters who paved the way before me, I take no responsibility for my actions. I blame my mother Jacquelyn."
Part 2: "Groomzillas are allergic to reason, at least insofar as it comes to a budget for their wedding day."
Part 3: "My Southern Baptist grandmother had a theory about gift-giving: If you put a rock in a Neiman Marcus box, someone will assume that it’s really expensive and display it proudly on his or her shelf."
Part 4: "Every bridezilla has a partner-in-crime. She is that one special friend who amplifies and validates every irrational thought, pushing the cocktail trolley through the dining cart of the crazy train."
Part 5: "Madonna the Divorcee has 4 minutes to save the world. Groomzilla has 10 days to finish a wedding. The last two weeks before the wedding are when Groomzilla at his most resplendently irrational finally tears down Tokyo brick by brick."
Previously: Groomzilla and Lesbian Bridezilla submitted their list of unreasonable demands to the florist and arrived at the perfect floral arrangement.
The last two weeks before the wedding are when Groomzilla at his most resplendently irrational finally tears down Tokyo brick by brick. In lieu of breathing fire, I rely on the Groomzillagram: a panicked e-mail (cc'd with text, Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace) tasking Fiancé with a random task critical to the success or failure of the wedding. Ten days before the wedding, there is no distinction between e-mails announcing that "we need a photographer" and those that demand "a white ice bucket that doesn't have rope handles, preferably from Pottery Barn." All dispatches from the front come marked with Outlook's critical red exclamation mark.
Poor Sainted Fiancé does not understand the need for the Groomzillagram (or white ice buckets from Pottery Barn). Fiancé does not embrace technology unless it allows one to shoot elves with laser beams or drive virtual go-carts with cute talking animals behind the wheel, so he would prefer that I cease the 25 daily e-mails that I send to his work and home e-mail, and then read to him over the phone if I have not received a response within 10 minutes, and then print for placement on the dining room table with key action items highlighted.
Ten days before the wedding, there is no distinction between e-mails announcing that "we need a photographer" and those that demand "a white ice bucket that doesn't have rope handles, preferably from Pottery Barn." All dispatches from the front come marked with Outlook's critical red exclamation mark.
Take, for example, last Thursday. My wonderful assistant, in a good-natured effort to make sure I didn’t forget any details on my special day, cheerfully popped into my office one morning with a letter for me to sign. As I looked up from the desk, she asked, “By the way, do you have your toasting glasses yet?”
A slow trickle of sweat sprung forth from my neck and inched its way down my spine.
RE: TOASTING GLASSES!
Please add to Tuesday shopping list along with the beeswax candles, the special pens for the guest book and the wine glass charms!
Fiancé’s response did not inspire confidence: “Can’t everyone drink out of plastic cups? What’s a wine glass charm? Are we casting spells on the guests?”
A few days later, I attended the wedding of my former officemate at my previous job. Much like the cautious expectant mother steers clear of the airport her last trimester, the Groomzilla should not attend others’ weddings in the weeks leading up to his own. One cute idea that he hadn’t thought of could induce cramps. Such was the case when I laid eyes upon a small table set up by the guest book, where the bride asked her guests to fill out a recipe card with “your favorite recipe for a successful marriage….or a real recipe that we can cook in our new kitchen!” and file it in the little cherrywood recipe box next to the instructions sign.
RE: RECIPE BOX!!!!
A and S had most adorable idea for wedding involving recipe box. Too gay? Who cares – MUST DO THIS. Add to list behind toasting glasses, beeswax candles, the special pens and the wine glass charms. Also, do we trust that caterer’s tablecloth isn’t foul? These tablecloths are perfect. Add to list with asterisk to note tentative item. Oh, also add disposable cameras for “candid” shots. When are you getting these????
I'm fairly certain that the last 10 days will produce the greatest exemplars of the Groomzillagram genre. With invitations, attire, food, flowers, venue, and most every other major component in place, the remaining to-do list items are the straw from which OCD is woven into gold. Hence this morning's e-mail:
RE: [NO SUBJECT]
Have you asked the caterer what she's wearing? Did you tell her the color story we're telling?
In two weeks: The final entry, in which the Happy Day arrives and the newlyweds anxiously await the outcome of California's referendum on their marriage.
Novelist and writer Francesca Segrè, who contributes to the NY Times Vows column, answers our questions. Her novel, Daughter of the Bride, is based on her own experience of watching her mother get married. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and her daughter (captured at left by photographer Orit Harpaz) , and is constantly on the lookout for a good love story.
DG: For most women (and
even some men), the wedding day is the single most glamorous event in
their lives. What are your thoughts? Is glamour attained at the expense
of romance, family feeling?
FS: Today’s slothful and
pragmatic society has stooped to accept velour sweat-suits as ‘style’
and weddings, thankfully, provide us with an excuse to get dressed up
and get glam.Brides, grooms, and guests
seize the opportunity of nuptials to reveal what they
look like when they kick off the daily glamour-proof sneakers of practicality. Of course, the bride has
probably spent more money on her appearance for this day than for any
other day in her life. But beware! Money does not buy class. Ahem, Paris
Hilton. If you’re trashy, nasty
or a raging Bridezilla, no lipgloss, silk chiffon or orchid arrangement
can make you or your event glamorous. It’s all in the attitude.
DG: What's the most important part of wedding day glamour? The dress,
the mood, the true love?
FS:Wedding day glamour depends
on the aura of the bride and groom. Ultimately, the newlyweds are hosts.
If they are sincere, gracious and emotionally committed to one another,
it will be apparent. They will act as one entity putting the guests
at ease. For all the compliments the newlyweds receive, they will respond
with equally sincere flattery. It’s not about the gown
- it’s about how she wears the gown, how she smiles in the gown, how
he is a gentleman – lifting the train of her gown or holding her hand
so she can move freely.
DG: After the rice has been swept up, how to sustain that glamorous feeling
and mood--not just for the honeymoon, but all through your life? Any
FS: Oh, that’s tricky. I’ve
been married for two years now, and it’s easy to get sloppy – especially
when my husband-o compliments me while I’m looking my worst. Often,
when I’m leaning over the sink washing dishes, wearing pink gloves,
ratty pajamas and no makeup, my husband lightly slips his arms around
my waist. If he likes me this way, do I really need to dress up? When we met, I was an on-air
international TV news reporter in Manhattan. I was polished -- tailored
suits, heels, styled hair and impeccable makeup. Now we live by the
beach in Los Angeles, and more outfits than I’m proud to admit end
in the two words, “with flip-flops.”
To maintain glamour in
a marriage, we try to be as gracious with each other as we were on our
wedding day. “Please,” “thank you,” and opening a door for each
other suggests a mutual respect that is so elegant and classy. As far
as I’m concerned, there is no glamour without manners. Now that we’ve got a
shrieking, explorative, glorious one-year old daughter, going out at
night requires a whole new level of logistical gymnastics. The last
time we had a date, we went to the Avalon Hollywood for a comedy show
benefit. We knew we’d be a tad overdressed for the occasion, but we
were dressing for each other. I was wearing a dress (no jeans- gasp!)
and he was wearing a corduroy blazer on top of his dress shirt (that’s
two dress-up garments on one LA man!) We’ve got to prove that we can
always pull it together for one another. In marriage, it’s so easy
to slip out of style.
(photo by Orit Harpaz)
The DG Dozen
1) How do you define glamour?
Glamour is self-confidence. She who is self-possessed, thoughtful in
her choices, and graceful in her personality and appearance is glamour
incarnate. If the execution of these character traits appears effortless,
she is all the more glamorous. Just think about the models in the Ralph
Lauren ads, or any ads in a glossy mag. These men and women never appear
to be trying very hard. They just seem light, comfortable, and relaxed
in their thousand dollar frocks.
2) Who or what is your glamorous icon?
My grandmother. She escaped from France during WWII and came to New
York. She didn’t know English, but she had an exquisite artistic eye,
a sensational sense of style and a gift for designing and wearing great
clothing. One morning, she waltzed into Saks Fifth Avenue with sketches of her
Paris-inspired suits and gowns in hand. At the time, Americans had no idea what the French were
wearing (rags) and my grandmother convinced the buyers at Saks that
her designs were the most au courrant mode in France. That day, she
launched her decades-long career as a fashion designer when she made
an exclusive deal to sell Saks her designs. She dressed impeccably
every day of her life.
3) Is glamour a luxury
or a necessity?
Clearly a luxury. Glamour
is special because most people don’t have it.
4) Favorite glamorous movie? Roman Holiday, anything Audrey Hepburn
5) What was your most glamorous
Interviewing Jamie Rubin during the Democratic Convention in 2004. I was in the risers next to
the main outdoor convention stage. The lights and camera were on me
and this powerful, intelligent, exceedingly handsome former Assistant
Secretary of State was answering questions into my microphone for live
TV. It was exhilarating.
6) Favorite glamorous object?
My novel, Daughter of the Bride. People think it’s pretty glamorous that I wrote a book.
7) Most glamorous place? Monaco. Or Lago di Como in the Italian Alps.
Both are dramatic, exciting playgrounds that James Bond frequents.
8) Most glamorous job?
TV reporter for Reuters in New York. My face was on one of those jumbo-tron
screens in Times Square!
9) Something or someone that other people find glamorous and you don't?
Those fluffy, miniature
rat dogs. And hand bags with logo prints on them. Those logo prints
like the Goyard are ugly. They might as well print dollar signs on those
11) Can glamour survive?
Yes. Even with the current American financial collapse, glamour will
survive. It becomes even more rarified. Glamour is timeless.
12) Is glamour something you're born with? No. It’s clearly learned.
Manners + style.
1) Angelina Jolie or Cate Blanchett? Angelina. I interviewed her. I
was stunned by her beauty. I complimented her. She returned the compliment.
2) Paris or Venice? Paris. Venice is tourists, trinkets, and stinky
canals. Paris is timeless inspiration- the source of art and style.
3) New York or Los Angeles? So New York. In LA, unless you’re on the
red carpet, you’re in flip-flops.
4) Princess Diana or Princess Grace? Grace. Diana was too commercial.
5) Tokyo or Kyoto? Kyoto. It’s graceful and artistic and it has fewer
vending machines (than Tokyo does) selling schoolgirls’ underwear.
6) Boots or stilettos? Stilettos are most glam – boots are practical.
(I wear boots.)
7) Art Deco or Art Nouveau? Oh that’s tough. I have to say Deco, the
lines are cleaner.
8) Jaguar or Astin Martin? Astin Martin. Glamour requires a joie-de-vivre,
not stuffy formality.
9) Armani or Versace? Armani. Armani is classy, Versace is flashy.
10) Diana Vreeland or Anna Wintour? Wintour has a reputation for being
nasty. Nasty is not classy.
11) Champagne or single malt? Single malt - because it’s more rarified.
12) 1960s or 1980s? neither. 1920s.
13) Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds, though their controversial origins
dull the glitter. Pearls are classy – but they add 10 years to anyone
14) Kate Moss or Naomi Campbell? Campbell. Moss’s status for being
skinny does not strike me as elegant.
15) Sean Connery or Daniel Craig? Sean Connery. Can’t get better than
the original Bond.
Previously: Groomzilla's designer friend captured the essence of Vera Wang in lovely wedding invitations and thwarted Fiancé's attempts to send an eVite to the wedding guests.
Every bridezilla has a partner-in-crime. She is that one special friend who amplifies and validates every irrational thought, pushing the cocktail trolley through the dining cart of the crazy train. Normally this is an overzealous maid of honor, a General Sherman to the bride's General Grant, scorching the earth from the engagement party to the wedding chapel to ensure the happiness of her former sorority sister. They have laughed together, cried together, binged and purged together, and now are planning a wedding together. You want white doves at your wedding? Why stop there?, the partner-in-crime suggests, when you can have the special pink Chalcophaps indica doves flown in from Australia?
But for the groomzilla who never rushed Tri Delt or had a pregnancy scare after Cabo Spring Break 1996, who gets to be the enabler? Is it the "fag hag"? The alcoholic buddy who can identify the dance remix in three notes? The aesthetician who has sold you $15,000 worth of "product" and once convinced you that the $45 tube of ground-up "moon rocks" had light-reflective properties that would "create an optical illusion to diminish the appearance of fine lines"?
In my case, it is my West Coast lesbian. More precisely, it is Lesbian Bridezilla.
Depending upon the context required of our various misadventures over the past five years, LB has pretended to be my wife, sister, landlord, former employer, attorney-in-fact, holistic healer, and personal assistant.
Lesbian Bridezilla ("LB") is one of my dearest friends and a former law school classmate. She is half-Jewish and half-Latina, a lipstick lesbian with the volume of an opera singer and the energy of a nuclear reactor. Depending upon the context required of our various misadventures over the past five years, LB has pretended to be my wife, sister, landlord, former employer, attorney-in-fact, holistic healer, and personal assistant. While my Fiancé has forced me to look for coins in the sofa cushions to fund my creative vision, LB is planning a November fete reminiscent of Bilbo Baggins's last birthday party in the Shire. (LB's Fiancée, Doctor Z, is a rising star in the world of industrial biochemistry, empowering LB to focus her time on terrorizing the wedding vendors of Northern California.) Since Fiancé and I are getting married in San Francisco's Mission District, it also made perfect sense that a San Franciscan friend would be my "woman on the ground" in the weeks leading up to the event. Moreover, she is already a seasoned pro at dealing with weddings, having been planning her own since the age of twelve.
LB has the three most important qualities in a Groomzilla enabler: (1) she is used to getting her own way, (2) she has no problem letting you know what "her way" should be, and (3) she is blissfully, charmingly, wonderfully and unapologetically insane. One week LB forced a major commercial airline to adopt a new policy about "comfort bunnies" after a letter-writing campaign that put the authors of the Federalist Papers to shame. Another week, she decided that she wanted to learn to operate a sailboat, and convinced a sailing club at the marina to waive the requirement that one actually own a sailboat to join. A high-end wedding was a logical extension of LB's special gift for bending the world to her will.
I decided that I needed LB's counsel for an important task: selecting flowers. This seemed like the kind of aesthetic touch that needed a second opinion. Fiancé, of course, was horrified that I would involve LB in any wedding planning. He has never quite forgiven us for the day we moved into our condo two years ago. Fiancé and Doctor Z sent us out to the store for wood glue, nails, light bulbs, and an air filter. LB and I returned eight hours later with a Crate and Barrel bowl and some glass marbles, announced that the coffee table in the living room was now "in balance," and then left for a manicure.
I had to be in San Francisco for business one week this Fall, so I met up with LB to pop over to the florist. In the car, LB and I made our list of criteria: "architectural," "nothing that looks dead," and "no tropical sh*t." This, of course, seemed immensely descriptive of our vision, and we assumed that the florist would agree.
Other options were rejected as "too green" (a challenging characteristic to avoid with plants), "too poofy," "too droopy," and—my personal favorite—"too floral."
Unfortunately, the florist neither shared our vision nor our enthusiasm. In fact, I'm fairly certain that he wanted to throw us out in the street. The great downfall to gay men negotiating aesthetics with other gay men is that we have access to an expansive untapped vocabulary of precise-yet-vague adjectives. Only in the gay-on-gay design world can one say, "I want something architectural, in aubergine, that plays with texture without looking too Bindi the Jungle Girl."
Our exchange was greatly enriched by LB's frank and unfiltered critique of various options subsequently presented by the florist. LB was quick to disabuse our florist of perceived aesthetic missteps, at one point describing a photo as "a bit of a mess" but then quickly adding that she was sure "it worked great for someone who wanted that look." Other options were rejected as "too green" (a challenging characteristic to avoid with plants), "too poofy," "too droopy," and—my personal favorite—"too floral." If you want to induce apoplexy in a gay florist, ask him to find things that are neither "too green" nor "too floral."
It took 90 minutes, half a notepad, and an entire subtext of dirty looks from the florist to arrive upon our final order. The end-result? Two tasteful, elegant but modern arrangements keeping with the Autumnal color palette.
"You know," LB mused as she gathered her Blackberry and sunglasses and slid out of her chair, "The world would just be so much better if people were as clear as we are about what we want."
I pretended not to hear the florist's shriek from the back room of the store.
Next Thursday: Groomzilla and Fiancé select a photographer, a musician, and an officiant…without leaving the house!
Fiancé tries to put Groomzilla in rags on his wedding day, but Groomzilla prevails with deeply discounted couture.
My Southern Baptist grandmother had a theory about gift-giving: If you put a rock in a Neiman Marcus box, someone will assume that it’s really expensive and display it proudly on his or her shelf.
The same holds true for wedding invitations: Send a classy invitation, and people will be predisposed to believe that the food, the flowers, and the booze must be equally upscale. The invitation is like the Archangel Gabriel in paper form, bringing tidings from the Style Gods about the greatest color story ever told. Many a couple has fallen in my estimation due to an unfortunate choice of font.
At the end of the day, though I am well-aware that there are tons of high-end stationery stores in West Hollywood and Beverly Hills that cater to the sophisticated wedding, my heart remains true to Vera Wang. My obsession with the former editrix is well-known amongst my friends, but even I must admit that once my girl started hawking pillows and jumpers over at Kohl’s, she clearly had taxied out of Bryant Park to more pedestrian pastures. Frankly, you can pop over to your local Papyrus
I thus headed over to the mall to peruse the oversized volumes of Vera Wang Fine Papers
. It pained me to see Vera’s samples sandwiched between collections of newly minted books of invitation templates for gay and lesbian weddings that were more appropriate to invite friends to your crystal meth intervention or post-Pride beer bust than an event suitable for Messrs. Dolce and Gabbana. Unless Vivienne Westwood bedazzles them onto a T-shirt, I have no patience for rainbow-striped triangles and a martini glass appearing next to my name written in glittery cursive. Contemplating these tributes to Prideful bad tastes, I had a brief moment of doubt: Perhaps the mall was a bad idea. Surely a real Groomzilla would be drinking Perrier in an overstuffed armchair on Robertson Boulevard as he went through invitations!
Rescuing Vera from the bookshelf of queer-camp, I flipped through page after page of rich cream cardstock and silken ribbons in silent awe. I imagined that “Brock and Caitlyn” must have had a grand time in Nantucket in their right-justified , all lower-case Futura 10-point ceremony, while “Harold and Cindi” must be one in-law visit away from divorce court after settling on some rather unfortunate center-justified Verdana Bold caps at the local Elks lodge. I also stressed a bit over whether I should consider myself a “Romantic Bride,” “Modern Bride,” or “Traditional Bride.” Modern, surely. After two hours, I dutifully jotted down the reference numbers for my font, color, ribbon, envelope, envelope liner and graphic element. I also noted the price, my palms a bit sweaty at the thought of discussing this last datum with the Fiancé.
My strategy with Fiancé was to come home (with food) and simply rave about the invitations: the decadent silk lining of the envelopes, the proprietary oyster-colored ink, the sensuous tactile qualities of the paper, and the gorgeous art deco font. Surely Fiancé would be so wrapped up in my enthusiasm for this Groomzilla-perfect invite, and the message of luxury it would communicate to our guests, he couldn’t possibly object to the cost.
Of course, Fiancé did object. Vehemently.
“Wasn’t she that kinda frumpy Chinese chick who was a temporary judge on Project Runway a few times? I thought she made dresses or something. Why would someone pay that much money for her to xerox some invites?”
Blasphemy! Horror! How can Groomzilla survive without Vera Wang? More importantly, how can Fiancé not recognize that Vera Wang Fine Papers are surely made from special trees that young Vera herself raised from saplings during her Sarah Lawrence years and watered with the tears of couturiers who were overcome with her style?
Then Fiancé dropped the bomb: “Why don’t we just send an eVite?”
The paramedics left the house for the second time in as many weeks a few hours later, gently reminding me that “911” was for actual crises and not fainting spells resulting from big gay style drama. Clearly I needed a middle ground between Vera and the eVite. The answer: the equally stylish Asian-American designer and Groomzilla BFF Judy.
Groomzilla: “Judy, can you please put on a long black wig and some leggings and talk with me about how my mattress and china lack the luxury that your Sorbonne-educated sensibilities can provide?”
Judy: “Have you been drinking again?”
Groomzilla: “Actually, I just need a little favor. Do you think you could re-create the design of a Vera Wang invitation if I scanned it over to you?”
Judy: “Of course! It will cost you some serious vino, though.”
Groomzilla’s friends are fabulous and also trade in the only stable currency of the New Economy: booze.
While my Internet anonymity precludes me from showing you the finished product, suffice it to say that Judy delivered the most gorgeous invitations imaginable. The font says “elegant but unpretentious,” and the colors say “celebrate Autumn’s bounty in our warm and intimate wedding venue.” We can only hope that the invitations also say, “Now you’ll think that the $4.99 Trader Joe’s wine I am serving you is from a much nicer vineyard in Napa.”
Next Week: Groomzilla and his partner in crime, Lesbian Bridezilla, travel to San Francisco for flowers, cake, and drama!
When we last saw Groomzilla, the California Supreme Court had sent him flashing back to his mother's wedding memories and pondering how he, too, might now plan a Big Day worthy of being memorialized in oil paint. But will his oh-so-practical fiancé cooperate?
Groomzillas are allergic to reason, at least insofar as it comes to a budget for their wedding day.
My beloved fiancé is cheap. Extremely cheap. Clothes are worn until they have holes, cars are driven until the doors fall off (literally), and weddings are opportunities for demonstrating one's command of thriftiness. Going into our wedding, then, I steeled my nerves and braced for battle.
The first debate came when we discussed (what else?) what we planned to wear. My fiancé announced that both of us have ample wardrobe options in our closets, and it simply made no sense to buy something new. A few hours later, after the EMT delivered a few hundred volts through the paddles on my chest, I began my not-so-secret campaign to inspire him to new sartorial heights.
Phase One: the strategically-placed men's fashion magazines. This came to a crashing halt during a conversation through the closed door of a bathroom as we got ready for work.
Fiancé: "Honey, why did you put a Post-It flag on this ridiculous picture of the Etro man in the orange jacket?"
Groomzilla: "It is caramel, not orange, and it's not ridiculous, and I think I want to wear it to the wedding."
Fiancé "Velvet? Seriously? Don't you already own a suit?"
Groomzilla: "I refuse to look like a peasant at my own wedding!"
Fiancé "Sorry, Ma Joad, but no Etro."
Note that in the Groomzilla universe, there are no shades of grey: we move quickly from glamazon to peasant, and the crazy train does not stop anywhere along the way (say, at Banana Republic).
Phase Two: the rational negotiation. Two glasses of vino into a low-key evening, I agreed to sit with my fiancé as he raided our closets to assemble some wardrobe options that he felt were tasteful, fashionable and appropriate for our nuptials. I sat cross-legged on the floor and opined like a fashion swami flown in from India to enlighten the masses. My pithy responses were as follows:
"I hate that."
"What about that says 'Fall wedding' to you?"
"That makes me look fat."
"That makes you look fat."
"That won't photograph well."
"That looks old." (Note that this responses applies, generally, to all clothing that does not still have the price tag on it.)
And thus Phase Two ended in a stalemate. Defeated, my fiance agreed one Saturday morning to make an appearance at the Barneys Hangar Sale at Barker Airport (the worst-kept and most wonderful secret to staying fashionable in Los Angeles on a "budget," as upwardly mobile yuppies define "budget" in respect of $900 Dolce shoes marked down to the fire sale price of $300).
Phase Three: cave in.
Within minutes of scanning the racks at Barneys, I began a long-term love affair with an 80%-off Dolce and Gabbana tuxedo. The moment of my triumph was sudden and intense. (I imagine that this is what Rapture would feel like if I believed in such things, with 30,000 damned souls left standing outside Ross Dress for Less as God's chosen ascended to heaven in perfectly-polished Prada shoes.) Hanging before me was a Groomzilla's perfect suit - Autumnal yet ripe for year-round repurposing, fashion-forward yet elegant, and blissfully inexpensive to the Groomzilla who hours before had contemplated kidnapping Vera Wang and forcing her to rethink menswear immediately.
Perhaps it was the look of glee in my eyes that made my adorable cheap fiancé agree to a $600 suit splurge, or maybe it was the sheer exhaustion of dealing with my endless whining about the whole affair. Regardless, I emerged with my perfect new outfit...and shoes....and a tie....and a Band of Outsiders suit for my fiancé....with shoes....and a tie...and a pair of Zegna linen pants for a hypothetical garden party that will likely never happen.
As we loaded the spoils of war into my trunk, my fiance turned to me and said, "Happy, baby?" I gave him a peck on the cheek and said, "Yes, I am."
"But we still need to decide about those invitiations..."
To be continued next Thursday...
When the California Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, it unleashed a monster. This is the story of Groomzilla, who is planning an October 25 wedding.
I am a groomzilla, and like the bridezilla sisters who paved the way before me, I take no responsibility for my actions. I blame my mother Jacquelyn.
Growing up in my suburban Southern home, there were three sacred objects for which every visitor learned to quickly feign respect: the big pink hurricane lamp, atop the big yellow baby grand piano, beneath the larger-than-life oil painting of my mother on her wedding day. For twenty-five years, my mother's likeness held court in a formal sitting room that doubled as a museum of 1970s wedding glamour.
My mother wore a white long-sleeved, form-fitting satin gown, long auburn hair spilling over her shoulders from beneath a simple lace veil. The painting was done in New York by a mail-order company that blew up wedding photos and converted them into oils on canvas before placing them in ornate, gold-and-ivory rococo frames with a built-in display light. From her Madonna-like vantage point in the sitting room, Bridal Jacquelyn stood guard over the locked cabinet containing the unused wedding china, the pristine wedding silver, the never-unfolded wedding linens, and multiple volumes of wedding photos chronicling the golden age of frosted lipstick. Once a year, everything came out to be re-organized and cleaned: stemware, silverware, memories of "your bastard father," and the apocryphal story about when the rehearsal dinner reached a dramatic climax as the waiters brought out "the amazing European ice cream – strawberry – that everyone raved about." (For the record, it was just Häagen-Dazs, but I never let my mother know that by the late 1990s this was hardly on par with Beyonce flying in flowers from Thailand.)
As an adult, I can laugh at the charming but tasteless spectacle of Bridal Jacquelyn's Museum of Pre-Divorce Splendor. However, no matter how many hours of HGTV and Style Network I clock as a modern homosexual consumer, I will never shake the lessons learned in the shadow of the big gilded picture frame: (1) your wedding day will always be your best memory, (2) you should spare no expense in the tacky crap you buy for your wedding, and (3) a bride is the ultimate glamazon diva, if only for a fleeting afternoon. At the age of eleven I decided that one day, I would be memorialized in oil….though hopefully not in a dress, since my gay survivor narrative was to read a little more British aristocrat chic than plucky drag queen bildungsroman.
Fast-forward to the present day. I am twenty-nine, an attorney in a fast-paced megafirm, living in 1100 square feet of gentrified bliss, with enough mortgage and student loan debt to warrant my own government bailout. The California Supreme Court has affirmed my right to a wedding registry at Neiman Marcus, but it feels a bit like an unfunded mandate. How can I plan a day worthy of memorializing in oil paint before the November election? Where is my gay reparations check to help me afford a stylist, a calligrapher, an artisinal cheesemaker, three albino virgins with a harp, a glitter-and-rainbow machine, a team of midget aerialists on wires to simulate Baroque puti, a Valentino gown for my mother-in-law, a liposcuptor and a phalanx of angry queens with clipboards and headsets shouting at their minions, "Damnit, Bruce, I said 'CUE THE CHAMPAGNE FOUNTAIN!' The champagne fountain was supposed to begin bubbling BEFORE the albinos started Canon in D!"
This, then, is my groomzilla story: How can I simultaneously meet the expectations of glamour coming from a society that fetishizes gay style, live up to the childhood memories of my mother's wedding, and operate within the constraints of my budget, schedule, and fiancé's patience?
Next Thursday: Groomzilla convinces his fiancé that couture expires faster than fruit flies, and the sweet smell of retail is in the air outside the wedding chapel.