Among our many pastimes, E.S. and I count discussing our theoretical future wedding as one of our favorites. This is because our almost mutually exclusive approaches to the event allow for maximum conflict and arguing. I want to get married in St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice, wearing morning clothes, the most formal attire known to western man. If E.S. had his way, we would wear shorts and T-shirts and get married on a cliff in the middle of nowhere in the wilderness. I usually believe that the benefits of dating him outweigh the fact that he is obviously a madman, but this makes me not so sure.
Eventually, after a great many frustrating conversations, we have been able to reach a compromise: we will have an outdoor wedding in morning coats. This satisfies both my need for a wedding marked by formality and E.S.’s inexplicable and irritating desire to have a wedding that involves nature.
We realized recently, however, that our problems, far from being solved, have in fact only just begun, because “morning coats” describes a fairly finite set of garments, while “outdoor” can be interpreted in a number of different ways. When we made the compromise I was thinking of something like the New York Botanical Garden, or perhaps Fort Tryon Park near the Cloisters. I proposed both of these alternatives to E.S. the other day and he looked at me as if I had just grown a third arm. “No,” he said condescendingly. “We’re going to go to a forest upstate and find a clearing and get married there.”
I was appalled. “But where will the food be for the reception?” This was the least of my worries, but E.S. is a practical man and it seemed best to deal with this on his level.
“It’ll be off to the side, on tables. We’ll eat buffet style.”
“And where will our guests sit?” I asked, desperation mounting in my voice.
“People will just stand in a circle.”
I felt a panic attack coming on. “No one is standing in a circle at my wedding. If we’re getting married outdoors we’re bringing chairs for the guests.”
“Oh, come on. They can sit if you want them to sit but we don’t have to bring chairs.”
“Really?” I was almost shrieking by now. “Then where will they sit?”
“On the beautiful green earth.”
I’m not making this up. He actually said “on the beautiful green earth.”
“That’s it,” I said. “We’re getting married in St. Mark’s.”
Finally we just left well enough alone, recognizing that we weren’t going to solve this problem in one conversation. But later that evening, I had a frightening thought.
“You realize,” I said, “that we’re sending out engraved invitations.”
“No, we’re not.”
“Then how will our friends know about the event?”
“We’ll just tell them.”
Clearly I need to find a new boyfriend, one who isn’t insane, and marry him instead.