Guest Post: Wedding Politics

Today we have a guest post from the lovely and talented Emmie Mears, whose blog you should check out and who I am delighted to call friend. I’m off recovering from my wedding (which happened last night, if you’re curious), so she kindly offered to step up to the plate and write a guest post for me! It was very and helpful pre-wedding for me, so I hope you can all enjoy her wisdom. Take it away, Emmie…

If you’re anything like me, when you began planning your wedding you pictured planning for this:

Glowy bride, beaming groom, no face-planting in sight…

Chuckle, chuckle, titter, smirk.

It wasn’t long into the planning process that I discovered this fundamental truth that exists in the minds of everyone you invite:

Your wedding belongs to everyone else. So there.

My then-fiance and I went into the process with a few absolutes. We wanted a Very Small Wedding. We did not want a Religious Wedding.

That was about it. Little did I know, but about 47 hours and 32 minutes after the engagement ring slid onto my finger, I found myself ensconced in this:

 Caption: All the purples! Put everyone on Papua New Guinea and build up, build up….wait.]

Let me preface this with the fact that I adore my in-laws and my husband’s entire clan of crazies (I can say that because my clan is crazier). During the months leading up to the wedding, I compiled a list of things I never expected to encounter — and how to fix them.

1. Too Many Chefs In Your Invitation Kitchen

Yikes!

Now. My family is very complicated. My parents divorced when I was two, my mom remarried when I was sixteen, and between those two relationships she had a female partner who I still think of as my second mom. Got all that? Spouse’s parents have been married for thirty years, and they’re a very traditional Roman Catholic family.

So, of course on the invitation we put, “Thomas P., Becky and Pat G., and Nee-Nee are delighted to present Emmie for her resounding nuptials. Oh, and Laura and Pete K. can come too with their son, whom our daughter is marrying.”

Nope.

Spouse and I wanted, very simply, to say this:

With great joy, we invite you to celebrate the wedding of…

Easy, right?

Pahaha. I laugh in your general direction. Apparently, people have been getting married a specific way for ten decades or so, and the wording of the invitation is often chosen to reflect certain customary tapdancing that I’d never heard of.

Wedding Politics: 1, Emmie: 0.

The Fix:
It’s traditionally the bride’s family that lands on the invites as the host, but I’m always one to pooh-pooh traditions if I think they’re silly — and in the case of my family, it certainly was. Our solution was to explain the complications of my family to Spouse’s more traditional family and lead them around to the very neutral option we had concocted.

Casualties:
A few feelings on both sides, but nothing inoperable.

2. You Can’t See One Another Over The Pile Of Money

If only I had this problem in real life…

Weddings are not cheap.

In fact, the average cost of a wedding in my county is over $28,000. That’s about a year’s income for me. Needless to say, Spouse and I didn’t have that lounging around our floor. We planned to get married in 2012, save our tax returns and every other penny we found face up (or hell, face down), and pinch together a jolly wee celebration.

His parents very graciously offered to pay when they heard that plan. We accepted.

We managed this hurdle with a decent amount of success. Most people I know who had non-traditional ideas for their weddings got their funk stomped out of them when they accepted family money to help pay for the shindig. That happens very, very often.

Just think about it. Mom and Dad hate the color green, but it’s your favorite. “Well, honey, don’t you think a nice mauve would be better? I mean, we are paying for it.”

Cringe.

The Fix:
We got lucky. Really, really lucky. They went along with almost everything except the size of our guest list, and since they were paying, we decided to let them have at it. Other people aren’t so fortunate, so here’s what you can do.

Pay for it yourself. This is the easiest way to have 100% control over what happens on your wedding day, but I get that it’s not feasible for everyone so…

Compromise. If you must, must, must accept money from family, you can always compromise. Mom wants a certain centerpiece? Trade her for the wedding favors you’re in love with.

Before you accept the money… You can always have a blunt conversation with whomever is offering the funds. If the money is offered as a gift, you can let them know politely that as a gift, it was unsolicited and didn’t come with strings attached. Tread carefully here, because you don’t want to sound like an ingrate, but if someone offers a gift it’s up to the receiver to decide what to do with it.

Bottom line? Make sure everyone’s on the same page from day one. If someone thinks paying means getting to decide the wedding colors and what stationary to use and what the officiant is going to say at the ceremony, you might want to rethink accepting their money.

3. Do We Put the Artillery Next to the Infantry or the Heavy Cavalry?

And you think THIS looks easy.

You can’t put Aunt Mildred next to Uncle Devon because their divorce was messy enough that it gave their kids PTSD. You shouldn’t put your work friends with your grandparents, and if you put your college roommate at THAT table, she won’t know anyone at all.

Do you have a headache yet?

Figuring out where everyone’s going to sit at the reception isn’t easy. There were times I was tempted to make everyone draw a table number out of a hat when they entered the reception hall and just stand around in my bridal gown to watch the ensuing pyrotechnics. Families and friends can be less than pristine, and if those relationships were all sunshine and roses, we’d all have a merry Christmas.

The Fix:
Enlist a trusted relative who is familiar with all the family drama — one on your side and one on the future spouse’s side. Figure out if you can match up any small, disparate groups. We put my college roommate and her fiance with some of our out-of-town friends, and it worked out great. Everyone had fun, and no one felt left out.

One thing we did to cut down on people feeling…miffed…was that we had a sweetheart’s table. That means a table for JUST the bride and the groom. No one else. We split up some of the bridal party and kept some of them together where we thought they would feel comfortable.

It can still get tricky. My parents are divorced (as I mentioned), and so I had three parents at the wedding. My dad came solo and we put him at the same table as my mom and stepdad (my other mom couldn’t make it), and everything ended up just fine. No broken noses or anything.

Use your best judgment and rely on those two trusted family members. Whatever you do, don’t listen to everyone who wants to vocalize their opinions on this or your head will spin around and explode.

And no one wants that.

4. Remember Your Get-Out-Of-Jail Card.
Ultimately, your wedding day is just that. One day. Your marriage will be a whole different animal. While the wedding day is an awesome opportunity to see all your loved ones and long lost drinking buddies in one spot, it’s very easy to get caught by the Perfectionist Fairy and panic if things aren’t perfect.

Things aren’t going to be perfect, FYI.

So what is the mysterious get-out-of-jail card? It’s this:

Your wedding day is your day. It belongs to you and your betrothed.

That’s it. That fundamental truth in everyone else’s heads? False. Some families freak out about weddings so much, you’d think they’d been invited to help plan Prince William’s wedding to Kate Middleton rather than come experience the public declaration of your love. There could be some hurt feelings if you remind them that it’s your day, but you want that day to be one that you feel good about. A day where your love was expressed the way you and your fiance best wanted to express it. I’m not saying to hell with your families’ wishes, but…I sort of am.

We had an earthy, homemade sort of ceremony where our friend handfast us. We’re both non-religious. I’m a sort of agnosti-pagan; Spouse is a full on atheist. Spouse’s very Roman Catholic family was nervous about what might happen (especially after our zombie themed holiday cards a couple years ago…), but they all had to admit afterward that our ceremony was beautiful, my blue dress was stunning, and that religious or not, there was no doubt of our love for one another.

Hopefully this survival guide will help you in your wedding endeavors! Go forth and be marry.

(Ba-dum-chhhhh)

All I Need to Know About Sex, I Learned from Buffy

Today I’m delighted to play host to the wonderful Emmie Mears! She wrote an awesome post for you all, so let’s get right down to it!

In an America where people think a slap on the wrist and a vehement “don’t do that!” is enough to deter teens from sexperimentation, I have a better route for you, and I learned it from my favorite Slayer and her pals.

The best thing about urban fantasy is how it tells human stories from a supernatural lens. Today we’re going to center the microscope right over the sexy just to make sure you never have sex ever. Ever ever ever.

Bad Oz! Not only is she a werewolf, but she has a tattoo of a bone. How tacky is that?

1. Sleeping with someone isn’t the best way to keep them from clawing people to pieces.

The Sitch
So Oz was the solo werewolf for a whole season until Veruca came along. Never mind that her name is a kind of wart. Never mind also how she slithers around a microphone as if she wishes it were a heavily secured pole in the floor. As if that wasn’t enough to make us cringe, she’s got her eyes on Oz. If you’re anything like me, this little subplot had your head banging on a table or a wall as you watched Oz stick his foot in his mouth and follow it with his leg up to the knee.

When he finds out she’s the werewolf that’s been taking bites out of the general populace, what does he do? Go tell Buffy the Vampire Slayer who could beat some sense (or some silver) into her? Tell his girlfriend of a year who clearly fears Veruca’s wolfy wiles?

Noooope.

Oz locks himself in a cage with Veruca and decides to bone the trouble out of her.

The Lesson
Sleeping with the enemy doesn’t fix relationships. In fact, when your lovely girlfriend happens by to let your out of your cage with coffee and donuts the next morning only to find you in the buff with said enemy, it’s safe to say your relationship is ruined.

And sex is bad.

And you thought your first date ended badly.

2. You might think she’s inviting you over for some ropey hijinks, but she’s just a demon who wants to use your blood to let loose a sea of primordial vampires.

The Sitch
Xander meets Lissa while she’s trying to buy rope, asks her to coffee, and ends up suspended from a big old rack in the school basement while she sticks him with pointy objects to get his blood to open the Seal of Danzalthar.

Oh yeah — she ties him up with the rope he helped her choose.

D’oh.

The Lesson
Even if she says she only wants to use it to suspend her kayak from the ceiling of her garage, if your name is Xander Harris, you should know by now that she’s a demon who wants to kill you. If every woman save one in your dating history is a demon, it’s probably a good idea to look for patterns when you meet someone new.

Besides, sex on the first date leads to bondage and dangling.

You might think too much sex sounds fun....

3. There is such a thing as too much sex.
In the romance novels, all men are stevedores in bed and the women have the endurance of a Kenyan distance runner. You might think no one notices how you and your new honey sneak off to “look over your psych papers,” but you just succeed in making everything awkward for everyone else. Pretty soon they’ll be chopping off their own hair, feeling up walls, and seeing ghosts. For realsies. It’s serious.

The Sitch
Buffy and Riley are flush with the bloom of new lust. Just one little touch makes them go kablooey. And it just so happens that Riley’s frat-military secret ops house has a repressed sexual past — so when they start doin’ it full time, the house gets a little too into it, using it to feed off of their desire until it kills them.

The Lesson
You can sex yourself to death. Sex will be the death of you! It will unleash a jungle in your home! It will kill everyone you love, or at least stab them through the hand with creeper vines!

TEH SEKS IS BAD!

Never have sex.

4. If you have sex with your boyfriend, he will lose his soul and go evil. And he will try to kill you and everyone you love. He’ll also say really mean things to you.

The Sitch
Buffy and Angel started falling in love in season one. In season two, things started to heat up big time. Big drama, big love, big danger — it all added up to one word: RAWR. When Spike and Drusilla’s minions start creating a jigsaw destroyer demon called The Judge and ambush Angel and Buffy in order to get his arm, both Buffy and Angel get a little wet. Ahem.

When he takes her back to his place, it turns from just getting her warm after a dunk in the drink to some serious lovemaking.

All’s peachy until Buffy wakes up alone in Angel’s bed, and Angel himself has gone and gotten a happy — which causes him to lose his soul, turn evil, and get murdery. Talk about a bummer of a first time.

The Lesson
Men are evil. They might seem nice until you go to bed with them, but they won’t be there in the morning, and they might turn into an evil stalker that strings up your best friend’s goldfish and kills perfectly nice computer teachers.

Better to just stay celibate.

Sex is bad.

Move over, abstinence-only education, because if you’re in need of a great new curriculum, look no further! Just get Netflix and stream some Buffy into your classroom.

In all seriousness, I don’t think Joss really hates sex in spite of the pervasive “sex is bad” theme throughout the show. Looking into the crater of Sunnydale, I think all he really meant to say is that sex has consequences, and it’s something best approached with maturity.

Um…maturity. I’ll look into that.