I’m getting married in two weeks. I know this, because everyone keeps telling me so. They say things like “The big day’s right around the corner, eh?” And they ask me, “Are you getting nervous yet?”
No, not yet, I say.
“Just relax. You’ll get through this.”
And I reaffirm that I’m not nervous. Though sometimes, I am annoyed…
Work’s been hell lately, and the last thing I want to do when I get home is talk about seating arrangements or the prices of individual appetizers or whether or not I’m sure I’m okay with doing mini-pies instead of a traditional wedding cake (I’m sure).
My fiancée doesn’t give me the big doe eyes when I groan. She doesn’t say things like “Babe, this is the most important day of our lives we’re talking about here…” She doesn’t do these things because she is not some archetype, and we don’t live in a rom-com.
Instead, she looks at me with a tired expression and I realize that work’s been hell for her too. I understand that the last thing she wants to do right now is remind me that we need to go to Nordstrom Rack this weekend to look for ties for the groomsmen.
It’s in these moments that I snap back to reality and get that we are in this together. I remember that I adore her. So I apologize if I’ve snapped – if I’ve said anything to imply that this is just a wedding and I am just a man and I don’t care about these things.
I tell her that I care about the spreadsheets with the names of our guests and the hotels they’re staying at… with the formulas calculating approximately how much each person might drink over the course of five hours… and a separate tab with all the pricing info for food, makeup, flowers, etc.
I tell her that I care about her itemized folders containing receipts, pertinent legal documents and other sundries. Not to mention the countless e-mails she’s sent to photographers that went unanswered… as well as those that churned up replies like “Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! Our packages start at $7,000…”
I tell her that I care because I do. And I feel foolish for being even the slightest bit frustrated when asked if I own a pair of shoes that match my new suit (I don’t). I feel doubly foolish when I consider the only thing I am actually “in charge of” is the music – a responsibility I was given because my fiancée knew it was the one job I might actually enjoy.
So when I sit down to work on our cocktail hour and dinner playlists, I set out with one specific goal: to create a mixtape for my future wife. A mixtape full of songs she’ll like; songs that have nothing to do with the trivialities of our wedding… and everything to do with why I asked her to marry me in the first place.
It starts with “I’m in Love” by Wilson Pickett. Because I most certainly am.
My friends all wonder what’s come over me
I’m as happy as a man can be
I’m in love
I’m in love
Later comes “If I Should Fall Behind” by Bruce Springsteen (one of her favorites).
We said we’d walk together, baby come what may
That come the twilight, should we lose our way
If as we’re walking a hand should slip free
I’ll wait for you
And should I fall behind
Wait for me
As we take our seats: “Always a Use” by Madeleine Peyroux.
Maybe ain’t no use in sayin’ what I want it to be
Maybe ain’t no use in playin’ a tune
Maybe ain’t no use in singin’ my blues
But there’s always a use in you and me
And as we talk and laugh amongst our closest friends: “Darling Be Home Soon” by The Lovin’ Spoonful.
My darling be home soon
I couldn’t bear to wait an extra minute if you dawdled
My darling be home soon
It’s not just these few hours but I’ve been waiting since I toddled
For the great relief of having you to talk to
My hope is that she will hear this music and smile – and know how much I love her. Even moreso: that she doesn’t think about my ten-month cycle of complaining about how much weddings cost, apologizing, complaining, apologizing, and so on.