Dad turns wedding planner

Posted Feb. 09, 2009, at 6:23 p.m.

With all the doom and gloom of late, I thought it was time for something light.

Some young man called my house the other night and asked us if he could marry my older daughter. “Sure, go to it,” I answered, “but who the heck is this?” Actually, just kidding about that part; I knew who he was. In fact, it was partly my fault he was asking, since I told that daughter if she did not marry this guy, I was just going to adopt him. I mean, he plays golf, likes watching football and is going to be a physician. What’s not to like?

I don’t have enough to do these days, so his proposal got me thinking about my daughter’s wedding. She is in medical school, too, and therefore very busy; so as a nice surprise to her I have gone ahead and planned her wedding. If you think about this stuff without the fog of estrogen addling your brain, this wedding planning is a breeze. I did it all without buying a single copy of Brides magazine or using any silly ideas from Martha Stewart.

The dress: turns out Uncle Henry’s Swap or Sell It Guide is a good place to shop for wedding dresses. Every week some woman finally figures out it is kind of pointless for her dress to be worn only once and puts it up for sale, often with some two-by-fours and a Hitachi 12-inch sliding compound miter saw with the laser blade guide. So you can get the whole package for one heck of a deal, instead of some fu fu designer dress that costs more than adding a basement woodworking shop to your house.

The reception: It’s got to be at Dysart’s Restaurant and Truck Stop right over there in Hermon. The place has it all — great food, plenty of bathrooms, a cool gift shop with lots of Maine stuff and the nicest waitresses this side of heaven. Lots of couples spend a lot of time planning the reception menu, but at Dysart’s guests can order whatever they darn well please. Want a plate of beans and country ham for your wedding reception meal? Coming right up. Groom is a breakfast man? No problem. And who needs a wedding cake when you are eating at a place with the world’s best pies? Then, when people are ready to go home, they can all gas up right out-side!

Wedding location: This is a no-brainer. Many couples go to a lot of effort to find a big church, some fancy place, but why would we want to do that when I am certain any bride would be just as happy getting married in the gymnasium of her old high school. Now, sure, some Blackberry-toting wedding planner would not have that on her list of hot places to get hitched, but think about the advantages. The place has a lot of memories, plenty of seating arranged so everyone gets a clear view of the happy couple, and when the service is over those guests waiting for wedding pictures can shoot some hoops. It does not need much for decorations because it has all those banners hanging from the walls. For a few extra bucks I bet we could have cheerleaders willing to be bridesmaids, and some truckers from Dysart’s as groomsmen, which sure saves on the number of people we have to fly in here for the nuptials.

Floral arrangements: Many brides-to-be spend a lot of time and money on floral arrangements that match some wedding color, or are consistent with some wedding theme, but really, who notices? My thought is to get some flower bouquets at the local supermarket, and maybe some of those roses you see near the cash register at convenience stores, the ones a guy might get on a whim, because he knows he forgot Valentine’s Day, and call it good.

Planning a wedding is easy. Let me know if I can do this for someone in your family. My wedding planner schedule is wide open now, since my wife says I am fired.

Erik Steele, D.O., a physician in Bangor, is chief medical officer of Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems and is on the staff of several hospital emergency rooms in the region. He is also the interim CEO at Blue Hill Memorial Hospital.

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