Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

July 21, 2013

Complete guide to weddings?

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — For 20 years the Complete Idiot’s Guide has been saving relationships, organizing kitchen cupboards and teaching folks how to use their computers. And now, the series is teaching my fiance how to plan a wedding. After spending a whole evening explaining wedding traditions — unity candles, groomsmen gifts, rehearsal dinners and wedding favors — I said he needed to do some research online. At one point, he even asked who made these traditions. I said, “the wedding gods.” In all honestly, I didn’t know the background of many wedding traditions. But I never imagined my fiance would find “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Weddings” in a local store. It was more of a joke, a surprise gesture, but a lesson for this bride-to-be. Don’t expect the groom to know the difference between a “save-the-date card” and a wedding invitation. And it is OK if he doesn’t know the difference between the colors plum and lapis. (Lapis is a deep cool purple; plum has a range of purple shades with magenta tones.) An old friend, recently married, said to enjoy the pre-wedding talks, the planning and all the moments leading up to the big day. Good advice.


So far, we have a church, a possible reception site, a dress and a photographer — all important details. I will never forget the moment I found my dress, or when we booked the church. Yet, some of my favorite pre-wedding moments have happened beyond the pages of a wedding planner. Like the day we spent an hour flipping through the fiance’s guidebook, while I walked him through a rehearsal dinner. Or explaining the difference between a 5 p.m. wedding versus a 2 p.m. wedding. And why pizza and mini-corn dogs — yes, they are tasty — aren’t typically reception food. I also cleared up the mystery surrounding the toasting glasses; we only buy two flutes for each of us, not one for every guest. I told him we have to save the top tier of our wedding cake for the first anniversary. And that we need to create a wedding registry at the department store. Those moments are priceless, a bit funny too.


Sometimes I forget the groom-to-be didn’t grow up with a wedding day Barbie. While I was playing wedding, he was playing in the woods, learning how to hunt and fish. He was never a bridesmaid or thrown a bridal shower for a best friend.But he is now an owner of “Complete Idiot Guide to Weddings.” He might learn a few things before the big day, a lot he probably won’t even need to know. Like the different types of calligraphy, how to get married abroad and the perfect wedding day make-up. It is all there — 408 pages of traditions, trends and more. The book might have been a gag, but it proves the point that males — even though they don’t know their color palettes — still want to be involved in the wedding process. The old request “just show up at the altar” doesn’t apply as much anymore. There are books, websites and magazines devoted to the groom.


Before I wrote this column, I brought the fiance’s book to the office. He said I had to bring it back, but I confess I really don’t want too. If he reads it cover to cover —which I really doubt but there is always a chance — I will miss explaining why we need an aisle runner, why I need two bouquets and the difference between diamond white and natural white. Plus, I am learning a lot that I didn’t know too. Wedding day Barbie didn’t exactly come with a “Complete Guide” — just a sparkly dress and high heels.

Jamie Parsell is the Lifestyle editor of the Daily Telegraph. Contact her at or on Twitter @BDTParsell.