The Wedding Planner

I just got back from a May-December wedding — the bride looked like she was born last May; the groom, last December. If they were any younger, they’d have been wearing formal onesies.

OK, I admit it: Twenty-three-year-olds still look like babies to me, so I guess I’m the problem.

As soon as I got off the plane, I was handed a three-page, single-spaced wedding agenda. How on earth would they stick to such a strict schedule? Every waking moment was planned with military precision. But as someone who’s been to a lot of weddings, I know they never go exactly as planned.

Here is what the wedding agenda looked like in hindsight:


5:30 to 6:30 p.m.: Church rehearsal. Bride breaks into tears; bride’s father takes a swing at the groom.

7 to 8:30 p.m.: Rehearsal dinner. Maid of honor stalks out after catching her boyfriend flirting with a bridesmaid.

9 to 11 p.m.: Teenage nieces and nephews caught drinking from half-filled glasses while grown-ups dance.


8 to 10:30 a.m.: Hair and makeup at the Hair House. Mother of the groom mistakes the name for another kind of establishment and says, “I thought so.”

9 to 10:30 a.m.: Groomsmen’s breakfast. Groom gets several phone calls from his mother, asking what kind of woman he is marrying. Groom starts drinking doubles.

11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Bridal party photos. Many usable photos are taken before groom urps on bridesmaid. Other photos show groom begging forgiveness. In many, he is on his knees, while the bride has turned her back on him.

2:30 to 2:55 p.m.: Wedding guests are escorted to their seats. The ushers look openly embarrassed to be seen with women they wouldn’t hit on in a bar.

2:55 to 3 p.m.: Seating of the parents, who look as if their shoes are much too tight and something smells funny in the church.

3:01 p.m.: Ceremony begins. The bride and groom will never again look so young and in love, or so beautiful and handsome, as they do at this moment.

4:30 p.m.: Reception begins. Open bar is mobbed by friends and relatives who haven’t had a drink for almost an hour and a half. They toss them back two at a time.

6:30 to 8 p.m.: Dinner served.

6:31 p.m.: First complaint about where a guest is seated.

6:31 p.m.: First complaint that the food is not vegan.

6:31 p.m.: First complaint about how long it takes to get a Long Island iced tea that was ordered.

7:30 p.m.: Cake cutting. Make that plural: cakes. And cupcakes. And cake-sicles.

7:30 to 8 p.m.: Maid of honor tells embarrassing story but thankfully can’t finish because she gets the hiccups and starts crying. Best man is illiterate and drunk. His speech consists mainly of “I love you, man,” over and over.

8 to 8:05 p.m.: Bride and groom’s first dance to “their song.”

8:05 to 8:10 p.m.: Bride and her father dance.

8:10 to 8:15 p.m.: Groom and his mother dance awkwardly, as groom does not know how to do the Latin hustle.

8:30 p.m.: Women’s room packed with purging bridesmaids.

9 p.m.: Deafening music starts, the universal signal for old people to leave, as simply walking up and asking them to go home is still considered impolite.

9 p.m.: Wedding cake served.

9:05 p.m.: Bouquet toss. Drunken guest gets smacked in the face.

10:35 to 11 p.m.: Two couples get into a fistfight over who is better friends with the newlyweds. The words “Do you want to take this outside?” are heard.


10:30 a.m.: Arraignment.

10:37 a.m.: Bail set.

Jim Mullen’s newest book, “How to Lose Money in Your Spare Time — At Home,” is available at You can follow him on Pinterest at

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