In Which We Have Little Time For You On Our Special Day

Hard to Say is This Recording’s weekly advice column. It will appear every Wednesday until the Earth perishes in a fiery blaze, or until North West turns 40. Get no-nonsense answers to all of your most pressing questions by writing to


In September I am planning on marrying my boyfriend of four years, Darren. Recently the wedding preparations have begun in earnest and while I don’t have any hesitation about my decision to get married (I hate the expression tie the knot, it is gross), I am a bit worried about how many people seem to be involved in the ceremony. Both of our parents are contributing financially to the event, and understandably they both expect to be a part of the process.

The wedding already seems like it will have to be much larger than I ever imagined it – over 100 people! – and the amount of money and time that is going into one day is starting to bother me. Should I just suck up my feelings or should I try to do something about it?

Jamie P.

Dear Jamie,

Many weddings and genocides share a common trait – they both involve over 100 people. I have attended many weddings in my time, and the only one I really truly enjoyed the bride got incredibly drunk and slept through most of the reception. Basically, as a bride, you are allowed several common expressions that will curtail a lot of this chicanery without coming off as a party pooper:

– “I always imagined a small wedding.”

– someone suggests inviting Aunt Helen. “Didn’t Aunt Helen once say ADHD was caused by grapefruit juice? She is not welcome on my special day.”

– “Whose wedding is this?”

– “Darren and I need to talk that over.”

– “Whose special day is this?”

– “Aunt Helen once thought my Armenian friend was a terrorist.”

– “They had that at the Katie Holmes-Tom Cruise nups. Remind me how that special day worked out.”

– “You’re not my mother.”

– “You might be my mother, but this is not your special day.”

– “I need to talk that over with Aunt Helen.”

Above all, lie, prevaricate and postpone any decision you feel the slightest bit uncomfortable with. No one ever looks back on a bride’s behavior before a wedding and says, “She was just so indecisive, Shelia!” It’s just par for the course.


A friend of mine, Andrea, recently split with her boyfriend, Steven, of a year. (We all live in Park Slope.) They have stayed on good terms and he sometimes says hi to us both if he sees us, and once he caught a mouse in her apartment with his bare hands when I was there at a screening of The Prince of Tides.

Needless to say I was extremely turned on by this event and I would like to see more of Steven. You asked me why they broke up: it was a mutual thing but I think the main deciding factor was that she felt a bit too domesticated by the relationship and wanted to go out more.

I feel weird asking Andrea’s permission to pursue things with Steven, and I’m worried he will feel weird too if he hears I have asked, or even if I suggest hanging out together in general. What’s the best way to approach this?

Megan P.

Dear Megan,

If he’s still running the pest control game at his ex’s apartment, Steve doesn’t seem like the most headstrong fellow. Nor would I ever be able to fully divest myself of the notion that the hands stroking my body had touched a mouse’s corpse, although I believe that is more my problem than yours.

What you need to do is get Steven to ask Andrea for her permission. That could be a bit farfetched on both their parts, but it will only happen if you can get alone time with Steven on some other pretext. Tell him an endangered condor accidentally flew into your apartment, and you would like him to remand it to a local animal shelter equipped to deal with large birds. Or maybe he knows Spanish and can teach it to you.

Illustrations by Mia Nguyen.

“Every Age” – Jose Gonzales (mp3)

“What Will” – Jose Gonzales (mp3)

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