The Easiest Thing

Hey, grooms-to-be: When it comes to the wedding, you have almost nothing to worry about

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of decisions precede a wedding. Some are more crucial than others—napkin patterns for the reception being somewhat less urgent than, say, the selection of music—but they all must be made.

But, fellas, here's the great thing: They don't have to be made by you.

Welcome to the token Man Story in this all-girl production; that, alone, should tell you how significant your role is in this process.

You've already done your thing. You bought the ring. You asked The Question, presumably in a suitably romantic/memorable/mildly embarrassing way—something involving a Jumbotron, or perhaps by looking deep into the watery pools of her eyes and murmuring, "Marry me; the tax benefits are enormous."

Whatever. She said yes, and that's all that matters for now.

Later—shortly after the rice is swept up, and the cake top is frozen so you can throw it away on your first anniversary—you'll find to your surprise that "bridal" becomes "bridle" as you're fitted for a bit and reins, and there will be no doubt about who's in the saddle for as long as you both shall live.

For now, you're largely free.

Because once you've popped the question, and your beloved has uncorked her answer, your future mother-in-law transforms into a magical, wonderful creature: a mother of the bride. Chances are, she will take over, much to your fiancée's chagrin and your carefully masked delight. Mother and daughter will pick out patterns and colors and styles and every damn thing else.

This doesn't leave your to-do list entirely blank, but almost.

You will have to be fitted for a monkey suit (black, bowtie, no ruffles).

You will have to pick groomsmen. This is far easier than choosing bridesmaids, a rite of sisterhood only slightly more complicated than mapping the human genome. For groomsmen, simply pick a brother or a friend as best man, then fill the empty slots with other dudes you know. It doesn't matter who you choose; those selected will be honored, and the rest will be glad they don't have to wear a tux.

Otherwise, your role is "consultant." That is, you attempt to find smart new ways to say, "Whatever you want, dear," without sounding too obvious. You may be called upon to visit a dress shop or two, and nod in assent as she tries on this and that, fretting over veils and trains. You may have to sample cakes. It's undemanding work, and you do it because you love her, of course. You will also have to listen to much excited talk about wedding details, which sounds worse than it is.

But take heart: Unless you're pathologically clumsy or get cold feet, nothing you do during this phase is going to irrevocably screw things up. That's the beauty of it! If the colors don't go together perfectly, or the organist can't play, or the flowers arrive wilted, it's not your fault. (Enjoy it, pal, because it's the last time that'll happen.)

You even pick up some arcane knowledge along the way, learning, for instance, that there's an alternate definition for "baby's breath" that has nothing to do with an actual baby, which always sounded kind of gross.

Oh, and you will have to do this: Show up. (Showered, shaven, shining.) Breathe deeply. Stand there, and be the best supporting actor you are. Look deep into the watery pools of her eyes. Speak your lines.

You will be thinking, this is the easiest thing I've ever done. And you will be right.

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