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By Staff | Apr 24, 2015

My wife and I are brushing off our best duds and buffing up our boogie shoes.

We have a wedding to attend.

Our little family will soon become a little bigger when our youngest son exchanges vows with a marvelous young lady named Megan. My wife and I never had any daughters, but Chris has done an outstanding job of choosing a daughter-in-law for us.

A lot has changed regarding prenuptial preparations since my wife and I tied the knot more than three decades ago. Engineering a modern wedding appears to be only slightly less complicated than landing a man on the moon.

For starters, every detail of the Big Day – clear down to the atomic level – has to be memorable. And it all begins with the proposal.

A cursory web surf can yield innumerable illustrations of how the simple act of asking a simple question can become overly complicated.

There are guys who literally put on a song-and-dance routine and men who popped the question at halftime on the 50-yard-line

(“No pressure, sweetie, but 40,000 people are waiting to hear your answer. Me, too.”)

A guy is going to want to be sure of the answer if he proposes during a hot air balloon ride. Getting a “no” while high in the sky would be awfully awkward letdown.

I stuck to the basics when I proposed to my wife.

We happened to pass a jewelry store and I happened to say something to the effect of “What would you think if we…?” and she replied with something along the lines of “Yeah, sure, you betcha.”

Chris likewise kept it simple by proposing on the same spot where he and Megan first met. There will forever be a special place in their hearts for that patch of sidewalk next to their office building’s parking lot.

Once there’s a ring on it, a wedding swiftly evolves into an unstoppable force of nature. Dresses must be selected, flowers and venue chosen, an impossibly cute ring bearer and flower girl located and rented. The list of details are endless.

Not that I would personally know anything about attending to such details.

Back in my day, a groom’s duties consisted entirely of :

  • Showing up at the right place and the right time.
  • Answering to the affirmative when the padre posed a particular question.

Modern grooms face a much higher level of expectations.

For example, grooms are now required to help with the bridal registry, a newfangled tradition that has nothing to do with the amount of horse equipment you might own.

A bridal registry is a wish list. A couple can go to a department store and use a portable bar code scanner to select items they would like to receive.

Think of it as shopping with an electronic pistol.

My wife and I didn’t register any of our gift wishes. Which is too bad because we received so many toasters as wedding presents, we could have heated the entire house with toaster power.

Betrothed couples are also expected to build a wedding website. This enables anyone with a web connection – friends, relatives, perhaps even some random Albanian goatherd – to stay informed about the upcoming nuptials.

It’s a given that the groom will contribute to this digital diary. We guys would never have been burdened with such a thing in my day, mainly because the web wasn’t yet invented. If you were to say internet back then, folks would have assumed that you’d had a good day of fishing.

Then there is the issue of engagement photos. My wife and I were broke, so we chose to have our one-and-done engagement photo taken by a friend of a friend.

We probably could have saved even more money except cell phone cameras and selfie sticks were still decades away.

When modern couples become engaged, they often hire the services of a professional photographer. This is a person who likely owns more electronic gear than the average Best Buy store.

The photographer shoots millions of pictures of the betrothed in various locations. His or her goal is to candidly capture the couples’ happiness. Except it’s difficult to pull off the candid part when you’re using a zoom lens the size of the Hubble Space Telescope.

The wedding machinery is gathering momentum minute by minute and preparations are entering their final phases.

On the appointed day, my wife and my duties will consist mostly of showing up at the right place and the right time and brimming with joy as Chris and Megan both say “Yeah, sure, you betcha.”

Nelson is a freelance writer from Volga, S.D. Reach him by e-mail at jjpcnels@itctel.com.

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