Bullish Life: “Wedding Homework,” Plus a Gentle(wo)manly Wedding Vow Suggestion


Jennifer Dziura writes career and life advice weekly on TheGloss. Here is an archive, and here is an archive of Bullish columns from our sister site TheGrindstone.

In the next 30 days, I’m finishing a masters degree, launching a company, and getting married. Personally, I thrive on the excitement. I also thrive on espresso.

My fiance and I (see Bullish Life: How I Met My (Soon-to-Be) Husband On OKCupid) are not religious and do not share any close friends who might want to perform our ceremony. We also don’t like getting all warm and fuzzy in public. At various points, we discussed having a historical ceremony performed by a George Washington impersonator, getting married at sea by a crusty old sea captain according to the laws of the ocean circa 1700, and getting someone to do a secular ceremony in Latin. Maybe something from ancient Rome. These suggestions were not practical.

So we hired a professional, Jessie Blum of Eclectic Unions (good vocab word!), to tell us what to say and where to stand. We met up with her at a coffee shop in New Jersey, where I’m pretty sure I remember talking about Monty Python and Dr. Who. It went well. We hired her. I was all like, “Great, we’re done!”

But after the coffee shop interview came the homework. Wedding homework! A great big Word document prefaced with, “Please answer these individually, without sharing your answers with each other! I will use aspects of the answers to create your Love Story, as well as personalize all aspects of your ceremony.”

It was kind of harder than writing a Bullish column, and those kind of wear me out, which is one reason I drink.

Here is a small selection of what went down. At the end is my proposal for a gentle(wo)manly wedding vow.

How would you describe yourself?

Smart but off-putting. You really shouldn’t say that at my wedding, though.

Tell me your story! When did you first meet? How did you first meet? How did you feel about the other one at that time? What was your first date like?

We met on OKCupid. I had mentioned a the book Innumeracy by John Allen Paulos, about, of course, people who don’t understand numbers. Andrew said he had read it as a teenager and it had been a formative influence on him.

We met on Halloween, which neither of us care about. We’re not really costume people, and I was working, teaching an evening class. I told him I’d show up “dressed to buy and sell him.” We met at a bar near my work. We liked each other immediately. At some point, Andrew took his glasses off for seemingly no reason, and I thought, “Oh, he’s flirting! That’s how he flirts!” I liked the way his eyelashes looked when he blinked.

He confessed that he still played Dungeons and Dragons, although he had picked it back up recently and hadn’t been playing it continuously since he was a teenager.

What do you love about your partner? What qualities do you most admire in her or him?

For a guy who’s a little stuffy – he can tell you how to optimize your 401K – he’s also a bleeding-heart liberal socialist commie revolutionary at heart.

He is very kind and a lover of cats.

Andrew loves the stars/astronomy and is going to teach our children all about science.

His grin is the best thing I’ve ever seen in my life.

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    • eliza

      Ahh, I love this! The sections about tone and things you definitely do and don’t want, reminded me of one of my wedding ceremony pet peeves, which is when “traditional” or religious things get co-opted by people who are in no way personally connected to those things. It’s like the couple didn’t realize that it’s actually not mandatory to have someone read that letter from Paul to the Corinthians.

      I also despise vows that are recited, phrase by phrase, repeating after the officiant.

    • Jape

      Congratulations to you both! This avid reader of all things Dziura hopes that the weeks and months and years ahead will be dizzingly happy… and productive in your most gentlewomanly ways.