There are lots of reasons to bring a little DIY/DIT to the party when you get married. Per Meg’s book: Saving money, keeping your hands busy, or because you’re going indie-chic. But here’s the best: “It’s flat-out fun.” We saved some money on our flower arrangements without going too crazy. But another project was even more enjoyable.
I was thinking so much about weddings when Brandon and I had our planning hats on that I began to notice them everywhere. I mean, sure, I was already aware that people got married from time to time. I knew I couldn’t walk past a magazine rack without being overwhelmed with images of brides who didn’t look anything like me. But it was going through the dollar racks outside the Strand that was the real revelation. So many books are wedding-themed! Of course, some are indispensable guides. Others are equally dispensable versions of the same. But the gem I stumbled on was an old Ed McBain mystery, So Long as You Both Shall Live.
I knew at once what our DIT project would be. Brandon and I both love second-hand books. Writers, apparently, love weddings. Our new goal for the year was wedding books. Till Death do us Part. For Better for Worse. With this Ring. The options were endless.
It wasn’t a chore because we’d have been book shopping anyway. Besides, in our Brooklyn neighborhood, the sidewalks in summer are paved with paperbacks ejected from our neighbors’ tiny apartments. Marriage is Murder. The Bigamous Spouse. The Bridesmaid. The bounty kept on coming.
We bought a personalized library stamp and added the date of our reception on every flyleaf. Assigning one to each guest was the best part of all. Many of them were random, but my mother, as a lawyer, got Supreme Courtship. Book titles went on the escort cards (I no longer think these are what you find in phone booths in Vegas) and guests found their places by locating the book on their seats. Seating arrangements and favors, done and done. Of course, we didn’t get any for ourselves—but my brother Hugh, and our witness Rachel, fixed that while they were helping set up with a quick trip to the bookstore for The Tiger’s Wife and Stuff Every Husband Should Know.
We didn’t say vows at our reception, but wedding-related words were all around us. Some were ironic, some titillating, some sentimental—it didn’t really matter. The books were our nod to a cultural obsession, but they were also gifts that represented something about our lives together. And unlike other fraught decisions we made in the run-up to the celebrations, we didn’t have to strain for it. It was a labor of love, and it made us laugh.
Photos: Joe Lingeman