Oh hey I got married

So, in case you missed it, I got married in late July / early August of 2023. I haven’t actually written too much about it publicly, just the bit I wrote here in Yenta.

I haven’t written about the honeymoon at all. It was delightful. Here are the topline ideas about the honeymoon:

  • We chose something easy and quiet to balance out the social and crowded week-long wedding festivity.
  • We stayed exclusively in old-fashioned bed-and-breakfasts
  • First, we went to the village of Gananoque, in Canada. It’s right by the Thousand Islands.
  • This has symbolic resonance because we had both been there on a road trip the day before we kissed for the first time.
  • We went kayaking, walked around town, and played a ton of Frosthaven.
  • Then we went to Stratford. It’s the home of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, and the subject of a loving parody in Slings and Arrows. Years before we were dating, Sarah suggested I watch the show (it’s fantastic, an office comedy about people who work in a theatre, with the drama to match). It was my secret. “I have a crush on Sarah, let me remind myself by watching this niche TV show only she seems to knows about”.
  • The Shakespeare at Stratford was amazing. We even realized, by accident, that Paul Gross, the frontman of Slings and Arrows, was performing as King Lear. Wow!
  • Plus our BnB hostess was fantastic.
  • Plus lots of Frosthaven.
  • And lots of listening to Shakespeare as we drove a car for hours at a time to get to all these places.
  • It was delightful. Now you know!

And now, I wrote a longish retrospective that was framed as a set of tips for wedding planning. My wedding (and how to plan a great one).

It’s all on my long-dormant substack.

There’s a lot there, but here are just the topline tips:

  1. Food trucks! They solve so many problems.
  2. Understand this: the point of a wedding is to bring your people together and get them to understand why you should be married.
  3. Your wedding can be a week-long party where you show off your home.
  4. Community housing can be a key part of the experience.
  5. We got married outside, at a nature center
  6. We invested in great music
  7. Swords! (Invest in people getting to know each other, part 1)
  8. Secret Missions! (investing in introductions, part 2)
  9. The point of getting married is to help the world understand the relationship that you already have.
  10. Emailed (or texted) invitations are fine.
  11. Have a simple, relaxing, honeymoon
  12. Dress amazing, not formal
  13. Wedding rings don’t need to be stressful boring expensive and useless
  14. Redirect parent energy
  15. Get married in the early afternoon
  16. Replace vows with stories
  17. Children are great! Extra friends are great!
  18. Paradoxically: treat +1s with care
  19. Speeches are actually good — but space them out
  20. Have a special moment with everyone with this one weird trick.
  21. Don’t sweat the details. Many times, we told people, “if someone asks us what color napkins we want, then we are doing something horribly wrong”.

(Bonus: listen to tradition. Have your wedding on a Sunday.)

And what we learned:

  1. Plan earlier, and there’s no need to get overwhelmed.
  2. Use a CRM. Avoid WithJoy.
  3. You need a day-of captain
  4. You need an escape route
  5. Remember to schedule time and energy for thank you notes

Read the whole thing here (with photos!)

Lastly — I’ve been thinking about it, and I’d like to go to more weddings. Please invite me! I am a great guest. Fun dancer, gregarious, make friends with your friends. You won’t regret it.


The McDonald’s gambit

A long while ago I read about a concept the author called “the McDonald’s gambit”. Some web sleuthing couldn’t find it, and I use this idea all the time. So this is me recording it for future citation.

Imagine you’re with a group of people. Maybe friendly aquaintances, or coworkers. Maybe just you and your girlfriend. You’re trying to figure out where to go eat.

No one suggests an idea. There’s just silence. Probably because no one wants to impose their views on others — but in respecting people’s preferences they aren’t respecting their time or ability to speak up for themselves.

You need to break this logjam. You don’t need to propose an actually good idea. That’s kind of unhelpful, really. The point isn’t to impose your favorite restaurant on the group. The point is to start discussion. The tactic is to provoke them by making an outlandishly bad suggestion.

Say this — “how about we get McDonald’s?”

“McDonald’s!?” someone will cry out. “I mean we might as well go to Thai Thanic, that’s better than McDonald’s. Eww”.

Then someone will say “Oh, I don’t like Thai Thanic, let’s try Kumquat Kitchen”.

And presto! You’ve successfully jolted real preferences to be expressed. All through the power of the McDonalds Gambit.

(And of course, pro-tip, it doesn’t have to be just about food.)

Cross-posting to my substack