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Rob Jenkins - Life imitates art for father of the bride

My daughter was four years old when the movie "Father of the Bride" came out back in 1991. That's probably why I enjoyed it so much.

Heck, I thought Steve Martin was a riot in the title role. Maybe I felt a slight pang during those scenes where he remembers his daughter as a little girl, but I laughed as hard as anyone watching Martin's character become completely overwhelmed by wedding trivia, his suggestions ignored, his house trashed and bank account empty by the end.

Seventeen years later, as a recent father-of-the-bride myself, I'm not laughing anymore.

Don't get me wrong. I think a wedding is a wonderful thing, and my daughter's wedding was (of course) more wonderful than most. I just wish I'd remembered, all those years ago, how life can imitate art. There's a reason the father in the movie has white hair at the end. (OK, Steve Martin always has white hair, but you get the point.)

Instead, I had to learn how to be a father of the bride on my own, without even a faux-French wedding planner to lean on. So as a service to future fathers-of-the-bride everywhere, here are a few of the things I wish someone had told me beforehand:

First, do not waste a single moment of your time thinking about the details of your daughter's wedding. You will have no say in the matter whatsoever.

Indeed, on the subject of the wedding, you will have less credibility than Jane Fonda at the VFW. Your wife and daughter will seek advice from people serving life sentences before they seek yours.

Furthermore, understand that from the moment your daughter announces her engagement, the only subject worth discussing at your house will be the wedding.

What people you barely know might eat at a reception still six months away will be a much more pressing question than what you're having for dinner that night. Whether the bridesmaids will wear rose or teal will be of far more interest than whether your underwear is white or, um, not so white.

And finally, you should know that unless you begin saving now, your net worth after the wedding will best be expressed as a negative number. And when I say "begin saving now," I'm assuming your daughter is as yet unborn.

Here's what I've actually recommended to several people: You know how they tell you to save for your child's education? Well, do that - then spend it on the wedding. You can always take out low-interest government loans for college, but Uncle Sam isn't lending you squat for a wedding.

If you follow this advice, you should be well prepared for the blessed event and its aftermath. There's only one thing no one can adequately prepare you for:

Looking at the bride and remembering her as a little girl.

Rob Jenkins can be reached at rjenkinsgdp@yahoo.com.