Groom Duties

Wedding Question: What You Don’t Know, Will Kill You.

As regular readers now know, from time to time, we turn to one of the less-crazy bridal sites, OneWed, for “her perspective.”

From OneWed’s Marta Segal Block:

There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know. – Donald Rumsfeld

I’m not usually in the habit of quoting Donald Rumsfeld, certainly not in the context of weddings, but this quotation came to mind for me last week when I received my cousin’s wedding invitation.

Here’s the story: One of my favorite cousins is getting married this summer. It’s not a destination wedding, but he happens to live on the other side of the country, so getting there will take some doing. A few months after they announced the date, but before they sent Save the Dates, I called him.

I told him that my family really wanted to come, but if we were going to do that, we’d need to use Frequent Flier miles to buy the tickets, which meant we’d need to do it soon. I asked if the date and location were set, and if my kids (ages six and four) were invited. He said yes to all the above. We bought our tickets, and basically planned our summer around a big family trip to the Pacific Northwest (YAY!).

Fast forward to last week when we received the actual invitation, written on the bottom of the materials was a brief note explaining that because the wedding is on a boat, and at night, children are not invited. To make a long story (a little bit) shorter I talked to his fiancée and everything has been worked out.

But here’s the thing:  my cousin thought he had given me the right answer. It never occurred to him that there would be a problem with kids at the wedding. It never occurred to him to tell his fiancée what we had discussed. It’s possible that he didn’t realize until the invitations were sent out that kids weren’t invited, and even then it didn’t occur to him that he had had a conversation about this very issue.

Do you know what you don’t know? If you’re asked a wedding-related question that you aren’t 100% positive you know the answer to (and by 100% I mean you and your fiancée have had a discussion about it), use this phrase “I don’t know the answer to that. Let me talk to my fiancée and I’ll get back to you.”

Simple and easy, and if you use it enough, people will wise up and go right to the source.

Marta Segal Block writes the Ask the Wedding Maven advice column for, home to the Savvy Scoop, a daily source of wedding inspiration and ideas that actually make sense.

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