Philadelphia Wedding: Old boyfriends make bad guests

Photo by Allebach. See more at
Photo by Allebach. See more at

Philadelphia Wedding is a beautiful glossy quarterly ancillary of the Philadelphia magazine brand, and, as I tweeted yesterday, I am thrilled to say I have the back page essay in the most recent issue on newsstands now.

A former girlfriend with a suddenly hyphenated name e-mailed me recently. Buried three paragraphs down, she alerted me to the fact that she was now happily and beautifully married. Not long before that, I’d received a text message from my first serious girlfriend, a girl who had once drawn hearts on my biology notebook, telling me she now had a child — this before I even knew she had a serious significant someone. [Source]

As always, I’ll share some extras that didn’t get in and some background after the jump.

philly-wedding-fall-2009Philly Wedding is clearly the highest end niche magazine for which I’ve written thus far, so I’m really excited about the development.

That said, because I was a bit new to the very focused writing style of a bridal magazine, a friend kindly suggested I drop some of the shtick I had in my piece.

A graf from the e-mail that that friend sent me when I asked for his advice makes me smile every time I read it:

There is some lovely writing in here. [But] my overall comment is that the piece as is is a bit too negative. And by that I mean if this were running [someplace else], fine. But this is on the back page of the fucking Wedding magazine. It has to be a little more heartfelt. [They are] not looking for Hallmark schmaltz, but it can’t call the bride the mayor of crazy town and have her paranoid that all of her exes think she’s nuts.

It’s on days on which I get e-mails like that when I think I couldn’t possibly enjoy any other profession working with any other type of people more.

Some pieces that were (most certainly wisely) axed:

  • My original lede: You first have to wonder how you’re going to introduce us. Or worse, how might we introduce ourselves? At your reception, we are the old boyfriends and former l’amants tooling around the cash bar ominously answering the question of how we know you, giving little more than, “a friend, an old friend.”
  • An old girlfriend told me she had a kid before I found out she slipped a ring on her finger — why didn’t I swing a wedding invite?
  • [My friend who attended his ex’s wedding] didn’t spend a waking moment thinking of what could have been, but he couldn’t scratch the itch of wanting to shake the hand of the man who thought he had the cojones to saddle up and ride with the mayor of crazy town.
  • [A cluster of the bride’s old boyfriends] mostly agreed she was either using them all as backups in case her fiance bailed or that she simply gained strength by kinetic awkward energy.
  • My friend and these other veterans of her affection shared notes, drinks and war stories at her expense. Suddenly my being excluded from the weddings of my old girlfriends seemed downright pragmatic.
  • So, when you’re thinking about inviting to your wedding those old flames, even the ones with whom you pledged to remain friends, remember that we just might actually show up. And we’ll find each other. And we’ll talk.
  • Should you invite us, your old boyfriends? Oh, almost certainly not, but it might sure be fun for us if you did.

Go out and buy a copy of Philadelphia Wedding, will ya?

Philly wedding photography here.

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