This has been an interesting week. I received two offers. One was a proposal for a one-time writing job for a wedding in early 2021.
My old writing colleague recommended me for the job. The promised fee is hefty. But I don’t know the people involved and had second thoughts.
I was flattered and sorely tempted.
The other one is to write the biography of a well-known singer, recording artist and concert star. I trust that the book, if and when it happens, will undoubtedly be marketable, certainly not because of me, but because, over the years, the subject has enjoyed a huge loyal following.
I said yes to the book. I am excited and keeping my fingers crossed.
The wedding offer calls for the writing of “save the day” announcements for print and online media and the text for 300 custom-designed invitations.
As I studied the instructions, I thought, why me? Google has all that.
I am tasked to create a souvenir album with handpicked prenuptial shots of the couple, taken in scenic places all over the world. To complement the photos, I have to write the narrative of how and when they met, fell in love, when he proposed, and how she said yes.
And my mind asks, “why?” Unless the protagonists are movie stars or members of royalty, does anyone really care?
Later that night, I got a follow-up call. The couple want me to write their personal wedding vows. They expect me to get my ideas from a fact sheet that will be emailed.
I think this was the deal breaker.
While my mind did the math and computed the currency conversions, it was also telling me to back off. My battle-scarred heart echoed my thoughts and told me I couldn’t/shouldn’t contrive vows. How could I make promises for other people?
If only this were a script for a movie! How I wish it were. But it isn’t.
I turned the offer down late last night. I didn’t know what to say. And so I gave them a couple of lame excuses and said, “Thanks but no thanks.”
The society page
My thoughts go on flashback to my desk in the editorial room of the Manila Chronicle. As society editor, I was swamped with photographs and press releases about engagements, weddings, coming-out parties, charity balls, etc.
There were some specific events we were directed to “cover.” These were listed under “MUST,” which practically meant that if you missed it, you better start looking for another job.
There was excitement in the air especially if celebrities were involved. It was hard work, but we needed to know everything about them. Snoop was part of our job description.
Today, a host of publicists and planners are hired for the job. Back then, we had to go out and dig for ourselves. I had a checklist. What will she wear? Who is making the gowns? What is the color motif? Who are the wedding sponsors? We would beg, cajole and practically stalk the designer just to get a sneak peek at a wedding gown.
Staff photographers feared our wrath if, on the appointed date and time, they missed our assignment. Never mind that they had to cover a fire.
It was amusing to see that while some of our subjects were publicity-shy, there were many who were notorious for their frantic and frenzied efforts to get into the society pages.
Nothing has changed
In the political arena, it was pretty much like it is today, in the sense that attention of any kind and being seen with the “right people” was top priority. We just needed to spell their names right. There was always pushing and shoving just to get in the picture.
Nothing has changed. It has only gotten worse.
Back in the day, it was difficult to penetrate the “old families.” Seldom did the upper crust of society trumpet their own agenda. They considered it de mal gusto or in poor taste. They still do. And I agree.
Times are different today and we have had to get acclimated to the changes. Some I like, the others I could live without. What was a definite “no-no” in the old days is now “no big deal.”
Missing the heart
I have seen a beautiful bride in her third trimester calmly walking down the aisle all dressed in white, baby bump and all.
I have been to weddings where bride, groom and their children have middle-aisled it, taking the plunge together. And why not, indeed.
Also, in our “dark ages,” there were those among the rich and famous who eloped and secretly stole a march. News of that sort created waves in the social scene. These eventually were written about in our pages as “quiet weddings” and immediately caused eyebrows to rise and tongues to wag.
Today’s weddings are not-so-mini productions—choreographed, directed, staged, expensive, stressful.
Photo/videographers must concur on the date and time to plan each perfect angle. The light must be right.
Wedding planners do make life easier, but there are some divas.
I know that attention to detail is necessary to create a flawless and memorable occasion. I get all that.
But I miss the spontaneity. I miss the heart.
And I wonder, have “white lace and promises” gone out of style?