Welcome to the second episode of our series on the Un-Wedding Podcast, The Drama Dynasty – A group of personas and stereotypes that you may need to navigate in today’s wedding world.
In this episode, we introduce Checked-Out Charlie, also known as the Clueless or Checked-Out Groom. We’re going to discuss why one or both people who are engaged can become clueless or checked out of the wedding planning process and talk about strategies for how you can manage the overwhelm, stay engaged in the process and actually enjoy it.
Featuring a guest appearance by Jonathan Waldie
Learn more about us and our movement: https://unweddingmovement.com
Corina Waldie 0:11
Welcome to the Un-Wedding Podcast. I'm Corina -
Sydney Spidell 0:14
and I'm Sydney.
Corina Waldie 0:15
We're two neurodiverse wedding planners who are committed to empowering nearlyweds to throw the wedding rulebook, shrink their guest lists and create a meaningful, purposeful wedding experience. We're taking the wedding industry by storm and disrupting the status quo. We're the Un-Wedding Planners and we invite you to join our movement.
Sydney Spidell 0:33
We record our podcast from Treaty Six Territory, a traditional gathering place for diverse Indigenous peoples, including the Cree, Blackfoot, Metis, Nakota Sioux, Iroquois, Dene, Ojibwe, Saulteaux, Anishinaabe, Inuit, and many others whose histories, languages and cultures continue to influence our vibrant community.
Corina Waldie 0:57
Welcome to the second episode in our series here on the Un-Wedding podcast, the Drama Dynasty, a group of personas and stereotypes that you may need to navigate in the wedding world. Today, let us introduce you to Checked-Out Charlie, featuring my husband, Jonathan Waldie - who I promise is here voluntarily.
Jonathan Waldie 1:17
It's true. I'm here voluntarily.
Sydney Spidell 1:19
No chains. No handcuffs
Jonathan Waldie 1:21
See... I'm free, I'm free
Sydney Spidell 1:23
You may have heard of this person described as the clueless or checked-out groom, but it can be even or both partners. So let's dig into why anyone can be a Checked Out Charlie, why it happens and strategies you can use for both you and your partner to manage overwhelm, and not only remain engaged in the process but also enjoy it. We'll then finish with some tried and true tips on managing this persona, both in yourself and in others, so that you can come out on the other side of wedding planning with your partner, friends and family relationships intact.
Corina Waldie 2:00
Awesome. So we really wanted to invite Jon to join us today because as many of you know, I had a really crazy wedding about 10 years ago, that was super traditional, which we've talked a little bit about on other episodes. But my husband,now of almost 10 years, it will be 10 years in December,
Sydney Spidell 2:18
Corina Waldie 2:20
was not entirely a full Checked Out Charlie, he was definitely not necessarily as engaged in the process as he could have been. So we wanted to invite him on here today to talk a little bit about his perspective, and also contribute to the conversation in a meaningful way from the other side of the argument.
Sydney Spidell 2:38
Yeah. Does that mean we have to listen to people's arguments that are different than ours?
Corina Waldie 2:43
Sydney Spidell 2:44
Okay. You were like you were you weren't a full Checked Out Charlie, you were like a Checked-Out Char...?
Jonathan Waldie 2:48
Yeah. I was halfway there.
Sydney Spidell 2:53
Okay, so when thinking of a Checked-Out Charlie, this whole clueless trope, there are certain phrases that we hear over and over again, similar to sort of those things that we had when we talked about Perfection Peyton, though there are those examples that we see over and over again. Some of the ones that come to mind for me, are things like, "you know, as long as it makes you happy," and "I really don't care about that. I just want to be married at the end of this all. None of those details matter to me. None of that matters to me." Or, you know, "Ask me about the meat and the band. I don't care about anything else. I just, I just don't give a crap." Or you were just gonna say...
Corina Waldie 3:44
Oh, I think for us, one of our more common ones was "It costs how much or I only care about the money or the financial aspect of the wedding."
Sydney Spidell 3:55
Or that ever fun one of "Hey, my mom, honey, my mom wants to talk to you about the wedding. "
Corina Waldie 4:01
Jonathan Waldie 4:03
Yes, thank thankfully, that one we got to avoid. A lot of the other ones are making my ears burn.
Sydney Spidell 4:09
Your mom was almost a little bit of a Checked-Out Charlie too.
Jonathan Waldie 4:12
Oh, she was very much. She kind of said, "okay, which day? I have to get a new dress?" She really really was happy to say "You have fun Dear".
Sydney Spidell 4:22
let me know if you can do the family photos with a stand-in.
Jonathan Waldie 4:24
Yeah, yeah, pretty much.
Corina Waldie 4:26
She really wanted to actually wear the dress she wore to his sister's wedding.
Jonathan Waldie 4:31
Sydney Spidell 4:32
Thrifty. I love it.
Corina Waldie 4:33
But I actually had to take her physically shopping to get the new dress.
Sydney Spidell 4:37
But hey, that's okay. You got a little bit of mother-in-law bonding time.
Corina Waldie 4:40
Jonathan Waldie 4:41
there's there's that yeah, I'm glad I wasn't involved in that.
Sydney Spidell 4:44
But you know what's interesting too, then this whole mother conversation because we have had this this talk. Where were you were kind of that Perfection Payton at the wedding. You were this Checked-Out Charlie.
Jonathan Waldie 4:53
Sydney Spidell 4:53
And it's not that these personas are based on your experience, but rather these experiences that we as wedding planners see over and over and over again. But you also dealt with your mother sort of, like giving you those same sort of pushes and directions like she was a Perfection Payton as if it were her own wedding. And then you're echoing the same thing as your parents too, right? So there's like these familial handoffs that we really see in how people end up interacting, which just brings up the point that, hey, you're marrying someone else. And you're marrying their entire history too, right?
Jonathan Waldie 5:27
Yeah, cuz I don't think there were any members of my family really, that wanted to be all that involved. The one sister went "So if I bake your cake, I don't have to do anything else right? We still forced her into the wedding. Yeah, she was still in the wedding party. But she was like, do I have to be? Like, even my family members were like, you're good, you have enough wedding party members, right?
Sydney Spidell 5:56
We've got limelight and we've got low light.
Jonathan Waldie 5:59
Yeah, pretty much. So yeah, it did kind of seem that my whole family. Let's just say, I came by it naturally.
Sydney Spidell 6:08
Yeah. I mean, that's a huge thing to to recognize. And I think it's definitely something that we're going to dig into a little bit later in this particular episode too of being the reasons why behind these things. Because I think the the results of the Checked-Out Charlie, the result of those phrases being said is, you know, it can be perceived in one of two ways. You either really don't care about any of this, and you're totally fine with putting the burden of all of it on your partner, or you don't know what you care about within this, you don't know if there are aspects you're excited about, and you haven't necessarily been included in the process. Right? There's kind of those two?
Corina Waldie 6:57
Yep. And I often think most of the time, it's not necessarily caring or not caring, I think it is, to a degree like it is for so many people, I think it's just the way different people react, it's overwhelm, right?
Sydney Spidell 7:10
So much, it's an overwhelming thing.
Corina Waldie 7:12
It is huge, not only is it a large investment, there's a lot riding on it. And society really tells us that it's like this is going to be the best day of your life. And, you know, there's a lot of expectation that kind of floats around weddings. And so I think, typically a lot of the emotional reaction, if you don't know how to manage that is you either become one of two, you check out and become a Checked-Out Charlie, or you freak out and you become a Perfection Peyton. And so I think that is something that's really important to note throughout this entire process that you are overwhelmed, is definitely acknowledged, and it's real. And to just, you know,
Sydney Spidell 7:48
and it's fair. Understandable. Yeah, it's okay. It's okay, that this overwhelmed you.
Jonathan Waldie 7:57
Yes. Like, especially when it came to something like decor? Because I was definitely Checked-Out, Charlie then.
Sydney Spidell 8:04
Jon are you saying you don't care about the details?
Jonathan Waldie 8:07
I was more getting to the point, I had no idea. I'm not a decorator, I don't even know how many photos or how many paintings to put on a wall. I don't know anything about decor, I'm terrible about it. Which is why I go to my lovely wife here and go help me dear, you're my only hope.
Sydney Spidell 8:26
The interesting thing about that particular dynamic, though, is that there are a lot of people who don't know how many pictures go on a wall. Because guess what, I don't know how many pictures go on a wall.
Jonathan Waldie 8:40
I think a blank wall looks great
Sydney Spidell 8:41
It's up to your personality, it's up to your choices and your tastes. But at the same time, like you weren't an event planner, you weren't a wedding planner, when you had your wedding.
Corina Waldie 8:51
Nope, I was in customer service.
Sydney Spidell 8:53
So how many parts of you were screaming out with this? I mean, again, this is a hard example, because you grew up with a mother who was a decorator. So there's a lot of that verbage that's included in your knowledge and in your, you know, understanding of the world growing up. So you definitely would have had a different interest in style than Jon would have had. But there are tons of couples out there that don't have that example in their home growing up on both sides. So it's not something that that language is being exposed t. However so typically and not obviously we would see it in that Checked-Out Charlie/Perfection Peyton dynamic. But as we highlighted in the last episode too, Perfection Peyton is so often associated with women. Checked-Out Charlie is so often associated with men. And that dynamic of if neither partner has knowledge, has that language, has that interest, why does it so often still fall on the shoulders and a heteronormative couple of the woman? And you can say, "Well, I wouldn't know where to put a picture on a wall. So I'm going to leave that up to them." Because then you're forcing your partner in that moment to learn those skills to develop those connections with vendors and professionals who can do the parts that y'all are not professionals at -so why would you be able to do it?Jonathan Waldie:
It's true.Sydney Spidell:
Those parts that you have zero interest in, so why would you want to do it? And those parts that are just so important to you, that you care about the results? Because even if you were to say, well, it's not something that I like, and she likes pretty colors, so she can handle our floral design and then you go ahead and do all your florals, I can guarantee you, your florals are going to look like crap Corina.Corina Waldie:
Yeah, because the thing is, with a lot of these skills, there's a huge technical aspect to knowing how to construct a bouquet. So that it A - looks good, and B - stays together. But you know, it's starting to very slowly fade, but we had that really big DIY movement for quite a long time, especially during the recession of the, you know, falling the recessions both in 2009 and 2014, where couples were trying to save money, and using resources like Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration. But the problem is, you know, unless you've had this opportunity to work in a floral shop, you're not going to know how to do something technical. It's one of those things where, you know, and like I said, letting that fall to one partner just because they like flowers, or whatever, it really creates an uneven dynamic in the relationship.Sydney Spidell:
And the DIY stuff that we see out there in Pinterest and on the media. The majority of people don't DIY a wedding, and then put it out there and it looks like crap. And it gets shared around anyway, because they're like, look at the heart they put into it. I want that amount of heart in mine. And it looks like crap. You know, we don't celebrate the things that are DIY fails.Corina Waldie:
Well, there's a reason there is a trope about Pinterest fails. And, you know, it's really like to be clear, when it comes to DIY, I'm not necessarily against it. But what concerns me is when people want to take on tons and tons and tons of DIY without actually having the skills necessary to produce that. And you're investing 1000s of dollars in all these other elements for it to not look as good as you want to, because you simply don't have the skill.Sydney Spidell:
And then you're living with the disappointment and the feeling of being a failure of okay, but I looked online and the instructable told me I could and I can't, right? Like, there's I think with that being checked out, there's, there's a lack of understanding of all of those moving parts, just as we talked about with Perfection Peyton, again, the wanting everything. It's expecting magic, and not being willing to contribute anything to it. Checked-Out, Charlie is kind of, in a way doing the same. It's okay, we're gonna have a wedding. And there's just this kind of confidence there. But the confidence is because they know their partner wants it and will do all the work because even if they don't do the work, it's gonna have to get done.Jonathan Waldie:
Yeah, that's true.Sydney Spidell:
And I know, we did some DIY in ours. But the difference was, is most of those were because of me being Checked-Out and going, do we have to spend that money? And then going, the it being turned on me and going? Well, can you make this?Sydney Spidell:
So you try...Jonathan Waldie:
And if you try sitting there going, Well, can I? If the answer was no, I went you know, let's pay a professional because I didn't want that disappointment, because, again, me money going I don't want to spend all that money and it'd be a disappointment.Sydney Spidell:
But that's such an excellent question to ask him to not answer right away. Well, the key is, yes of course, but be like, really think about it. Do you have the time, the skill, the material, the money, all of that, the space, the workspace, the tools to create that thing you're looking for? If any of those things are no, spend the money. If all of those things are? Yes, cool couple project. Yay. Like, one month before the wedding, we built our own wedding arch. And you know, stained it with our blood. God. This is the third time I've talked about blood.Corina Waldie:
Yeah, 100%. And and, and that's why like I said, I am not against DIY's, I just caution, that you don't take on too much. And usually, I don't contractually require it or anything but I do suggest to all of my couples that you take on, you know, just to briefly touch on this, no more than two projects. Two projects that you feel comfortable in that you think you can produce to a good quality. And then just let the professionals really take care of everything else because it is so overwhelming to get into DIY but that's is I think something we can talk more about in another episode.Sydney Spidell:
Definitely. But we've talked about we talked about money again in the Perfection Peyton one. And so it sounds like we're like off so often. And we talked about money in the very first episode too. So often this comes back to what value are you placing not on the wedding as a concept, because we know that those concepts are so drenched in everyone else's thoughts and opinions. But what value do you place on the aspects of a wedding that you were including in yours? Right? Because, you know, you clearly were money conscious and, wanted to be responsible with the investment you are making? Which is why asking those questions of do we need this? And can we afford it? Are huge and important and super reality bringing to the whole experience and reality is not a bad thing in your dreams, we've already talked about that. But that cost also then, is an exercise to factor to get you to think about what you value, right? Because you valued the cost, right? But then you also were able to be like, where would I spend more money and knowing you it's food.Jonathan Waldie:
It's true food is an important thing.Sydney Spidell:
What else was like because it's not like you were you again, you were Checked-Out Char... But these people who are disinterested in the whole wedding process and are just like, again, it's that overwhelmed. Yeah. If you break it down into little pieces, there are aspects of it that you cared about. You cared about the food, what else did you care about?Jonathan Waldie:
Well, like our DIY project. Most of what that was was our centerpieces, because you know, okay, the people at the table are going to be bringing it home. We wanted them to enjoy it. And one of the things I mean, yes, it was cheaper to make it ourselves. But it was also okay, they might be able to actually bring this home, they might actually enjoy it and they will know it's us. And it doesn't look tacky. Because we didn't want it to look terrible because a good number of weddings...Sydney Spidell:
You wanted somebody to appreciate the thing that they had,Jonathan Waldie:
Yes. How many of them actually brought it home? I don't know. But the fact that we DIY did and it was cheap enough we didn't feel bad that they didn't take it either.Sydney Spidell:
But it was also something that you were like recognizing your guests and being like, we want you to feel connected to who we are. We're making our own centerpieces. This is this thing that is like our direct touch that had to do with your direct experience. This particular centerpieces made for your table.Jonathan Waldie:
Love you.Jonathan Waldie:
I love you. I hope you enjoyed the wedding. And the food because the food was good.Sydney Spidell:
Okay, so enjoyment. Yeah, you cared about people's enjoyment too.Jonathan Waldie:
We wanted them to enjoy the wedding. And to remember it. This was our wedding. It was good. And to enjoy it ourselves, obviously. Yeah. Which is why we didn't overload ourselves doing DIY is because that's how you quickly don't enjoy a wedding sometimes, especially if you just don't have the time.Sydney Spidell:
So thinking about how you would have enjoyed the day would mean that you would then prioritize the things you know, you're going to enjoy, like food, thinking about your guests enjoying the day meant you were going to prioritize the things that they actually get to interact and engage with, so like music, or entertainment, parts of things, food, again, food is for everyone. Not making things too long and boring. Yeah, as well. Right? All of those things. So So you're already talking about these different aspects that you cared about, which are easy enough for you to articulate and like I like food, but are really hard to then translate into a whole wedding planning process to say you are invested in this event. You have something that matters to you. Why don't we highlight this and draw this up? Because it's your freakin wedding? Like us? No matter how Checked-Out Charlie, you are. It's your wedding. Exactly. And you cared about Corina, you cared about the marriage that was going to happen. This was an event that meant something to you. So it's also like it's not only unfortunate that you kind of feel almost railroaded into things within the process. But what's what bla bla bla bla about that day, I don't know where I was going, I got lost..Corina Waldie:
Well, as you were saying about enjoying the process. Like finding that thing that you can engage with take and you can own. I actually do this even as planner with my with our clients. I will ask them outright, what what do you care about and work with them on those things. Because oftentimes, you know, that's beautiful part about working with a planner, if you don't want to take care of something, let the planner take care of it.Sydney Spidell:
Someone else will, right?Jonathan Waldie:
Especially if you're both Checked-Out Charlies right?Corina Waldie:
Wo if you're in the situation where you don't have a planner, it's working with your partner and saying, "Okay, what are you interested in?" and, and then, you know, giving them some ownership over that so that they can feel engaged and they can feel part of this process.Sydney Spidell:
And it also then ties right back again into, wow, so weird, that purpose concept. Because if you have a wedding purpose, and you know, these things that are engaging and exciting for each portion of the couple, then shed everything else, get rid of the rest of it. If one member of the couple is completely checked out of 50% of the stuff, and the other member of the couple is 100% invested in them only because they feel like they have to be because the other person is 0% invested. It's up to the couple, both people, to say, "Okay, I don't care about these things. Which of the things that I don't care about do you still care about? Which of the things are you doing just because you feel like you have to? What can we cut out? And the remaining stuff, the stuff that we actually care about? How can we emphasize it to relate back to our purpose, and the whole reason that we're even going through this whole messy disaster of a planning thing in the first place? Right?"Jonathan Waldie:
And yeah, like, I know, some aspects, where I was checked out, you know, we knew we were going to have the church and the, you know, the regular walk down the aisle and all that. And it was an off the cuff comment from my best man, actually, who said, it'd be really funny if we had like, top hats and tails, and canes, you know, and from there, it kind of went from, you know, checked out "Okay, well, this is obviously we're just going to go get a tux whatever, don't think about it." And there wasn't much planning to it and I don't even know if we had gotten to the conversation of how we getting away from the wedding to go to the reception to well, we ended up with a carriage. Yeah, like it's just it got interesting when you go Oh, that'd be a funny twist.Sydney Spidell:
I love that and that's you joking around with your buddies and you do joking around with your buddies about something silly allows you to inject that personality in and not only did that but it made you engaged in enough steps of the process that you then came up with a completely different decision for something.Jonathan Waldie:
it made it much more unique than your typical wedding because..Sydney Spidell:
It made it unique for you guys but also made it something that you get to be like, I did this for me.Jonathan Waldie:
Yeah, same along the same lines.Sydney Spidell:
It's not her, yeah.Jonathan Waldie:
It's not her having to do it. Yeah, it was me coming to her and going so what do you think about this?Sydney Spidell:
And like as his partner? How did that make you feel when he said that when he'd been not quite that way the rest of the time?Corina Waldie:
Well, when it came to like the top hats and tails after his best man had like kind of said that I went "Oh, that's a great idea," because we were running with his like, Victorian Christmas theme. Yeah. And so the guys literally wore including the father's although the father's opted out of the top hats and the white gloves, and the cane part. But Jon and all of his groomsmen and his best man who wore top hat, tails, had the canes and had white gloves. And I also know because I have the pictures to prove it - they had a lot of fun with it while taking pictures.Corina Waldie:
Yes, we did.Sydney Spidell:
Because it was something that like you guys are not just you, but your party as well were involved in this. You knew that it would be like - oh my god, men, in photographs at weddings can be so awkward.Corina Waldie:
Women definitely can too, for sure.Sydney Spidell:
But in like you know, you get a lot more like playfulness and goofiness and silliness and rowdiness in those sorts of grooms photos with a good photographer who knows how to engage their people. You set that up for success by having something basically props almost that you guys could engage with play with and be silly with within your photos. So you probably ended up being just that much more enjoyable because they actually had a taste and it wasn't something imposed on them.Jonathan Waldie:
Yes. And I do believe there's still photographic proof of us having a swordfight with canes.Sydney Spidell:
I don't know that sounds like a great time.Jonathan Waldie:
I mean, I don't even think the photographer was actually taking pictures at that point. He just snapped one because we were just goofing around. Yeah.Sydney Spidell:
But you know, you also don't need a picture of it. People, you will still hear horror stories of yeah, I just I was there for the wedding and I was really excited for it and I was just roped into helping with everything. Didn't actually enjoy it. Other than than the getting drunk part, you know. But that's literally not something that your bridal party, groom party, wedding party can say.Jonathan Waldie:
Well, and I think it's important to point out that like, obviously, in this case, you know, because this was something that he kind of like, you know, brewed up with his best man and was able to engage. And that was something that then became very memorable part of our wedding. But I think the other element to watch for and what often happens is, one partner will get the sort of idea in their head of like, what everything is going to be and then their partner says something, and then that partners idea gets completely overlooked. Oh, we're not doing that.Sydney Spidell:
Well, that wasn't part of the idea I had in mind, because I didn't actually include you in this wedding planning process in my picture. And now that you're speaking up, it's kind of strange to me. But instead of accepting that, you actually might have a certain thing to say within this, I'm just gonna keep on doing what I'm going to do. And it's okay, you'll accept it, because that's the way that it goes.Corina Waldie:
And I can 100% tell you that one of the things, and this was a little bit more early on in the process, but, you know, earlier on in that process, when we first got engaged, it was pretty much for me, always an understood requirement that I was going to have a big wedding. And I remember because, you know, your family has a very, very small amount of relatives. So for you, you're like, 75 is great. As we've said, in previous episodes, we had double that 150. And you were literally steamrolled into that. I'll be the first one to acknowledge that it was like, no, it's a large wedding, obviously, coming from the perspective of I didn't want to have to deal with my mother. And that's why we had a big wedding. But, you know, that was definitely something that I totally steamrolled you on and I'll acknowledge that.Jonathan Waldie:
It's true, I did try to get you to elope a few times. Yeah. And you went, "But what will the family think?" And I went, "Well, look at my Checked-Out Charlie side. They'll be happy to not have to go."Sydney Spidell:
Yeah, and it's and that's the thing, right? We always tend to bow to the loudest voice. And so the loudest voice was your mother's side of things. And not you. But your mother's side of things. And the and, and that pressure, and it is yeah. Easiest just not to resist. And I think that's another mentality of the Checked-Out Charlie of like, yeah, I have opinions. Yeah, I have thoughts. I have desires, but it's not worth expressing them to my Perfection Peyton because one of two things will happen. Either they'll feel guilty enough that I expressed an opinion, they're going to take what I said, and they're not going to like that part of the wedding as much and therefore I've let my new partner down. And look, I've just started our whole marriage on a terrible note. Or what's my or? Or they Yeah, or what happened with you guys, right? Like, that opinion gets expressed. And it's immediately like, well, sorry, that doesn't align. And then you have a wedding for one person, in which their partner is invited.Jonathan Waldie:
And that's how you get the Checked-Out Charlie, is that if their opinion is steamrolled, they go well, what's the point of offering one because it doesn't matter. I mean, yes, there's checked out in that you just don't care, but if you do care, and you still don't get any input, then what's the point of care about anything else? You're there to show up at that point.Sydney Spidell:
I really do think it's super, super important. And I know like y'all, y'all have to keep me brief on this. It's super important to recognize, too, that especially in heteronormative couples, we see those patterns emerging. We talked about the fact that Perfection Peyton is so often seen as Bridezilla, it's so often associated with the bride. And it's kind of just placed on there, whether it's earned or not. Checked-Out Charlie, the same way. But what is also important to recognize is the way that we each perpetuate really harmful gender based ideas, ourselves within these couples. This idea of I kind of have to be a Checked-Out Charlie. Because if I invest too much in this, if I do express the things that I want and the feelings I have, now, suddenly, I have to reckon with the perspectives of the rest of the world, which tells me that this is a woman's thing to care about. Je suis not that. So it's not my place. It's not. It's not up for me to care about this, which just gets you right back down to the roots of things where gender norms little girls are taught to care about details, the pretty things and keeping everybody happy. And little boys are taught to care about things as little as possible to protect themselves. So you have a total detachment from any natural passion and interest and desire and want and need in men. And a natural investment and desire passion want and need in women that is still shaped by the way wants and needs assumed of men. It's gross.Jonathan Waldie:
Yeah, kind of is.Sydney Spidell:
You deserve to care about pretty things.Jonathan Waldie:
Yeah. And the one phrase that came up a lot in the planning process was "Happy Wife, Happy Life."Sydney Spidell:
As long as she's happy.Jonathan Waldie:
Yeah. And you know, it's not something that I, you know it, it didn't stop me from anything I was involved in, but it's like they're trying to brainwash you into, well, you have to consider what she wants, because it's all about her. So she has to do everything.Sydney Spidell:
And to be completely honest, though, it's, it's not even about either person in that. Just that phrase, happy wife, happy life. There's no mention of who this other character is. Coming from the 50s we assume the husband. Happy wife, happy life comes from as long as you just throw money at her and she's able to do the things that she enjoys, you don't have to be present. And then it's also assuming that women just need their needs taken care of, and they don't have to be present. There's nothing about an actual relationship in that phrase. And we brag about it.Jonathan Waldie:
And yeah, it was, it was something that always annoyed me and annoyed you too, I'm sure, in that well what about the other partner? Because I mean, it could be used the same way is that, you know, happy spouse. But well, why should only one person be happy? Right. And so, they were using it in the phrase of, you know, whatever she wants, even if I don't...Sydney Spidell:
because, yeah, you're gonna enjoy your life more if you don't have a nagging wife.Jonathan Waldie:
Yeah. And, and effectively, they were trying to enforce a Checked-Out Charlie.Sydney Spidell:
And, and that's the kind of thing that's just not right.Sydney Spidell:
And enforce that sort of dramatization of women's needs to be something that you literally have to manage. Women are not something to be managed, just so you know.Corina Waldie:
And it also sort of again, feeds into you're setting yourselves up, because you know, a wedding is just one day. A wedding is about preparing for a marriage. And if you go through your entire wedding planning process, you know, with this mentality of happy wife happy life, she gets what she wants, we're then setting ourselves up into the much larger issue that, you know, we're obviously hearing more and more about about, you know, mental load, and women taking on the management of the household and responsibility for all the things and the man, typically, you know, in heteronormative couples, being like, okay, honey, here's the money. You could do the groceries, you plan the menu, whatever.Sydney Spidell:
I worked hard enough, this week, I'll put my feet up. And your little job brought your pocket book change. And now at home, you get to keep it a nice place because you desire that.Corina Waldie:
And that it really sets your relationship up for inequality, right at the right from the get go.Sydney Spidell:
This is your debut to your marriage, and you're starting off with vows, you know, hopefully you've thought through your vows, hopefully you believe in the vows that you're making to one another. But if they don't reflect the rest of that whole day, the rest of that engagement process, what are you doing? Do you mean the vows you're saying to each other?Jonathan Waldie:
Or are you saying them because those are the ones you found on the internet?Sydney Spidell:
There's no actual like, I find that mind boggling to the fact that you can then stand there hold someone's hand and say, I vow to dedicate my life to your happiness, growth and understanding and to connect myself with you and to share our paths and our journeys together. Meanwhile, you've been like, Honey, I'm in the back and enjoy your journey. And yay, destination awaits. There's no continuity.Corina Waldie:
No, not very not. So, you know, to sort of wrap this up as we're approaching the end, I think it's important to talk about, like, how do we actually engage and manage this Checked-Out Charlie dynamic in a modern world, between the modern average couple, you know, because even in couples who aren't heteronormative, there's usually an A-type/ B-type. So, you know, this is not something that is just, you know, heteronormative couples, it applies to every single partnership out there.Sydney Spidell:
You know, Jon also made a point earlier to like, you could both be Checked-out Charlies and like, we've, we've even seen that where there's not necessarily full checked-out-ness, but just a lack of confidence in the understanding of what's going on. That overwhelm again. And being able to be like both of us are overwhelmed by this. Both of us don't know what to care about, you know, and guide you to. I think it's one of two things like if you can't figure out how to do those things in a way that's healthy and both parties have a say in, then either you need to turn it over to a professional if you have the money, or you need to sacrifice that thing and say it actually is not going to get us closer to what it is that we're looking for, it's going to end up being a distraction. And we need to be okay with saying goodbye to these outdated things that are pushed upon us and are going to end up leading us towards divorce before you even got married.Corina Waldie:
Yes, exactly. And you know, and I think it like it goes back into all things. In some ways, I've said it before, in other ways and in conversations, I don't know if I've ever said it on the podcast; but planning a wedding, yes, it's part of your engagement process. But it's a great trial run to see how well you actually work together. Because you know, and I do think whether you've lived together or chosen to live together or not prior to getting married, it is a preview of how your your relationship can play out.Sydney Spidell:
It's an event and you could put it under a category, you can take a step back and be like, this is a challenge. And we are going to, like so many other challenges are going to come up: sickness, you know, issues in the family, recessions, children, buying a house. Like so many just natural decisions that you come to make together, why not take on a giant challenge at the start where there's a ton of professionals invested in supporting you? And just see how you do?Corina Waldie:
Yeah. And I think it just goes, it just boils down to that whole process of no matter where you are in the spectrum, whether you're Perfection Peyton, whether you're a Checked-Out Charlie, is that you need to be mindful and respectful and present in the process. Be mindful of your partner's needs, be mindful of your own needs. Have a little bit of self awareness about how you're feeling in this process.Sydney Spidell:
You have feelings.Jonathan Waldie:
I know.Sydney Spidell:
But it's also, you know, we've mentioned it throughout the process, but it's identifying that that purpose and having that focus on your wedding, right from the get go so that you can. I've always said before about purpose, it's this wonderful phrase that allows you to really make and define every single decision for your wedding, and also give you a buffer between those who are trying to invade on that.Sydney Spidell:
Yeah, it seems like you don't understand the purpose of our wedding. I know what the purpose of a wedding is no, the purpose of our wedding. Yes. And then you just get to, like, float off like a forest fairy. Nobody can argue with the happy floaty forest fairy. That is my personal guide to avoiding conflict.Jonathan Waldie:
And now I have a picture of me floating off like a forest fairy.Sydney Spidell:
Oh, I do too. It's so pretty.Jonathan Waldie:
Oh thank you.Sydney Spidell:
Green dress. You look great.Jonathan Waldie:
Thank you.Sydney Spidell:
And then also, I think to going back to like, what we mentioned it again, the last couple of times, I also punched my microphone, I'm sorry, I forgot really loud. Respect for material, vendors, process, delivery, like, we have become so detached from knowing where our products are made, who they're made by, and using what. And it allows us to separate from that reality of the value of service providers out there. You know, do your research, if you're getting into this, you need to do research and have an understanding that this is either going to be a massive cost for you, or you are not going to have what other people determine is a typical wedding.Corina Waldie:
Yeah. Yeah, we can definitely I think dig into budget and where and how to budget and how to think about budgets at a future episode. Because, you know, I don't think there's going to be an episode of this podcast that goes by where money doesn't come upSydney Spidell:
You can't talk about how a Perfection Peyton exists, you can't talk about how a Checked-Out Charlie exists, without talking about money.Corina Waldie:
Weddings and money are synonymous frankly. Every couple is worried about money, typically, in one way or another when it comes to weddings. But you know, it's just making sure ultimately, that um... I lost my train of thoughtSydney Spidell:
That it all comes back to youCorina Waldie:
Yeah, it all comes back to you.Jonathan Waldie:
You and your wedding and the purpose of your wedding.Sydney Spidell:
Groovy. Cool. Wow. Thanks, Jon. Well, that was from here for that was Checked-Out Charlie, the second member of the Drama Dynasty. So next time, we're gonna meet the Insidious In-Laws. We're gonna discuss the strange overlap that seems to occur between the desires of a couple and the demands of their parents.Corina Waldie:
Oh, that's gonna be fun. But anyway, join the conversation over on Instagram and TikTok and share with us your tips on supporting your Checked-Out Charlies, if that's someone, if that's you, or even someone else you know. We'd love to connect with you. Talk next time, Cheers.Sydney Spidell:
You can find us on the internet at unweddingmovement.com or on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and Pinterest @unweddingmovement. Our podcast episodes are released weekly and available wherever you like to stream.