Twink Futrelle, my character in “Southern Hospitality” (and “Christmas Belles” and “Dearly Beloved”) is obsessed with getting married. She has been for more than 22 years, a “hobby” that has made someone who is supposedly altruistic, determined, and professional, just the slightest bit manic and crazy.

Props for this installment of the trilogy include wedding magazines. The two that were purchased are both Texas-themed bridal magazines. I had no idea there even was such a thing.

For what it’s worth, The Knot is slicker and seems to have fewer (or perhaps just less tacky) advertisements.

Flipping through these during one scene of the play, I am tempted to be distracted by horror, as I realize how much these tablescapes and those invitations and that venue rental must have cost. Even more so, I am agog at how there can be an entire enterprise of this caliber dedicated to a party that lasts two or three hours. (And don’t throw out “destination wedding” as an argument that it can last as long as a week, because you don’t want to get me started on having someone spend their one week of annual vacation going somewhere they didn’t choose just so they can watch YOU tie the knot.)

Obviously, these magazines are catering to the ladies. The advertisements all feature “grooms” (mostly gay or at the very least exceptionally metrosexual) gazing all gooey-eyed at the bride, while she looks knowingly at the camera, as if to say, “Yep! I got exactly what I wanted.” Also, in so many of the photo ideas and instructions, I noticed a bunch of pictures of the brides alone, out in a field, sitting in a bathtub in the middle of an abandoned road (because that happens ALL of the time), jumping off of a rusty caboose, carrying unconscious children from a burning building, etc. There aren’t a whole lot of photos of similarly-situated grooms. I can just picture that: The groom, in an old-fashioned candy shop, with the photographer telling him to lick the over-sized lollipop while glancing coquettishly into the lens.

Here are some more things that just make me want to slam my head in a door…

Another example of the bride getting her way at all costs? Seriously, men, I want to hear from you: How excited would you be to carry a heart balloon inside of which at least four of your heads could fit?

I think the concept of the waist-down shot is cute enough… But do ALL of the women have to be pigeon-toed? It’s cute when one person does it, but this looks like a rabid case of the rickets. Someone get them folks into the sunlight, stat.

This is from a different magazine! Ladies, toes go forward. Can we agree only to let one damsel be the blushing wallflower whose feet turn in? Please? Mad props to the bride here.

Here’s a great one! A whole work-out aimed at fitting into a dress! I know, I know. Pictures. But, seriously, I want to slap that dude. If you know him, will you, please?

I like the composition of this photo. It’s cool. But I am opposed to the whole “get fit for this one thing” and I REALLY hate the caption, which follows…

Size EIGHT?! You disgusting tub of lard! That is so close to double digits, I can’t even tell you how grossed out I am. You’d better keep it off, too, or he’s going to leave you!

Speaking of making you feel like crap about yourself: Have elective surgery, you four-eyed freak!

I guess the hot lady in this ad didn’t get the memo that “old-fashioned glasses” are taboo and probably mean that your marriage won’t take.

Oh, and for the love of all that is holy, you must risk basal cell carcinoma or you’ll spend the rest of your life avoiding looking at that pasty figure in the wedding album.

If you follow CakeWrecks, you know that wedding-dress-inspired cakes are a tricky thing. This one is done well enough and still a little creepy… I mean, who gets the boob?

No. Just. No. It should go without saying that nowhere in anyone’s life, wedding or otherwise, is there a place for a cake that looks like a dog someone pooped out.

There are a LOT of bachelorette-type ads, too, including a disturbing amount of pole-dancing work out sessions. This is not only a good fitness idea, but helpful for keeping your husband interested. Oh, and you need to install a pole in your bedroom. I didn’t see that ad.

*squeal* OMG! Slumber Party!! I’m a total grown-up and I’m SO getting married, besties! *giggle* (Seriously, I don’t understand the need to have a “final blow-out” to send off your singlehood. Not to ruin the magic for you who have never been married, but you can still go out with friends and have fun after you’re married. If you’re going to have more “fun” at your bachelorette/bachelor party than you will allow yourself once you are married, hear this: YOU ARE NOT READY TO GET MARRIED.)

A) Look at this not-Photoshopped-at-all picture! B) Look at Me? What about Look at Us?? Bridezilla, anyone?

Pictures like this, where the dimensions are impossible and she has to be standing on a box, get on my nerves. This dress will not look like this on ANYONE of human descent.

This one, too. There has to be some distortion here (or her dress is super long and just dragging the ground). It would take nothing to push her over, with that stance. I wanna.

THIS pictures, I like. Plus it reminds me of my friend Leigh-Ellen.

Pages and pages of banality, and I am tempted to descend into dispair. DJs, photo booths, caterers, videographers, money money money time time time… and then I hit one page – ONE PAGE – among two oversized magazines, that gave me some hope.

Unfortunately, this ad is without fancy pictures to grab the eye. In fact, at first glance, it’s a little bit of a downer, and the blushing pre-bride might be tempted to flip past it to get to the “good” stuff.

Succeed in MARRIAGE?! I just wanted a pretty wedding! *pout*

If you’re engaged, planning a wedding, planning to elope, just getting caught up in the moment, could I encourage you to set aside a bit of cash and at *least* as much time (preferably more) preparing for the actual life of being married? Those wedding pictures WILL last a lifetime, but if your marriage doesn’t, you’re not going to care too much about looking at those albums in the future.

One page out of over 1000. On what’s really important. But at least you’re not fat, myopic, or pale!