Comedian, actor, and television writer Jamie Lee just added another title to her resume: author. With her first book Weddiculous: An Unfiltered Guide to Being a Bride (available now) Lee uses her own recent nuptial experiences to create a helpful guide for soon-to-be brides. The reader is taken from the engagement all the way through the honeymoon with practical and hilarious sections like “Pretty Murdered Tree Corpses aka Invitations,” “Vendor Bender,” and “Blending Families into a People Smoothie.” I talked to Lee about her new marriage, the unique need her book fills, and her upcoming Weddiculous-inspired comedy tour.
You got married earlier this year, right?
I did. I got married on April 30th.
How’s it going so far?
It’s been fun. It’s interesting. It’s like a continuation of the relationship, but it feels a little more official. It is weird getting used to saying “my husband” because that word feels very serious and very mature. I don’t feel like a mature person. When I say “my husband” I feel like I’m doing the impression of a married person.
Do you kind of balk at those terms? Is it weird to hear him say “my wife?”
I’m definitely in an adjustment period with those titles. The time I really enjoy saying “my husband” is if I’m on the phone with my landlord, a plumber, or something I like saying, “My husband and I both work, so you’re going to have to work with our schedules.” It’s a unified we. It seems to carry more weight than just saying, “I want…I need…” When I say “my husband” it sounds like we are a small army and we’ll be out to get you if you don’t do X, Y, and Z for us.
What did you call each other before you were married?
Boyfriend and girlfriend. Then it evolved to fiancé, although my husband did not want to say fiancé. He still called me his girlfriend because he thought that fiancé sounded really braggy, whereas I was excited to brag, like, “My fi-an-sé,” over-emphasizing every syllable and rubbing it in people’s faces.
Have you ever tried “partner?”
I can’t do partner. I grew up in Texas and when I hear partner I think of, “Howdy, partner.”
I don’t know how conservative the area you grew up in was, but did being raised in Texas affect your views as to what marriage is and should be?
I think on some subconscious level it definitely was influenced. I think I grew up kind of questioning marriage, not really fully understanding the appeal. I have parents who are still married and seemed solid, but also fought a lot when I was a kid. They worked together and there were a lot of work-related arguments taking place in the house. As a kid I couldn’t distinguish between fighting because they don’t like each other and fighting about work, so I just chalked it up to, “Oh, they just fight a lot.” I was always, “Eh, marriage seems a little ‘yikes’ to me.” I also grew up with pretty progressive, artistic parents who were encouraging of me pursuing the arts and being creative. They were both in the music business. I didn’t grow up with the same conventions that I saw around me. That’s why I don’t think I idealized marriage when I was younger in the way that young girls say, “I made my Barbies get married!” I never did that.
I didn’t become interested in marriage until I was a little bit older and it was the thing that a lot of my friends were doing. I also became very interested in weddings. I was fascinated by weddings. I was in a relationship where I thought I was going to marry the person and it was like, “Ooh, we get to plan a wedding!” In a lot of ways the culture around marriage and weddings is very separate. One is an ornate party and an example of your party throwing skills, but it’s a party that represents something that is very heavy, very permanent, and very significant. Wedding magazines seem to emphasize having a beautiful wedding, but I don’t feel like there’s a lot of mention of the actual marriage that the wedding is celebrating. That’s really confusing to me.
Those magazines are trying to sell happy relationships. They’re trying to sell wedding products and services. It’s all commercial.
Exactly. You hear people say, “I’m getting married,” but what they’re really excited about is, “I’m planning a wedding.” Those two things seem very separate to me, but they’re very interchangeable when people are talking about them.
In addition to not seeing the right kind of tools or advice in wedding magazines or stuff on the bookshelf, what were some other reasons that you thought this would be a good book to put out?
I love The Knot and Modern Bride. I love looking at all of the different wedding dress advertisements, ripping pages out like, “Maybe I’ll wear this. Maybe I’ll bring this into the bridal store when I go to show an example of what I’m looking for.” I really got into that, but noticed that it was so focused on goods, services, and an emphasis on, “You have to make your wedding really special. Pay attention to details. Make your wedding unlike any other wedding that any of your guests have ever been to.” There’s all this fear-based pressure to make your wedding stand out. I don’t think that’s true. The best weddings I’ve ever been to didn’t have a lot of teeny little details that wowed me. You don’t enjoy the wedding because they gave you kooky party favors at the end of the night. You enjoy your wedding because the couple really loves each other and they gave you enough food so you didn’t feel starved all night. It’s actually very primal and basic.
The other reason I thought it was important to write the book is because no one was talking about how during your engagement period it’s actually a really difficult time. I want to be clear that I’ve had a lot of friends who have just sailed through it, planned the wedding, and it was a dream. But for me, I had lots of turmoil with my then fiancé/now husband. Our parents got involved in ways I could have never predicted. I had so many friends that told me family would get involved and I said, “Not my family. We’re not like that.” Then it happened to me. It became really hard. I was crying in my car lot. I felt stressed everyday. It was a special kind of stress, almost like a hazing period. I really wanted to make a book that was honest, funny, and also practical…I want to make sure that people don’t feel alone. That’s my main mission: that if something is to happen to them they realize that it also happened to someone else.
Did you just recently record the audio book?
I did. It was so much fun. It also reinvigorated me. When we were editing the book I was reading it so many times that I didn’t even know what I was reading anymore. When you get to read it yourself and hear yourself out loud you become reconnected with the material. I got really excited about it again.
And now you’re doing a tour based on the book. What can people expect for that show?
It’s standup. I’m going to be doing wedding material, relationship material, and some of my regular self-deprecating standup comedy.