Sunday, July 31, 2005

A Nice Day for a White Wedding

This weekend was the big wedding where I finally got to wear my almost-too-good-to-be-true outfit. (Of course, it was slightly too-good-to-be-true. The black shirt picked up lint from our white table cloth, and the comfy shoes weren't so comfy after 6 hours of dancing. But still, no real disasters.)

The father of the bride is Jete's uncle on his father's side, which made this wedding a Big. Freakin'. Deal. For some reason, almost no one in his father's family gets married. Clyde has six siblings, and only he and this uncle are married. It isn't that the other five haven't met the right person, or are just living in sin, or consciously choosing to be celibate. That I could understand. But they all date. (Two have been seeing their boyfriends for decades.) For some reason, they play the Secret Boyfriend/Girlfriend game, where they don't ever bring them to family functions or mention their names in public. Then once in a while, they'll show up on Thanksgiving, and everyone's got gossip enough to last them through New Years. Good times.

(What's really strange to me is that these Anti-Marriage family members are also the Super-Catholic family members. So they pray and pray and spray holy water to their hearts content, yet never get around to the "be fruitful and multiply" part. What a waste.)

In any case, our wedding was the first in this part of his family since Jete's parents got married almost 30 years ago. Needless to say, it was one for the record books. It drew members of both families from across the country. From what everyone has said, it was one of the best weddings they've ever been to. And though we're a little biased, we tend to agree.

We've been waiting five years for someone else to try to one-up us. And they definitely tried. I'll leave it to everyone else to judge whether or not they succeeded.

The ceremony was your typical Roman Catholic Mass. Everyone in the wedding party looked perfect. Thin. Tan. Glowing. Just as it should be, I suppose.

The reception started with a social hour with open bar. Jete took advantage of the bar right away. Being the non-drinker that I am, I took advantage of the crudite, curry chicken, and mini quiches. We mingled and chatted with extended family, then headed in for an equally yummy dinner.

As all weddings do, this one brought out all kinds of emotions. Some of the more bitter relatives were grumbling about the "Deception" instead of the "Reception" and asking when they could leave. Some cut the receiving line or skipped the ceremony completely. They sulked and complained and refused to dance.

Jete's sister RP got depressed. She's young and single and feeling like she's never going to meet someone. She was watching all the couples on the dance floor and started crying. I took her to the bathroom to clean her up, then brought her out on the dance floor to try to forget her troubles for the night.

I cried too (shocking, I know). They did the traditional father-daughter dance to Bridge Over Troubled Waters. Say what you will (and trust me, RP and CS did) but I love this song. There's a mystical feel to it that I've remembered since childhood. I went up to the dance floor to take a picture and was surprised by the song choice. Then I started listening to the lyrics, and I saw her father crying. And I started to lose it. The whole scene got to me... her father dancing with his first born; her brother home from Iraq for the event; her sister crying. I couldn't explain why; it was a very circle of life moment. (Insert cheesy Lion King reference here.)

Tell me you wouldn't have cried too. You cold, cold people. You have hearts of stone.

Obviously, I'm a bit sentimental about weddings. I love the idea that two people really unite. They start their own new family, yet bring together these other groups of people at the same time. And everyone celebrates and drinks and eats and dances like fools.

I'm enough of a realist to admit the truth. A wedding is nothing but a big show. It's a play and we are all participants. Everybody looks very pretty and smiles big and has a great time. But that isn't real.

The reality is that marriage is often boring. Usually stressful. Always a lot of hard work.

The reality is that half of marriages end in divorce anyway.

The reality is that sometimes people don't even meet the right person in the first place.

But like every great play, I kept my distance. I didn't want to look too closely for fear I'd see the flaws. Instead, I had fun. I ate fancy appetizers and decadant chocolate cake. I had a Shirley Temple with two cherries. I danced like a fool to Shout and Dancing Queen and Joy to the World.

No point in ruining a perfectly good party with reality.