Two Modern Day Weddings
I've been to two weddings of good friends in the last two weekends. Of both, I wholeheartedly approve.
The first wedding was truly the most multicultural affair I have ever attended. The bride, an old singing buddy of mine, is Jewish, and from Pennsylvania. Her beloved is ethnically Chinese, from California. They moved in together right after graduation; she went to grad school, he worked. Then they got bored. She quit her program, he quit his job. The next thing I knew, I get this happy mass email, describing both of these happy quittings, and...
"Remember this guy? That I live with? Well, I'm marrying him."
The wedding was held in the big Episcopal chapel at our university. Big elaborate cross on the ceiling and various Jesus decorations in it. Right in the middle, where the priest would generally stand, they set up the huppah. It was a lucky red huppah, festooned with red ribbons and banners decorated with Chinese good-luck slogans. A relative of the bride conducted the ceremony and another relative of the bride told a Chinese love story as part of it.
Many of the groom's family did not barely speak any English at all, and were maybe a little shy, but they were good sports. There was a bride, their son was happy. What's not to love?
The Slavic chorus played a prominent part in the ceremony. As the bride processed in, we sang one of my favorite Bulgarian love songs, which was to the effect of,
Nedelya is the most beautiful of the beautiful girls, the most gaudy/all dressed up of all the dressed up girls (the word is gizdava, and I always think of European girls in their discoteque ensembles when I hear it...).
So they make her a big wedding and people come from far and wide to see it.
But, in the middle of the big wedding, a stag appears at the edge of the clearing (hmm - how closely do we want to analyze this?) All the wedding party go off to admire the stag (hmm again) leaving the young couple alone. (uh oh!)
LUCKILY, just at that moment, a wind blew, and it blew the veil off Nedelya's face, allowing the groom to kiss the bride.
At the end of the wedding, the groom stomped on the glass, the Jewish family members all said Mazel Tov, and the Slavic chorus burst into another Russian wedding song as everyone processed out.
My friend was so serene and happy. Her mother was a little bit white-knuckled, but there was just nothing for her to get crazy about because the bride was absolutely calm.
After the ceremony some Chinese dragon dancers came and frolicked around on the lawn for us. Then we went to a reception, had dinner. Musical accompaniment was a Balkan brass band, and all of the Chinese and Jewish family members gamely learned the Balkan circle dances that the bride enjoyed so much. At this point she had changed from her seventies style floor-length wedding dress, borrowed from her aunt, into a super-sexy red lucky Chinese wedding dress. Everyone approved.
The Balkan brass band played Hava Negila, and every family member had to take their turn going up on the chair. Some in-laws, again, were a bit white knuckled, but everybody ended up happy and exhausted. Eventually the band left, they put a DJ on, and he played 90s classics that are those crappy songs that everyone my age danced to in middle school and thus will never forget (I myself heard them most often at the roller skating rink in Durham, NC that I would occasionally attend as a wee lass), such as:
Blackstreet, No Diggety.
Salt and Pepa, Shoop
Outkast, Sorry Ms Jackson
See, don't you just want to dance? If so, your adolescence was in the 1990s. Or you are the father of the bride, who totally got down to these grooving tunes.
The bride announced at the reception that they had sent wedding invitations to 15 different countries, and that 25 different languages were spoken by the 150-odd wedding guests assembled in the room. After the wedding, she and her new husband now meandering west to visit relatives on the West Coast, in Thailand, and in various parts of China, and then they're going to spend the next two years in China, he in a venture capital firm, she teaching social studies at an international school.
I joyously wept and sniffled my way through the night, because I am a big sap. I wished them all the traditional blessings that occurred to me, such as good health and happiness, which still seemed perfectly appropriate for this very modern affair - 'cause it's a big wide world these days, but love just don't change that much.