It feels like the Year of the Wedding.
I have not been to a wedding in more than 17 years but in the last week we’ve received two invitations to weddings, plus we were invited to another about 6 months ago.
Last week I has a nice surprise at the post office when I received an invitation to the son’s wedding of a best friend back in Canada.
We’ve been friends about 34 years or so and though most of these years had us living in different locations, the minute we get together for a coffee (me) and a cup of tea (her) it’s like time has stood still for us. For our friendship. I’m not sure I’ll be able to attend the wedding as our plans for summer are yet to be determined (complicated) but if we’re anywhere near, I’ll be there.
I can picture her son’s sweet face from when he was about 3. I can picture it from when he was 10. I can picture it now, as a grown man. He is a wonderful son. He’s been with the woman he’s about to marry, for years now. They have 2 children. He is a wonderful father. I’m sure he’ll be a wonderful husband. A testament to my friend who raised him during the early years as a single mom and the later years, in her blended family.
The second invitation recieved this week is to the wedding of the brother of dear daughter’s friend. It is unlike any I’ve received before. In fact, we can’t read the invitation so dear daughter’s friend translated so we know where to go, what time to show up. I’ll show you.
It will be the first Arabic wedding I’ve been to. In fact it will be the first Arabic ‘celebration’ I’ve been to, while living here. We have known the parents for years now. Not well, but enough to exchange greetings and small conversations; particularly with the mother. I feel honored to be included in their family celebration.
I met the brother and his fiance last weekend at dear daughter’s gym competition. This is an ‘arranged’ marriage, in that the bride-to-be was chosen for the husband. Their meeting and engagement has all transpired in the last 2 – 3 months, but in seeing them together…. holding hands, touching one another, warm glances to one another I sense they are happy. Maybe even already in love.
Not ever having been to one of these before, all I know is it will most certainly be a lush, extravagent affair with 500 women guests who will all be dressed to perfection, hair coiffed, manicures, pedicures, make-up all around. Dear daughter and I best get a move-on to find outfits appropriate for such an occasion, along with a gift to give to the couple for their new life together.
The other invitation we received was to attend the son’s wedding of a family that dear husband met through business dealings here. We were invited to attend the wedding in Mumbai, all-expenses paid.
I didn’t know anything about Hindu weddings so when the invitations (note the plural here) were delivered, the father and sister of the groom explained it all to us. There were to be 5 days of events, with hundreds, if not thousands of other guests at each. All I could say was – WOW! Let me take you through it…..
As you can see, 5 days of spectacular events. They explained what would happen at each one.
We didn’t attend for a couple of reasons but mostly due to my feelings of discomfort in going to Mumbai, in particular, right around the anniversary of the bombing there a year ago. I know my husband regrets this decision made on my part. But, I have to go with how I feel.
These weddings, or marriages, each hold somewhat different meanings and traditions both culturally and religiously.
Recently I read the new book Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert of Eat, Pray, Love fame. In it she writes of coming to terms with getting married for a second time. She also writes of the vastly different ways people around the globe define and commit to their marriages. The different traditions, expectations, risks, responsibilities, etc. It was fascinating to learn of how it’s changed throughout history and how it can be so different for each of us depending on where we live, when and how we are raised.
The 20th Anniversary of my own wedding will soon be upon me. Has our marriage been what I expected? Pretty much. I think DH and I had a good understanding of each other going into it. Mostly, we had a determined commitment to each other and to the idea of what our marriage could be.
I can thankfully say that so far, it’s been one of the most trouble-free commitments I’ve had to keep in this life of mine. Others have not always been so easy. Jobs have come and gone. Friends have come and gone. Raising kids is THE hardest work and therefore commitment in this lifetime (thank goodness for the rewards)!
To be sure, we have had our moments – but they have been few. We kid each other a lot about getting through the next 30 or 40 years if we are so blessed. But I remain committed to this idea of marriage and so look forward to witnessing the beginnings of others…. for their own reasons, in their own uniqueness.
You come up with some of the most fun things to talk about.
I would love to hear how the Arabic wedding goes. We head out for the summer on the 17th of June so I’ll have to check back in with you… Keep us posted.
Thanks dd! Enjoy the summer away…. and I’ll be sure to fill you in on the experience.
It fascinates me how we honor the same themes, values and celebrations across all ages and cultures of the human experience.
Museums also drive that point home for me.
Yes, it is fascinating.
It was interesting for me to read how for many, this notion of ‘love’ never even enters into the picture of marriage. No expecation of that at all.
And who’s to say our traditions or values are the necessrily the ‘only’ or ‘right’ ones. If we’ve learned anything here is we, being the developed and/or Western world, don’t always have it right.