Monday, 12 December 2011

Wedding Bells

I have been to three weddings consciously. When I was little, I was a flower girl at my aunt's wedding, in April I went to a friend's wedding and a few weeks back to my great-cousin's. The first one was somewhat of a flop because my mother made my sister's and my dress, but my aunt had failed to convey a specific theme to her and we were dressed in the wrong colours.

During high school, I waitressed on the weekends at a wedding venue, but all it taught me was that I was a poor waitress and that weddings are often strange affairs where people either drink too much and celebrate together, or sit in awkward silence and leave early.

Since the wedding at the beginning of the year was the first one I was invited to, I  was so exited that I bought the present weeks before and had my outfit all planned out. On the day, the mother of the bride turned up late, so everyone had to wait for her to arrive. The guests were seated on five rows of long wooden benches on either side of the aisle underneath beautiful old trees and large white umbrellas. In front of me sat some older ladies and the one smelled distinctly of some fiery chewing gum, you know the red one with cinnamon in it that burns away your taste buds. My black and gold fan from the bachelorette party helped in wafting the scent towards others.

The wedding was held at Kleinkaap, an imitation Cape Colonial venue. The old trees and leaves on the ground reminded me of our garden in Geneva when I was little. We had an enormous, ancient oak tree in the corner and come autumn, the garden was covered in its leaves. Strange how enchanting dead leaves can be. Bach then I was quite allergic to the tree's pollen, so luckily these trees were different and I did not swell up like a party balloon.

During the ceremony, the priest spoke about how a marriage should not be seen as a business transaction or a prison. Although this is true, I doubt anyone ever goes into a marriage thinking: oh well, my life will be hell but I'll have bags of money. Perhaps in arranged marriages in Afghanistan where the girls are 12 and their husbands 40 that is the case (see Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns), but if one considers the typically Western view of marriage as being for love and being a commitment to someone for the rest of one's life, I found the sermon quite misplaced.

For the rest of the wedding, it was very nice, but the different wedding parties did not mix very successfully and some of the older people left after the food was served.

I don't know about all the rules at weddings, but is the main thing not the celebration of a union of love? Often I think people should just keep it a very intimate affair and only invite those people whom they feel will share in their joy. Brides worry too much about whose feelings will be hurt if they are not invited or if someone cannot bring a partner.

My cousin's wedding was great. It was a very Afrikaans wedding, but the place they held it at was lovely, the food was delicious, and above all, everyone was just so happy to celebrate the day with them. My sister and I initially felt a bit out because we are not directly related, but we were placed at the table with our other cousin and his family and they were very embracing. Everyone danced langarm ( long-arm, a type of dance) or just bounced around on the dance floor (my langarm skills need much improvement). The bride and groom also made speeches thanking their parents and various guests and I think in the end, everyone just really enjoyed being there and celebrating the day with them.

I think every wedding should just be a big party in honour of the married ones, and I hope that all future weddings will feel like the photographs on welovepictures.

on welovepictures

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