It seems that as we grow older, there’s just no escaping it.
Last weekend I caught up (via Gtalk) with an old friend, who announced that she had gotten engaged in January and is planning to have the wedding in the summer (I suppose being weighed down in a big white dress and having her makeup sweltered off in Charleston, South Carolina’s 90°F weather is her thing). With her parents in Queens, New York, and relatives in other parts of the U.S., they decided that anyone significant enough and who doesn’t live in the U.S. would have to fly or be flown to Charleston for the wedding.
I wasn’t surprised that she would be getting married. She is only my age, but had been with the man since we were all still in college, and even then they were already talking about tying the knot; I was only surprised that they had waited this long — three years, to be exact — after graduation to even get engaged. And although I’m happy for them, I’m only sorry they have to dive into the wedding planning immediately to meet the summer deadline, instead of having a little bit of time to just enjoy being engaged.
What really surprised me is that they are going to have both the church wedding and the Chinese ceremony, complete with the trend of humiliating the groomsmen when the groom comes to fetch his bride, so favored by Malaysian wedding-lovers these days. It’s a trend that, my friend assures me, has been both explained to and approved of by her all-American fiancé; she suspects he agreed to be put through it because he’s never heard of such a thing and figures it would be no harm trying.
On these unusual terms, part of the planning would also involve coaching the groom-to-be and his family, in the most tactful way they can think of, on the customs and traditions of a Chinese wedding, from the tea ceremony to that-part-I-don’t-know-what-it’s-called that involves a whole roasted pig. It would certainly be a learning experience for the groom’s retinue, and also a chance for the bride’s own family to have the traditional wedding that our race so unconditionally demands.
So when I commended my friend for having the patience to put up with two versions of a wedding, and for having future in-laws who were willing and respectful enough to be put through the ordeal, she said, “It’s really not as bad as we used to think. I think it will be fun, watching them do something that is so completely alien to them. Now that you’re in a serious relationship, you should seriously consider changing your mind about not having a wedding.”
I didn’t tell her that now that I’m in a serious relationship, a wedding — or lack thereof — would be the least of my problems.