Saturday, January 9, 2010

Atypical Bride

I’m by no means a typical bride. I didn’t dream of my wedding as a child – in fact, instead of imagining ourselves as brides, my best friend and I would imagine ourselves as co-business owners. She would be a fashion designer and I would run a famous store selling her clothes. When romance entered into our fantasies, it was only to note that our husbands would be best friends also and we’d all live in a duplex so as to always be close to one another. This carried on into adulthood inconspicuously and I simply don’t go to friend’s weddings imagining my own. Despite the many weddings I’ve attended (both Indian and American), I fear I haven’t learned very much. I honestly have absolutely no idea what I want “the Big Day” to look like. A traditional wedding sounds as great as a contemporary one. An outdoor wedding works just as well as one in a hotel. DJ vs. band? Buffet vs. sit-down? No idea. Include speeches at the reception? Skits? Dances? Sure, why not? What kind of flowers? Uhh… we have to have flowers? So the wedding planning has already proven interesting and I’m clearly in over my head…

There are three exceptions to this apparent ignorance/ambivalence: 1. I want to have alcohol at the reception. 2. I don’t want a long engagement, mainly because I don’t want to be stuck planning this thing for too long and because I’d rather be married than thinking about a wedding. 3. I'd like to have a mehndi ceremony, which was readily accepted. (MJ also has 2 demands: 1. He wants a slide show of pictures of us. 2. He wants to serve mozzarella sticks. (This one may have to be discussed further…))

The first exception may seem obvious, but Indians don’t always have alcohol at weddings. It’s actually considered inauspicious in many circles and neither of our families drink. But most of our friends do and I think alcohol makes people loosen up and get to know one another a little better. It also helps people to have fun and get in a celebratory mood in another long line of weddings. The second exception has proven to have its own challenges.

Ok, not a long engagement to me means I’d like to get married in 2010. MJ can’t take off work in October or November. It was decided that we wouldn’t be getting married in India, but Virginia (where my parents live) is too cold in December. So we started looking into the late summer and September. Upon hearing the news of our engagement, my parents quickly started looking for wedding venue options and it became clear that booking something on such short notice may be difficult. (I guess other people DO like the long engagement concept and book venues well in advance.) In fact, four days after we got engaged and were on our way back from our celebratory weekend in Philadelphia, my dad called to tell me he’d booked our wedding on May 30th at a place they liked! They’d gotten so excited that such an amazing place was available at all that they booked it. Luckily, we weren’t committed, but it was pretty funny nonetheless.

Now the main struggle with the wedding date is that we’re Indian and that means we must get married on an auspicious date. So, now we don’t just have to find a venue that we like, is reasonably priced, and allows us to serve Indian food, but it must also be available within 9 months on an auspicious date. Alright, so what are the auspicious dates? Everyone seems to have a different idea! We’ve consulted a priest in Queens, a priest in India, an astrologer, and multiple web sites, and there is no clear answer. On top of that, there are general auspicious dates, and then there are dates that are “more” auspicious for MJ and me. And most of them are not on weekends. So we’re down to 3 or 4 Saturdays that everyone can (tentatively, sort of) agree on. Now to look at venue availability…

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