It’s been a while since I attended a wedding. Most of my friends and co-workers have long been married (or married and divorced). So it was something out of the usual to be invited to my husband’s co-worker’s wedding.
It was made even more unusual in that this co-worker is Pakastani-American, and this was going to be a traditional wedding.
The first sign that this wedding was going to be way out of my experience was the invitation. Sent by the groom’s grandparents, it was large, embossed, and extremely beautiful. I have never seen an invitation that was so lavish. It is truly something worth saving.
So we made the arrangements, and traveled to the wedding.
The wedding was held in a hotel ballroom. We had been held up by traffic and were pushing up against the start time on the invitation. Having once walked into a wedding just ahead of the bride, I wanted to avoid this. We needn’t have worried. Even though we arrived fifteen minutes “late”, the families were still taking pictures. It gave us time to catch up with friends we haven’t seen for a while.
There was a mix of Anglos and Pakistanis. The Pakistani women were garbed in the most incredible gowns with loose flowing fabrics decked with sequins and jewels. The gowns were breathtakingly beautiful, and I learned later that they are all original and hand made.
Finally we were summoned, and the music started. The groom, attired in a cream jacket and pants, with a glittering red turban, entered the room. A friend next to me gave me the play-by-play. Apparently the groom and his family had to negotiate twice on the way into the room. Once to come in, and once to sit on the lavish platform at the front of the room.
Next the bride came in. Dressed in jeweled red fabrics from head to toe, eyes down, she made her way slowly to the front of the room. Her sisters helped her sit. There was a frown on her face. Every time she stood or sat, her sisters helped her.
(At this, I turned to my friend and asked if something had gone wrong. She said no, the bride was expected to look unhappy.)
There was a lot of music, hundreds of formal pictures. The dinner was all wonderful, although I can’t tell you exactly what I ate. There was chicken and beef and flat bread and chickpeas seasoned with cinnamon. The food was vast in quantity and variety.
The groom came around to talk to us. His clothing was even more stunning up front. He asked us to go talk to the bride. Apparently her dress weighed in about 35 pounds and on her 5’1″ frame had tired her out after 12 hours. (No wonder she needed help standing and sitting!) We did go talk to her, and without the cameras on her, her smile was huge.
After dinner and the cake cutting, the families presented toasts and skits with dancing. Then the regular dancing started, all to Indian and Pakistani music.
I was thankful to have been invited to this wedding. The groom called us the next day to make see what we thought. I told him it was amazing, and that he would have fallen asleep from boredom at my own wedding. 🙂