Monday, March 20, 2006

Wedding Tales

I do not strive to be discriminating, but I have developed kind of a strong dislike to attending weddings of my husband's connections. By that, I mean wedding invitations that arrive bearing only my husband's name, such as "To (hubby's name) and wife" (what, like I'm a possession or a pet?) or the more civilised "To Mr and Mrs (hubby's name)".

The first time was that of his cousin's. It was to be a Christian "church wedding" in a hotel ballroom - and since I'd never attended a church wedding before, I was rather excited. Excitement soon gave way to boredom when after walking down the aisle, the bride and groom were asked to stand aside, and a "wedding singer" took over, commanding the (some over-zealous) crowd to sing half a dozen songs of praise. Not that I minded the songs - they were rather nice ones - but sung during a wedding? Then, the priest or pastor or father (sorry, I'd never known the similarities or differences among these terms) gave a half-hour sermon - on general qualities we should practice in life, such as kindness, understanding, bla bla bla.... and NOTHING on LOVE or MARRIAGE. I don't oppose to any religious practices - but the whole "wedding" was a little too weird for my taste. (I wholly appreciated the extent of its weirdness when a couple of years later, I attended a church wedding of my colleague's, complete with the ceremony, hymns and short sermon in which the pastor talked about love, marriage and a good home - it was a much more romantic and beautiful affair). That wedding indeed was not a truly enjoyable one - but it was still not bad, for we were sitting in the same table as my in-laws, and we got to roll eyes together. At the end when we met the bride, I complimented her on being very beautiful, and she replied a curt "Thanks!" and turned her eyes away - the way one would address another way below one's station. Whoa! Did I say something wrong? Aren't we supposed to compliment brides on their wedding days?

The second wedding was that of one of my husband's close friends from university, which was held in a typical crowded chinese restaurants where relatives love to abuse the karaoke facility. On that occasion, we were seated on the same table as some former classmates from university, and it would had been grand to had conversed with them, if only we could had heard each other. The abuse of the karaoke facility began before the first dish was served, and lasted continuously until dessert was over. The aunties and uncles all took their turns, and whenever there was a gap in the line of aunties and uncles, the gracious MC (provided by the restaurant) took it on himself and serenaded pain into us. My ears rang all the way home after the dinner. Before we left, we met the bride and groom - as is usual - and I complimented the bride for looking ever so beautiful (it's funny, buy nobody usually pays attention to how the groom looked on his wedding day). She smiled and blushed and said thanks. Now that's what I call a lovely, blushing bride!

The third, and most recent wedding, was that of a mutual friend, but he was closer to my husband than to me, such that he is his friend on most accounts. It was held in a grand hotel ballroom, complete with flower decorations and a red carpet, much like my friend Kate's. Unfortunately, he didn't have as many siblings or decade-old friends to help him organize seatings or keeping the events in order, so we ended up not getting seats at the table "meant" for us, but had to hunt another on our own. After we sat down, and made ourselves comfortable at a secluded table at the end of the ballroom, with only a middle-aged couple at it besides ourselves, a waiter approached us and "politely" told us that we had taken a "reserved" table and so the bride had requested that we move to another table (I seriously don't believe the bride had the time to notice or to bother la, ok!). The uncle at our table then told the waiter that we had nowhere else to sit, and the waiter said fine, he'll check with the bride, and then walked off and never came back. Silly fellow. Shortly before the dinner began, a family of 4 came and joined us at our table. The food was fairly palatable but the waiters want lots of spanking. Really. Not only we had to wait ages for anything we asked for, they didn't have the sense to stand aside during a video slideshow of photos of the bride and groom - but continued walking through and fro on the aisle and in-between tables. It irritated me to no ends! (To the groom: if you are reading this, ask the hotel management to give you a discount on account of their staff's misbehaviour!!) During the course of dinner, a really funny incident occurred though. There was a dish of roasted duck, and when it was served, nobody at our table dared touch it - I heard whispers of "chicken!!" and "bird-flu!!". Someone then looked at the menu and confirmed that it was duck, not chicken, and they "ohhh" with relieve and started eating like nobody's business. I didn't know bird flu affects only chickens (or that chickens are the only bird species in this world). Cool. There was also karaoke facility but thank goodness it was not abused this time (except by the over-bearing MC who thought people soooo wanted to hear him "sing"). In fact, my husband so appreciated the vocals of an uncle called "Ah Guan" that he mentioned it a few times even on the next day. Before we left, we had a quiet chat and photography session with the bride and groom. As is my custom, I threw a compliment on the lovely bride in her elegant blue evening gown. She shook my hands, smiled and thanked me. Now, I am quite convinced that it is customary to compliment brides on their wedding days.

**I was thinking of how I always complained about people singing horribly at other people's wedding, and remind myself of how we were singing horribly at Kate's wedding, and I thought - hey, what comes around goes around! :D

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