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   Married Life May Be Easier Than The Wedding

Married Life May Be Easier Than The Wedding

From Melvin Durai's Humor Column

My fiancé, Malathi, to her credit, suggested we have a small family wedding. If I hadn't been so stunned and so naive, I would have not only accepted her offer, but also made her put it in writing. Then I would have had it notarized. And stored it in a waterproof, fireproof, bride-proof safe.

I wanted to have a bigger wedding, because it's important for me to include all my close friends in my special day, especially since they are likely to bring gifts. How else am I supposed to remember my wedding day?

But I didn't realize that planning a wedding involves so much work. And I didn't realize that Malathi would get so carried away with the little details, such as the formal style in addressing invitations and the proper color of napkins at the reception, rules adopted at the 1927 convention of the Association of Wedding Planners With Nothing Better to Do. I'm amazed Malathi, in her zeal to get everything right, hasn't yet told the minister what cologne to wear. I'm also surprised she hasn't told the guests exactly what clothes to wear. After all, we wouldn't want one of their haphazardly selected outfits to clash with the bridal gown worn by the figurine atop the wedding cake. That would be sheer disaster. The type of calamity that would make Martha Stewart want to drown herself in the punch bowl.

Men and women obviously approach weddings differently. Women want to make sure everything is perfect, from the shape of the gown, to the shape of the cake, to the shape of the future mother-in-law. Men, if they could, would get married in torn jeans and T-shirts, and have the reception at a place called Big Bertha's Burgers and Wieners. As long as Big Bertha has a liquor license and at least half her front teeth.
Malathi has not only pored over dozens of wedding books, she has grown an antenna that detects anything remotely wedding-related within 100 miles. We could be driving past a credit card company's office and she'd say, "We need to make sure the glasses at the reception aren't plastic." We could be driving past a car wash and she'd say, "We need to make sure all your relatives take baths."

Even the wedding invitations have raised issues and not just with Malathi. For example, my mother wants to invite all kinds of people I've never heard of. She claims that I'm related to them, but I don't believe it. How come they never send me Christmas gifts?

Most of these people live in India, but we need to invite them, just in case the American embassy, in a moment of confusion, grants them visas.

If all my relatives show up, we may have to move the reception from an Indian restaurant to an Indian reservation. With India's population exceeding one billion, I wouldn't be surprised if I'm related to at least 10 million.

Malathi and I picked the reception's menu together. Well, to be precise, I was in the room when she told the restaurant manager what she wanted. I did speak once, asking the manager not to make the food too spicy. On such a happy occasion, I'd hate to kill all my American friends. At least not until I've unwrapped their gifts.

Another issue we've had to tackle is photography. Professional photographers are expensive and often insist on keeping the negatives, while amateurs could make us wish we had just given a camera to Stevie Wonder. (No, my mother hasn't yet invited him.)

Photographs are important, because they capture the smiling bride on the only occasion, in her entire lifetime, she will ever wear that expensive gown. Malathi wants to wear an Indian gown, but hasn't found a reasonably priced one she likes in America. So instead, she plans to travel to India to select the perfect material and have her mother sew the dress. Her ticket to India will cost more than $1,000, but we will somehow -- don't ask me to explain this -- end up "saving money."

Since I'm also concerned about wedding expenses, I'm thinking of traveling to India to rent my tuxedo. Maybe I can also pick up the cake and flowers. And meet some of those relatives.

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Melvin Durai is a Shippensburg, PA.-based writer and humorist. A native of India, he grew up in Zambia and moved to the U.S. in the early 1980s.

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