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
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
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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