JN67: Wedding planning, like root canals, can be fun with the right attitude

Huy X. Le October 13, 2009 2

Dear everyone,

Apparently only a few people felt the same way about containers as I do. Thank you, Sharon, for sharing your story about how plastic containers changed your life (“We actually eat the leftovers at my house now because they look so much more appetizing.”) The rest of y’alls, stop sending me hate mail and death threats with pictures of broken pieces of Tupperware. I will not be cowered by your lack of appreciation of the finer things in life.

I will now gracefully transition to another topic. After much pain and hardship, and the occasional projectile dining utensil, we’ve decided on the wedding date. We had thought of April 3rd, but apparently that will be Passover, and we should be respectful of our Jewish friends. April 17th, 1941, was when the Kingdom of Yugoslavia surrendered to Germany, but since no one has yet complained, we’ll stick to April 17th, 2010.

I’ve realized that I’ve been able to run a small nonprofit, but I know nothing at all when it comes to planning a wedding. It’s bewildering. Yesterday, for example, Jameelah approached me with a piece of paper. “OK,” she said, “I have the perfect idea for the invitation. Watch. OK, imagine this piece of paper—well, it would have to be bigger, but just imagine it for now—and we fold it over three ways like this, then this side could be turned into a pocket. We’ll slip a small RSVP card into this pocket. The center section, meanwhile, will be bilingual with all the details. This fold will be cut diagonally like this and stamped with cherry blossoms. Now, if we flip it and reverse it, it’ll turn into a pop-up origami phoenix, and when people touch it, it’s rigged with a hidden mechanism that will cause it to burst into flames, revealing the time and place of the ceremony. I’m ordering liquid nitrogen and some duct tape.”

OK, I exaggerated a little bit, but that’s exactly how I interpreted it. It sounds like a foreign language. There are certain things in life that have befuddled me (fashion, interior design, the rules of baseball, soufflés, musicals where people sing EVERY line of dialog, electrical engineering, quantum physics, why women find Orlando Bloom attractive when he looks like a chipmunk), and planning a wedding is one of those things.

The families on both sides, meanwhile, have been excited, which is good. But then they start offering helpful advice. “Have them made in Vietnam,” says Dad, “it’s like fifty cents per piece there. At 300 people, that’s only $150. The wedding invitation should be white with silver ink. No, wait, silver is too light. Have black ink. No, black is too plain. Blue. Go with blue.”

“We’re not having 300 people!” I say. I am impressed, though, that he actually puts thoughts into the details. Jameelah’s mom calls in from Louisiana. “You should have your cousins over here as part of you bridal party. You’ll offend them otherwise. Are you going to make your sister the Maid of Honor? Also, what about having your grandfather do your ceremony? Since you’re combining two cultures, the food should reflect that. Have spring rolls with gumbo or dirty rice or something.”

We’ve been arguing about a few items. Planning an event is always draining and never ever fun. I’ve known this from countless fundraising dinners. But there have been a couple of things we both are excited about. For example, having a Latino DJ to play salsa, merengue, and reggaeton, along with hip-hop, bhangra, and other multicultural dance songs. People are going to dance. Fewer speeches, more crazy dancing. We’ll open with my theme song, “Back Dat Azz Up.” (Lyrics: “Girl, you looks good/won’t you back dat azz up”). OK, I haven’t run that one past Jameelah yet, but I’m sure she’ll be fine with it.

Today, a friend offered this brilliant observation: “I don’t know what you vegans do. For all I know, you’ll have us throw flaxseeds at you instead of rice.” That’s brilliant, and totally beats my idea of throwing small pieces of deep-fried tofu hot from the fryer. Probably safer, too.

I guess the wedding is only as painful as we make it. Just like taxes and root canals, it can be fun if you just change your attitude. If you’ve been to a good memorable wedding, let us know what you liked. Creative ideas or no-nonsense tips are always appreciated. I’m going to go look for some good Bhangra songs.

2 Comments »

  1. Sara'sweddingideas October 13, 2009 at 1:20 pm -

    “I guess the wedding is only as painful as we make it. Just like taxes and root canals, it can be fun if you just change your attitude.”
    That brought a smile to my face.
    Yes, regarding weddings I’m a firm believer in no pain and plenty gain.
    Ours was small intimate and close friends only.

  2. Santina Manolakis January 7, 2010 at 8:17 pm -

    I heard that he was quite keen do a Neighbours appearence Lol. Not sure how true this is, has anyone else heard it? There’s a part of me that sort of hopes this is not true lol.