Monday, May 11, 2009

Bollybutton Becomes Bridezilla

I'm ashamed to say I had a bust up with Mr Zeus the other day because my imagined small and personal wedding has turned into a Wedding Beast with a life of its own and upwards of 200 guests on the list. I'm watching the wedding madness unfold around me and feeling like Toula in My Big Fat Greek Wedding when everyone takes over the wedding, the guests, the invitations etc.

All this was making me supremely pissed off, so I've decided that if I can't beat them, I'll join them. No point feeling irritated that things aren't going your way. All that "It's YOUR big day" stuff is nonsense anyway. Anyone who's been on the inside of a wedding knows that the last person the "big day" is about is the bride and groom.

I realised that things were getting truly stupid - why were we wasting our time arguing about this sort of thing? Since I was never someone who sat around imagining what my wedding would be like, who cares how it turns out! It's only one day in my life after all. It will be perfect whichever way it turns out because I am to all intents and purporses married anyway to Mr Zeus. Plus, I will finally have all the people I love in one spot altogether for the first time - my own family and my Greek family. So why sweat the small stuff?

Besides, as Mr Zeus said, it's not like I'm Swedish. I have adequate training for Wedding Beasts from life in the Home Country. This wedding pales in comparison to some of the mayhem I've witnessed.

I was on the phone with one of my sisters and we were recalling a wedding we had gone to in our neighbourhood as children. A wedding in the Home Country lasts a minimum of three days - the henna party, the wedding and the reception. The wedding is paid for by the bride's side and the reception by the groom's side. The reception is like another wedding, involving a whole new set of lavish clothes for the bride. That outfit is usually chosen by your mother-in-law, and many times I used to feel they picked something deliberately hideous just to spite the bride.

Those are the three basic ceremonies, but people who like to show off add any number of auxillary and pointless ceremonies. Each one takes up a separate day, and so once we ended up going to a week-long wedding that ran as follows:

  1. The Yes Ceremony - To celebrate the couple accepting the engagement. Whatever, it's not like they had a choice to say no.

  2. The Engagement Ceremony - The exchanging of rings takes place

  3. The Oil Ceremony - The bride gets her hair oiled. All the female guests take turns adding a drop at a time. Yeah, pointless. It was running down her face by the time we were done.

  4. The Ubtan Ceremony - The female guests take turns applying a traditional bridal skin scrub to the bride. WTF right? This is usually done in private without any ceremony to go along. I mean, I don't see anyone coming to my bathroom to exfoliate my elbows. Am I missing out?

  5. The Henna Ceremony - Fun times. My favourite part of any wedding

  6. The Wedding

  7. The Reception

Don't be fooled. Each one of those days involved lavish settings, decorations to the house and full-on wedding meals. It was awful. By the time we got to the wedding we just didn't care any more. Everyone was feeling like they had run a marathon and our mother was at her wits end because each of the seven days required a different outfit for us.

So all I have done is slightly re-wired my brain to think Asian Wedding not European Style wedding, and things are feeling more manageable already.

Today I think I got my marriage licence, but it's come stapled with something to the front that I can'y make head nor tail of, and I don't see our dates anywhere on the papers so I don't know what else is left to do. Did I miss a step or something?

The most upsetting thing of all was that the Mayor's office keeps all the papers I submitted. Including my Apostille stamped birth certificate. Weep!!! I'll have to go through all that again if I ever need a birth certificate copy in Greece, which I probably will at some point.

But anyway, looks like summer finally decided to make an appearance and it was about damn time.


Psofofeggaro said...

exactly.... found out about it too, the hard way.
It's everyone elses big day (especially the future in-law) exept the bride's.
You're gonna suffer some costums like the oil one too, don't be fooled, it depends on how much Mr Zeus and it's fammily belives in those silly traditions or not, the good thing as I read from what you say, is that you gonna experience all of them the wedding day. God I can't imagine having to go on a weekly ride through a wedding hell of a day. Would have propably ended on jail, for my in law's murder (or maybe my mother's)

bollybutton said...

Yeah, the inlaws have taken over with our wedding. Though I must say they have helped me so much with the papers. And anyway, it's the last chance my in laws will get. My parents still have two more daughters to throw big interfering weddings for. They must be enjoying some time off with mine!

The mystery paper on the front of the adeia has turned out to be a declaration of what surname our future kids will have (???) and asks amongst other things the religion of both parents. If I put down Christian, how can they verify that? I'm pretty sure if I put my actual religion down, the Bearded Ones will kick up a stink about baptising any future children.

maria yorgakopoulou said...

Hi Bollybutton- Kala Stefana- H ora h kale (Traditional wishes to the couple who is approaching their nuptials, It means a good crowning- refer to the wedding crowns, and may the hour be blessed)
It sounds like you are doing well- at least you are escaping the 1000 guest list which seems the norm, at least in Lakonia-I think the weddings of our parents were difficult, the most difficult was procuring the dowries, which often meant migration for the brothers, or in the case of my father-in-law, who was orphaned with 4 sisters, waiting until he was 50 to marry! Their wedding festivities lasted for at least a week- you can still see this in villages where the confections are made by hand- the unmarried girls make the round breads-where the grooms party goes to the bride's place to fetch the trousseau, often with musical accompaniment- what is gone is returning to the bride's place 2 weeks later, often with the bridal sheet on the musician's head- see what fun you have missed, along with years of weaving, sewing, crocheting !
As for your religion, I would put your true religion- you never know when this could come to haunt you!
As for your lovely godson, you could still have been the more secular god-mother(providing for the child if need be), the mistake you made was not having Mr Zeus as the official godparent- the one who put the sacred oil on- In our parish in the US, our priest, an elderly theologian, Athens trained, will have the Non- Orthodox god-parents join the procession around the font, carrying candles for the newly-illumined- probably this would not be done in Greece- Father says that baptism can not be denied, due to the parents not marrying in the church, which for you is not possible without converting- there is no canon(church law0 forbidding the baptism of the child, and would be grave sin to do so- so you could have all future baptized if you chose- W e, of course, love you, either way, and are happy for the both of you- One of the young priests on the Church of Greece radio, who is in charge for advising the engaged, says the spiritual preparation is what is important, not the wedding preparations, dress and all, how ever charming they may be, because marriage is your whole life- so keep visualizing- I pray for a happy, fruitful life-
PS- next week, my young married Hindu friends will dress up, fast, tie a ribbon around a banyon tree_well not exactly Amherst) and pray for happiness with their husbands for 7 lifetimes! I will
join them this year, because i think, if as a young bride, I could have thought like this, a lot of our problems would have meted away- regards to the in-laws & your family-

bollybutton said...

Maria, thanks so much for the info! As far as I have researched, the Church in Greece is not supposed to deny a baptism if the parents did not have a church wedding, but I've heard it happen. Still, with the Church as with the other set of Bearded Ones in the Home Country, hard cash seems to smooth over a lot of issues.

AL said...

Good attitude you have!
:) It all going to be great! And you are going to be the most gorgeous bride in greece ever!