My youngest brother ended his single life last week. He had a very romantic and intimate beach-front wedding on sunset surrounded by close relatives and friends. When I said close, I really mean super tightly close that made my mom roll her eyes and wanted to scream.
He wanted to get married in this beautiful private villa in Bali that can only accomodate a maximum of 80 people. While it may be normal in the West to have a small intimate wedding, it's nearly impossible to have it in Asia. The allocation for groom's family was only 30 pax, with the rest was divided among bride's family and their friends. My mother had a very difficult time trying to figure out how to tell our relatives that she couldn't invite them for the wedding. She tried to make my brother change his mind but he had his own idea of his dream wedding and we had to respect that. In the end, my parents decided to invite ONLY their siblings, without the children (my cousins) and none of their friends. They were embarrassed and feeling so bad for not being able to invite everybody....
I could see how happy my brother was on his wedding day. He really had his dream wedding. Despite the initial rejection of having a small wedding, my parents had a great time... Spending really intimate, quality time with their brothers and sisters, with their in-laws, with my grandmother, with my brothers and sister, with their grand children and the bride's family. It was really a celebration of love. Everything was so beautiful that I got emotional. I couldn't hold my tears when both of them said their wedding vows. The tears loosened the glue on my right false lashes. It peeled off and stuck on my tissue...!! Heck, I peeled off the other lashes out... It was not my wedding anyway, the false lashes may go..
When I talked to my friends about this small wedding, their first question was, "How could your mom approve it?" From my siblings' and my weddings, I learned from my parents about being unselfish, about giving the best wedding presents to their children (by trying to make it a stress-free wedding) and about giving freedom to their children (people say freedom is the best thing in life).
My younger sister had to shake hands with 2,000 guests on her wedding day. It consisted mainly of my parents's business associates, friends and relatives. She was sent to Emergency Room at 2am after the party due to exhaustion. But she was very happy because she had her dream wedding... She loved and had always wanted a big wedding.
Everybody has a different idea of his/her dream wedding. I am so thankful to have parents who let their children have their own dream weddings although sometimes they had to hold the embarrassment when their friends asked them why they were not invited.
I had a small wedding too... I only had 330 close friends and relatives. I only invited relatives and friends who still communicated with me regularly, who were in my life constantly. I didn't invite distant relatives whom I saw once in 4 years (or more) and acquaintances who didn't even know my last name. I wanted to celebrate the happiest day of my life with people who really knew me, who cared and loved me... Not people who just wanted to see how my husband looked like, whether I look ugly in my dress, what kind of food was served or even worse, those who wanted to get some ingredients to make juicy gossips. I met this lady who told me, "I really want to see how your husband looks like because I was not invited to your wedding.". I was surprised that after 12 years, this fella still remembered that she was not invited to my wedding. From the way she said it, it clearly showed that she really wanted to tell me that she was not happy being excluded. However I was so glad I didn't have her on my wedding because she falls into the third group: people who come to weddings to get materials for juicy gossips. I knew it because right after that she gave me this interview of my husband and his family background. I just ignored her.... It's simply none of her business and I didn't want to waste my time for her noisy stuff.
While my wedding was done exactly like I wanted, actually I had always known that the wedding itself was not really that important. The Marriage is. A lot of people concentrate too much on the weddings but after that forgotten about the seriousness of marriages. Marriage is a long journey that makes couples smile, smittened, daydreaming, laugh, and experience the most intense feelings of love. But it also makes couples cry, fight, angry, sad, frown and experience the most intense feeling of hatred, of wanting to drop everything and leave (or even kill someone). It is more complex than arranging flowers, selecting menus, getting the perfect dress, having 5-tiered cake or even flying guests accross the ocean.
Right after Akad Nikah, when I was officially become a Mrs., my husband told me that from that moment on, we should not care whether or not my make up melted, whether the food was enough, whether the sound system was bad or even if it rained (we had an open-air wedding at the valley). The most important thing was that we were (are and inshaallah will always be...) husband and wife. I like that...
To my brother who may read this blog... Wishing you a happy and beautiful Marriage Life, as beautiful as your wedding was. May God always guide and bless you...
And to my new sister-in-law.. Welcome to our big loud family and hope you will get used to his snoring... :-)