Elisabeth is getting married, you guys! It’s finally here! Each month Elisabeth has been updating us on her pending intercultural transcontinental wedding, from her conversion to Islam to her frustrations with super, super long distance wedding planning. Just a few months ago she and Amin were choosing a date and venue and figuring out the perfect cross-cultural wedding outfit, and now they’re getting married! This weekend! And of course, in her last post before the wedding, Elisabeth has perfectly summarized what wedding planning is all about (with a heaping side of letting your community lift you up). So let’s all give a gigantic APW-style hurrah to Elisabeth and Amin as they head into their wedding weekend. Hugs and fist bumps all around.
A few weeks ago, I had my first wedding nightmare. It wasn’t so bad, actually. I was hanging out at the wedding, with my old college roommate, and about six hours in she turns to me and goes, “Hey, aren’t you going to, like, get ready or something?” And I look down, and I realize I’m in a lovely sundress that bears little to no resemblance to my wedding dress. And I realize that I haven’t arranged for anybody to do my hair or makeup. And I realize my dress came from Houston with my sister-in-law, only I can’t figure out how to work my phone to call her and find out if she has it or anything. So by the end of the dream, I find myself in a car, rolling down the highway, with a bunch of strangers, who I am asking to please help me figure out how to work my phone.
We’re definitely in the homestretch, now. Counting the days and whatnot. In fact… I no longer have to use all of my fingers to count the days. Sunday, here we come!
I’m beginning to feel a bit of the zen: the time is precariously short, and this thing will be what it will be. However, Amin and I are both juggling eighteen or twenty different things per day, and our phone conversations have become machine-like in their efficiency. At 5am he called with my tasks for the day. “Look at the agenda and send it back,” he says. “Alright,” I answer. “I’ll schedule it in between my haircut and the visit from my fourth grade teacher. Have it to me by 11:15.” We both hang up and go back to work. And no, I am no longer sleeping, thank you for asking.
Though I have no idea what to expect from the wedding itself, I already know what my favorite part of wedding planning has been, and it has little or nothing to do with Amin. Instead, it’s all about everyone else who has bent over backwards to make the day a success. Although Meg talks about the wonderful sense of community a wedding brings, and APW Wedding Graduates have written about similar feelings, I was skeptical. I knew going in that I didn’t have any supremely artistic relatives who could letterpress my invitations, my mom does not want to cater a 150-person party, and I am not besties with a great band who offered to step in and do the music. Nevertheless, and in totally unexpected ways, I seem to have accidentally tapped into an invisible network of awesome people ready to leap into action at a moment’s notice.
Take my future sister-in-law, who dedicated a full week of time and energy to driving around Houston in the ninety-five-degree heat, while fasting, so that she could help me put together my outfit. I don’t want to tell you too much and spoil the surprise, but suffice it to say it is awesome. And now, in the few moments of free time she has, she’s calling me to give me pep talks and cultural advice, or she’s sewing crystals onto my veil. By hand.
Take my future mother-in-law, who broke all known weight restrictions for the airline to bring me a fully equipped Pakistani wardrobe so that I will never (ever) have to worry about having nothing to wear when we visit the aunties in Manchester.
Take my sisters, who have planned two (!) bachelorette parties, run errands with me like it’s their job, ensured that my enthusiasm never dipped below HOLY CRAP I AM MARRYING THE MAN OF MY DREAMS, and are now plotting some sort of secret thing I’m not allowed to know about (dear sisters: I totally do not know about this) but which has involved about 80% of everybody I know in the world. Or my lovely old friend Joe, who, after having been secretly contacted about this secret project, gave me a call “out of the blue” to talk for a few hours and tell me how happy he was that I was finally marrying this guy.
Take Amin’s aunt, who is singlehandedly planning another party for us a week after the wedding (no refusal allowed), and is also making the cake for our wedding while taking care of her husband in the hospital.
Take my mom, who has walked the two-mile length of our local mall with me at least thirty times in the past month picking out clothing and obsessing about wedding details. Take Alexis, who built me a wedding-cake hat out of children’s foam. Or my college roommates, two of which are flying in from Italy for the party. Or my dad, who is so excited that he’s planning to wear his tux literally every day until the wedding. Take my fourth grade teacher, who dropped by today to give me a letter she wrote for Amin, whom she has never met. “I won’t be able to come to the wedding, but at least I get to give him a little lecture. And tell him some secrets about you.”
I feel surrounded by wonderfulness and love. I’m sickly and not sleeping, and there’s too much to do, but honestly I am having the time of my life. And even in my nightmares, when my phone won’t work and I can’t find my dress, I’m surrounded by friendly people trying to help me out.
Photo of Elisabeth in a wedding cake hat from her personal collection