I know we said a few weeks ago that Elisabeth’s Wedding Grad post would be our last intern grad post for the year, but, well, we lied. Because this week Zen surprised us with a second grad post—this time on her and Cephas’ Malaysian wedding. And I couldn’t be more thrilled. Because secretly, this was the post I’ve been waiting for. (I don’t know about you, but all of Zen’s posts chronicling the mayhem of planning her Malaysian wedding have left me in stitches.) We talk about this a lot here on APW, but Zen’s post reminded me that no two weddings—not even for the same couple—are ever the same. And in the end, this is a very good thing. Because it means that there is no right way to have your wedding, no magical formula to making it the best day ever. So today, as you read Zen’s post, take solace in the fact that the path you’ve chosen is going to be the right one, if only because it’s the one you chose.
—Maddie for Maternity Leave
The pictures we got from our Malaysian wedding are kind of a mess. They’re not carefully composed. The lighting is all over the place. Some of them are blurry. They’re of people moving, milling, talking, eating, drinking, yelling, dancing, running around trying to restrain their tiny offspring. The pictures are like those old Chinese and Indian scroll paintings where everything is happening at once and you don’t know where to look. There is no one focal point.
The way they look is how the wedding felt: chaotic, leisurely, expansive, and warm. It’s a bit of a cliché to say that the Western wedding was about us as a couple and the Asian wedding was about our—well, mostly my—family, but that’s what it felt like. The Malaysian wedding wasn’t terribly romantic—it didn’t particularly feel like a celebration of us and our deathless love. But it felt like coming home. The English wedding had been marvellously, sweetly out of the ordinary course of things; our brief honeymoon in Italy had sustained that sense of being taken out of our everyday lives. The Malaysian wedding was something else.
Cephas, of course, will have felt differently—but for me, getting married at home was what I needed to take me back to reality. It made our marriage real, because it embedded it in the context of my—now our—family.
If the English wedding was a process of focusing in, of centering us and placing us before the altar and enclosing us in a promise between the two of us, the Malaysian wedding was about us stepping out of the focus, pulling back, and seeing where we stood in the pattern made by our family.
So I don’t remember tender moments between me and Cephas at the Malaysian wedding. I remember everyone else. There was my four-year-old cousin who, as the only boy child present, was taken by hand by his father to the bridal suite, promised the rare delight of getting to jump on the bed. (You will recall that this is arranged so that the married couple will have many sons.) He went along cheerfully until he realised that he was being followed by about twenty uncles and aunties wielding cameras, when he baulked.
“Come, boy, don’t you want to jump on the bed?” coaxed his dad.
“Don’t want this bed,” said my cousin, trying to make a speedy exit from the bridal suite. “Want another bed!”
Whereupon my aunt picked him up bodily and dropped him on the bed—but not before another four-year-old cousin, a little girl not remotely afraid of the limelight, had hurled herself onto the bed and starting bouncing, screeching with delight.
There was my mom, who plunged into wedding planning with typical intensity, standing over my aunts with a whip while they made a million fabric loofahs to decorate our house with. She also developed a psychosomatic cough from the stress, and went around rasping about floral arrangements. “Oh Mom, I feel so bad that you’re stressed because of the wedding,” I ventured. “No!” said my mom, coughing. “I’m really happy! I’m coughing because I’m so happy!” Continue reading Wedding Graduates: Zen & Cephas, Part II