BATU, Indonesia. Photo by Jes Aznar

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

delightfully unconventional and absolutely real

I've been to weddings but never to a perfect wedding until last Sunday. Des, friend and colleague walked down the aisle in a delightfully unconventional style. True to form -- Ms. F. is probably the most unconventional person I've ever met -- her wedding, in a garden setting, is far from the traditional cheesy, mushy, boring, gushingly sweet and solemn ceremonies I've seen.

There wasn't a religious ceremony because bride and groom are atheists. Thus, there was no mention of God, Allah, Jehovah or any Supreme Being. "Godless" as the ceremony was, it was magical. The heavens seemed to be cheering the whole time and all one thousand plus deities seemed to be clapping, too. Or maybe not. Maybe it's just my imagination. I simply don't know how to explain just how everything went perfectly.

Central bank deputy governor Diwa Guinigundo, a Christian layperson gave the blessing of sorts which was short, funny and honest.

Yes, there's the candle lighting and the rings, but there's no first or second reading, ofcourse. There's only a reading of an excerpt of Margery Williams' The Velveteen Rabbit story:

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

There's a classical string quartet, too and the marching song would have been the Imperial Death March, better known as Darth Vader's theme song if Ms. F had her way. Fortunately, the quartet didn't have that piece on its list.

Amid the drizzling but beautiful Sunday morning, everyone gamely watched the spectacle. Ms. F's closest friends, relatives and colleagues enjoyed the comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. It's a dress-as-you-please wedding so the guests left their pretensious, uptight gowns, fluffy hairdos and all-made-up looks at home.

The food was good, too, a stark contrast from the bland hotel food which makes you wish you had already eaten.

Most did not bring gifts because bride and groom said so. On the invitation, they wrote: "We prefer if you do not bring gifts, if you feel you must, we like all sorts of candles."

Des' wedding and love story drive home a point: Real love happens. And when it does, the wedding is certainly a lovely one. You don't need a lifetime to prepare for it. You don't need to wipe out your life savings. You don't even need to hire wedding coordinators who will bill you a fortune. You only need gorgeous friends (and not give them a chance to say no) to act as the Comite de Festejos and voila! you'll have that perfect wedding.

Perhaps, marriage like love, just happens. It knocks you off your feet before you know it but you're glad it did. And you either plunge into it with every bit of yourself or you cling on to safety to protect your fragile heart. Maybe or maybe not. I don't really know for sure. Cupid still needs to work harder on my case.

(photos courtesy of Stella Arnaldo's blog: