Thursday, May 30, 2002

Have weddings in America always been nearly five days of feasting and fetes? Events of nearly royal proportions, it seems? Not that I'm complaining. I had a grand time.

First on the agenda was a small family dinner with one of my beloved little brother's oldest friends, who runs an eco-hotel in Ecuador - I hadn't seen him in nearly 10 years and amazingly, he is exactly the same as when I last saw him. Well, almost the same; perhaps a little more settled, a little more realistic, but just as kind. My youngest nephew fell in love with him. (The husband and I will definitely be going to Ecuador sometime in the near future.)

Then, there was the day where the bride, the groom, another old friend of the bride's, the husband and myself all spent the afternoon in the city getting pedicures and drinking champagne (the husband thought the pedicures were deplorably bad as pedicures go, but I'd never had one before so it seemed perfectly wonderful to me), yakking it up with people we'd never met before in an apartment across from the venerable old Ambassador West hotel, eating bad sandwiches at Cosí, some kind of new sandwich shop I'd never seen before that tries desperately to look funky and unique, serving toasted marshmallows that can be cooked over a can of sterno and with weird mismatched sofas. Except the same mismatched sofas can be found at every Cosí, of which there seem to be, er, at least more than 20 in Chicago, judging by the five or so we encountered in our brief wanderings.

Next, there was a dim sum lunch for 30 at Phoenix in Chinatown, with my sister-in-law officiating and arguing with the waiters in Cantonese while my beloved little brother made the rounds from table to table, introducing all the various factions of his life to all the various factions of his soon-to-be wife's life to one another.

Then, instead of a rehearsal dinner, my parents rented a bowling alley the night before the wedding, so 50 people spent the night drinking beer and bowling badly (I think I hit an 88 once). My favorite part was watching the various people under the age of 11, who had a grand time despite the constant announcements over the loudspeaker ("No walking in the lanes!" "The orange balls are for children only!" "Only one ball at one time in the lane!").

Oh, and then there was the actual wedding. The chuppah held up by among other people, my sainted sister and the husband; the very explanatory ceremony by the rabbi (she speaks Danish!?!); the breaking of the glass on the second try; my very bad singing (I was too nervous and too emotional); the bride's mother having a wee bit too much to drink; the fighting over the cakes (each of the ten tables had its own different cake and everyone wanted the gooey chocolate one); the karaoke singing ("Delta Dawn, what's that flower you have on?" was, perhaps, my favorite choice of song, sung by the voluptuous C. with great verve and gusto, if little understanding of the concept of pitch).

The Swedish words for the day are brud och brudgum. They mean bride and groom.

- by Francis S.

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