June 2, 2007

On Weddings and Ceremonies

The marry month of June is upon us. My boss' calendar is full, and I am cringing at the thought of yet another pair begging us to please, pretty please squeeze them into the mayor's already tight schedule.

Since I joined the city government in 2000, I have seen all sorts of (civil) wedding ceremonies. There are those who come in truly dressed for the ocassion, white gown and all. There are those who couldn't care less about the attire: as if signalling to the universe that this is just one of life's many ceremonies. And then there are those who are in a state of total bewilderment, probably wondering what the ceremony is all about.

There are the more memorable ceremonies. A couple that had "escaped" from the hospital, with a barely 24-hour-old baby in tow, begging to be married so that the baby would be "legitimate." (Asked why they didn't marry early on, they replied that they thought the baby won't be due in another week.) A couple in their 70s, childhood sweethearts "united" after more than 50 years. A foreigner in his forties and his young bride, they who rode off into the sunset in a carruaje.

When I was a lot younger, I wanted a storybook wedding. And then, classmates, friends, cousins and sisters started getting married. So did nephews and nieces. It was then that I realized that you have to have a lot of lead time to pull off fairy-tale weddings. The great procrastinator that I am, I knew that I would never live past the wedding ceremony if I had all these wedding planning people breathing down my neck. (To her credit, Excruciatingly Thin Sister is great at organizing events. I didn't want my wedding to be an "event" that she could organize, though.) Besides, I had seen a well-organized wedding self-destruct right before the altar when the mother of the groom snubbed the mother of the bride during the part where you are supposed to "give one another the sign of peace."

And so one quiet April (so okay, I did not get married in June) afternoon, Papa G and I took our places in the subdivision chapel, listened to the Monsignor's touching sermon, and said our I dos in front of a hundred or so friends and family. It was the simplest ceremony ever: no flower girls, no secondary sponsors and only two pairs of ninongs and ninangs. (An aside: Some of the guests knew about the wedding only the day before. Their initial reaction? "Why the rush? Is she 'on the family way?'". )

Still and all, our wedding ceremony is one for the books. And not because Papa G and I took our first journey together to the tune of some candidate's campaign jingle...

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