When I’m at Boost Juice and I place my order, they ask me what kind of juice I would like. My answer is always, “whichever one has watermelon in it”. I love watermelon. It reminds me of summers where it didn’t rain enough to flood the Warragamba dam and all of Forbes. My juice preference is discrete, and well-rehearsed.
When people ask me what kind of wedding I am having, my answer is far less rehearsed. How can you have a kind of wedding? That’s like asking someone what kind of child they are going to have. It’s rude. And people who are prone to having red-headed children are especially offended.
I’ll admit at this point that I am a regular viewer of Four Weddings. For those who don’t know what that means, it is a show where four women desperate for attention invite each other to their respective weddings and rate each other on: theme, food, dress and overall experience.
These women have kinds of weddings. They all have a theme. Stuff like: simple-elegant, princess, Christmas (wtf?) and many others.
So as much as I feign ignorance, I do know what people mean when they ask me what kind of wedding we are having. So, I thought I’d have a quick look at some wedding traditions from around the world to see which kind of wedding would suit us.
I’ll halt at this point and say that my knowledge of the wedding practices of the world is limited to the information provided on Wikipedia. So if I offend anyone, please realise I do so in an attempt at humour.
Let me highlight first some of the traditions which are commonplace at a Jewish wedding:
The couple is married under a wedding canopy (chuppah), signifying their new home together.
This is nice, but stupid. We are not going to live under a canopy and symbolism doesn’t help you when you are out in the rain. The Jewish people really need to work on this one.
Seven blessings are recited, blessing the bride and groom and their new home.
Too many blessings! Look, God is busy. I would ask him for one blessing, e.g. “don’t kill us”. Other than that we will sort ourselves out. I know how to do the groceries now. Nicole is great at washing. We don’t need blessings in the domestic sense. Give us some kids too, but we don’t need a blessing for that. If the girls from 16 & pregnant can do it, so can we!
The couple sip from a glass of wine.
Fantastic! +1 for the Jews on this one.
In Orthodox weddings, the groom then says:
"If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill.”
This is where I’ll declare ignorance. I’ll renounce the skills of my right hand if necessary, but God had really better be sure that I won’t need them during marriage!
Alright, so maybe a Jewish wedding isn't for us. So, how about Hindu weddings then?
Hindu ceremonies are usually conducted totally or at least partially in Sanskrit, the language of the Hindu scriptures.
This will totally not work for our guests. Most of them are English speakers and the rest speak German. This would not only be inconsiderate to our guests but also difficult for Father Stephen from Newcastle to do.
The wedding celebrations may last for several days and they can be extremely diverse.
You know what? This isn’t enough for me. I’ll be celebrating our wedding for the rest of our lives! I don’t think the Hindus take weddings seriously enough for my liking!
The most important step is saptapadi or saat phere, wherein the bride and the groom, hand-in-hand, encircle the sacred fire seven times, each circle representing a matrimonial vow.
Not good enough mate! First of all. How big is this fire if we are able to encircle it? Where I’m from Dad wouldn’t even call that a fire! There will probably be a fire ban on up in Maitland when we have our wedding anyway!
I think the Muslims get it a little bit closer to what I’m after. They say that the husband and wife act as each other’s protector and comforter and therefore are only meant for one another. That is sweet. It is like a Bryan Adams song. Polyamory is normally cited as a feature of Islamist marriage, however, this is only under restrictions (usually to do with supporting a relation in need), rather than exciting sexual reasons!
Given our background, we will probably end up going down the traditional Catholic route. God will be really happy about that, and Wikipedia reminds me that he plays a big part in Christian ceremonies. The one feature I love about Catholic weddings is this:
The Roman Catholic Church believes that marriage is a sacrament and a valid marriage between two baptized persons cannot be broken by any other means than death.
I think there is something special in that. Nicole has to stay married to me, or kill me. This gives me certain graces when it comes to ‘going out with the boys’, hiding dirty dishes in the cupboard, or throwing out important items of her clothing. Because Nicole’s unlikely to kill me for those things, her only option is divorce, and if she chooses that one – God’s on my side!