Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Once upon a wedding

Today marks the third anniversary of our big, fat, Greek wedding (sorry, it just begs to be used). Consequently, tomorrow will mark the fourth anniversary of our small, slim, American wedding, which doesn’t really count because my husband and I lived apart for four months afterwards. To all this all I have to say is: it’s only been four years?!? It feels like fifty!

While that may be a joke, to some extent it is true. Even though my husband and I only met a mere six years ago, it seems like I’ve known him a lifetime. It’s amazing how easy it is to grow close to the right person, and despite some major cultural, spiritual and political differences the relationship just keeps getting better. This is a big deal for a girl like me – as I never really wanted to get married or even have a long term relationship. I suppose I was a bit capricious, looking for some unknown, unrealistic intellectual ideal, but I should have known I could find it among the Greeks.

You can imagine that with my general attitude about marriage I was not the kind of girl who dreamed of her perfect wedding all her life. The Nashville wedding was a simple affair thrown together at the last minute to invite a few close friends who would definitely not be able to come to Greece for the wedding. It was very small, very low-key, and very perfect.

I should have known the Greek wedding would be a nightmare as soon as I had to call West End Methodist Church to ask for proof of my baptism. The Greek Orthodox Church apparently has no intention of allowing its parishioners to marry heathens, so it was by the pure grace of God that I had reluctantly agreed to be baptized when I was sixteen. When I called the church secretary to request the document, she said “let me guess, you are marrying a Catholic or Greek Orthodox”. Apparently mine wasn’t the first request they ever received.

My second mistake was trying to work out a date that would correspond with the date of our first wedding, so the anniversaries would be together. We got lucky with May 3rd, but it just so happened that year that our chosen date was a week after Easter. Thus, our wedding was replete with Easter blessings of all kinds. Being as uncomfortable with religion as I am, this was not helpful to my sanity at the time.

Since I had no preferences or opinions about wedding type stuff, I pretty much let my mother-in-law and sister-in-law go nuts on the planning. I had zero desire to plan anything myself, and since it was a Greek wedding I knew little about what was required, so I got off scot-free. Thanos and I would just show up in Thessaloniki every few weeks for fittings, shopping, and fine details. Oh, and let’s not forget the meeting with the priest where I swore, in front of witnesses, that any children we would have would be Greek Orthodox and have my husband’s last name.

There are no rehearsals when it comes to Greek Orthodox weddings. I learned what little I could about the ceremony by watching video of my in-laws’ wedding, and having various people explain things to me. But still, I was not prepared.

I was not prepared for everyone waiting outside the church with Thanos and having to make a grand entrance when I arrived with my father and our koumbaros (best man). I was not prepared for our height differences to cause such a problem in keeping the stefana (crowns) on our heads. I was not prepared to walk around the altar three times without slipping. Most importantly, I was not prepared for my in-laws throwing rice at me at speeds that would put major league pitchers to shame while I was trying to balance my way around the altar. I think my mother-in-law almost got me in the eye, for goodness sakes. I was shaking rice out of my hair and various orifices for weeks after that. But it is ok. There are more weddings to attend, and who knows, some day my hand might slip and accidentally throw a handful of rice at my in-laws.

The reception was fun, but with 200 odd guests to greet and toast we didn’t get much of a chance to sit down and enjoy it. Towards the end I guess we did, but by that time, I was beat. It seems I was too busy being a bride to enjoy being a bride.

Three years later, our life is much calmer. We’ve been there, done that. And now all we have to do is enjoy each other.

13 comments:

The SeaWitch said...

Happy Anniversary Mel and Thanos!!

If you had realllllly been thinking...you could have marketed your wedding(s) as a reality show and made a small fortune off it!LOL Got any pics of the Grand Event to share with your faithful readers like moi?

PS: Did you know how to say "I do" in Greek when you got married? I didn't so I'm not certain if my marriage is legal. LOL

Anonymous said...

zardoz says:

"wedding comes from the greek
word ΓΑΜΟΣ ( G A M O S )"
mr PORTOKALOS



Nice to know you found your other half

couldnt tell by the way you
manhandle hubbie in your articles..?

JOKING ASIDE ..

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY KIDS
=Z=

EllasDevil said...

Happy Anniversary Guys!!

Dixie said...

What a great story! Happy anniversary!

Tracie B. said...

happy anniversary! but what i REALY want to know is, what did you eat?

christina said...

Happy Anniversary! I went to a Greek Orthodox wedding in Vancouver once and I was like, "Wow!"

Stelle In Italia said...

happy anniversary--3rd AND 4th! your wedding sounds like it was quite the event! we also had two weddings (actually 3), and our big one was back in the states instead of here in Italy. I'm sure my husband and his Italian groomsmen had similiar feelings of confusion--although at least we did have a rehearsal.

enjoy celebrating your anniversaries! :) one of ours is coming up on the 8th.

-Jackie

Flubberwinkle said...

Happy Anniversaries! (Does hubbie have to get you two presents?)
:-)

Nicole said...

Congrats!!!

melusina said...

Thanks for the well-wishes everyone!

SeaWitch, I actually thought about the reality show thing, because Greece and Greeks were so hot at the time thanks to My Big Fat Greek Wedding. But then I realized that our lives are so boring noone would watch, not even suckers for such shows like myself. And no, we have no pictures. Well, we have pictures, but we are behind the times when it comes to digital cameras and scanners, so nothing that we can put online. There were no "I dos" at our wedding, it was strictly Greek traditional - we didn't talk at all.

Tracie B., I don't even remember what we ate, because we didn't have time to eat what with all the meeting and greeting and going around to tables and what not. I think I had like two bites of food, whatever it was.

Stelle in Italia - three weddings!?! How ever did you survive???

Flubberwinkle, no he doesn't have to get me two presents. He can't afford them anyway since I spend all his money all the time. ;)

Niko said...

Xronia Polla my fellow May 3rder :-)

CaliforniaKat said...

Mel, I guess that means you and Thano are coming up on your 4th and 5th anniversaries soon, and thank goodness Easter has passed, eh?

Finally, I found another woman who didn't have strong feelings about marriage and weddings. Lots of people look at me when I tell them I've no idea about flowers, a dress or colors. I could care less, aren't the important things the commitment and happiness?

I gotta tell you how hard I laughed when you said your wrist might one day slip and throw some rice at your in laws (LOL) ...that killed me! People do not seem to realize how much it hurts or how slippery it can be, which is the reason Americans haven't used rice in a decade.

Anonymous said...

Got Pope, Need No Bart charliepatseas@yahoo.com Flushing NY

The Holy Father gone to Turkey to redeem and consecrate the Greeks,
so don't need no more soviet temples. Don't need no gyro blimpie Bart
when got a regular Pope without the diner attitude. My pop kept
hitting momma with a skillet on the head. Friends ended up in the
hospital after their pop beat them. Pops got drunk and ruined my
first car. Killed two cats and a dog, thrown out the window.
Neighbor drowned the canaries in ouzo, lit, ate them. Ma overdid
whip so she could give less pie. All our stuff came pilfered, with
logos. Greeks overcook all meat so no one knows is bad. Another
banned tenants flushing toilet paper. Waiters inpune sanitation
because "dirty is natural and healthy." Priests just answered "behave,
respect, tradition!" Now priest comes "no intercommunion!" Where was
he when we needed him to protect us from our crazy parents? Don't
sell me "educated Greeks" because we know all them Trojan Horse
cheated on the exams. Besides it's just TV repair school. Remember
all those jailed old disco Greeks, tax cheats to "protest" Jerome Ford
stopping the Trojan Horse in Chyprious? We can't get good jobs
because no one trusts Greeks, because of Trojan Horse. They always
faked reading Greek. That's why we borrowed regular Catholic books
instead of read Greek. Sure, we sacrifice to Greek myths three times
a year to please yiayia, and she's nun the wiser when we go to regular
Catholic Mass on Sundays when she bummed from bouzaki dances. Ain't
need no more Bart, just the regular Pope. That's why we all married
regular Catholic when we grew up. So they can trust us.