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My Big Fat Serbian Wedding

October 28, 2010

Last week I revealed my fear that a cousin’s upcoming wedding would be tarnished by my kids’ vulgarity (they’re bilingual!). I know the suspense is killing you, so let me put you out of your misery: the wedding happened and the swearing did not (despite the efforts of one cousin who reads my blog). Here’s how the day went down…

First things first: my kids looked great. The seven-year-old not only had a haircut, but also requested to wear a dress shirt and tie (this is the same kid who’s never worn a turtleneck because, “It’s too close to my neck!”). In her red taffeta dress, white tights and sparkly black ballet flats, the three-year-old girl looked like something out of The Nutcracker. It didn’t matter that they went home six hours later looking like they’d been marinating in the floor of a cab – for a brief moment, they were adorable. The Serb was also looking fine in his suit and I, too, was workin’ it like the rent was due tomorrow.

It should be pointed out that the Serb and I eloped (that’s another post) and I’m not well-versed in the protocol of Serbian Orthodox weddings. I knew there would be crowns worn by the bride and groom, and suspected that the priest would swing around an incense burner, but that was it.

What I wasn’t prepared for was standing throughout the ceremony. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but mama was wearing heels and the beautiful granite floors of the church were murder on my feet. I saw some women surreptitiously removing their shoes, but my strappy sandals and fidgety daughter foiled any attempts at relief.

The whole ceremony was performed in Serbian and the only words I know have no place in a church, so I was pretty lost for most of the service. Thankfully, the priest sang and spoke in a deep, rich baritone, which drowned out my daughter’s running commentary (Her: “Why she wearing tights on her arms?” Me: “They’re gloves.” Her: “Why dat guy on da ceiling so mean?” Me: “That’s God. He’s just serious.”).

The happiest surprise of the day was the food. Not the quality, which is always outstanding, or the lack of anything resembling a vegetable, which I’d already encountered in Serbia, but the sheer quantity. There was a buffet reception at the home of the bride’s parents before and after the church ceremony, followed by dinner at a Serbian restaurant. Stretchy pants alert!

At the reception we danced the kolo, a folkdance that’s part grapevine and part bunny hop, ate with abandon and drank with gusto. For the WASPy chick from the sticks, being immersed in a culture so rich and family so loving was a pretty great way to spend a Saturday.

And did I mention the food?

Gawd, Mom - enough with the pictures already. (Note the car clenched in her hand)

Such a beautiful church. Such hard granite floors. (Note: the chairs are just a tease)




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