Sunday, July 18, 2010

Apparently, it's good to be King

And when attending a traditional Albanian wedding, it's good to check your disbelief at the door.

Spending Saturday afternoon with Rachel is something we rarely cancel. We chose not to let Rachel down and did not go to the church ceremony for this wedding, and now I'm a little sorry I don't have stories to tell from that. We did get to the reception right at 7 PM like we think the invitation instructed, and took note that not a single car was in the lot. Wondering if we'd made an error in the translation of the invitation, we rechecked the date and time and decided to wait a bit. We drove around for another 30 minutes and went back when we saw 2 limos and a smattering of cars. The preponderance of guests were fashionably late and chose not to arrive until well after 8 PM. They knew something we did not.


As guests arrived, they walked through this ethereal tunnel of glittery fabric and were greeted by the groom's family. There wasn't a bride in sight. Shockingly, this is not the bride's party. It's the groom's. To my surprise, many of the guests wore white gowns. This fashion faux pas would make tongues wag at an American wedding. People would wonder if the guest who committed this crime was trying to upstage the bride. As you'll see later, when she finally showed up (she was sequestered in a room upstairs for several hours and was guarded by members of the bridal party), there was no mistaking (or upstaging) the bride. The 26 bridesmaids wore green. Not a single bridesmaid represented her--all of them were of the groom's choosing. His peeps.


The tables, all 80 of them that seated 10 each (you do the math), welcomed the guests. Each table had a bottle of cognac, a bottle of chianti and a bucket full of iced beers. There were several open bar areas and an ice sculpture for shots. The bartender would pour liquor at the top of the sculpture and the guest would catch the liquor, now well iced, at the end of the slide. That was fun, and I went to that station more than once.

If you couldn't find white roses in Detroit this weekend, I know the answer to the question of where they went. They're atop 80 tables in a local hall.

Desserts were amazing. There was chocolate, cake, fruit, cupcakes galore, white and milk chocolate fountains, and of course, a beautiful wedding cake. The white chocolate cabbage leaves held chocolate covered pretzels.

The bride made her entrance sometime after 9 PM and before the dinner of chicken, lamb, pasta, salad and New York strip steaks were served. During dinner, she stood between the head tables (26 bridesmaids and 26 groomsmen need more than 1 table) where she was still being guarded the entire time by members of the wedding party. I think this is so she doesn't run away. As the bride stood, she assumed a look of indifference and was supposed to cry. Who wouldn't after being forced to stand in one position for two hours as guests dance around you and eat. She was also supposed to be fasting. Her reception was in the morning before the ceremony (same hall--five hundred guests)and last night's reception was for her king, the groom. On Sunday, they'll have a third reception. Above you see her dancing while surrounded by a sea of the groom's family and friends.

She doesn't look so miserable here in this photo that was taken at the end of the night. The king looks thrilled. He should be.

I am supposing that this is what it's all about. Here is hoping their arranged marriage is full of not a little of this.


My feet are up resting today and I've been into the motrin. I stayed on those stilts all night and only switched to flip flops when we left the reception sometime after midnight (it's considered rude to leave before). My head hurts from my one too many trips to the shot slide, where I made it a point to toast the unhappy looking bride and wish her well, while simultaneously thanking God for my own circumstances and independence. My ears are still bleeding from listening to unbelievably loud ethnic techno music.

Since I consumed a month's worth of calories, spending today fasting would be reasonable, but I have a date to go out with my best friend. It's a good thing that's much later today. Maybe we can ponder how to become planners for Albanian weddings, because it would seem that fabric suppliers, florists and caterers made a killing, though I think it would be more fun to plan how to help brides escape.

22 comments:

SkippyMom said...

I don't know how to say this - but please know I mean it as a high compliment to your friend - but I can't decide which is more stunning the bride or food/flowers/place settings.

She is stunning but I have never been to a wedding of this magnitude. And was her marriage really arranged?

You're a pretty hot number yourself there Rudee :) Glad you had a good time and remembered your flippys

Gail said...

Wow! I am stunned at the expense. I think of all the poor people that could have used that money for grander things than green dresses and golden plates.

On the other hand, it was amazingly beautiful. What a great opportunity to experience another culture's tradition...not to mention the refreshments and desserts!

Sounds like you had a great time.

sapphireblue said...

Wow! I think I'm living it up when I get brisket on a paper plate at someone's wedding. What a shindig.

Miss 376 said...

Sounds a fascinating experience. You picked the perfect dress too, the colour really suits you

debra said...

WOW...... Just. WOW.

Brenda said...

Thanks for taking photos and showing them to us. I have never seen that much wealth spread around at a wedding. We had 300 at our daughter's wedding. If I did my math right, this wedding had 800. It would be fun to attend a wedding like that. You and your hubby look pretty hot!

Rose said...

Holy cow, that's amazing. You look great too! By the way, "it's good to be king" is my husband's favorite saying. He has a sense of irony :)

word verif: fishaniz

Quiltluver said...

Wow, that is amazing, and very beautiful. I've never been to a wedding like that. I guess it's good for the local economy. I bet you're glad you spent the time to find that perfect dress and shoes. You look great in that picture.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

wow that's a seriously beautiful wedding at an expense of a magnitude that i can't even imagine. just wow...

smiles, bee
xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Winifred said...

You look great Rudee. What an amazing "do". Wonder how much of the esrth's resources that took? A great experience but if it was my daughter I'd have persuaded them to elope.

Rositta said...

Just like everyone before me said, WOW... and here I thought Greek and Italian weddings were big and fancy. This one beats anything I've seen. You look stunning...ciao

Michaela said...

Wow, you look fabulous darling!!! And, is that your hubby?

My sister is married to an Indian man. At their wedding (1000 guests) they had to look serious and NOT smile. I wonder if the bride had similar cultural expectations on her?

Great photos, thanks for sharing. I am amazed! OH, those desserts...

Ruth said...

What a stunning event- its so amazing and that is only part of the whole exercise.

Queenmothermamaw said...

Wow that is a spectacle. You look great. Tan and cutsey. Your man looks great too. Nice and tan. My brother in law married a girl from New Jersey from a Polish family and we went up for two days of partying. I have never seen such opulence. A sit down dinner and a buffet of octapus soup, sausages of every kind, desserts. I got sick on the flight home. Couldn't eat for days.
LoL. So glad you got to go.
QMM

ice logo Ontario said...

Great pics ...! It looks awesome and this Ice Sculptures give extra edge in marriage.

jeannette said...

I know in some cultures the wedding is not so pleasant for the bride - poor girl...I am surprized though in this day and age to hear that this was an arranged marriage! Guess they did not integrate in the American culture!!
Am glad you had alternate footwear with you:) I knew those heels would be a little too much after some hours.

NCmountainwoman said...

I've been to fancy wedding receptions, but never something on this grand scale. Wow! I must say, you look quite at home there.

Sandy said...

Well you look great and the wedding, ....wow....and I would have preferred the cash, ha.. But what a beautiful wedding.

Lisa L said...

This was amazing to read! I thought the bride/groom looked pretty happy together:) Thank God! Apparently arranged marriages have a pretty good statistical outcome...hope so for their sakes! Loved the pic of you and yours..

distracted by shiny objects said...

What fun!! Never would I imagine such a wedding. If the couple can make it through all these events still speaking, marriage oughta be a piece of cake. This sounds like a nuptial marathon :>)

Finding Pam said...

Where you invited to the wedding? Or did you only go to the reception?

Rudee, you look great. For some reason I thought you were a brunette. I am glad that you found your dress. Whose is the man with you?

I am a retired florist and we only did custom extravagant weddings. This one is gorgeous. I love all the glitz and glam.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what size hat the gentleman wears? Is he your father?