I am not wedding-cultured. Not at all. Not even a tiny bit. I respond to “may I have your address to send an invitation” with “just e-mail it and save a tree”. I do the obligatory look at shiny engagements rings, ask the necessary where, what, who and when questions and show my excitement towards the honeymoon destination. I haven’t been to a wedding in over a decade, I forget dates, don’t own high heels, formal wear is a foreign concept and I have an extremely bad track record with planning ahead.
So imagine my befuddled excitement when I got asked to be a bridesmaid. An honour, yes, but when I looked at my rough wintery heels and half-polished toe nails I panicked. My takkies and flip flops cackled in Walking Dead laughter about my inability to walk on anything higher than a centimeter, strings from all over the world are wrapped around my wrists (some for years) , I haven’t been in a dress since my matric farewell and my hair has been a mess ever since I’ve decided to cut it myself.
Oh and I also forgot the wedding date five minutes after the bride-to-be told me about it.
“Of course I will be your bridesmaid. When are you getting married?”
I forgot the date again.
I am not wedding-cultured. Not at all. Not even a tiny bit. Actually, I just don’t understand the concept of weddings and before a tribe of bridezillas parade to my house, hammer down my door with a floral bouquet and make me their something blue, let me explain.
Maybe I don’t understand weddings because I haven’t been to one in eight years, maybe it is because I’ve missed so many weddings and that for a really long time one fine body of water, the African continent and a slice of Asia got between me and a few “I dos” or maybe it is just because I’ve done a few unfortunate calculations in my head of the wedding venue + invitations + décor + food + jewellery + clothes + photographer + miscellaneous = You must be joking? Not the comedy but the financial tragedy (and all this for one day).
Plus, I’m probably missing something.
But I’ve been warned (and somewhat ordered) that I’m not allowed to leave the country or go on a road trip to a town far, far away.
That was until I saw inexpensive plane tickets to India smacked down over the period of the Holi Festival and my track record of planning ahead improved within seconds.
Yes, please, colour me pretty India, give me uncontrollable Delhi belly, let me indulge in your dal, your biryani, butter chicken and chapatti. Take me away to your markets, give me a cultural injection and fuel my wandering spirit.
I’m on the phone with the bride-to-be, “Friend, I think I am going to India next year.”
“As long as it is not when I get married.”
“No, no, it is in March”, I reply.
“But I get married in March!”
I forgot the date again and momentarily relapsed into my poor planning skills.
“Yes, I know”, I say as I hastily flip through my calendar to find the date.
Got the date. End of March. Perfect. Holi is in the middle of March.
“I mean, I am not going away in March, I am going away in February and coming back in March”, I bounce back nonchalantly as if I knew that while silently pondering on the thought of when exactly the bridesmaid is needed, how many days before the wedding do I have to start fulfilling my duties and, heck, what are my duties?
“Where will you go on honeymoon?” I ask excitingly like a kid in a candy store thinking about long road trips, hidden forest treasures, adventures and discovering new places in South Africa as well as abroad; here, there, everywhere.
She takes my candy away with, “We don’t want to spend too much on the honeymoon so we will…”
I tune out the rest of the sentence and remember the other expenses; it is the bar man, the wedding car, shoes, alcohol, wedding gifts (as if feeding people is not enough), the flowers, the cake and what gets my garter in a twist about that special wedding day is just that. It is a day. Singular. One day.
I don’t understand weddings.
Anje Rautenbach is the writer behind the blog Going Somewhere Slowly, find her Facebook,Twitter or on Instagram!
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