Rachel and Ross's wedding was so beautiful and surreal I felt like I was in a movie. There was a video camera and two major photographers, dressed in black and trying to be invisible but among all the ivory, pink and grey they stood out more than they intended.
The church was a catholic one so it was resplendent in gold, marble and immense stained glass. Everything was polished to a sheen and the large TV screen for full Sunday Mass, seemed small and almost hidden within the full sized statues and praying alcoves of Mary and five other saints I would never have been able to guess. The crucified Jesus was enormous at the end behind the communion alter, and of course the church was decorated for a wedding so you might say it had it's 'Sunday best' on. Speaking of Sunday best the Mother and Father of the bride, as well as the musicians, were wearing their traditional Polish wedding outfits from who knows how many generations. Very hot and humid day and I'm sure they were exhausted in them, but love and tradition. They of course changed for the reception into beautiful evening attire, but I really admired their traditions. I wish I could have understood what they were saying.
But the part that made me really feel like I was in a scene from the Godfather was that the entire service, with the exception of one reading, was all in polish. I know the Godfather was Italian, for all you mansplainers out there, but I don't know either language so I was just as lost. But listening and trying to understand was exhausting. I also felt like it was a beautiful service even if I couldn't understand it. I've been to church enough to get the gist.
After the ceremony we went to her mother's house for food for about another 45 minutes until the reception began. And there were a lot of polish foods to try and I tried many of them and loved them all. Hoping to discuss the wedding and find out some of what was said in their traditions, I quickly found out that most of her relatives don't speak English. So I ate, smiled a lot and tried to communicate without words. Which worked much as you would expect, only when something funny happened around me with one of the kids. I was hoping there would be more friends like me at the reception that spoke English. Her mom had had me ride with her to her house from the church and one of her cousins took me to the reception. "You need not take a bus. Momento." And 'poof' a ride was provided. Better than Uber. Which I'll get to later.
The reception was also a fun time for everyone, and I generated to the table with the only people of color and I don't mean just skin, one gal had red hair as red as mine is blue. And I was right this was the cool table. Unfortunately it was also the young table. Not as in children, they were too busy dancing to be at a boring table anyway, but about mid to late twenties. And not as cool as my First Daughter or her friends, but cool enough for me. And they spoke English. A language I could understand. I wished the people there my age spoke English or wanted to speak it with me, for some spoke some, but it was a family gathering and I was a stranger to everyone there except the bride and groom. So I tried to let my personality shine and make some connections but they seemed to be more interested in going outside to smoke cigarettes or take many, many more shots at the open bar then I felt inclined to do. After all I was in a west-side neighborhood I didn't know, and had to get myself home on the two buses I had used to arrive. I needed to keep my head. Now the wedding started at 3 and the reception at 6. I left around 10 and got home by 11. So I had felt that I had made a strong appearance for someone who knew no one and spend the majority of the time just listening to a language I didn't understand. And polish is not like French or Spanish where even uncultured American's can pick out a word here and there. It's more like a German/Czechoslovakian mash up to my ear. Beautifully full of hard consonants and round vowels. I was tied and alone most of the time at my table, and while the bride did come by once or twice to check up on me, I certainly didn't expect that. But she's a dear. And was disappointed that I was the first to leave. But I assured her that I'd had a good time that I was just bored and tired and I felt like I should get home before it got too late, and then was when I found out my table thought I was cool and they had liked me, as a few of them who were outside smoking anyway, decided to wait with the bride for my first ever Uber ride home. (who got lost on the way, and called me for directions in a neighborhood I had only been in once before with Rachel two weeks prior. But he made up for it and was a safe and and reassuring ride home. I gave him five stars) I even had to download the app and get started which I did before all the drinks. I sampled the homemade lemon drink the father and mother of the bride warned me to sip, which I did, out of a shot glass. I sipped three of them and boy were they strong. Then a red label whiskey with the kids. Ouch that stuff is harsh. And I settled on red wine the rest of the night. Not hung over this morning, but I did drink a lot of water.
All and all I'm very glad I attended and got to see them exchange their vows, (That part was in English and I recorded it hoping it would be) and very honored to be included in such a close knit family and friends event.