If you haven’t already know, 10 and I had 2 wedding receptions to celebrate our marriage. The one we wanted was a smaller and much more intimate setting in Bali, whereas the other one was what our parents originally envisioned their children’s wedding day to be. Having gone through the once-in-a-lifetime experience twice made me learn a couple of things, especially about being thankful for the people who show up to give your marriage support. Whether you have 200 or 1200 people on your guest list, you can expect these people to be present on your celebration:
Expect loyalty. These people are the ones who you haven’t gotten in touch in a while, perhaps years or even decades, but show up nonetheless, wherever your destination wedding is held in the world, to just to congratulate you and your new spouse. These are definitely people you should keep for life – savor the friendship and your enduring history with them.
Expect to be overwhelmed with appreciation. Before you got married, weddings were just another have-to’s you have to cross off your list every weekend. On your own wedding day, you will be eternally grateful of the many, many people who actually want to be there. It’s clear when you’re standing on stage who are the people who actually make time and effort to be there for you – not for the free food, not for the Instagram-worthy photo props, not for the scenic destination of the wedding, but for the celebration of two souls becoming one.
Expect hoarders. In the same vein, you can spot these people almost immediately out of the room. They’ve been prowling around the perimeter near the premium food stalls for at least an hour before you see them getting in line toward the stage to give you, your spouse, and your parents a flimsy handshake – and it’s almost always with neither a word nor eye contact.
Expect indifference. They behave much like the hoarders when they’re in line to shake your hands, but at least these people know the whole purpose of the event (congratulating the married couple!) before they help themselves with the goodies.
Expect gossip. People are always going to talk, even when you give them something good to talk about. Unlike the hoarders and the indifferent people, gossipers look at you in the eye longer than you are normally comfortable with. Whether they’re eating their food or giving you a handshake, they’re usually standing close with one or two of their gossip buddies. You can always find them within 100-meter’s radius from the stage, the VIP area, the plasma TV, the screen, and your canvas images, whispering something toxic into each other’s ears.
Expect camwhoring. Lots of camwhoring. Right after the quick smiles and brief handshakes, they’ll get into their poses and start commanding your photographers to take multiple shots of them on stage with you. So brace yourself, because you and your spouse are their most visually-appealing props of the day.
Expect the uninvited. If you’re having a banquet (i.e. expecting more than 500 people), keep on the lookout for at least one stranger. Get your wedding organizer to help you guard every corner so you can catch the culprit before they walk out with the freebies.
Expect pleasant surprises. Much like the loyal people, pleasant surprises are those who remember the tiniest good things you did for them – so little you don’t even remember. You may regard them as an acquaintance, but they regard you as a buddy, and that’s more than enough reason to keep them for life. The most surprising factor of their presence was the total amount of gift in the red envelope: It’s infinitely more than the nothingness you did for them a billion years ago.
Expect sincerity. It’s rare to find sincere people within a lifetime, much less on a single night. So when you found one, you should keep them. These people are the ones who look you in the eye as long as the gossipers do, but immediately hugs you tightly and, instead of whispering among one another, they whisper personal wishes and prayers into your ears, probably tearing up while doing so, and also probably the one taking the most pictures throughout the event so you don’t have to wait for the photographer’s pictures to update your Instagram. Please note that these people aren’t always necessarily present physically at the wedding: They may come in personalized messages in wedding cards, in surprise customized wedding gifts, somewhere during the hours you spent on long-distance phone calls, at the end of an afternoon tea you had together weeks in advance, plus many more other forms of a genuine heart. In these cases, they’re the first to congratulate you again digitally after you’re officiated … all the more reason you should keep in touch with them for life.
Expect excuses. On the opposite end, there will be people who DON’T have children to take care of, a limb broken, or a family member dying who RSVP’d way in advance, but are a no-show on the day itself. Examples of lame excuses they’ll give you: “There’s no one else I know there!”, “My dog ate your wedding invitation!” or, my personal favorite: Just a message … not before the wedding, not during the wedding, but days after the wedding … with no reason but a “Sorry couldn’t be there” and expect the relationship is still the same as ever. There may be 1001 reasons to not be there, but there are none to not tell you personally that they would not make it there before it’s too late.
Expect major disappointments. It doesn’t hurt as much if the people with the most excuse weren’t the people who you identify as your friend. But the biggest letdowns are the first people you’ve always had in mind to be there, but didn’t. It hurts even more when you received no news, no response, none whatsoever.
Expect utmost gratitude. Despite the letdowns, you will be so glad that you’re one of the most blessed souls in the world who has the kind of love like no other. Not everyone is blessed with a life partner with whom they can make a great team, much less one who loves and accepts you for all that you are. Like the brightest star in the night sky, your day will be filled with people who’d suffer hours of traffic and heavy downpour, just to witness the rare occasion, and there’s no way to thank their presence other than by giving them back as a married couple for the rest of your life.
Expect the best from God … when you surrender to His will. And not just on your wedding day, but every day for the rest of your life. Here’s our testimony …
Me and my husband only had 2 weeks left to decide whether we wanted to hire a rain protection vendor as our backup plan. The Bali wedding was an outdoor venue, so we’d essentially be blowing up everything (literally everything) if it rains. The vendor gave us until it’s down to a week left before the big day to make our decision. They’ve even reduced their price for us. After giving it some thought, I told my then husband-to-be that I did not want a canopy, even though or super duper attentive wedding organizer highly suggested we should get one. I wanted us to put our trust in God instead of our own smarts. Ever since we got together, I’ve gotten through so many doubts about His will for us that by then, I had no more doubts He was the one behind our union. Rain or shine, I believe He would allow the best weather possible for our special day.
My husband agreed. And so, no backup plan whatsoever … even though counting down the 2 weeks was discouraging. The 15-day forecasts kept showing anywhere between 60%-80% chances of drizzles and thunderstorms on the exact hours we’ll be holding our holy matrimony and the reception, as if all the weather apps and forecasting websites were purposely trolling on us. They all (yes, all) showed the same cloudy forecast leading up to the big day … and yet, we worried less and less. As the days went by, our faith has only gotten stronger, with prayers of hope for the future and of thanksgivings in advance.
Saturday, November 28, 2015 finally arrived. I woke up without the slightest thought about the weather and only focused on the man I’m going to love for the rest of my life. It was a sunny afternoon filled with fun photoshoots and a happy tea ceremony, followed by a heartfelt evening of us exchanging our vows. We became one … under the backdrop of a beautiful violet sunset and a golden outlook of our future.
Then, the testing of faith begins. The hair and makeup crew were changing me into the nighttime look for the reception, and my new husband was staring at the stormy sky with a paler complexion than Edward Cullen. Nothing liquid has fallen to the grounds yet, just sounds and flashes of thunder from above. When it’s time for us to line up to be the last introduced by the emcee (after our parents and siblings), it was practically drizzling. The whole crew was running everywhere to provide umbrellas for everyone – adrenaline’s rushing, our hearts beating faster.
There and then, we closed our eyes, hands held tight, and spoke out our faith in a joint prayer. Right after we said our ‘Amen’ together, we opened our eyes to find the drizzling stopped. And just like that … the hot and humid air transformed into a fresh, dewy ambience that lasted through the night. It was a miracle.
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