Do you ever go onto your Google Reader and 1000 of your subscriptions are female bloggers and one is a dude and that dude is Ian? And you’re all, “You know, these chicks are great and I’ve read all of Ian’s stuff and I still want to hear a blog from a male perspective.” Look no further than Bill from Smells Like Borscht. He writes about his life as a husband to a lovely Russian woman and father to an uber cute little dude. Also about his father-in-law who has one guy.
Today he’s guesting for me while I am busy doing my real job this week. Enjoy his post and secretly wish your wedding was just as fun. YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE FUN.
Getting married is a beautiful, romantic thing in any culture. There’s love, there’s dancing, and there are speeches, and crying (happy crying, hopefully). But as with just about everything else that the Russians do, they beat the pants off any other culture’s traditions when it comes to a wedding celebration.
Take, for example, a wedding that my wife and I went to maybe four years ago. The couple getting married had only known each other for a short period of time, and wanted to step into marriage in the most explosive way possible. So they had a live dance crew to back up the Emcee, a gigantic wall sized picture of themselves welcoming people into their reception, and indoor fireworks. Yes, that’s right – when they ended their first dance, sparks sprang up from the floor six feet into the air. Luckily, no one was allowed to be on the dance floor at the time, cause that could have been disastrous in a Marylin-Monroe-goes-wrong sort of way.
But besides all the ridiculous pretensions, the celebration went from two in the afternoon until two at night. At the ceremony, there was an entire 18 wheeler’s worth of sushi parked in the middle of the ceremony hall. There was enough sushi for their 150 guests. That’s a lot of California rolls. And at the reception, they released doves. In the middle of Brooklyn. There was more food than you could possibly eat in a week’s time. This is pretty much how any Russian wedding everywhere across the globe goes.
And mine was no different.
I was skeptical at first, because after seeing how over the top that wedding was, I certainly didn’t want my conservative American family to think that my wife and I were being pretentious with fireworks and half of Asia’s sushi supply for the next two weeks. So I was worried what was in store for our wedding. But as I saw it unfold in my wife’s eyes as she planned it, I was amazed.
We started our ceremony at 4 in the afternoon. We were in a gigantic castle reminiscent of French design. And blah blah blah, we got married.
But what was REALLY amazing to me was how my wife worked the reception. My MIL did the alcohol run, and asked how many bottles of vodka we should buy.
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, there was enough vodka at my wedding for all of Ali Baba’s thieves to have their own bottle. And the best part was that they were stationed on the tables, so you didn’t have to waste any precious drinking time by getting up and asking for more from some slow-moving bartender.
But to counteract the issue of having too much to drink? There was so much food that even after the 80 people at our wedding ate all that they possibly could, my entire family had leftovers for a week.
Shish kabobs, scallops, shrimp, mayo-based salads, green salads, caviar, that creepy paste made from liver, I even think there was a fish head or two. I’m not sure, I think I was mostly concerned with the first seven courses. It was amazing. And what was the MOST amazing about it was that we paid less for all that food than most caterers ask for those meager steak or salmon menus.
And after the food and drink? Dancing. Until 2 in the morning. But not like, silly chicken dances where only like 10% of the reception comes and dances. It was mostly foreign music, yes, but it was fun foreign music. And it was so fun that literally EVERYONE got up on the dance floor and shook their rump. This, however, could have been a product of the 40 bottles of vodka. We’ll never know.
But I think my favorite tradition that happened at my wedding was the opportunity for everyone who wanted to stop the motion of the wedding and say something. The Emcee relinquished his microphone to ten or fifteen people throughout the night so they could speak. And it was really beautiful what people ended up coming up and saying. Even after all the vodka.
So, two things. If you’re planning on getting married, make sure that you’re either marrying a Russian, or you’re using Russian people to help plan your wedding. And secondly, try, as hard as you can, to get invited to a Russian wedding. My only goal in life now is to move to Russia and become a professional wedding attendee.