“There having been some days in preparation,
a splendid time is guaranteed for all…”
Having a home-grown wedding is a lot of fun, as well as a lot of work. The final efforts for setup and decoration reminded me strongly of the parties, dances, open houses, fairs, and festivals that we used to organize at boarding school. Now, as then, it took a squadron of friends and family to pull it off. I’m trying to reconstruct everything that everybody did, but this is a bit like giving an Oscar speech – I’m afraid I’ll leave out someone who made a crucial contribution!
I have heard of weddings that disallow children, but that is not my style. I grew up in expat communities where kids usually attended grown-up parties, and then raised my own daughter in Italy, where kids are expected to socialize with adults in a civilized manner. Many of our guests had children, and our own family includes Mitchell, Brendan’s ten-year-old son. So I made sure that our guests knew their children would be welcome and even, as far as we could manage, looked after.
Although I would not be wearing Indian clothing for the wedding, I wanted to have really good bridal mehndi done. I get mehndi whenever I can (usually on trips to India) but had never gone so far as to have both hands and feet decorated – that’s usually reserved for brides. Now it was my turn.
The current tradition in India is for the bride to have a mehndi party for her female friends some days before the wedding (mehndi needs a few days for the color to set and deepen). There are many mehndi artists in the Bay Area, but the wedding date turned out to be a problem: August 17th was the weekend after Indian Independence Day, August 15th, and many of the artists were booked for other events.
We had planned all along to have our wedding at home. The house we have been renting since December 2018 was remodeled in the early 2000s by the recently-divorced owner of a high-end bath and kitchen outfitter. The remodel seems to have been intended to turn the place into a swinging bachelor pad. There’s a fabulous kitchen / open space for entertainment, another large room (shown as the “media room” on the house plans) added onto the back, and a big open backyard with… a tiki bar. I kid you not. Which is canopied to protect the large BBQ grill and non-working fridge, and also has a bar sink. The owner who remodeled had also put in a pool, but the current owner thought it was too close to the house foundations to be safe, and had it filled in years ago. So now there’s a wooden deck surrounded by smooth concrete, which leaves a nice big space to put a tent.
Had we been able to make a trip to India before our wedding, things would have turned out very differently. We both like and are comfortable in Indian clothing, and would have been happy to buy (or have made) something Indian, probably a lehnga for me (I have not worn saris enough to be able to wear them gracefully – it’s an art). Brendan looks very sharp in a long kurta, and could definitely rock an achkan.
But this was all happening on a short timeline. We couldn’t go to India before the wedding (we’d be going there in September, after the wedding), and I was not able to find anything Indian readily available and to our taste in the US.