7:30 am Breakfast at the hotel lobby
7:50 am Florist arrives. I must go up to let her into the bridal suite.
8:00 am Make-up artists arrive
8:30 am The wedding planner arrives and she and I liaise when to give the wedding ring to the best man and when to give the money to the church choir.
8:45 am The bridesmaids arrive
9:00 am War Zone
10:00 am The guy bringing our lunch boxes arrives and is waiting for us downstairs. I’m instructed to pay the corkage fee by the front desk and go downstairs to pay the guy 8,000 pesos
11:00-12:00 nn Hair and make-up. The make-up trannies complain of doing work for two hours straight but they persevere and make catty jokes. A lot of enjoyable bitch slapping occurs
13:00-14:30 Photo session with the bride and groom in their separate rooms. Instructed to ‘playfully’ throw the veil over the bride as if to help her. Pretend as if you’re having a playful chat with her about the weather. I feel stupid
14:30 I usher everyone out of the bridal suite, checking if we’ve left anything behind. I went in and out of the bridal suite at least three times, each time I forget to bring my bridesmaid’s bouquet. Stupid bouquet.
14:40 The van arrives to take the bridal entourage to the church. The car arrives to take the bride and parents to the church.
15:00 The wedding ceremony begins. And our family starts crying
I’m back in the Philippines for a wedding.
My sister has been dating her boyfriend, Marvin for 9 years and 9 months. 8 of which is long distance. Makes you believe again in long distance relationships. She lives in Cebu City which is half an hour by plane from Cagayan de Oro where he lives. They take turns visiting each other every month.
Last year he finally proposed by one of the most beautiful beaches in the world in Palawan. Sobbing she said, “Oo lagi oi!” which kind of roughly translates, “Alright goddammit- I said yes already!”. Translation: Why would I date you for 9 years and not say yes, idiot?
I was asked to come two weeks earlier before the wedding to help plan the wedding as maid of honor. I feel guilty I wasn’t there last year to help my sister plan because I was in China.
I’m glad about that though.
Planning and executing the wedding is stressful. In those two weeks, we were rushing to take care of last minute preparations. Making sure the church was okay. The florists. Wedding speeches. Food. Fitting of the bridal entourage. Guest seating. Lighting. Logistics. Wrapping 500 wedding giveaways (which the bride, her friend and I did). Sending out invitations. Taking care of out of town guests from Cagayan de Oro, the States and China. Everything down to the tiniest detail.
It was a big wedding.
It was enough for my dad to take me aside and whisper, “For your wedding, let’s just have a civil service and then have some nice burgers down by McDonald’s.”
Exhausted, I agreed.
Worse was that during the flurry of the wedding, people were coming up to me say, “Next year, it’ll be your wedding.” To which I scoff, “How can I have a wedding when I don’t even have a boyfriend?”
My mother was worried. At least one daughter was properly settled down. She had two more to worry.
I am too nomadic to drop roots and find a guy. My gay brother cannot marry in the Philippines. My mother should be grateful one child turned out right and followed the true righteous path.
My brother started practicing his catwalk – bridal walk down the aisle. “You have to practice with me, Mom,” he gushed, grabbing my mom’s hand. “We’re going to get married in Times Square, New York!” He finished with a large flourish of his hands.
My mother shot him a dirty look and grumbled.
Wedding pressure aside, it was the best wedding I’ve ever been to. It’s the only wedding I’m emotionally invested in. Seeing my baby sister walk down the aisle sent people to tears, including my brother and I. I saw my sister’s future mother in law’s shoulders heave, she took a deep breath and bawled into her tissue. For the whole wedding ceremony, she looked like she was a goth Marilyn Manson with streaks of raccoony mascara running down her eyes.
Couldn’t relax yet after the service as we had to worry about the reception program. Liaised on logistics with the wedding coordinator. Searched frantically for the person doing the opening prayers. Saying hello to relatives I barely know and barely remembered. Checking up on my guests from China.
But everything was smooth sailing after. Program was awesome. Wedding video fantastic (the opening video to introduce the bride and groom sounded like a Hollywood Western blockbuster. It was hilarious). Food was superb. Best man speech sent bride and groom to tears. And best of all was the tossing of the bridal bouquet and garter game which was won by my Minnesotan friends who work with me in China – Jess and Sam.
It was not the traditional throwing of the bouquet. First off, couples are called which I’m grateful for (nothing as embarrassing as calling all single people in the room). Then the guys stand on one side (representing Cagayan de Oro) and the girls on the other side (representing Cebu). The guys have to make a bridge using any items of clothing to bridge the gap between them and the girls.
Knowing how competitive Sam is, I hope the wedding party wasn’t going to turn into some post bachelorette strip show. The trannies would have a field day.
Sam won by prostrating himself on the floor to reach Jess. Then it was the girls’ turn to reach their partners. Not to be outdone, Jess threw herself on the ground and in the process her skirt lifted, revealing more than she should.
It was lasted only a split second before she whipped the garment back. But that split second was enough for the photographers and video cameramen. They had been waiting for a moment like this. Like vultures, they pounced on the scene of the crime. And did they capture the moment.
One of the photographers proudly showed the groom the photo. “Yep, we got it.” He beamed.
I can only hope they edit that scene from the wedding video or at least pixelate it like they do in Japanese porn.
And when that happens I hope the male guests don’t complain that they’ve been robbed.
It was a good wedding.
Read the rest of the summer journey from seeing Kim Jung Il in North Korea to swimming with sharks in the Philippines