Chapter Eight— Balking Tradition(s)
Up until this point any casual observer would likely deduce that Palucid and I were starting to embrace the paradigm of conventional marriage and all its trappings. Sure there were a few idiosyncrasies, like living common law five years prior to our engagement, an engagement ring whose feature stone was not a diamond, but a black star sapphire, and—oh yeah—meeting and dating on the internet. However, despite the whole lead up, our engagement appeared as if we were on a course correction back to conventional.
Palucid and I saw this and decided something need be done. I suggested we nip things in the bud. Palucid wanted to nip things in the butt. I suggested that perhaps he was a dog in a former life as the common idiomatic reference is a gardening metaphor. He told me that true bud was for blazing and not nipping. Suffice to say our cultural differences were showing—Palucid decided it was in his best interests to trust me on such matters regarding metaphors and idiomatic references. That, and I would probably kick his ass if it came down to settling things via “rock—paper—scissors”.
Nipping false assumptions in the bud started with our parents. After we finished our Hermetic Code Tour of the Manitoba Legislature, we all came back to our house for tea. Over tea, Palucid and I told both sets of parents a few things about our wedding planning. First of all, we had first, second, third and final say on the guest list. We wanted to keep things small. Small meant parents, grandparents, siblings, nieces, nephews, and wedding party. Moms wishing to play their “Mom Card” would be wasting their 23 hours of painful labour stories, and would be sorely disappointed—no great aunts, uncles, or obscure second cousins—twice removed—would be invited. Secondly, and perhaps a little more scandalously, we were going to have a civil ceremony. Both sets of parents took this news stoically. Palucid’s parents are more strictly observant in their faith than my parents are with theirs, and I think they were a little surprised by my parents’ lack of surprise.
While Palucid was raised with a shining example of devout, active and honourable observance in the Baha’i faith, I grew up in a home with parents who never really got around to choosing just one church to be a part of. They were no less observant or honourable, but felt that cultivating a respectful and ecumenical attitude would better serve their children since they sought to find their own spiritual bearing. That being said, I never really wanted to be a part of something that was at the exclusion of all other denominations of faith. I also felt that choosing one denomination now to facilitate our wedding ceremony would not be appropriate, or even in keeping with the spiritual views and practices to which Palucid and I abide by.
Palucid’s dad seemed the most puzzled at first, but that was because he was under the impression that our civil ceremony would be completely devoid of anything remotely close to scripture. His initial impression was quite a few miles down the road from accurate. Palucid and I then explained we wanted our dads to each read a passage from their respective faiths as a gesture of blessing. After sharing a mutual exhale, both agreed readily.
Approximately 2 nanoseconds after they agreed, they both started to express concern over what exactly they were expected to read. We encouraged them to make a selection they felt was appropriate and meaningful to them. As their eyes glazed over, and heads snapped back, I poured tea.
Our parents were on board and happy to be in the loop (and at the top of the guest list). Next we had to break the news to my siblings and maid of honour that we really didn’t want (or need) a bridal shower or wedding social. For my maid of honour it was kind of a bad news—good news thing. She was not heart broken by the news that she did not have to rally the troops to plan a wedding social. Wedding socials while somewhat unique to Manitoba, are still very much a “tradition”, and one we gladly balked.
Socials are a brilliant idea for young twenty-something couples who are planning a big wedding, and planning on buying a big house to live happily-ever-after in because they shamelessly exploit the party animal, twenty-something friends of said couple. Socials are loud “dance” parties with a cash bar, silent auction prizes, and raffles for “perfume” (also known outside the long arm of the law as “whiskey”). All of our friends were well past the demographic that best appealed to wedding socials. Now Bridal Showers—well, that was a different story entirely.
I can’t prove it, but it almost seemed as if my maid of honour was blinking back tears as she tried to get me to reconsider my stand on “no bridal showers”. Over a newly prominent (and quivering) lower lip she asked, “No shower foods? No little sandwiches made out of cream cheese and cherries? N-n-n-o pickles? B-b-but I-I-I…” As she trailed off in her stammer over bridal shower cuisine, I found myself formulating, with lightning speed, a “Plan B”.