Sunday, October 28, 2012

Our Big Fat Lebonese/Greek Wedding

One of Husbands 7 siblings married his beautiful Greek Orthodox Princess yesterday. And I was so proud to be there.

Not just because I have always had a soft spot for Ramzy, who was only a 9 year old when Husband and I started knocking around together. And not just because I have taken to Maria like a kid to chocolate since meeting her earlier this year.
But because it actually feels like cementing my own place in the family even more then ever. I'm sure it comes as a surprise to NO-ONE that an Australian Christian woman marrying into a Lebanese Muslim family was always going to find it tough. These days though, my in laws are all a blessing who I enjoy being around. But that's all part of a long 13 journey where we have (my MIL and I especially) learnt alot.
Maria has been given instant and unconditional acceptance into our family. And that's as it should be. Ramzy's face as he delivered his vows, (with sweet and funny little mistakes) tells me he could not be more smitten. And as Maria tried to force his ring onto the wrong hand and could not stop giggling at her mistake I knew they were making memories they can share with their kids for years to come.
It was a beautiful wedding. But lots of things went wrong, and I felt like jumping up at every instance to hug the bride and reassure her that although nothing will change, she will learn to accept them. Because unfortunately all the things that went wrong kind of went wrong on the Lebanese side of things.
The parents of the groom, notoriously late for everything, had the brides youngest brother (and youngest groomsmen) in their car. They missed the ceremony which was already significantly delayed.
One of the grooms brothers and his family decided they weren't coming to the ceremony for some reason. I don't even know what the reason was, since it wasn't their kid in hospital there is no excuse good enough. I'm so cross with that particular SIL and BIL for that slap in the face to Maria on her special day.
And in normal, Lebanese family fashion, at 7:30 when the bride and groom were due to make their entry and presentation at the reception hall, only one table on the Lebanese side actually had anyone sitting at it. Ours, the sibling table. The other 15 tables were still empty. We had been invited to be there for 6:30. How embarrassing. The Greek side was commenting and asking tactfully what was going on, and frankly there is no good reason for it. Our entire, enormous family started ambling in from about 8pm onwards, so the presentation, (and the whole night as a result) was delayed till 8:30.
Our side at 7:30 Empty.
I know and expect these things when I attend a Lebanese wedding. They don't have ceremonies, only receptions, and we rarely eat before 9pm at these things. But I also know what other weddings are like, and what a bride would expect, so I knew how devastated Maria would be by these things.
Anywho, I didn't get enough photo's of the event as usual. I was too busy enjoying myself and wrangling my toddler. So the photo's I have are pretty ordinary in terms of facial expressions, poses etc. Hopefully the official photographer managed to snap my family occasionally.
But here's a quick rundown. Madeleine's dress cost a fortune, she was a bridesmaid and had all the associated costs.

I cried. My 11 year old baby looked so
grownup and beautiful
Me though, I took a leap of faith and bought my dress on eBay from Hong Kong for $40 including postage. And it was the best decision I ever made. It arrived in 2.5 weeks (much less than the suggested 4) and was beautiful quality. The sizing was perfect, and that was the main thing I had been worried about.
Me in my $40 dress
Hair, as voted by you, was whipped into place by a hairdresser at the crack of dawn that morning for $45. It looks more severe than the picture I gave her, but I did tell her I needed it to last till midnight and be completely unmovable. And unmovable it was, I even took a nanna nap at home in between the ceremony and reception and it still looked perfect.

I did my own makeup and used shoes/accessories I already owned so no others costs for me. We bought a new dress for Lorelei (also from Hong Kong!) and frilly socks for $34, a suit that was way too big but we altered it down for Sebastian for $28, and a new shirt for Husband to wear with his old black suit for $12. Oh, and a bow tie for Seb for another $8. So cute.
Is that suit not too adorable!

All up, not counting Madeleine (who as bridesmaid was always going to cost a fortune) we spent $163 dressing the family for this wedding. Ouch. Madeleine's costs are over $300 just for her though.

Plus side, Madeleine and I will both be getting our dresses altered to below the knee length, and she will wear hers to her year 6 formal later this year, and I will wear mine to a non-family wedding next month. And probably any other engagement or wedding that comes up for a while.

It was never going to be a cheap event, but I feel like I got off pretty lightly. I know I've spent alot more on other occasions, and seeing as how I have lost 40 kilo's in the last 2 years, I was never going to get away with re wearing something from the wardrobe. We don't expect any more siblings to marry for a while though, and non-family weddings are never quite a much fuss so we shouldn't have to spend that kind of money again for a while.

Have you been to a mixed cultural weddings lately? Did it go smoother than ours?

*edit* I've just read my SIL's prewedding thoughts over at her blog. Isn't it funny how we come at these things from different directions?


  1. My whole life is a mixed culture/wedding. Egyptian Orthodox here marrying a full blown Aussie Catholic. The faiths being similar made it easier (sort of) but cultural differences can sometimes make things tricky/frustrating. Personally, I think it's important not to generalise too much. My parents always thought "Ohhh those Aussies are this and this" and well, they now have taken on my husband like their own. I swear they love him more than me sometimes! Anyway great reading your Blog. I've come over from Salz's page. I blog at school of mum but I have blogged about my cultural experiences at School of Life too.

    1. I always feel like my kids lives are richer for the mixed cultures. They get to celebrate so many more traditions and holidays and get the best of both worlds. It's a bit of work but worth it. Thanks for stopping by!


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