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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Drinking, Driving and Other Wedding-related Stuff

Wedding are boring. All around the world.
The traditional Georgian wedding starts with drinking, continues with drinking and ends with drinking. By the time groom gets to the bed, he usually can’t walk, let alone…
The day begins with a bride in a salon, with a stylist putting a bird nest on her head. Variations of ghostly make-up follows. I’ve once been to a wedding where bride’s skin looked greenish. I guess stylists were “Walking Dead” fans.
Meanwhile, the groom’s friends drink at his house. The whole company mounts their cars and bravely goes where no man has gone before – they occupy the bride’s house. Usually, the bride is stuck at the salon and conquistadors hang around impatiently. Bride’s friends join in. Finally, somebody delivers the bride to the groom, well, since girls are objects to be passed from one man (a father) to another (a husband). More drinking ensures, around a table of cakes and fruit. 
The third stop is either church or public service house; girls try to put on scarves without ruining their hair and a bride puts on a modest shawl around her shoulders to hide her d├ęcolletage. The priest mumbles bible passages and lectures the girl on submissiveness to her husband. My maid of honor fainted during the ceremony and I still think it’s funny.
If several couples are getting married that day, the ceremony turns into a conveyor belt. The best man and maid of honor are pestered by priest’s assistants to “donate” some money. The rings are exchanged, next stop – marriage license.
For a particular fee, one can go to a pink-colored marriage palace or hire a lady to come to the restaurant, hear her ridiculous speech and sign the paper. Or, one can simply visit public service house and get the same paper for free.
The final destination is the restaurant; getting there safely is harder than conquering the King’s Landing at the Blackwater battle. Guests engage in a drunk-reckless driving tradition, break all the traffic regulations and generally endanger their lives and lives of mere mortals that share the same street. The other day, this car stormed towards us, in our own lane. When, scared shitless, we yelled at the driver, he replied: “but it’s a wedding!” Thus, it’s better to pretend we still ride horses and have mad races after the wedding, than reason how tragic it would be to cause an accident. Many have crashed and died this way.
Around 6, survivors gather in the restaurant and the newlyweds enter the room accompanied by a traditional song of “visia visia kali lamazi (meaning whose is this beautiful woman)”. Since I am nobody’s woman, but an independent individual, we danced waltz instead.
The feast usually begins with very loud and annoying popular Georgian songs, terminating any attempt to hold a conversation with your friends. You end up yelling most of the time. In between the “songs”, tamada squeezes the traditional toasts, and if he sucks, well, then my friends, you’re doomed for a stressful evening. The food comes in waves. The newlyweds dance  Georgian traditional dance. Mothers cry. Singers… sing.
After an hour and a half, you’re full and unless you’ve consumed limitless quality of alcohol, you’re bored out of your mind. The musicians start playing rhythmic songs and timidly, some very brave girls attempt to dance. Boys stare. Those several guests that actually remember the Georgian dances inflicted upon us, the clumsy people, as an early childhood torture, demonstrate their superiority by performing folk dances. Everyone gets drunker and finally, boys get up to awkwardly swing legs around dance.
And that’s it. The feast continues indefinitely, with no beginning, climax or end, sprinkled here and there with cake cutting, some songs your recognize from marshrutka trips and a bouquet throwing. Around 12, tired bride just wants to get out, and people start leaving, except those 10 annoying drunks who stubbornly refuse to go. Those lucky people actually have fun.
Newlyweds exit to the left only to wake up the next morning and come back for the leftover feast. For the poor traumatized bride, right after enduring unseen perils of sex, has to get up, refresh her hair-and-make-up, put on the second-day fancy dress and come back to the restaurant to play her role of a vase or a painting, while boys gossip about how the groom strained his back last night.
And so the most beautiful day of one’s life ends.
Finally, I’d like to add that if you’re really lucky, you may stumble across nice exceptions. Last week I attended a wonderful wedding. It was held outside. Tables were decorated with flowers. The bride looked amazing. There were no marshutka-style singers. The band played popular and easy-going-songs, followed by a DJ. They had cupcakes and pastries and all kids of food. They had fireworks. They had a string quartet. They had the best photographer in Georgia. And I was very happy for them.
P.S. the nice wedding pic

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