Tuesday, May 31, 2011

a simple wedding- a perfect MARRIAGE

Thirteen years ago today, husband and I got married. And we still are.

Oh- you want details!

Even the simplest of weddings can get complicated. I was almost late (not because I was getting hair and nails done- no money for that) because I was searching the town for lady finger cookies to go with the honey that represents the sweetness of life. Husband was almost late because brother-in-law was cutting his hair. The bishop made the wedding almost late because of all his vestments. But I think we started on time.

We got married on Pentecost Sunday, so our wedding was about two and a half hours long. Most Byzantine weddings are simply the wedding; there is no actual Divine Liturgy. Even so, the crowning is about an hour long. Ours was longer because of the bishop and it being Sunday and just me insisting that there would be a Divine Liturgy. The complication? Our cantor was unable to be there, so husband and I cantored our own wedding- except for some singing from a couple from the old country and the bishop singing the epistle (no- that is not a Byzantine tradition- just him saving the day).

Although we had the wedding at my parents' Roman Catholic parish (a very pretty country church with its original statuary), the ceremony and Divine Liturgy was 100% Byzantine. About half of the wedding party was Roman-rite, so there was a lot to learn. So, the night before, we had a rehearsal and then went to the local bowling alley for fun, along with a pot of old country cabbage rolls I had made.

The 'simple' part of the wedding was the party afterward (because a Byzantine ceremony is never simple). When you are young and after four years in Europe making a $100 stipend per month (memory fades; I think that is right), there is no money for all that a wedding can be. So, we had a little party in the church basement. There was no alcohol even though- if husband had been married in the old country- there is a barrel of hard liquor made when he was a small boy in preparation of his wedding. Food was buffet style; I hear it was good. I did have a pretty pinata for the children in remembrance of my Southern Californian childhood. The cake was from the local grocery store, and the topper never made it to the hall. I stuck a rose on the top of the cake instead.

We saved money- but not our sanity- by having my brother be in charge of the music. Unfortunately, our wedding was his first date with his future wife. I'll get over it someday, but I think he was distracted and in a silly mood. First, he played the nine-minute version of the "Blue Danube Waltz." People got bored, and we were sweating. Then, he played "Let's Get It On" by Barry White. And we had to dance to that on front of our bishop. Haha, very funny, brother. We tried to get our revenge the next year at his wedding, but they didn't care.

But for all the simplicity, the only true regret is that husband's family was not there. At the time, entry visas to the United States from the old country were very hard to come by. And we didn't have the money for the airplane tickets in any case. Visas are still required, so my in-laws have never been here. A wedding, four births and baptisms- they have never been here. We have been 4 or 5 times since the children have been born (imagine me alone and four kids on a 14-hour flight...my husband at home, working). We imagine our fifteenth anniversary in two years with a big party and all four grandparents. We hope and pray that can happen.


  1. and just so everyone is clear- I don't believe my marriage is perfect...it is very good (I hope)- and I hope we improve through the years (my title is 50% tongue in cheek)

  2. Happy anniversary! I love all the details. Maybe some day you might write your "how we met" story. I love how we met stories. May God bless you with many more happy years and may your marriage get better every year.

  3. Congratulations on your wedding anniversary! May you be blessed with many more "perfect" years :)

  4. Thanks for the good wishes- say a little prayer for us!

  5. And may God grant you both many more years in peace, health and happiness!

  6. Happy Anniversary! I loved reading all the details of your special day. My daughter is getting married later this year and we are hoping for a simple wedding - but it is very difficult. There are so many beautiful people in our lives and as the wedding guest list grows so do all the details...

  7. Happy anniversary! It's a good time of the year for weddings - my brother was married this past weekend, today is our parents' anniversary, and my 5th anniversary is next week.

    My parents were married in the Byzantine church, back in the 70's. My mother's family is Roman Catholic, so were not familiar with Byzantine traditions. Do you remember the Imperial Margarine commercials from around then, where a crown appeared on the person's head after tasting it? I've been told that when the crowns were put on my parents' head, that's all my mother's family could think of.

  8. Diane Marie- re. margarine commercial- funny, but sad- depending on the style, I guess theuy can look like that- but it is such a wonderful, meaningful symbol- it is sad when people don't 'get' it

    (happy anniversary to you, too)

  9. Very simple. I am sure it was still very special.

    My mom hijacked my wedding. She wanted me to concede to a Roman wedding. I said, "You may decide the facade. But it is MY wedding and I do not care what you say. It will be Byzantine."

    Our wedding was in Easter season and very long with full Divine Liturgy. We had some pretty good cantors, but it was still lack luster with all the non-byzantine guests standing there bewildered. Our dear friend who chanted the epistle woke up that morning to practice and decided the translation was not correct and re-translated it from archaic Greek.

    My husband had wished that the after festivities had been simpler. We had the teenagers from our parish running the music. That too, was a mistake. All said and done, nothing beats a Byzantine wedding!

    I hope that despite what ever troubles you face in your marriage you see it as deigned by God and our perfect God only makes "perfection."


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