Thursday, November 12, 2009

Her Big Fat Greek Wedding

Artemis married Immanuel ("Manolis") on Saturday, and it was a glittering affair! Yes, it was a lot like My Big Fat Greek Wedding, except the groom was Greek and the bridesmaids were wearing very tasteful gowns of rose-colored satin.

Every pew was adorned with a brass pole, from which dangled a globe of red roses mixed with other flowers, white, purple, and green. And atop each brass pole was a hurricane lamp lit by a real candle.

The program handed out in the narthex was 10 pages long, including a listing of the entire wedding party, a page of thanks to parents and friends, and a page all about the wedding dress, which had been her mother’s. When Maria was married, the dress (as shown in a photo) had long sleeves and a high neck, but such-and-such a designer had remodeled it into a strapless gown for Artemis.

Artemis was a beautiful bride. Perhaps all brides are beautiful, or at least most brides are, but Artemis was more so, much more so, than most. She has dancing, dark eyes set in pale skin, and her luxuriant, dark tresses were pinned up, making a sort of thick cap, set with sparkling rhinestones. Or maybe they were diamonds. Her bouquet of red roses was set with them, too. (Afterward, she didn’t throw the same bouquet she had carried, but a smaller version of it, without the sparkly whatevers.)

I never realized how handsome George is, her father (never mind we get together with George and Maria every week) until I saw them walking up the aisle and saw how Artemis looks just like him!

At the reception, the hors-d’oeuvres were lamb chops and prime rib, spanikopeta and cheese pies, fruits and canapés and mushrooms stuffed with crabmeat and an array of other goodies, plus any kind of drink you wanted.

And that was BEFORE they ushered us into the ballroom, where each of about 30 tables was decorated with a couple dozen roses with other flowers and candles. And each place was set with 4 forks and two knives and multiple glasses, because it was a four-course meal. Prawns, salad, entrée of filet mignon and salmon each in its own sauce with vegetables, then an assortment of desserts, including a wonderful wedding cake and Greek pastries.

Although I always somehow manage to think of myself as someone who fits in at such posh parties, when the reality occasionally happens, I feel out of place and soon start wishing it were all over and I were at home. In this case, though, Maria and George had been careful to seat us with people we know and are close to (in varying degrees) and that mitigated the bad feeling. Besides which, nobody else seemed to share it. So I put it aside and in addition to the already-mentioned food, here’s what I enjoyed most, in no particular order:

The company, especially Sharyn, Chrysoula, and Aleka, who were at our same table. (I’ll probably never forget the first time I met Aleka (Alexandra) and her husband told me proudly she was a Lesbian. It took me a long moment to catch on that she’s from the Island of Lesbos.)

Demetrios’ enjoyment of our friend Nick. “I love watching the expressions that cross Nick’s face when he’s talking,” Demetrios told me. “Look!” So we watched for a while, and were well rewarded. Nick is a passionate fellow (in a good sense) and it shows in all he does.

The sight of beautiful Artemis and handsome Immanuel and their young joy

Maria and George coming down the aisle at the end of the ceremony, Maria all in gold with a graceful belt around her pelvis and its buckle sparkling at her groin. She was so happy she glowed, and the congregation burst into spontaneous applause. (No, Demetrios and I did not clap.) She walked down that aisle nodding and smiling and taking little bows. I had tears in my eyes for her happiness.

George dancing solo. That particular dance had begun with just the groom, alone, doing fancy moves while George showered him with money. He had come armed with about $200 in singles, half of which he made flutter down upon the band, the other half he tossed into the air, in small handfuls, above the groom’s head. Then the groom grabbed the best man and he danced for a while, then he grabbed the father of the bride and George danced alone. It was his joy that was so infectious, so filled my heart. Plus, he's very light and graceful on his feet.

Joining a couple of Greek dances ourselves. I always think that’s tremendous fun.

Watching Kitsa dance. Kitsa has lost a lot of weight and in place of her formerly long, wild, frizzy hairdo, she now has a very glamorous one that looks straight out of Hollywood, and she looks so young that maybe she’s even had a facelift. She was wearing a dress consisting of a body-fitting, dark gray leather skirt up to the bodice and a top of gauzy fabric, featuring splotches of turquoise, purple, silver and gold. Real silver and gold. Very exotic. Her dancing was exotic, too. She was having a wonderful time.

Reminiscing with another Maria. We recalled that we have been attending weddings and baptisms and New Year’s parties together for some 25 years now. For various such occasions, she used to come down to North Carolina, where I lived and where she has family, with the result that I’ve actually known her longer than I’ve known Demetrios. We used to stand next to each other in choir, too. (But I truly can’t sing any more, as I explained to her.)

Demetrios and I still left early, which is to say at 11:00, and I know that for those who stayed, that’s about when the real fun started. (Never leave a Greek party before it's over, because the best fun invariably happens after half to two thirds of the people, including the non-Greeks, have left.) Too bad; our ears needed some relief and we needed to get our sleep.


::Sylvia:: said...

Sounds like a great time! :) I have certainly been to my fair share of big fat Greek weddings (including my own). The food is always delicious and the company wonderful!

My best wishes to the newlyweds.

Matthew M said...

What!?! NO PHOTOS!?!