My Boda Grande, Gorda y Multicultural
“You Can’t Always Get What You Want: goes the song…That rang so true during my wedding. Turns out what I wanted for my wedding, what my husband wanted for our wedding, and what everybody seemed to want for our wedding were very different things and with the multi-cultural factor thrown into the mix, it made it even harder to reach compromises and have everyone be happy with the end results.
For example, I dreamt of having my sister be my maid-of-honor and have the wedding party be big and great. Turns out, that doesn’t happen in Argentina. There usually isn’t much of a wedding party and to top it all off, my mother-in-law is the maid-of-honor, or in Spanish “la madrina”. Yes, you read right. The bride’s father is the best man, or in this case “el padrino”. This was news to me and one which I wasn’t too happy with. But I really didn’t have much of a choice. Much to my chagrin, we weren’t getting married in either one of our countries, which meant that all friends and family members had to pay a hefty amount in plane tickets and hotel rooms just to come to our wedding. So, it meant that I had to compromise and include some of the Argentine traditions at my wedding.
Of course, like with any good wedding, some family members are really not bound to like each other. My Cuban father thought that my husband’s family was all rude, ignorant jerks. While my husband’s family probably thought the same thing about my dad and his wife. I haven’t been able to quite determine this but during the short periods of time that they actually had to interact (at the rehearsal dinner, at the reception, and post-reception) you could feel the tension.
The tensest moment of the wedding came during the toast. My husband and I decided to compromise again and give his stepfather the opportunity to toast us, just like my dad was going to do. Not only was my father not happy to share the stage with anyone, when he made a joke about his language skills and jokingly decided to speak a few sentences in Portuguese, he asked my husband’s relatives if he was doing a good job. One of them jumped out and immediately said NO. People laughed and my father was mortified. Needless to say, my dad hasn’t forgotten that event and I think he has pretty much based all his conceptions about my husband’s family in the couple of days during my wedding almost 12 years ago.
My husband and I learned a few lessons during our wedding: First, the tension between the families was a sign of things to come. Thank goodness they don’t ever see each other. Second, my husband and I learned not to care. We can’t change our families, we certainly can’t change the fact that we come from two different backgrounds. But, we can in fact make sure that everyone acts civil toward each other the times, as rare as they might be that they do end up seeing each other. Just know that multi-cultural weddings, as beautiful and special as they can be, can in fact also reveal a lot about the misconceptions and prejudices just lying underneath the surface in some families.