Once upon a time, in 1986, a boy and a girl decided to get married. It wasn’t the easiest wedding to put together, because in addition to factoring in a massive pink tent and about a dozen potted ficus trees, the boy and girl were of different religions. Some relatives scoffed; even in the 80′s, there were close-minded people with a small sense of the world, and who really should have been pitied more than anything else. Not only did they have to spend their lives as strangers to the phenomena of love being the ultimate bridge builder, but they also missed out on one hell of a wedding. I know this to be fact because I have examined said wedding more than anyone else on the planet. I have seen every picture. I have watched the video footage about a hundred times. I can recite the details in my sleep.
I know the wedding coordinator insisted on an all-male waitstaff to exude a sense of “old European elegance” (and also avoid the risk of their female counterparts wearing nail polish that might clash with the china pattern). I know the bridesmaids wore pastry pink frocks with a massive bow detail that would have made Kris Jenner proud. I know the wedding included a bell ringer, a spy and a seating chart SNAFU. I even know what the guests looked like decades later, when I would encounter them in real life and not just the pages of a wedding album. I know all of this because it was my parent’s wedding, which happened 26 years ago on June 21, 1986.
The purpose of this post is to not only pay respect to the very wedding which would prove responsible for my lifetime obsession with nuptial affairs, but also express my deepest admiration for two people who chose to be together in spite of the ignorance and intolerance which has challenged them along the way. Two people who brought different religions and cultural backgrounds into the same banquet hall to celebrate together. Two people who created an entire home in the spirit of that wedding, where mutual love and respect were paramount; where it didn’t matter what prayers you said but what type of person you were. Two people who taught their children to look at the world with open hearts, open minds and a firm belief that our similarities are more important than our differences. Two people who have been a profound example of love and friendship in the truest form. Two people who are simply a marvel to know, as anyone who has spent more than 30 seconds with either of my parents can confirm. I feel humbled and grateful to have witnessed this marriage which showed me what true love really looks like. I am so proud of you Mama and Tateh, for pulling off the ficus trees. And everything else.
Image: Al Gilbert