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Monday, July 25, 2011

A Wedding Unlike Any Other

*Out of respect for the bride and groom, some of the pictures were not real pictures from the wedding.  But they were good examples...

This past weekend, Mr. LA (short for Lame-Ass, aka Hubby, aka soon-to-be ex Hubby?), Miss Chatterbox, and I were in Bali for a relative's wedding.  The bride was one of Mr. LA's niece, who was known for being um, a 'little' eccentric. 

The wedding was to take place in Bali.  Prior to the wedding, I was told by one of Mr. LA's cousins that there would be a total of 120 guests; 110 of them being the bride's family.  That left only 10 guests who were either the groom's family and/or the couple's friends.  Baffled, I mentioned this to Mr. LA's cousin, but her response was, "Well... this wedding is going to be a bit different than what we're all used to.  Just see."  Mr. LA, who was friendly enough that day to grace me with his presence in a conversation also said, "The bride and groom, they don't have any friends."  Huh, interesting...

We arrived at the hotel, a nice boutique hotel made up of 50 individual villas, in the afternoon just a few hours before the wedding party was supposed to start.  Luckily, Mr. LA, Miss Chatterbox, and I made it to the wedding party on time; the bride and groom had not arrived at the party yet.  
Two Performers at the Wedding

It became obvious to me that the wedding theme was a mix between Cirque du Soleil meets Britney Spear's "Circus" tour.  There were clowns, jugglers, and strange people wearing baroque-ish costumes walking around with masks on their faces.  There were also a few performers dressed in what looked like a dominatrix S&M version of demons walking around in stilts, and topless "pirates" ready to pose with guests who wanted a piece of their six-pack abs.  

I could see from her expression that Miss Chatterbox was both confused and intrigued by what was going on.  As for me, I was more worried about Miss Chatterbox getting an early glimpse of S&M costume galore and of old ladies taking pictures with topless men.  The outdoor venue itself was beautifully decorated with hundreds of paper lanterns and huge bouquets of roses and peonies. There was a stage near the round tables where the guests would sit down later on; a full open bar on the opposite side.

The wedding organizer finally informed the guests that the bride and groom were about to arrive.  Suddenly, the tv screens that had been strategically placed all around the venue lit up, their screens showing what appeared to be eight men dressed like Men In Black (black suit, black sunglasses), securing the way and talking on walkie talkies.  All the performers lined up on one side of the venue, where the bride and groom would enter.  Remembering what Mr. LA's cousin said earlier, about this wedding being 'different' than what we're used to, I couldn't help feeling excited!

On the screen, the men in black started to move.  It occurred to me then that they were supposed to be "bodyguards" to the arriving bride and groom.  What followed looked like a scene out of Entertainment Tonight.  You know, those scenes showing a famous celebrity trying to make it alive to his/her vehicle with the bodyguards trying to shove the throngs of people back and the blinding lights from the paparazzi's camera all flashed at the same time?
The Men in Black

Except there was no crowd and no paparazzi.  I think, most of the guests were too stunned with all the drama happening around them.  I realized later that perhaps we should have cheered and shouted, our role was to be the bride and groom's crazy fans.  But the organizer didn't tell us, and did I mention that more than half of the guests were over 60 years old? 
The Rest of the Men in Black

The bride and groom finally arrived at the venue.  If we weren't speechless before, we were now.  The bride dyed her hair gold and wore false eyelashes that would put many professional drag queens to shame.  Her bridal gown was a beaded cream-colored corset with a mini skirt on the front and a long train at the back.  Her whole dress was a concoction of tulle, organza, satin, and feathers.  On one side of her hair was a huge pink flower with a net that covers part of her face. She was also wearing a fishnet stocking and a sky-high platform mary janes.

By her side, the groom was wearing a metallic grey suit, with sunglasses on.  His hair was sticking out in all directions, all spiky and stiff even with the all the wind blowing around us.  He was also half the size of the bride and about a few inches shorter.  Both bride and groom paused at the entrance, their expressions were cold and all higher-than-thou, refusing any eye-contact with the guests lining up on either sides of them.  They then began to march, still maintaining the same expression, towards the stage.  The eight men in black trailing along from behind.
This was what the bride's hair and eyelashes looked like
This was how the groom's hair looked like
The guests were then directed to our prearranged seats, on round tables that faced the stage.  We all stood waiting for the signal to be seated, when the bride took the microphone in her hands as if she was about to make a speech.  We waited for, like, ten seconds while she held the mic in her hands and her eyes surveying the guests.  Then suddenly she just nodded, waved, and made a thank-you gesture similar to that of an oscar-winning actress.  Without uttering a single word, she then passed the mic to the groom.

The groom, who is Japanese, then started his speech... in Japanese.  Without translation.  None of us, all 110 of us, had any idea what he was talking about because well, we are not Japanese.  So when the groom finished his heartfelt speech, there was a few seconds lag before we all realized that he had finished his speech.  We then clapped our hands, still not having any clue to what his speech meant.  He could have been saying, "screw you guys, get a life," and none of us would understand a word of it.

The guests were then allowed to be seated, and as we enjoyed a five-course dinner, we were entertained by a series of performances that include: a group of men doing some karate moves, a hip-hop choreo done by a group of dancers who dressed up like boy-bands and girl-bands, a French-style minuet by couples wearing masked ballgowns and stirrups, a semi-burlesque show featuring four girls dressed up in skin-baring inter-galactic suits, and a fire dance featuring bikini-clad girls doing hula hoops that had torches at the edges and topless men swallowing fireballs in their mouths.

Did I mention that half of the guests were over 60 years old?

We were told that the highlight of the whole event would be when the bride would perform a song.  At the end of all the death-defying acts on stage, suddenly the bride appeared under the spotlight wearing a different gown.  This time, she wore a mix of what appeared to be an all-black snake skin, brocade, and lace gown fashioned in the same way as her first dress (mini in front, long at the back).  She had replaced her fake eyelashes with another, this time with black bird feathers sticking out from among the jet-black eyelashes.  The bride then started singing a capella what sounded like the beginning of a lullaby, ""  Ah, so sweet, I thought to myself.  Two minutes forty-two seconds later, she was still singing the same "" only in higher, then lower tones.
Inter-galactic show...

When came the time for the cutting-cake ceremony, the lights were dimmed, and from the far side of the venue, a five-tiered wedding cake appeared on a spotlight.  It was quite an ordinary cake except that red rose petals decorated the top of each tier, from which dark-colored liquid dripped.  It was obvious that many of us thought the cake looked bloody because there was a sudden hush all around as the cake was being carried by four men towards the stage.  I  myself breathed a sigh of relief as what seemed like blood turned out to be dark chocolate dripping.  
I'm not kidding.  This was how the wedding cake knife looked like.

The relief was cut short when a performer then passed what looked like a 2 meter-long sharp 'weapon' into the hands of the bride and groom.  That 'weapon' was to be their knife.  I honestly thought they were going to smash that friggin' wedding cake when they did the only 'normal' thing in the entire wedding party so far.  The knife was only symbolic after all, so the bride and groom ended up only posing next to their wedding cake with that 2 meter-long 'weapon' held upright in their joined hands.  Phew!

By the time the wedding party ended, I felt like my heart had at least stopped beating several times.  I could only imagine how the bride's 93 year-old grandma was faring.  I was totally convinced without a doubt, that the bride (and the groom) was indeed 'eccentric."  I also found out that the reason there were no other guests aside from us her relatives, was because her immediate family did not want to give friends and colleagues um, 'the wrong impression.'  And just so that we're all crystal clear, neither the bride nor the groom was a celebrity... of any kind.  

I did leave the party with one important advice for Miss Chatterbox though: "Please don't do any of that at home." 

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