Waiting for a Wedding
A Korean wedding ceremony brings things into perspective for a woman in pursuit of marital bliss.
Everyone has an interesting tidbit about him or her self. Some people are bilingual, some have a twin, while some folks you know are ambidextrous—whatever it is, everyone has a fun fact like this and people love to share them at parties, during ice breaking activities, or when they’re intoxicated. I am no exception, and my bit of trivia is that I am obsessed with weddings. I am everything that embodies the stereotype of that girl you may or may not know that’s crazy about weddings. There’s just something about having that special day where you get to wed your true love, wear a dress that holds the same monetary value as a bachelor’s degree and receive gifts from a veritable wish list when it’s not your birthday or Christmas. Oh, and let’s not forget the cake. Additionally, I was once a flower girl in my cousin Susan’s wedding, and I might, to this day, still be drunk off the attention I received and all the dancing I did with the ring bearer (it had to have gone on until at least 8 p.m.!).
Anyway, I think you get the point that I love weddings and, of course, love to attend weddings. In the past few years I’ve been to several weddings, and I took in every detail and lapped up the experiences like a dog who’s been given gravy in the dog dish instead of water. That is to say, I was always excited. I was very eager to attend the wedding of a close family friend in Seoul some weeks ago. It was a personal occasion for me as I have known the couple for many years and my family even flew out from California for the event. I even brought Boyfriend with me, which was also a pretty big step since I’ve never gone to a wedding with a plus-one.
The ceremony was lovely, not at all cheesy (surprisingly, as that was what I’d been told to expect when it came to Korean weddings), and the bride was, as to be expected, absolutely stunning. To my pleasant surprise, the ceremony was conducted almost totally in English, which instantly heightened the experience. I’ve always thought it to be highly convenient to know what people around you are saying, and I believe the American-born groom shares my thoughts on this one.
Basically, I forgot about the part where, in order to have a wedding, you have to love the other person enough to be married to him.
Usually at weddings, a sort of Charlie Brown effect occurs with me where I no longer understand the words coming out of anyone’s mouth and I start to think about myself and when it will be my turn to walk down that aisle. I don’t know if it was the effect of hearing English being spoken or the presence of Boyfriend or the fact that I was much closer to this couple than I have been with others, but that day, I found myself really listening to what was being said—and I realized that I am in no way ready to be married yet. The pastor gave a beautiful speech; he spoke about fully loving a person, how to forgive and trust a person’s past and how to make yourself into the best person you can be in order to really devote your all to your relationship. And when he talked about how a strong relationship is about living every day for the one you love, that really did me in. I realized that I’d just been dreaming and idealizing a wedding, and not a marriage.
Sure, I’ve spent time lost in my thoughts of the perfect princess dress, the handsome prince, the white horse and living happily ever after, but what I did not include in those fantasies were the days when my prince would forget our anniversary or when he would lose his princely looks someday and all I would be left with would be some old guy making puns and asking me to make him a sandwich. Basically, I forgot about the part where, in order to have a wedding, you have to love the other person enough to be married to him, to love him no matter how many times he tunes you out while he watches a show about cars or how flabby his gut might get in the years to come.
I gulped at the thought of all this responsibility, and I looked at the couple in front of me and admired them for their bravery and maturity. They were getting so much more than just a Panini press and envelopes of hard cash—they were getting a lifelong commitment to each other. My past laments regarding singlehood quickly faded as I realized how young I am and how much more growing I need to do before I can give myself to another person in such a serious way. Was I ready for a wedding? Certainly! But a marriage? Maybe not yet. Coincidentally, Kim Kardashian had the same epiphany recently.
I grabbed Boyfriend’s hand and placed my head against his shoulder. I hoped we could one day reach a point in our lives when we were ready to share the moment my two friends were having now, a point where we would be ready for a marriage, and not just to fulfill my E! worthy fantasy of a wedding. Later, I watched Boyfriend stuff himself to the brim with spicy raw beef and never found him more attractive. That night, I found myself crying for no good reason and he didn’t freak out or get irritated, he just held me until I fell asleep. Though we won’t be standing in front of an altar and 100 people any time soon, I’m hopeful for the things to come.