Last weekend I attended a wedding in which I barely knew the bride and groom, yet I left the reception thinking of world peace.
My man’s brother’s daughter, just finishing her fourth year of med school, married her college sweetheart, a handsome brown-eyed MBA grad, in their New England college chapel.
The Irish-Italian bride was gorgeous, all wide-eyed and lithe in her white lace gown. The Indian groom was svelte and handsome in his tux. Their splendid contrasts were highlighted by their family and friends: long and short dresses in reds, blacks, grays and purple on the bride’s side, even more colorful and sparkling saris on the groom’s side.
I wondered about the tradition of a ‘bride’s side’ and a ‘groom’s side’ during the wedding, since it separated the two families, instead of integrating them.
The same lack of merging occurred as we were seated at the wedding reception, although I admit I was relieved to be sharing a table with my daughter and son-in-law, my man’s siblings and spouses. No hard work required to talk to strangers.
But then the music began.
The DJ played loud and 60’s.
Proud Mary, Twist and Shout, Bad Moon Rising, the Supremes, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys. By the third song, the dance floor was packed with pre-teen to 35-year-old cousins, mid-20s college pals, relatives from 40 to 80 years old, all whooping it up, raising arms as we sang “SHOUT!”
You know you make me wanna (Shout!)
Kick my heels up and (Shout!)
Throw my hands up and (Shout!)
Cultures, colors, and creeds collided as over 100 people sang lyrics out loud, swinging hips and laughing during the next song - Buttercup:
Why do you build me up (Build me up) buttercup, baby
Just to let me down (Let me down) and mess me around
And then worst of all (Worst of all) you never call, baby
When you say you will (Say you will) but I love you still
As shoes got kicked off and saris twirled, I thought, now this is the way it’s supposed to be.
Then suddenly the music changed to Bollywood songs, more formally known as Hindi film songs. Moving from oldies pop to Indian pop, no one broke stride.
Kat ti nahin hain meri raatein, kat te nahin hain mere din (My nights won’t pass, my days won’t pass)
Mere saare sapne adhoore, zindagi adhuri tere bin (All my dreams are incomplete without you)
Khwaabon mein, nigaahon mein, pyaar ki panaahon mein (In dreams, in my eyes, in love’s arms)
Aa chhupa le baahon mein (Come, I’ll hide you in my arms)
Smiles grew even wider, strangers became dancing companions, and through it all I envisioned world peace.
One wedding at a time.