The weather has broken here in the Midwest. The birds have come out of hiding, the sun is shining and the temperature is steadily rising. Yes, spring has arrived in the greater Chicagoland area and that means two things are beginning as a direct result, construction season and…….
Every year, the first weekend after Easter is the official start to wedding season for the Community. Brides lurk around the church, in the shadows, so that they can get first crack at reserving the prime dates for their special day. There is almost always a bridal shower of some sort right off the bat, the wife went to one already this past weekend.
There is a stark difference between an “American” wedding and “Serbian” wedding. American weddings tend to be somewhat small affairs, with an intimate quest list of family and close friends and the occasional co-worker. For the entire guest list to be 100-150 people would be considered big for the average American wedding. All guests go to the ceremony, throw rice, and attend the reception.
Serbian weddings are enormous affairs. It is for weddings that the Community comes together as a community. Everyone that the bride and groom’s parents have ever known or met are invited. While Americans tend to invite Steve plus one, the Serbs invite Branko, plus family, plus parents, plus cousins, plus grandparents, plus grandparents mailman. The logic behind this is,
“How can I just invite Branko and not his family? How can this be? I have been to many weddings with them. It just isn’t done”.
The wedding ceremony by itself is usually a small and intimate affair between family. An Orthodox ceremony is much like a Catholic one, extremely long. But you don’t get to sit down in an Orthodox church because there are no pews. We are very pious. As a result of this the majority of guests only attend the reception.
Because the weddings are so large and there is a finite number of people in the Community, you tend to see the same people at the weddings. To me, many of these people only exist at weddings, it is the only time or place I see them. There is a Ground Hog Day effect that takes place. I see the same people, eat the same food, drink from the same open bar (not complaining about that), get served by the same bartender, at the same church hall throughout the summer. In effect the church hall becomes a night club for the summer. There is a wedding every weekend. Since joining into the community I would estimate that I have been to 10 weddings, and that is just over the course of 2 years. That would probably double my previous total.
While most people make sure to get the lawn mower tuned up and ready for use in the spring, for the professional wedding guest it is a time to make sure that the suit has been pressed, the shoes have been polished and there is an abundance of greeting cards in the house. Because dinner aint free.