It was more than a month ago when my loyal laundrywoman, Aling Elsa, told me that her daughter is getting married in a civil ceremony and that she would be happy if I would be one of the godmothers. I readily said yes to her, though I am not that close to her daughter, and I will only get to meet the groom on the wedding day itself. As days passed, intermittently, Aling Elsa would remind me of the wedding date and would give me bits and pieces of updates on the wedding preparation.
Today is their big day. The rains last night refused to dampen the spirit of Aling Elsa and her relatives in preparing for the wedding party. While in the process of raiding my kitchen cabinets to borrow dish containers, she again reminded me for the nth time of the wedding.
My husband and I promptly arrived at the Mayor's Office of the Montalban Municipal Hall at 9am. In my 28 years of stay here in this municipality, it was actually my first time to step into the premises of our municipal hall.
We proceeded to a room full of people. My eagle eye immediately surveyed the faces and I was amused with the different expressions of people in the room - couples who obviously appear nervous, a few wearing their best Sunday dresses, while a few choosing to wear simple clothes, even jeans. There were mothers who, even on the wedding day of their children, seem like stage mothers, wiping the perspiration of their children, asking questions every now and then. Fathers were their usual selves - sitting comfortably and wearing tired expressions on their faces, as if saying "blah, blah, blah, let's get it over and done with". And of course, the godmothers and godfathers who have been chosen by the couples to be their second parents, but quite ironically, they often know the parents better than they know the children who are getting married. I hurriedly looked at the couples and noticed two brides with bulging stomachs. I also saw a groom who looks barely 20 years old and who actually seems to be getting his first communion, rather than getting married.
Finally, the official from the Mayor's Office tasked to unite them came out. Everyone was silent - for 3 seconds flat - after which the animated banter resumed. The official called each and every name of the bride and groom, and launched into a long list of reminders as to why everyone was in the room. If I'm not mistaken, ten times he asked the couples if they are really sure with what they are doing because their papers show that most of them are quite young, with one couple requiring parental consent. He boldly asked how many are already living in, and how many are not. The couples all answered as honestly, and bravely, as they can, all the while holding each other's hands. When he announced the final question - "Are you really ready for this?", the room became silent again, and nobody from among the couples answered, which prompted a parent to say "Answer him "yes" so we can proceed". He reasoned out that it is doubly expensive to have a marriage annulled, so they should be 110% sure of what they are entering into.
As the wedding ceremony went on, I couldn't help but study the faces of the couples. I could see love in their eyes, but I couldn't help but say a silent prayer for them to be strong enough to handle the trials that married couples usually undergo. They've got a really long way to go. By this time, a number of parents and godparents are already asleep (so much for witnessing a momentous event in their children's lives).
As the official was about to ask the couples to wear the wedding rings, we all heard the persistent ringing of a celfone to the tune of I Can't Fight This Feeling Anymore by Reo Speedwagon. The celfone turned out to be that of the official. He answered the call (this really shocked me) and asked his friend to call after 15 minutes.
Finally, the moment came - the official announced "you may kiss the bride" and the room was filled with shouts of glee, in the process waking up those who were sleeping. Pictures were taken, and the official asked the couples to kiss the hands of their parents and godparents. The groom that I am sponsoring had difficulty finding me as he only met me that morning. I was surprised when a mother who was beside me brushed away the hands of one couple. She just refused to acknowledge them which made the bride teary eyed. I wanted to tell her "Girl, welcome to reality."
For me, getting married, whether through a simple ceremony or a lavish one, requires not only love but also determination to sustain that love. It's a partnership through and through- the yin and the yang - the beginning and the end - the cause and the reason. The world would have been much happier if all married couples would follow what the Bible always reminds us of - "Love is patient and kind". As Randolph Ray once said, he would like to have engraved inside every wedding band “Be kind to one another”. It is exactly the Golden Rule secret of all marriages.
As I'm writing this blog, my dear Aling Elsa would have been flat out in her bed, sleeping, after a long day of taking care of wedding guests. Guests would have been on their way home by now. The married couple would now be on their honeymoon. And tomorrow, when everyone wakes up, they will all remember today as just the beginning of the couple's long life together, which, God willing, would be a wonderful one.
“I dreamed of a wedding of elaborate elegance,
a church filled with family and friends.
I asked him what kind of a wedding he wished for,
he said one that would make me his wife.”
-- Author Unknown