More wedding history

I was quite entertained by my wedding dress post last time, so I thought I would continue my mini-research on wedding traditions around the world.

In Ethiopia, the groom has several best men who go with him to fetch the bride at her house. The bride’s family and friend block the door to the house, and the groom and his men have to sing and force their way inside to get her. Then one of the best men sprays perfume everywhere in the house.

Why do they do this? I have no idea. It sounds cute, though.

In the UK, they have a tradition of a Wedding Breakfast, or a reception. The reason it’s called a breakfast is because in the olden days, they used to fast before a wedding. So it’s called a “break fast.” (That’s what Wikipedia said, anyway. Don’t hold me to it if that’s wrong.)

I think it would be absolutely amazing to get married in London.

(Side note: I love London. I would live there in a heartbeat. I went there three years ago, after my senior year in high school, and it was fantastic.)

(This is Big Ben, in case you couldn’t tell. I took it while I was visiting. This is for my own edification. It’s also proof that point-and-shoot cameras actually take decent pictures on a good day.)

Now we’re back on track. In Italy, they sometimes have a party outside the bride’s house called a Serenade. The groom actually sings to her at this party in front of all the guests.

How romantic is that? I envision her standing on a balcony, like this:

Amazing.

I don’t really know the point of this post (it’s funny how often that happens…) other than entertainment/information. Or infotainment, as my lovely history of journalism textbook says.

But I won’t write any more about that textbook. It ruins an otherwise very edifying post.

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Wedding dresses

Check out this awesome picture I found:

This dress is so fun! It’s any girl’s dream. Big, poofy, princess-like.

And nowadays, we have…

It’s not as big or spectacular, but I personally like it better. The other one would be too cumbersome for me to wear.

I used to think wedding dresses were white to represent the purity of the bride, which I guess is true in today’s context. That wasn’t the original reason wedding dresses in the West are white, though. Blue was actually considered to be the color for purity originally.

Princess Bridal Gowns

That’s pretty, but it reminds me too much of a prom dress.

Before Victorian times, brides got married in whatever color they wanted. Black was especially popular in Scandinavia.

Again, this is a gorgeous dress, but I would never get married in it. Black is just too depressing and emo.

White became popular because of the dress Queen Victoria wore when she married Albert of Saxe-Coburg in the 1800s. She chose white because she wanted to use some lace she had, and of course, everyone copied her because she was the queen.

White gowns also have some meaning connected to christening gowns in the Catholic church. Marriage and Christening are two very important sacraments a dedicated follower must adhere to.

On the other hand, other cultures have different ways of doing things. Lots of Eastern brides wear red.

This is absolutely gorgeous, and much more striking than a white dress. Red is the color of good luck, so that’s why many Indian brides wear it.

Chinese women often wear red, too.

This is so stunning. I love how unique it is. Too bad I would be the talk of the town – and not in a good way – if I got married in an Eastern red dress in my small Oklahoma hometown.

So what does my mini-history, mini-fashion-critique, and mini-cultural-enlightenment of the wedding dress have to do with love? Not much. But it’s related to weddings, which is part of love, right?

Oh well. I must indulge myself sometimes.

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Harry Potter

Guess what I get to do in two days?

Go to the Harry Potter 7 Part 1 midnight premiere!

(Cue fireworks, explosions, and other general sights and sounds of celebration)

Why do I like Harry Potter?

1. Because it’s not Twilight. I’ve discussed my general distaste for Twilight on this blog before, so I won’t go into detail again, but suffice it to say that Harry Potter is ultimately superior to Twilight. End of discussion.

2. Because it’s funny, exciting, poignant, and pretty much awesome all around. J.K. Rowling may not be the most polished writer, but she can tell an awesome story. Where else can you have something like this…

…that totally works and doesn’t seem stupid or childish?

3. Emma Watson is my hero. First of all, she plays Hermione, who is a great character. Second of all, she’s absolutely gorgeous without being trashy. Every time I see her, I wish I looked exactly like her.

4. I also like it because (and this is actually about to get relevant to my blog) it successfully has a bunch of different love stories that enhance the action without inhibiting it or seeming like an afterthought.

First, we have the story of Harry and Cho Chang.

Thankfully, that was just a phase. Harry ultimately ends up with Ginny Weasley, who is funnier, prettier, and better at magic.

But I like the story of Hermione and Ron better. It’s much cuter, because it’s drawn out over a long period of time, and they finally get together at the last second.

But the ultimate love in Harry Potter is his love for his friends and family. Even though his parents are dead, his mom’s sacrifice of love protects him in the end. And at the final confrontation with Voldemort, Harry says he’s alive because he “has something worth living for.”

That’s so cool. Love is the greatest.

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Just my luck

I wonder why the guys I like never ask me out when the ones I don’t like do. As my friends admit, I pretty much treat all guys equally. Some of them just get the wrong message, and it’s always the wrong ones that get that message.

It’s been happening for years. Let’s rewind to my high school days…

This is my friends and I during my senior year. Aren’t we cute?

But I digress. When I was in high school, there were a few guys who liked me and tried to ask me out. I say “tried” because the few who did went about it very clumsily. Props to them, because as I’ve already established, I’m pretty shy when it comes to boys, and I’m sure it’s hard to get the guts to ask someone as closed-off as I am out.

One example was a guy who was in my first hour my senior year. He was a little strange, but like the stupid person I am, I was friendly to him because he didn’t really have any friends. I didn’t think he was attractive at all – in fact, I got a creepy vibe from him, so I stopped talking to him.

But it was too late. He followed me around all the time, and I had to hide from him. Eventually, he asked me to prom, which had to take some guts. Thankfully I already had a date.

Fast-forward to the present.

(Notice how I’ve used pictures that represent where I went to high school and where I go to college. I try to do my part for school spirit when I can.)

Thankfully, no weird people follow me to my locker and sneak up to grab me from behind anymore. But I still make the mistake of being friendly to the wrong people.

I worked in the media department at a camp this summer, and I tried being nice to one of the counselors since he and I had a few things in common. Apparently I have no sensitivity to who has every single type of relationship checked under “looking for” on Facebook versus those people who are just interested in friendship.

Beware the people who have all these things listed on their profile. They’re always on the prowl.

So by the time I realized this guy was interested in me and that he was awkward and not attractive to me, it was too late. He asked me out too this time, I didn’t have a good excuse like at prom. I just had to flat-out reject him.

I hate crushing people. I know how it feels.

These examples are a small sampling of many similar instances. All this is slightly depressing. Why do I keep having to tell people I’m not interested in no? Hopefully someone will come along soon who I’m actually attracted to and he will ask me out.

That can’t happen soon enough. I need an excuse to say no.

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Life is getting weird

You know what’s weird? When your friends start to get married.

One of the girls in my sorority got married pretty recently, and it’s so strange to think of her as no longer single. I still see her on Facebook and forget who she is because she changed her last name.

This is a picture from their wedding. I didn’t take it, but I wish I did, because it has a nice use of a wide angle lens and depth of field. But that’s completely beside the point, so I’ll get back on topic.

A few of my other friends from church have started dating in the past year and are now talking about getting engaged before Christmas. Now that’s really strange, because I’ve been around since the beginning of their relationships, and so I’ve seen the whole thing. It’s weird to think that soon this picture of my friends and I…

…will look more like this…

Note all the men present in the room and the little girl wandering around. That’s what my life might look like 10 years from now.

Not that I don’t want to get married – which is probably obvious by now, if you’ve been reading any previous posts on this blog – but it’s just weird that I’m now getting to the stage in life where people are beginning to think about settling down.

People who got married and had kids always seemed old before. Now, they’re my friends from my sorority or my cousin who’s my age and has a one-year-old daughter.

I’m happy and excited for all of them, and I hope it’s me sometime soon. But I’ll miss college and the single life once it’s over. Marriage sounds really fun, but it sounds like a lot of responsibility. Now that my friends are getting married and settling down, they have real lives.

I plan on enjoying whatever stage of life I happen to be in. Someday soon-ish, I want to settle down. But for now, I’ll just enjoy life and continue to be creeped out that I’m getting kind of old.

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Love as Entertainment

I’ve been on this subject for a while, since I wrote an opinion piece on this for one of my classes this week. But I’m going to say a little more about it now from a more personal standpoint.

I wish love was like it is in the movies. For a long time, I thought it really was. I mean, who doesn’t want a sparkling vampire to sweep her off her feet?

Sadly, there are no such thing as vampires, or Mr. Darcy, or Rick Blaine And women aren’t always as pretty as Marilyn Monroe or as charming as Katie Holmes.

Books are even worse. They engage your mind and emotions in a much more intense way than movies do. I think too many romance novels can also cause emotional damage and unfulfilled expectations.

I really like all these books and movies, though. In fact, I hope to write some novels that deal with romance someday. I’m just saying that I’m afraid these things create unrealistic expectations for people.

I won’t go into the cliche rant about our world becoming too inundated with technology, but it’s true. We’re missing a lot of personal interaction in our day-to-day lives. Also, divorce rates are higher than ever lately. People often miss out on real-life examples for how real love should look, so they turn to movies and books to explain this to them. Maybe this isn’t a conscious thing, but I think it happens.

I don’t really have a solution to this. It’s just something that’s been on my mind. I love watching chick flicks – I watched Sweet Home Alabama last night – but I’m just afraid that it can become a substitute for real life for some people. I’m thinking of some of my friends in particular.

I guess I should just monitor my media intake and make sure I’m not getting answers from that.

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How do you stay in love?

I’m a romantic optimist, but I also have to be realistic sometimes. And I realize that whoever I eventually marry will not always be attractive to me. I won’t always be attractive to him, either.

People get old. They don’t have shiny brown hair or big muscles anymore. So I realize physical attraction will also fail.

Also, if living with three roommates in college is any indication, I’m sure married people get really annoyed with each other sometimes.

So here’s my question: how do some elderly couples still seem in love after 50+ years, when all the odds are against them?

Look how cute they are. They have matching earmuffs.

Anyway, I wonder how couples stay in love. I saw the cutest elderly couple several years ago that I’ve never forgotten.

I was in junior high, on a mission trip in Missouri, and we were eating at Chili’s when we had a free lunch. An elderly couple came in, walking slowly, and the man pulled the chair out for his wife before he labored over to the other side of the table. Everyone sitting with me thought it was so cute.

I hope that’s me someday. I hope when I get married, it’s not just because we’re physically attracted to each other, but that our personalities are compatible. I hope we never run out of things to talk about or laugh about.

When I wonder how that could be possible, I think about my friends. (Family doesn’t really count, since you have no control over who’s in your family.) I’ve known some of my friends for years and years, but we still get along, and I don’t plan on stopping our friendship anytime soon.

That and the cute couple at Chili’s give me hope. I don’t have to be one of those people who gets old and cranky with my spouse. I think it’s possible to always be in love.

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