Why I had a big wedding
I had hundreds of people at my wedding. I didn’t know most of their names and there was no chance of finding an intimate, stylish venue for the wedding breakfast. I needed a sensible, large hall with parking nearby and caterers with giant saucepans to heat up the vats of curry to serve the 400 guests. I barely got to speak to most of the guests and still, years later, meet people I don’t recognise who tell me they were there that day.
But I know why I did it. The wedding day didn’t just belong to me. A community in exile needs rituals – amateur dance concerts, birthday dinners with kids of all ages running round the house while adults gather in the kitchen to gossip _ to hold it together.
A wedding is another excuse, and the most joyous one, for a party. It’s not a day for bridezillas. Tamil women don’t worry for an instance about not upstaging the bride. The idea is to shine, as brightly as possible, while the bride looks modest and mature. She’s not meant to smile too much. I did _ but I wasn’t meant to.
On my wedding day, my young cousins dressed up to the nines, with flowers in their hair, in jewel coloured silks, carrying their Western accents and Jaffna heritage with real style and easy confidence. At times exile feels lonely, bleak and gruelling. But sometimes, it doesn’t feel too bad.