Being a guest at a Sri Lankan wedding can be a lot of fun. Not only do you get to see two people begin a life together, but you also get to take part in wedding guest activities that happen so often that they seem as traditional as the rest of the wedding rituals. In my long career as a wedding guest, I’ve seen many retinues, buffets, and eaten many, many wedding cakes.
Here’s the ultimate guide to every Sri Lankan wedding:
1. The secret life of centerpieces.
The wedding’s wrapping up, hotel staff are sweeping confetti off the floor, the band is dismantling their equipment, the bride and groom are long gone, and the guests start trickling out holding the floral centerpieces that decorated their table. It looks awkward, it feels awkward, but still, the centerpieces will get a second life in a new home.
It’s like a difficult-to-carry unofficial goodie bag.
2. That photographer uncle nobody asked for, but he’s not going anywhere.
He wasn’t hired to take photographs, but if you think a technicality like that is going to stop him, think again. You might have to wait months for the official wedding album, but that photographer-uncle has his photos up the very next day.
3. Cake thieves. Think I’m being dramatic? Think again.
Old aunties use the couple’s exit as the perfect distraction to swoop in on unattended cakes.
If you’re not going to eat your cake immediately, then definitely stash it in a secure location. If you’re following the action, make sure your cake travels with you.
4. Oh yeah, and then unidentified juice gets served.
Sometimes the fluorescent color of the drink suggests radioactivity. Sometimes the color of the fruit balancing on the edge of the glass is in complete contrast to the color of the drink itself. Often the drink is already at your place setting when you get there.
Where did it come from? What is it made of? We may never know.
5. You step on your own sari while trying to stand up. Oops.
You may think you know how to get up off a chair, but getting up off a chair in a sari is its own feat. Sure, you could shoot up with all the confidence in the world, but more often than not your foot’s going to be conveniently pinning down the edge of your sari, bringing you back down to earth as soon as you try to stand up.
6. Your period jewelry is finally taken out of that dang box.
You know all the bling you got just because your body started menstruating? You finally see that stuff come out of the box.
7. I now pronounce…
…..the buffet open!
Move over, first dance, the most romantic moment at the beginning of a shared life witnessed at each wedding is the moment the new couple opens the buffet. Not only is this a great way to start the rest of their lives, but it also means the buffet is officially open, which is great news for everyone!
8. Naptime stops for no matrimony, no matter who’s up on that stage.
There’s always a small person passed out on two chairs in deep REM sleep while a party rages around them. Sleep on, random tiny child, you do you!
9. No wedding is complete if you don’t hear that classic hit, “Congratulations and Celebrations” by Sir Cliff Richard.
The wedding march may be a classic, but nothing says “We’re newly married!” like this smash hit! The rousing celebratory beat truly gets the party started.
10. The bathroom is an entirely different world.
Gone are the amicable smiles and party atmosphere.
Welcome to navigating bathroom stalls in saris and heels, quickly assessing your makeup situation, pinning what you can, quick changes, and diving back into the party without missing a beat.
11. Last thing? The wedding cake conspiracy.
The moment you realize that most of the wedding cakes you’ve seen were fake, and only had one little section made of real cake.
The encouraging move towards 100% cake is the honesty I need from the wedding industry. Please?
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