A colleague, Karen Kim, got married today. She looked beautiful in white, as did her fiancée in black tux.
We ate like real Czechs, showing at a non-stop smorgasbord from 4 pm until the chickens cluck at sunrise (we left at 8.30). There was dancing, speeches, a professional belly dancing duo (one of my students, by chance), drinking, coffee, sweets, and walks in a riverside park whose trees are vibrantly autumnal.
Karen’s husband, Tomas, is a soft-spoken Czech engineer with Metrostav, a big construction company in CR. The ceremony took place in Staromestska Namesti (old town) in the town hall: vaulted ceilings, arched benches, a silver pipe organ, and stained glass windows. The ceremony was given in Czech and English. At times both the bride and groom appeared confused: at the “you may kiss the bride” moment of the program, Karen looked around for a translations while her newly minted husband reached for her and grabbed air.
But the crowd was good natured, and it was all fun (yet very ceremonially official). At the processional, the guests stood on either side of the red carpet to accept the bride & groom, men on one side and women the other. Outside the hall (beneath the astronomical clock, in front of two thousand people), Tomas was collared with an ox’s yolk beside his wife, garnering cheers and jeers from the tourist crowd. There was even some mentally deficient evangelist calling out fire & brimstone as the bride & groom ducked into their limosine.
Of course, some Americans showed up from across the Atlantic. Karen is from California, and her kin and some friends came along for the party. It was interesting to hear Americans speak within the otherwise maelstrom of Czech and non-native English speakers.
A hired bus took most of the guests to the reception party, at a restaurant on the outskirts of Prague. The return bus would leave at 1 a.m. The reception saw rice thrown, champagne toasted, beer poured, and hors d’ourves scarfed.
Asia and I caught the public bus back to the metro at 8.30. We’d partied enough, talked plenty, danced a number, and laughed aplenty.