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Crystal Neri | A Very Sad Wedding Planning - Crystal Neri

A Very Sad Wedding Planning

YESTERDAY WHEN I WAS JET SKIING WITH MY FIANCE’S BROTHER, I could not stop thinking of Andrea. She’s my Colombian friend and golf teammate from college. I could just imagine Andrea’s face shrieking with joy as the waves crash against a standup jet ski in full throttle. In front of us was a light blue water lagoon; behind were beach resorts peppered with white umbrellas and tourist snorkelers. She would have loved spending all day there, talking about how she could live an island life away from the rat race.

Right now I’m living in Cebu, Philippines. The ocean is so close to us and we are living in abundance of cheap, fresh fruits and seafood. Meanwhile, Andrea (a girl I call my “favorite” of all my other girlfriends) is in Portland, Oregon interviewing with Nike. In just a year our paths have separated in opposite directions. Me, planning a wedding and she pursuing design.

Weddings are a celebration of love and binding families. With all the fluff of bridal books, Pinterest-worthy ideas and input of planners, weddings are supposed to be maniacal money-sucking lavish parties. You can do what you want! You can be bridezilla and it’s okay! Nonetheless it has the different effect on me — sadness.

I’m missing too many people. Every time I look at minute wedding details such as boutonniere or non-flower bouquets, I think of Jonathan. He’s an especially close and trusted pal of mine for almost ten years. When my family needed help setting up our new house in Cavite, he painted walls and refurnished our cabinets. I’ve never met anyone as practical and ingenious, so how I wish my best friend would be my decorator and planner. But he lives in Manila — too far away.

My maid-of-honor is Lyra, another close pal for almost a decade. She will be flying from Hongkong on my wedding week. Her familiar face and presence are more than enough as a gift, so I don’t even want to bother with bridal extras. I’m a proponent of accepting things as is, so if I have no friends around, I won’t expect a bridal shower. My friends in San Francisco — Sasha, Inez, Julie, Mariana, Sierra, Melissa — are the ones who saw me failing and winning in the last few years. They saw me sneaking in a corner to take long-distances call from my soon-to-be husband. Or they shooed away potential suitors. The stories and the laughter, that’s what I miss and that’s what I would like in my entourage.


Planning a wedding is very different from planning a wedding without parents. I wish I could ask my mom about Roman Catholic rituals or other weddings in my family. Heck — I wish she was just beside me so I could hear her voice. Jovi and I spoke about being prepared, just in case none of my parents could make it at my wedding. My throat chokes up at the thought, but I’m prepared to walk by myselfdown the aisle. So for those who have parents who might be helping or causing some stress: just be thankful. That’s better than none.

My wedding, so far, has me craving for the familiar — for family. I know very well that I’m part of a new family now. But there’s still something to say about a mother’s practical comment or picking shoes and dresses with a sister. What is too much to ask when somebody offers help? There have been many kind queries, from job offers to actual roles in the ceremony. I just wish I would know them better to gauge if they are asking out of politeness or sincerity. Or maybe this is the event that will spark new friendships and relationships I crave for.


Photo by JJ Alvarez

As Edwin Muir wrote in his 1943 poem, The Confirmation: “Yes, yours my love, is the right human face.”Jovi is the most comforting and friendliest face I see everyday. He makes sure I’m never too hungry, tired, or bored (it’s awesome). Yesterday, he ran from the mall to cancel my foot spa, so he could feed me Andok’s chicken. When I told him I miss my mom, he said:

“It’s okay, I can be your Mom. If you want, I could also be your Dad in the golf course when we play.”

He and I discussed destierro first before booking our suppliers. He had pulled lots of strings so we could get first in line for everything. Poor guy was sore for four days after I forced him to swing kettle bells. He is kind, patient and supportive. When I need to cry, he lets me, then feeds me and quietly drives me home. I never knew he’d have this much caress in him.

I don’t know how my situation could be different. It’s a simple reality from moving to a new city without friends and family. I miss my loves — so much so that all I could think about is what we’ll do together once they’re here. More than a wedding, I’m looking for a home-coming. On my wedding day, my friends and family will witness my new life. And if they like it, I hope they’ll come back to visit me.