Memories money can – or can’t – buy

TGIF! And this is reaaalllllyyyy THANK GOD IT’S FRIDAY because it’s gonna be a loooongggg weekend due to Chinese New Year! Frankly I think there should be a long weekend every month, or at least every 2 months. It’s only a few days past January and I’m feeling the beginnings of burnout from work. Just imagine, my long weekend could have started like 2 hours ago but I spent half an hour settling a adolescent terror work issue, half an hour eating a lunch of leftover packed briyani from breakfast (I eat half portions nowadays), and the next hour sorting and packing work stuff to bring home – I know, defeats the purpose of celebrating the start of the long weekend, right, if I were to spend it doing work. But that’s precisely why I am looking forward to it; there’s time to catch up on work, be it professional or personal (see previous post), not to mention familial – my mom has been hoping I help her vacuum the carpets in the living room and roll and  plastic-wrap them up for storage until the next festive season comes along. Yes, ‘sad’ life mine is.

Ok what a (typically) long preamble! I meant to talk about one of the (few) things I have booked and confirmed for my wedding, which, as the title of this post suggests, has something to do with memories. What else is important in a wedding other than the solemnisation, loved ones being there to witness and share in your joyous moment, good superb food that everyone enjoys and sings praises about? It is none other than what comes after the last grain of briyani has been gulped down packed for the family, the last table has been stripped of its fancy tablecloth, and the last inch of makeup has been scrubbed away. Yes, it is the much anticipated, unforgettable, berdua-duaan dan beromen wedding night, kan kan kan? Eh, bukan lah! I’m talking about memories, unforgettable memories of the beautiful day.

While it’s true nobody can determine how you remember the day and nobody can take those memories away from you (save from God via old age or brain damage) – hence there really is no price anyone can put on the intangible memories of your wedding – however, tangible things like photographs and videos can certainly give more detail to such memories. Beautiful, well-taken photographs as well as sleekly shot and edited videos can especially sweeten those memories, and would of course prove useful when the grandkids ask for your love story. (Wah dah fikir jauh nampak Zakiah. Padahal nak fikir bab mengandung bersalin tanggung makan pakai sekolah anak dan besarkan jadi manusia betul dah takut!) Obviously, while intangible things are priceless, tangible things come with a price tag, and when it’s wedding-related, it’s usually hefty.

However, for the sake of my grandkids sentimentelism, I am willing to indulge, up to thousands, on visual evidence of my wedding. Coming to this decision was like playing a tug-of-war between my heart and my brain. When I first found out how expensive wedding photography and videography was, I couldn’t believe my ears. My brain told me: What! X thousand dollars for photos and video? That’s crazy!

I even considered just asking one of my younger cousins, who has one of those maha besar DSLR cameras, to be my wedding photographer. After all, photographs taken by her, or with her camera, of previous weddings in the family turned out bright and cheery and colourful, and made my skin look flawless and radiant (the default condition of my skin is pimply or bumpy-with-oil-seeds and dull without makeup). Of course, my not-bad makeup skills did half the work, but the photography, and / or camera did the magic.

Besides, when I look at others’ wedding albums, be it online or hard copy, photographs of the newly-weds (just the two of them) strike me as rather pose-y (that’s a word I made up), which I find rather… fake, for lack of a better word. Oh, wait, there’s the word superficial! I also remember the time I attended a colleague’s wedding, when she and her husband walked in. My sister (who happened to know the bride briefly in the past) and I was actually done eating but had wanted to take a photo with the couple. So we had waited a bit for them to arrive. However, we had to wait even more because once they stepped onto the raised platform where the dais was, they had to do other things, among which was having the photographer instruct them to pose this way and that in front of all the guests. Somehow watching them do that gave me a slight cold shiver, thinking of myself and the mister going through the same thing in the future. Even though I have mentioned before that I am far from being shy of the camera (I border on narcissism with lots of self portraits in my phones and digital camera), and in fact love having my photograph taken when I am among family or friends (especially when I’ve taken the effort to doll up, vainpot that I am), however, the thought of appearing lovey-dovey for photographs, with many eyes looking at us, sprouts a terrible shyness and self-consciousness in otherwise shameless moi. (If you managed to read that sentence and register some sort of comprehension, congratulations! And pardon my long thought sequences.)

It’s a terrible shyness along the lines of: People get married all the time! There’s nothing special about us so don’t keep looking! We’re a normal couple, nothing special to see! Stop looking! We don’t like to see public displays of affection, so we would rather not inflict our poses upon your vision! Stop looking, there’s nothing special to see!

Now that I am verbalising this shyness, I recognise that this is how I felt like during my engagement – I didn’t know what to feel. Or to be precise, I didn’t know how I should carry myself in front of others, in view of how I feel. In the week leading up to the engagement, I was actually in super excited, super mentel, super romantic melancholy mode. My heart was a little kid excitedly jumping up and down every time I thought about the impending engagement (which was practically all the time). I’d catch myself daydreaming and smiling inwardly, possibly extending to outwardly – yes, that’s how dreamy I can get. I even did a 7-day countdown in three languages (French, English and Malay) on my Facebook wall status, attracting a curious question from a cousin about what I’m counting down to (to which I mysteriously answered, ‘The weekend!’ because it was a really small hush-hush nuclear family affair and I was under strict instruction not to even whisper a hint to anyone, not even a close cousin, but gatal me couldn’t contain the excitement).

However, when the actual day came, I was acutely aware of people being around me, and watching me. If it had been just me and my second sister there, I might have just let myself jump along with my heart and smile ear-to-ear randomly and squeal in delight and anticipation; she wouldn’t give two hoots about it, and even if she teases me and tells me I’m being so mentel, I wouldn’t care. However, I had my other (much) older and already-married siblings, their spouses and kids, my parents and my grandmother around. I had to compose and behave myself in front of the elders, lest they chide me for being so gatal nak kahwin, whereas for the siblings and siblings-in-law, I didn’t want to appear so jakun (‘such a noob’, in the language of kids today?) in front of them. It would be embarrassing especially since they have been through the experience of getting engaged and subsequently getting married, and probably acted like adults when it was their turn, rather than the excitable teenage fangirl that I was inwardly.

I didn’t want them to catch on to my overflowing excitement and tease me about it, because I don’t deal with teasing and the accompanying embarrassment well – my cheeks would go high and my face would become a little red, aka blushing, as my mister has witnessed and described to me to embarrass me even further. I would try to change the topic but wouldn’t be able to control my face and this usually leads people on to continue teasing until I beg them to stop. Tears might even appear at the corners of my eyes. And I’d have to force mysef to put on a serious, no-smiling face, despite finding it hard to.

Knowing that I had to compose myself, I had put on my (nonchalant) game face since morning. I told myself I had to stay calm and act like it’s just any normal day, like I’m getting dresssed and dolling myself up for a wedding (other people’s, not my own.) In fact, I was so good at surpressing my feelings that I got to ‘I don’t know what to feel’; I knew that I should be excited, and I had been for the previous week. However, I didn’t know how much excitement is appropriate to show such that I seem the very-willing and happy soon-to-be fiancée, yet not letting on too much and possibly causing me the dreaded embarrassment. In the end, I felt nothing much during the actual proceedings, that I felt a little shortchanged (and teeny wee bit guilty) after and had to ‘retrieve’ the sentimentelism by going through photographs of the event in my own time and space and composing a semi-poetic description of the day to go with the album I (much later) put up on Facebook.

I’m complicated, I know. And I think too much, I know. And how did I go from wanting to talk about my confirmed wedding photography booking, to deconstructing my feelings about showing my feelings to people? Haiyo, this post is running the risk of being completed and published the day after I start on it, so I might as well publish it now and complete it later. I will just add on to this post and post an announcement post that it has been updated. Not like anyone really cares. Ok, off to have dinner!

(Here’s a sneak preview of the continuation:)
I do understand that the mister and I, as newly-weds, would be the stars of the wedding. After all, we would have paid a bomb a reasonable amount of money for our customised outfits, bridal makeup…


2 thoughts on “Memories money can – or can’t – buy

  1. Can’t agree more babe! If there was one thing I wanted to splurge would be photog. And like you, I don’t like posey2 also which was why we decided against studio shots. Hope your wedding planning is going great babe! Need any recommendations tell me k? 🙂

  2. Pingback: Memories money can – or can’t – buy (the brief encounter) | pengantin pelik

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