Weddings in Sri Lanka

I just got back from a trip to the ancient city of Anuradhapura, home to many leftovers from ancient civilizations, sacred temples and mediocre chinese food. This has nothing to do with this post, but I just thought I’d get it out there. Expect a post about it on Sinhalayatravels, soon. It’s still in the atelier(*cough*cough*), but should be done soonish.


Weddings in Sri Lanka are insane. Actually, weddings anywhere are pretty insane. I was recently asked by a friend to come take some candid pics at his brother’s wedding (I’m not too sure why, since he’d just end up with a bunch of macro shots of the wedding car’s brand badge and some pictures of the sunset), and went over to take a look. This was a standard catholic wedding, in a church. By that I mean a bunch of people dressed in clothes more suited to the inside of the ice truck killer’s chariot than a church that turns into a convection oven in the daytime.

I don’t know why people do this to themselves. And they looked at me funny when I turned up in a shirt and slacks. Hey, be thankful I was wearing a shirt. There are between two and three million things that can be improved about weddings. A few:

First up, we have the whole wedding. Why do we have weddings, again? Specifically christian weddings with a priest and hours of standing around in a church. I don’t think God really cares if we hold a gigantic ceremony to get married. “Dear lord, here we are. We’re getting married.” is, essentially, the message. He will not smite your marriage and make your offspring have six eyes, alcohol addiction and a tail if you don’t detain people in a sauna for an hour. Neither will He benevolently smile upon your union and make sure your path is paved with rainbows, unicorns and floor tiles of angel’s feathers just because you rented out St. Peter’s Basilica for your special day.

And a generic sermon, of course. One can’t forget the sermon. A wedding connoisseur could probably predict every turn of topic the sermon will take, since it’s usually the same “Let us hope this couple stays together like this forever and ever and may they always remember that it takes [generic good qualities] to make a marriage work. Illness, divorce rates, society changing etc.”. The only thing missing is a sacrificial goat.

Just get a priest to do the paperwork or something. It could be condensed to be seated, walk down aisle, recite recite, sign sign, witness witness, ring ring, booyah. Stomped out in ten minutes. Then throw a limbo party. It brings tears to my eyes to imagine such perfection. Have it at the park, have it at the beach, have it on top of a mountain. Wherever. Dress for the occasion. You don’t want the Royal Wedding. Neither do the people attending. You don’t have to invite all fifty thousand relatives from all corners of the globe, because, well, it’s your wedding. You decide who you want to witness it, and I sure as heck wouldn’t want to be forced to memorize a bunch of names I’m not likely to use again for decades. At least for the simple fact that it takes less effort to plan the seating arrangements that way. You know nothing ensures a healthy marriage better than a seating plan that doesn’t eat up the pre-wedding preparations. Epic seating plans are the tops.

In Sri Lanka, you go to church for the wedding, sweat it out through the ceremony, go over to a hotel for the reception(thankfully air conditioned) and then have  a “homecoming” which usually happens a few days later, after the couple get back from their honeymoon. Would you want your family and friends congratulating you on a honeymoon well done? Imagine someone effectively patting you on the back and saying “Atta boy Somapala, hope you put your back into it!” when they shake your hand.

It’s hard to break tradition, and kids usually want to make their parents happy. So we have ridiculously large weddings which cost a lot more than they should. Some people actually take out loans for a wedding! It’s the grown up equivalent of borrowing money off your parents to ask a girl out, except the bank doesn’t forget about it after a while. We must. see. reason. This cannot continue.

Please, please make your weddings more pleasant for people attending.


9 Responses to “Weddings in Sri Lanka”

  1. October 12, 2011 at 10:37 am

    While true, such hate Jerry? Did you get a proposal or something? 😀

  2. 2 Maf
    October 12, 2011 at 10:55 am

    i look forward to your own wedding trials and tribulations or at least reading about it…
    I made the strategic mistake of trying to think of a wedding as just one day our of 20,000+ of being married and dealt with my lack of wedding-spirit issues for the last 6+ years. This day has been in imbued in females from a far too young age and i realise I will make the same mistakes with my own daughter – indulge them for all their fantasies of what an ideal wedding should be. Had in a friend in Uni who had planned out her wedding to the last details and had compiled a book of sorts on the subject – all except the groom and she only ended finding the “right” groom about 8 years after graduating!Of late though it has been 2 male friends who went to the nth degree to have the ideal wedding..

    • October 12, 2011 at 11:36 am

      I think the real absurdity of weddings here is not in the church, its in the party (aka reception), the costumes, the flowers and all the unnecessary decoration etc.

      People spend a lifetime of savings on this and then struggle with debt afterwards.

  3. October 12, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Yeah, I think simpler and smaller weddings are the way to go. I certainly wouldn’t want the horrible laborious and grand wedding; it’s a complete waste of time and money.

    But I’ve got a friend who’s getting married next year and she’s already planning it out. She wanted to have a simple beach wedding but her parents and in-laws wouldn’t hear of it. I guess it’s also a show of money to have a glamours wedding… or your relatives will think you’re a cheap and that you don’t really care about your child- ridiculous but that’s the mentality apparently.

    And of course if you don’t invite your second-cousin-once-removed’s sister-in-law, husband and children, you’ll have a bunch of angry relatives who think you don’t like them. Weddings are complicated and sensitive affairs…

  4. October 12, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    aw look at you all grown up and talking about getting married and all 🙂

  5. 7 aerondight
    October 13, 2011 at 1:11 am

    Totally agree with you. It’s a total waste of time and money for both the marrying parties as well as the guests attending.

  6. 8 Whacko
    October 13, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    someone needs to go back to the atalier with this whole marriage thing if you ask me

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