I consider it my duty to give my husband a little "pep talk" before these type of functions so this past weekend I clued him in to what he could expect: "It'll kind of be like a high school reunion, with lots of underlying 'Ghana vs. Nigeria' tension so watch out on the dance floor," I tell him.
But while nodding off on the couch during my post-church-lunch nap this past Sunday, I came across the PBS special, Lidia Celebrates America Weddings: Something Borrowed, Something New. The host, Lidia Bastianich--one of my many chef crushes--profiles four very different and yet very American weddings: a Nigerian-American wedding in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina; an Irish and Italian-American wedding where the bride happens to be Lidia's niece and goddaughter; a Sri Lakan and Indian-American wedding combining both Catholic and Hindu ceremonies in Chicagor; and a Korean-American wedding in Queens, New York, home to half of New York City's Korean population.
What I loved about Lidia in this special was that she doesn't just chill in the background saying, "Oh, how nice. Isn't this nice? What a lovely couple."
Lidia's got outfits, she's getting schooled on the cuisine, she's getting henna, second lining, and homegirl is owning the dance floor. I got a real kick watching her spray the couple in the Nigerian American wedding. She had me screaming at the television like "GET IT LIDIA! YOU BETTA GET IT GURL!"
And what struck me the most were the subtle, little pockets of similarity among non-Western weddings and weddings in general, or as Lidia put it:
"There's a big difference between different ethnic weddings. Customs, protocol, especially the color...the music. And yet, there seems to be an underlying common denominator: that there's two families, bringing their children together. And helping and steering and giving the support to those two children to start a new life and continue and multiply."
Watch Weddings: Something Borrowed, Something New Highlights on PBS. See more from Lidia Celebrates America.
If you get a chance to watch, let me know what you think!