It’s a momentous occasion, going to a wedding with your boyfriend for the first time.
In fact, I’d never gone to a wedding as someone’s date before. So when Adam and I got invited to go to his cousin’s in Serbia, I was excited. Really excited. This rite of passage was finally happening to me, and it was going to be tied in with a little Baltic break, too! Swell.
And it really was swell – to begin with.
I felt accepted by Adam’s relatives right away. There were loads of parallels between the way they interacted and the way my dad’s family do (who are from France, and who I’ve visited every year pretty much since birth). Lots of kissing on the cheeks? Check. Hugging? Check. Beer? Check. Food? Check. Pre-accustomed to the lifestyle, I felt as though (for once) I knew how to act, and I wasn’t making (too much of) a fool of myself.
That is, until the day of the wedding.
Everything started when we reached the church. I’d made Great Efforts to look good, wearing a black ninja-ish playsuit and red hot heels – the most adult attire I have ever acquired.
Hotteth to trotteth.
The first thing I noticed was just how many guests there were at the ceremony. Hundreds of people gathered around the church’s gates and tumbled out of cars on the nearby road. We all clamoured through the front door, Adam and I swept towards the back of the church’s main hall by the tide, where we were immediately trapped by other attendees. Videographers and photographers scrambled in the centre of the room, recording Adam’s cousin and his bride as they took their vows. I tried to not feel claustrophobic and instead turned my attention to my first ever Serbian wedding ceremony instead.
But it was not to be.
Here’s the thing about Serbian wedding ceremonies. They get HOT. Very hot – and it’s likely because the priest lights A THOUSAND STICKS OF INCENSE while he’s blessing the happy couple. Fire and smoke floated through the air, choking my lungs as the three-million-degree Baltic sun shone through the church’s every window, nook and cranny. I began to sweat, realising a black, thick fabric playsuit might not have been the best idea. The heat was soaking through my skin, turning my blood into hot soup.
This is where I mention that I’d also had a couple of shots beforehand, on a near-empty stomach. Trying To Be Cool in front of Adam’s family. Which I was Now Regretting, because I realised…
“I’m going to be sick.”
“No you’re not,” Adam whispered back, not yet registering my wan face.
“I really think I am.”
“No you’re no-”
At this moment, I cut him off by half-vomming inside my mouth.
Realising that this was not another “I’m having a heart attack”/”no you’re not”-style situation, he grabbed my arm and started yanking me towards the door. It was then that my ‘red hot heels’ failed me. I tripped. In front of everyone. The videographers. Photographers. 100+ guests. Priest. Adam’s cousin and his (very soon to be) wife. Jesus, probably (he’s always watching).
But I couldn’t lie there and pretend I was just a part of the floor, which would’ve been my first instinct. Sweat was pouring off me. Vomiting was guaranteed. So, righting myself, I fled through the front door, letting Adam pull me around the back of the church like a corpse without a body bag. I collapsed against the wall, gasping for air and trying desperately not to technicolour upchuck on somebody’s gravestone.
The picture of health. (Also, the only reason that this image exists is because – once it became clear that I would be alright – Adam decided that the incident was hilarious, and thereby WhatsApp’ed my entire family with the news. Hooray.)
Luckily, I wasn’t sick.
But I didn’t get to re-enter the church. And my Great Efforts to look good lasted all of half an hour. And I irrevocably tarnished the wedding ceremony video. But… aside from that.
I’d say it went swell.