If I could have it my way, I would get married on a remote beach, surrounded by candlelight with only a few of my closest family and friends around as we dance around barefoot and laugh the whole night away.
Unfortunately, if I were to suggest that idea to my parents they would respond with a series of questions about the transportation of family members, the hazards of having my nephews near water without floaters, and why on earth I would be barefoot on my wedding day.
Let’s face it, when it comes to choosing wedding venues in Egypt, your options are pretty limited. You can choose from a stuffy ballroom with ugly carpeting, a garden where the guests keep getting their heels stuck in the mud or around a pool where people make bets on who will fall in the water first. (Hint: It’s always the overtly excited bridesmaid.)
Out of these options, I was set on an outdoor garden. I like being outdoors and looking up to see the sky as opposed to seeing an oversized chandelier. I expressed my choice repeatedly to both my and Rami’s parents, only to find out that they had been secretly discussing behind my back how outdoors was a bad idea and that a ballroom was the way to go. When I confronted my mother about it, she pretended that she was dusting the refrigerator at first, true story, until she finally confessed.
Of course, being the strong-headed person that I am, that only made me more adamant on having an outdoor venue. So Rami and I made a list of outdoor venues available and started doing our research.
Now, most of these outdoor venues are privately owned, often villas with large gardens that people rent out. While that option seems like a good idea at first, it actually adds a heap of stress to your plate because you have to do everything from scratch and probably end up spending more money. If you go with a public venue, they’ll probably have their own catering, tables and chairs and their own electricity. Trust me, these things make a huge difference.
My friend and senior bridesmaid Heba Zaghloul (who is forcing me to use her name in my blog entry) suggested a place called Sky Resort in the Fifth Settlement. I had never been there — a good sign since I didn’t want a venue that I had been to a wedding in already —, so I decided to check it out.
Of course, I asked to see the outdoor garden and only the outdoor garden. It was quite spacious with beautiful greenery and a great view. That’s it, I found my venue. Where do I sign up, please?
Rami, the sensible one out of both of us, suggested that we bring our parents to check the place out.
“But they’re the enemy,” I told him.
Unconvinced by my argument, Rami arranged for us to go back with our parents. And what was the first thing they suggested: Why don’t we check out the ballroom first?
Sulking in my misery, I went against my will to see the ballroom area, all the while heaping scorn upon my future husband for ruining our wedding. So, what’s so special about this fancy ballroom area with its nicely decorated walls, its ceiling to floor glass doors that open onto a beautiful terrace looking straight up to the sky?
Okay, I loved it! Hard for me to admit, but a half indoor/half outdoor venue was actually the perfect solution. It would please my parents by letting them have their relatives and friends in the comfort of a closed space, while the younger guests are outside on the terrace. It was quite beautiful as well, and it gave me my dream of looking up at the sky without the inconvenience of getting stuck in the mud.
Yes, I would have loved to continue being stubborn and prove them all wrong but at the end of the day I discovered that it’s not such a bad idea to listen to your parents’ input when it comes to these things. After all, with this compromise, I don’t have to worry about my husband’s family judging me if I accidentally ‘drop it low’ when my favorite Beyonce song comes on. et