I made a return trip to Chicago for my cousin's wedding. My own church wedding was fairly intimate with 75 people attending the ceremony and reception. And as a groom, the whole process is a blur. Now my cousin's wedding was a typical Filipino wedding (groom is filipino, bride filipina/brazillian) with 300+ people and a full schedule of events. In my role as the best man, I got a close up view of how these events can be so stressful and hectic for many of the principal participants and organizers.

With attendees coming from all over the country and the world, arrivals and accomodations could have been a logistical nightmare. My uncle and aunt handled much of the pickups and shuttled many of our relatives from O'hare to a nearby hotel for much of the first day. There were numerous flight delays and late baggage to complicate things. It proved fairly exhausting to fly in and throw ourselves immediately into the schedule of events - starting with a rehearsal & dinner located 2 hours away from our hotel. We were shuttled in a fleet of vans for the long commute which took us through downtown Chicago on Lake Shore Drive - past the southside into a town called Olympia Fields. Many of the guest quietly grumbled about the distance and one of my distant cousins asked me, "Why did they pick this church?" Well, as we learned later on, the bride was baptized at this particular church and she wanted to get married there. Can't bitch about that one - it is the bride's day after all.

The rehearsal went by smoothly. Its difficult to even articulate the large size of my extended family. I met second cousins and nieces and non-blood relatives that I've never met before. It was even more difficult to explain it all to my wife. I can't tell you how many times she asked me the identity of an unknown relative - to which I answered "I don't even know...must be a cousin of a cousin." I learned that I had nieces and nephews ranging from baby age to 28.

Filipinos are known to entertain - so the rehearsal dinner featured a video montage of photos set to music. Suprisingly there weren't any skits or songs but there were plenty of speeches and gift-giving. Mmm to get sentimental over some tasty pasta.


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