The best wedding I’ve experienced was not my own. When I started wedding planning, I wrote down the names of couples whose weddings I’d been to and what I liked from each. One in particular stood out; the list of what I liked from that one was long.
There are two things that inspired me for the wedding. The first was an invitation different than any I’d ever seen with actual pictures of the engaged couple in formal attire, then another with them wearing sunglasses. The second were the fond memories I had from that particular wedding.
My friend is a native South African, but it was still a destination wedding for the 12 friends from b-school. I flew from San Francisco to London to Johannesburg—a lifetime in miles. I liked the destination aspect and how she had planned a full vacation of activities for us, starting with Shabbat and synagogue the evening that we arrived. We visited the museum, a market, went wine tasting. During her wedding speech, she called each of us out by name for travelling the long distance. Then we paid back her parents’ kindness with adrenaline-fueled dancing back at their house until the sun came up. I remember her dad peeking his head out into the living room and kindly asking if we could turn it down a notch. He must’ve scratched his head as to the kind of crowd his eldest child had been ‘studying’ with in graduate school. Did I mention the post-wedding safari complete with helicopter rides?
Now that the World Cup is in South Africa, I can’t help the giddiness. I’ve been there! We danced in Joburg. We partied in Capetown. Even though I’m watching from afar, my heart brims with the most wonderful memories. The world is watching a beautiful country that I was so blessed to experience.