Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Emily's Shower!

As you know, our daughter, Emily, is getting married in Bangladesh on March 20.  As we are walking this journey with her, we are finding out that there are MANY cultural differences when it comes to planning a wedding!  We are trying to honor both cultures as she embraces some of the Bengali traditions and lets some of the American ones go.  We approach each decision asking, "What is most honoring to Alpha's family and what is most honoring to our family?"  For instance, most Bengali marriages are arranged, although many of the young people are having what is called a "marriage of love" where they, not their families, chose their mate. So this is how a "marriage of love" would normally work.  The man would ask the woman if she is interested in marrying him.  If she says yes, then the man talks to his parents, they OK the choice with all the important people in the family, such as the oldest uncle, cousins and so on.  Then the man's family sets up a meeting with the woman's family to ask if the son can marry the daughter.  They come to an agreement and within 2 weeks or so, the couple gets married, with the families doing all the wedding planning.

You have to admit, this is a bit different from the way we do things, so when Alpha approached Emily back in May to ask if she would be willing to marry him, Emily immediately replied, "Yes!  But you will need to ask my father."  With panic in his voice, Alpha said, "No, it is our culture for my father to ask your father!"  to which Emily replied, "But it is MY culture for the man to ask the woman's father."  This was an issue of honor Emily was not willing to let go of and, believe me, we do feel honored and respected that a very nervous Alpha asked Jim over skype for our daughter's hand in marriage. 

Now, they still honored Alpha's family by asking his parents, who in turn had the whole family meet Emily and give their approval, then his parents talked to us about the marriage.  I am so proud of the way Emily has balanced walking down this tightrope between two cultures.

With that in mind, one of the things Emily was finding hard to give up was the idea of a bridal shower.  It is not something they do in Bangladesh, but it makes an American bride feel very special and allows her to tell her story and have her friends pour out their love on her.  She had mentioned this numerous times to me, so I knew that it was important to her, but I just didn't know how to pull it off.  She was going to be in Germany with us over Christmas and, not only did she not know anyone here, but the Germans would have probably thought I was crazy to ask them to buy pretty lingerie for my soon-to-be-married daughter. :0)

Emily and Claire
So, I came up with the idea of a surprise "distance-shower", kind of like distance-learning.  I invited a bunch of people to a Facebook group and disclosed my plan.  Anyone who would like to take part could send me money, I would go buy things from them for the shower (is it ever fun spending other people's money for someone you love!) and the two of us would sit in our German living room, open the gifts and read the notes.  Not quite as fun as a room full of people, but it would still be a special shower! 

As this progressed, our friend and fellow JV missionary, Laura Hash, got excited and volunteered host the party at her home in Poland, having some of the JV ladies who had been with us during the early years in Czech and Poland, including her best friend, Claire Patty, who was home for Christmas!

I can hardly remember a time when my daughter looked so beautiful, the anticipation and joy shinning in her eyes, as she was surrounded by people who had loved her since she was a child and as she opened gifts and heard words from friends and family from around the world!

To read about the shower from Claire's point of view and to see pictures of the two of them as children, check out Claire's blog at

I am so thankful to EACH of you ladies who participated, to Brenda Gudeman who collected the money for me, to Laura Hash for hosting and planning the shower and to Connie Patty for giving a beautiful charge to Emily about a true "marriage of love"!
Celebrating with children's peach-flavored bubbly!
 We are SO BLESSED!!!!

1 comment:

Plattmom said...

Oh wish I could have been there! Remember all those little girls in my home in Sumbark, now spread out across the world.