Thursday, August 31, 2006

Speaking of family...

This is a piggy back on my last post. Quite a few of you said that family is how you define it but the common bond is love. Today in my Family Law class we talked about marriage and what types of marriages are allowed/forbidden. I thought I'd throw out the topics and questions we were posed and see what your take is on it.

Think about this though when you think about the topics: (1) If it really is about love and how you feel why shouldn't any of these marriages work if the parties consent and desire such a union? (2) Should the government define who we marry? In 1967 interracial couples could not wed! And this was okay! So a lot of the marriages today were at one time null and void. An abberation. I know the people who read this come from a variety of perspectives so I was very curious what your takes would be on these. Should the government have a say in any of these types of unions?

Family members? Should adopted siblings be allowed to marry? What about a neice/uncle by marriage no longer related through marriage because the uncle divorced the neice's blood aunt? What about cousin marriages which are estimated to constitute 20% of marriages worldwide (Einstein and Dawrin married cousins too). Most states allow it...

Youth? Should there be an age limit to marry? What if you are pregnant? Georgia used to have this exception to the minor marriage rule until a 37 year old teacher was able to marry her 15 year old student because she got pregnant. Needless to say, Georgia no do this no more.

Polygamy? This made the news again as the "most wanted polygamist" was recently arrested. What if all parties want to? Our professor said a polygamist lawyer a few years ago said it was the best thing she ever did because she had help with child rearing, cooking, and emotional support. Should she not be allowed to do what works for her? Why not? Personally, I've seen that when people do it, it usually doesn't work. As an aside, this blog is an interesting insight to a polygamy surivor.

Same sex? When we have people who marry and make a joke of marriage such as cheating on one another, marrying and divorcing in rapid succession, etc. etc. why is the sanctity of marriage destroyed here but not in those other instances? Should this be something up to the people in the situation? Why is marriage forbiddon from a government standpoint? I understand people have views as far as religion goes but the government is secular. So why do they define marriage when it has religious underpinnings?

Monday, August 28, 2006

What is family

The concept of the show Friends was founded on a group of friends so close they were essentially family. They did the things family did: Celeberated holidays together, attended the big moments together, relied and counted on one another as family does. Infact some of them even maried each other, officially becoming family.

But can you really become a family with people who are not? This question came up recently in my Family Law class as we debated the definition of family. Is it genetic or people who care for one another? Both do not necessarily correspond.

On one hand, family is blood and that is something factual, genetic, and you can never take away. On the other hand, you don't choose your family, you get what you get, but you get to choose your friends so they are a more considered choice of company.

Now, my immediate family, there is no question about it, nothing can top the love between my immediate family and me (by which I mean my husband and the families in which we were directly raised). But can friends also become like extended network of family? Some of our friends like Aasem and Zainab, we can go to their house and just hang out without any fear that we are intruding, and they can visit without me worrying if the food turns out bad.. Just like family. In Tampa last weekend I spent one night with Auntie Shahin. She's not my genetic aunt, but my mother's close friend who knew me as long as I've been alive... that night as we sat around my mom brother and I, and auntie and her children just laughing and joking and teasing one another, I felt love... and a strong sense of family.

I'm not particularly close to most of my extended family. It can't be helped, many of them live overseas and most I have never met. Not to mention that my mom was one of 8 children and my dad one of 6 who in turn had four times the number in children themselves, made it perhaps difficult to get to know each cousin, aunt, uncle intimately and form a bond that perhaps fewer in number could have provided. Ofcourse this is not to say that I'm not close to any extended family, I'd say one aunt is second only to my mother... but to be blunt, for the most part.. the connection is missing. In some ways I can say its sad. If my (hypothetical) children did not feel close to my brothers (theoretical) children, and if my brothers children were to never call me and feel no closeness with me it would be very sad... But then again, is it? We have no reason to be close except that we share genetic traits. Is that enough to make a bond? Why should the fact that we came from the same gene pool require closeness? or care? Why are we required to give a second thought to someone for the sole reason they share our blood line?

So then what is family? What do you think? Do you find that you are closer to your family or friends?

Friday, August 25, 2006

Inconsequential

Waiting for my ride I glanced down to see an ant meandering inches from my feet. How little it was. Practically invisible. Inconsequential. Then I thought... From this rooftop I am a doll. From an airplane, an ant. From the moon, invisible. From beyond, nothing. But surely- I am something! From the the galaxy's perspective... I may be nothing. From the moon's eye I may simply be a theory. From the airplane's angle I truly may be an ant. From the rooftop perhaps just a doll. but... Atoms are so small we cannot comprehend and yet Atoms are the reason we have Mt Everest.. the Ocean... and me. In the grand scheme of things I am small, an atom in the universe at large, but inconsequential? I looked at the ant as she continued her steady pace, somehow she seemed quite different to me.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Giddy: The feeling one gets when learning enjoyable, meaningful things. Side effects include classes that go by quickly, and reading things that *gasp* you actually like. (Yes even Evidence... now that does indicate perhaps a neurological imbalance). But seriously... I can feel my mind growing. Trippy! :)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

And here we go again...

I'm not sure how this summer flew by so quickly but here I am again in school, as though no time passed at all. The beginning of fall semester is, to put it as nicely as possible, not my favorite time of the year... parking is nonexistent, cashiers are extra incompetent, lines are exceedingly long, and the mind is absolutely resentful to have been awoken from its peaceful slumber. This particular semester is going to be long. I have an externship with a children's hospital, researching a book for a professor, taking 6 courses including nighttime Evidence which is 4 hours ending at about 10pm.

But perspective is important... my externship involves advocating for chronic and terminally ill children. If you ever feel sorry for yourself at all, take a walk through these corridors, at babies in cribs hooked up to IV's and oxygen tanks, weary parents slumped asleep by their side, or sobbing quietly as they watch their children sleeping... all I can say is its a sudden and much needed punch of perspective straight to the gut.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The world in which we live

Gawking. I admit it, I read Gawker. And yes slightly addicted. Today they linked to an article by Alicia Colon and her hatred for CAIR (Council of American Islamic Relations) for not condemning terrorists in the way she'd like: "I have to wonder if CAIR is condemning the actions of the two Pakistanis arrested in a plot to bomb the subways. I never received an e-mail with Mr. Hooper's apology" <-- She never received an e-mail with apology for Mr. Hooper, the president of CAIR. Um. Ok. Gawker links to her e-mail urging any Muslims reading to go ahead and send her an apology. Another interesting nugget: "I happen to have Muslim neighbors.... [they] insisted they were not political. Nevertheless, on the counter [of their stores] were collection boxes for a Muslim charity in the Middle East." <- I know grannies at churches collecting for charities, charity work is not necessarily political. And why is charity to the Middle East assumed to equal "funding terrorists"? That's an incorrect and frightening statement.

Credit where credit is due. It took hours of surfing to find this article acknowledging that the Muslim community where those accused of the terrorist plot lived were the ones who notified authorities of the plot. Usually when thing like this happen there are front page stories of those who "saved the day" like the Unabomber's family. Here, barely a blip. Granted, they did what they were supposed to but considering tthat most who heard of the thwarted attack ended up reinforcing their misconception that all Muslims are evil it could have helped to point out that it was a Muslim who is responsible for stopping the plan from happening. (Why the random pic of Muhammad Ali kissing his daughter Laila? An example of Muslims that defy the stereotypes out there)

Muslim 'Will and Grace'? Muslim gay men are seeking fellow gay women to marry by placing ads. I dont know how much of this is hype and how much is true because the man upon which the article is based has not had a single peron respond with interest. But its thought provoking. Better to do this or better to be single? Marriage is not mandatory so why even enter into the farce? (Ok- I agree, the Will and Grace analogy breaks down considering Grace was straight, but you get my drift!)


Scorned wives, take comfort.... This woman got a pretty penny in a lawsuit where the judge agreed that the wife was bullied way too much by her mother in law. . There can be justice. But only those who seek to be proactive!







And scorned men? Get help! This most bizarre story of a doctor who did not want to give up his house in the divorce settlement decided to blow up the house and himself in the process. He emailed his wife shortly before the explosion that he would not leave the home alive and warning that she would be "transformed from gold digger to ash and rubbish digger." Um yeah, he showed her. I heard about Paul McCartney sending his wife a "legal letter" to return cleaning product she took from the house. Because you know, that can really add up. It's amazing how otherwise logical and intelligent people can be transformed so. Hate is a powerful, dangerous emotion.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Arranged Marriage 101***

When I was 10 I heard about a girl in our community arranged to be married. On her wedding day she was asked by the officiator if she would take him as her husband and before a hall filled with red and gold colored shalwar kamized aunties leaning in with concentration to take in the scene of inevitable gossip: she said no. I knew this girl. Tall and gangly with thick rimmed glasses in her periwinkle blue shalwar kamiz and long thick dark hair all the way down her back, tied, always. The story of our very own runaway bride circulated for months amongst my friends. We admired her for fleeing a life she did not want. In retrospect I'm not sure how much the retold story deviated from the perhaps less dramatic truth but she did not marry that man.

Many people equate arranged marriage to "an eastern thing". In some ways its true- but not completely. Arranged marriages happened the world over even in England and other western countries. Often they were between royalty to secure alliances and expand empires but they happened among ordinary people as well. I thought I'd share what I know/think on it. If you you can add or correct please share.

Forced arranged marriage: This is what many think arranged marriage is. Girl (or guy) absolutely unequivocably doesn't want to get married but are forced. This is not the norm. I know of a girl brought to her grandmother, gravely ill, as she requested her to marry a man she didn't want as her final wish. ("miraculously" grandma made a complete recovery after the wedding) I know of men forced into a marriage and after informing his bride of his apathy went back to his girlfriend. Its wrong and I'm glad that girls like the one I heard of at age ten resisted such a life.

Traditional arranged marriage: This is how most of my parent's generation married. The girl's parents get a proposal from a guy's family. The parents discuss and consider and then agree and inform the child of the wedding. The couple is fine with this and no one is forced. There is a great deal of trust the child places in their parent. Many do not even meet their spouse until the wedding day though perhaps a picture might be shared. I think this is a dwindling phenomenen at least in the US though I know a few who went back to the motherland and married sight unseen. From those I know the majority were fine with it though some felt pressured to please their parents.

Arranged Introduction. These can take different forms. Parents or friends introduce the couple and let them talk a via phone or email and maybe meet once or twice and then ask for a decision. Some such introductions are much more relaxed simply introducing and then leaving the couple to talk and hang out as much until they make a decision. There is not much pressure to marry. If the couple says no its a no. However when parents are involved in the process there will inevitably be some pressure as parents can't help but give their opinion and advice on the situation. I personally think arranged introductions are great. Its like a blind date but your parents might have set you up. Fine that might be a little weird but at least there is an understanding of why you are talking. You can also ask questions to each other such as perspectives on children, or finances without it seeming like you're eager for a comittment, because you both are clearly interested in a possibe committment. To me its not even an arranged marriage which is why I call it an arranged introduction since the choice is solely between the couple involved. I see this as the natural evolution of where "arranged marriage" is headed.

The Rationale. Many argue that parents know better. They have wisdom and want the best for their children whom they love incredibly. Who better to pick a spouse than someone who wants the best for them. They will be objective. They will look at things that those eager in love will overlook. Some also say that marriage is more than just about the couple. It involves the families uniting. It's about raising good children. Particullary if the couple will be in a joint family where the girl will live with his entire family perhaps the parents really are better at judging the situation and if the parents are a good match for their daughter to live with.

The Cons. Parents want what is best for you but does that mean they know what's best for you? I know parents who unwittingly paired their children with cheaters, abusers or otherwise incompatible people. I mean, most don't really talk in depth to the guy, they talk to the parents. Plus, who says parents can't be subjective in picking the spouse? They can get swayed by proposals from wealthy or prominent families. Plus what if despite the right credentials the "click factor" isn't there between the couple? This may not matter in societies where its understood marriage is not about flowers and chocolate and romance but a more practical arrangement. But if you live in today's increasingly global community its going to be hard to not want what you see around you. Furthermore if parents really know best then why do some allow bad marriages? Parents paralyzed by what others will think. I know one girl engaged to a man who turned out to have another wife secretly back in Pakistan. But the parents refused to break the engagement because the wedding cards had been sent out and the hall was booked. I know another girl who found out three months before her wedding that the guy had lied about serious things such as being ten years older than he had claimed, but her parents said that they did not have the heart to call his parents and end it! The objectivity factor to me is arguable.

Phew, long enough for you? I get asked this question a lot so I thought I'd break it down in one post to reference others to my view on the matter. *** Update: Take my views and keep in mind that I am born and raised here and thus my perspectives reflect this***

Monday, August 14, 2006

A random assortment of... stuff

This weekend was perfect. Relaxing, peaceful, filled with good food. Please note picture on left of our lovely concoted feast of bhindi (ala Chef Kashif), greek salad, and... corn (well, it was on sale) for Friday's meal (we are quite innovative and international when hungry). I had a great reunion with Rio friends, watched Season 5: Curb Your Enthusiasm (funniest season so far) and Inside Man. I still don't quite get the Indian song "Chaya Chaya" played in its entirety at the open and close of the film considering the song evokes images more of a girl in red lengha with gold bangles dancing in a rice field not exactly a sophisticated bank robbery in New York City. But what I really liked about this movie was a scene involving a Sikh hostage thrown out during the seige with a message around his neck. The cops dont know if he is a hostage or a robber and when they get a good look at the south asian man with a beard and turban one says as though it explains everythin "Oh, its an Arab" The movie gives light to the Sikh man's frustration over being profiled daily. Thanks Spike Lee for talking about a race issue not commonly adressed (unless it is being exploited) in Hollywood.

It's fitting that the weekend was good because today as I looked at my calender it hit me: School starts next MONDAY. This is the last week of guilt free pleasure reading and movie watching. I'll choose to be positive about it since its my final year of law school. I will be a third year and though its not the third year most third years' have since I will be taking a heavy load (six courses and working) it will be my last year. Yay. (Though i admit the nerd in me is a wee bit sad about the matter making my mother concerned as I look at PhD pamphlets wistfully)

This summer I was quite excited at the prospect of reading for fun and not with a frown and yellow highlighter. The excitement led to the purchase of books. Lots of them. Kashif soon began rolling his eyes as he saw another unfamiliar book perched on a counter or a couch. I'm the type of reader that doesn't read one book at a time. I have one book at my nightstand, the other on a coffee table, one in my gym bag, one in my work bag, one in my purse. I read them all at the same time. The result: I have yet to finish one! Thought I'd share some of the books in the queue and see if any of you have read them, if so please do share your opinion:

Short History of Nearly Everything: It really does a good job in attempting its goal. I wanted a book like this to refresh on the history of the world and maybe learn a thing or ... or three. What a great book. Who woud think a science book and "hilarious read" would ever find their way into the same sentence. There is a reason this book was a best seller. However since its over 600 pages, and on my nightstand which is when I'm ready to doze off I haven't gotten through much.

The Spiral Staircase: Its Karen Armstrong's autobiography and its in the gym bag for stair master days. I'm not a big autobiography fan since they're usually just dramatic renditions of what their life truly is. Karen's book is not that way. She wrote a book on the same period in her life years ago but felt it was not honest enough and this new version is to make up. She writes well. Its smooth graceful and intriguing. I can see a lot of myself in her doubts and frustrations. I'm excited to see how she resolves these issues.

Single Wife: (fiction) Husband disappears and wife pretends nothing is wrong. This is in the work bag for when I bring lunch and don't feel like perusing legal research. It was at a used book store for $1... so I couldn't not buy it right? I'm 40 pages into it but her writing bothers me. I fear my writing style is like hers and its getting in the way of the story which I'm sure is interesting...

Kaavya's Opal Metha book: I bought this a while ago when I learned her book was pulled due to the plagiarism. I still haven't read it but I paid a pretty penny so I need to.

History of Muslim Philosophy: This is still on the bookshelf. My parents have had this my entire life but its large and daunting. The text is online but I like reading things without the bright white screen. Anyone read this cover to cover with opinions?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Labels are for cans, not people.

This morning I got in my car, adjusted my rearview mirror, backed out my driveway and turned on the radio. What I heard froze me in place. I'm not sure the details but what kept reverberating like an echo in my mind were the words: airplane. red alert. somber voices amid static. The fear that lurks in my heart every day since September 11, 2001 stood at attention, white. ghostly. Relief washed over me once I learned that despite the close call, there was no attack. But still, the rest of the day has felt surreal as fear grips me, surrounding me, spilling over the brim.

Like the rest of the US I fear another terrorist attack but I also fear the blame I will take for it from my fellow Americans. I fear mass hysteria and mob mentality. I fear internment camps. Punishing me for the acts of others. Acts I DISAGREE WITH. Acts that frighten me too.

People from professors to friends have said that if Muslims are not speaking out in droves against terrorism than our silence equals complicity. There are over one billion Muslims in the world. Almost four times the size of the United States population. Most Americans don't feel the actions of a stranger in South Dakota or New York or even our next door neighbor speak for us, but as Muslims we must go out in throngs to disavow the actions of a stranger who happens to be one of 1.6 billion people who call themselves Muslim. David Koresh was Christian. The BTK killer went to Church faithfully. Should I assume Christians love the actions of these men because they did not make a public announcement ("We as Christians do not condone murder. We are peaceful as a faith. These people do not represent us")? Baraka wrote a fantastic post where she included a quote from Anne Frank's diary: " Oh it is very, very sad that for the umpteenth time, what one Christian does is his own responsibility; what one Jew does is thrown back at all Jews.'" Such is it now a days for Muslims.

September 11th affected my life profoundly. I read a punctuation book and see a snide remark calling Muslims terrorists, I turn on the television and someone is declaring all Muslims domestic and abroad untrustworthy and violent. On the radio this morning I was told I needed to be eliminated. What did September 11 do for me. It added more fear, more terror in my heart because now its politically correct and acceptable to hate me. To look at me and my brothers with suspicion as we order teriyaki subs from Subway. It makes me fearful of what could follow.

Maybe its just my turn. Many other groups followed this path before. There was a time when it was okay to say African Americans were less intelligent than others. There was a time when no one batted an eye when a sign on a store would say "Jews need not apply". There was a time that Bugs Bunny made fun of Japanese and the government sent them off to internment camps. Right now its okay to hate me, and people like me with a blanket label. It's okay to make fun and hurt and harass and call for our eradication. I try to remind myself its our time. Like in the past, one day people will learn you can't judge all Muslims by the acts of a few. Just not yet...

For the record, I am against violence. period. You call yourself Muslim, Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, WHATEVER I am against violence as a means to resolve issues. Call it cheesy, idealistic, unrealistic but I am for peace, and love and harmony and tolerance and patience and kindness. That is my stance.

I'm striving to learn more but I am not as knowledgable as I'd like to be, so I normally stay quiet. My intention in writing this is not to stir up controversy. If you're looking for an agressive debate it's unlikely I will respond. You may see this inability to respond as a weakness and flaw.. i won't deny it... but we all are flawed.. I'm striving to improve.. these are just my feelings on the matter.

"Often times I have hated in self-defense; if I were stronger I would not have used such a weapon.” Khalil Gibran

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Home is where the heart is....

Oprah did a special yesterday on homes. Many people have really pretty homes with gorgeous curtains and thick carpeting and large gold frames but sometimes there is not much reflecting the personality of those who inhabit them. Oprah's friend Nate said a home must reflect the soul of its inhabitants and you can have a personalized house on every price point. So I started thinking of my own home. The heart of my home is my family room and kitchen... I remember how bare and empty the house looked when we first laid eyes on it, and how it bloomed to life over time and in part thanks to thoughtful gifts from friends and family. All ye bearing thoughtful gifts know this: They mean a lot to us because they come from the heart and add a new dimension of warmth to our home. Thank you! (some thoughtful gifts arent displayed because they aren't used in the family room) Alhamdullilah its great to have you all in our lives (even though roughly 98% of you don't read this blog- oh vell) What makes your house a home?

If the slideshow seems in progress by the time you get to it you can hit refresh and it stars over. (Hmm.. this could be a meme... If you do it please share! :))


RockYou slideshow | View | Add Favorite

Monday, August 07, 2006

Divorce- the common desi denominator

Growing up I did not know a single divorced desi. I remember when the topic of marriage came up in one of my psychology classes I kept waiting for the professor to discuss the anamoly that was the desi marriage. We stayed together- forever! When he did not do so I, in self righteous vigor, approached him after class demanding to know why he did not discuss the longevity of desi marriages. Turned out he wasn't focused on the quantity (i.e. duration) of marriage but its quality.

If they made enduring a bad marriage an olympic sport a desi national would surely take home the gold each time. The discussion with the professor made me tune into the marriages of aunties around me. They spoke of staying together for the sake of the children. And then staying together because they knew nothing else. Of being cheated on and doing nothing. Of being abused and doing nothing. Of being ignored and unloved and doing nothing. What must it be like to spend an entire life with someone who will never be your confidante. Who will never be a soft place to fall.

But nowadays desis are not putting up with what they used to and divorcing at alarming rates. Some wave it away saying new couples have too many expectations and not enough tolerance. That they don't try hard enough. Interestingly those who divorce inevitably speak of one major problem in their marriage: inlaws. Mothers demanding too much from sons overwhelmed with too much guilt from the emotional blackmail to refuse them (after all my mamma raised me). She will berate the daughter in law, bring her to tears but the son will wringe his hands on what to do (after all his mamma raised him). The inlaws in many of the (now) divorced couples demand and do not expect "no" for answer. "Have children. Give us money. Do X, Y, or Z. Tell your wife to do X, Y, Z" The wife asks the husband to intervene to tell his parents this is not right to ask his parents to let them live their lives.... but he points out he can't! After all, his mamma raised him!

You should respect your mother. She did feed you as a child. bathe you as a baby. love you. Mothers are important but so are wives. Marriage is important. And you have to be rational enough to see when someone (even if its your mamma) is killing your marriage. Isn't the woman you agreed to marry going to be the mother of your children? Wouldn't you have appreciated it if your father stood up for your mother when you were growing up and respected her needs?

I know that the demise of all marriages are not always the inlaws fault. But its sad that the generation that probably endured the worst inlaw issues themselves are passing on the cycle in the way they treat their children's spouses. But unlike our parents generation who suffered through awful inlaws but felt they had no choice, our generation does have a choice. Sadly many sons/husbands feel the only choice they have is divorce. This is not true. To maintain the status quo leaves no one happy but changing it and finding joy does not mean you must leave your wife in the process.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The wedding bling thing....

K and I went out of town for a wedding this past weekend. It had been a long time since I attended a traditional lavish desi wedding and it was fun to break out the makeup, the sari, the jewlery. This particular desi wedding lasted five days (seven if you include the bridal shower and dholki parties). Most desi weddings last at least three days. First the mehndi where the bride gets henna applied and there's oodles of dancing and singing. The second day is normally the shaddi (wedding) and nikkah where the couple officially weds followed by a reception with cake and ring exchanges and speeches and dinner. Finally is the ruxati where the bride and groom are escorted by the guests to the limo and the bride hugs her parents and relatives and everyone gets very weepy (including me. I dont care if I dont even know you. A father tearing up and I am a big mushy mess of tears). The third day is the valima hosted by the groom's family. Its basically dinner and a party. We desis love to party.

So I'm sitting at this wedding...looking at the lavishness... the henna decorated cake and the mango kulfi and I comment in awe at the fancy schmancy factor and I learn that the bride had $100,000 to play with. Now if you've got the means to spend it: lucky ducky! (which I'm sure this girl did so this post is NOT a knock on her) But there is a concept at least in desi culture to "one up" the next person. This is probably not as bad in the United States but in Pakistan its a real problem that grew so out of control that the government had to step in and ban dinners. The "one upping" got so bad in Pakistan/India that people were leaving daughters unmarried rather than pay for their wedding. This is one of the unfortunate cultural reasons the birth of a daughter is not treated with as much joy as the birth of a son. The wedding and the "jahaiz" (an abonimable cultural practice where the girl's family offers up goods and money to the groom's family upon the wedding) can financially cripple parents who have no choice but to play along with the cultural ways in order to secure their daughter's place in society. Someone close to me once commented about an auntie I know with five little girls. Very casually she said "it wouldn't be so bad if one or two of them just died..." upon seeing my horrified expression she tried to justify her remark "Can you imagine how much the weddings will cost? Just one or two! Not all of them ofcourse..." Such is the way we women bring each other down.

I've seen parents refinance and double mortgage homes. Max out all their credit cards. Dip into retirement plans. For a four hour event. And to put salt to wounds that these dollars leave the divorce rate among the desi community is sky rocketing so high that some folks I know have not yet paid off weddings before divorces are finalizing.

Its a mixed bag. My wedding was certainly not cheap but I love the memories despite K's pointing out quite rightly how we could have spent the bling on a down payment or a nice snazzy BMW... What's your take? If you're married what kind of wedding did you have? Did you break the bank or stay in your means? Do you regret it or appreciate the way you did it? If you're not married what're your plans?