The message says: Happiness and newlyweds. It was requested-along with the flowers at the top.
The wedding celebration on Friday wasn't the complete 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. event that I had expected. The party didn't begin until 4 p.m. and I escaped by 10. I left feeling great about my integration into the family and community as during one of the hundreds of toasts that are traditionally offered during the party my host father thanked me for being here, mentioned my work and congratulated my marathon achievement. It was nice to be remembered.
Even though I was proud of my early escape the night before I woke up Saturday morning to a call from my school director requesting my presence at a wedding of her nephew. I hadn't ever met her nephew or the bride, but that didn't make any difference to my director who insisted that since I was her daughter and it was a family affair I should be in attendance. I grudgingly went out in the sleet and slush, comforted by the fact that I wouldn't need to choose anything to wear because it's so cold no one takes their coat off anymore.
My director's son was the best man and 'apple keeper' (below left). His job was to make sure that no one stole the apple off the top of the sword he carried around all day. I tested him with my gloves, proving that it could be stolen despite the hundreds of deathly-sharp toothpicks he stuck in the core.
The bride was from a different village, and traditionally after bringing the groom from his house the whole party moves to retrieve the bride from hers. We dressed the bride and then sat down to a meal (almost identical to the meal we would have two hours later at the groom's house) where the elders of both villages introduced one another. Much to my surprise, I was introduced to the bride and her family: "This is our village's American, she works with our director in the school." I was caught off-guard and honored by the introduction. I saw it as my opportunity to turn to the bride, thank her for the party (which I hadn't been invited to) and welcome her to our village. According to Armenian customs she will move into her husband's parents house and I was happy to say that the village she is coming to is fantastic.