One Wedding Happened in Bali

GABRIELLE: It’s 3 a.m. and I can’t sleep. Other than my swelling breast size nothing seems to be going right. It’s two months until my wedding day and I haven’t purchased the invitations. My friend Jessica’s getting married in 2007 and she’s already planned her wedding down to the last petit four. I rationalize that she’s not with child, battling hormonal psychosis coupled with morning sickness. But the truth is I’ve never been a planner. I enjoy the adventure of the unexpected.

Right after September 11th, I booked a ticket to Bali and flew out the next day. For years the lush rice patties called to me but I had no serious boyfriend to travel with. My father, trying to dissuade me, would cut out articles about Bali being a destination for honeymooners. “Deah,” he would say, “I would go to Bali, but with your husband.”

“Dad,” I would answer impatiently, “I don’t even have a boyfriend.” I wasn’t really angry at him, so much as I was mad that I didn’t have someone to love.

My mother would optimistically chime in, “They eat people there. Like that boy, what’s his name… who was eaten by that tribe…”

Ignoring the State Department’s warning banning Americans from travel to Indonesia, off to Bali I went, the only American on a plane peppered with turbans, crying babies and non-deodorized arm pits.

In Bali I indulged in red silk sarongs, corn-rowed my hair and bought a silver and coral ring for a dollar from a street vendor. I was staying at an exquisitely languid hotel surrounded by abundant greenery and cascading waterfalls, sleeping in a white canopy bed strewn with rose petals. One evening, as I watched an orange sun being swallowed by mountains, I took my coral ring from its pouch, placed it on my left hand and married myself.

Now it’s two months until my ‘real’ wedding day. As I lie in bed, I calculate the cost of the deposits on the vineyard, the caterer and the band, and I wonder if it’s not too late to elope.