Sunday 11 December 2016

"We had three weddings for the price of one!"

Published 14/03/2011 | 05:00

East-meets-West lovebirds Élish Bul-Godley (39) and Gerry Godley (45), from Dublin, said 'I do' in 2005. Honouring their heritage, they had a three-day multicultural celebration for the same price most Irish couples pay for one.

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"I'm originally from Singapore of Indian and Indonesian descent and my husband's Irish. So we wanted to honour the traditions of both our families.

"Asian weddings usually run across three days -- the really good ones last a week! As we're both working in event management, Gerry and I asked our friends to contribute their talent rather than gifts -- and ended up getting everything from my make-up to a DJ and bellydancers for free.

"On the first day, there was a Mehndi afternoon for all the female guests -- a tradition where the women gather to give the bride advice on marriage while getting henna done.

"On the second day, we had a civil ceremony and Javanese lunch with 50 close family and friends. And on the third day, we had an Indonesian-themed party with trad Irish music for 300 people in the Fringe Festival Spiegeltent.

"According to tradition, the groom is supposed to bargain with the bride's family over the dowry before gaining entrance to the wedding. So as a joke, my uncles blocked Gerry from coming in and made him hand over his passport and €50 -- some of the Irish guests thought there was a row!

"I wore traditional Indian dress and we had both a Muslim imam and a Catholic priest bless us. Although we had quite a big budget of €20,000, we managed to squeeze every last cent out of it -- the total cost of the three days was the same as one evening reception in a five-star hotel for 150 people.

"Our three-day wedding helped both our families and cultures bond -- it was more than just 'our' big day."

Irish Independent

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