Nia Vardalos's Dos and Don'ts for Throwing a "Big Fat Greek Wedding" of Your Own!
The writer and star of the highest-grossing romantic comedy ever and its new sequel, My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, shares details about her own big day, gives her top tips, and reveals what wedding traditions she loves—and the ones she doesn't.
Toula and the rest of the Portokalos family returned for more big, fat, Greek wedding fun in March. In honor of the sequel's DVD and Blu-ray release today, our Special Projects Editor Anthony Luscia sat down for a Facebook LIVE chat with the writer and star, Nia Vardalos.
We learned a few things, like some Greek cultures have a seafood feast that comes out at midnight, and that Vardalos says anyone can wear white because "virginity regrows." If she could hire any celebrity wedding singer, she would choose "Beyoncé, for sure-we would serve lemonade." Vardalos used to be a professional florist ("and if you ask nicely, I will do your wedding-especially if it's a gay wedding," she says).
She also shared her thoughts on a few wedding traditions and etiquette questions. Here, her top tips.
Don't: Drink before your ceremony.
While some may tell you to have a drink before walking down the aisle to calm your nerves, Vardalos disagrees. "I do think there should be an open bar, but I don't think you should drink before the ceremony."
Do: Realize that it takes a village.
Vardalos took time to credit her incredible returning cast and crew for their work in the film. "You can't do it all by yourself, and I don't do it all by myself," she says. "It takes a village to make a film, and it's the same way with a wedding." So when it comes to your own wedding, she says, don't be afraid to reach out and ask for help or delegate tasks to family and friends.
Don't: Leave anybody out.
For the bridal party, you don't want too many, but you also don't want any hurt feelings. "I think three bridesmaids is always lovely and then give other people a special job."
Do: Register for whatever you want!
While traditional in some ways (she wore her mom's wedding dress!), Vardalos isn't old-fashioned when it comes to the registry. In her opinion, anything goes! "There's no shame in having a honeymoon fund, because if you've been living together and already have your KitchenAid and your pillows from Pottery Barn, make a honeymoon fund and go somewhere fantastic!" Vardalos and her husband received checks and cash from relatives and were able to use it to put a down payment on a house.
Don't: Have a garter toss.
Solid "no" on this one. "Look, it's been against the bride's thigh all night, it's an intimate piece of lingerie, it's sweaty, it's soggy, and you're going to fling it into the audience?" Vardalos says. "What's next, why not just fling shrimp out there at people? How about a cocktail olive? I'm not into it." Not to mention that the tradition is a little outdated-as is the bouquet toss: "I've seen DJs say, 'Single ladies! You're single, you're single!' and the women are like, 'I'm happy. I'm not getting up to catch that bouquet.'"
Vardalos doesn't love distracting technology and hashtags at weddings. A nice alternative? "I do love the old school thing where they would give everybody disposable cameras and everybody takes pictures and puts them a basket and the bride and groom get to have those pictures. I think that's great. You will get a few of my cousins who will put that camera down their pants and take a picture, but just keep those photos for blackmail for later."
Don't: Invite children.
Say no to kids, she says. "I just think it should be an adult event. Even if you have a flower girl and ring bearer, just get them a nanny in the hotel room, put on Finding Dory-or My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2-and call it a night."
No matter what rom-com-level twists and turns come up on your day, Vardalos says to take it in stride. At her own wedding, in fact, "the flowers arrived and were not what I ordered, I got a big zit on my forehead, it was humid and I hairsprayed my hair and it shellacked into an Elvis helmet," she says. "Everything went wrong, and my mom has always raised me to just say 'That happened,' and moved on. I thought, 'I am not going to let this ruin my day,' and I just laughed through it all and ended up writing a movie about it. So you gotta just take it and go … It's just like a selfie. It's not going to be perfect. You have to accept that you don't get to take six snaps and put a filter on it. Our lives aren't perfect, and if we embrace that part of it, it's actually a more fun wedding, and it will be more fun if you're relaxed."
Watch the full interview here!
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