My Top 5 In-No-Particular-Order Wedding Rom-Coms

This Friday Bites has nothing to do with food, but everything to do with what is currently occupying all my energy these days: weddings. By the time you read this, I will be in Vegas, bachelorette partying in a pool that is also a shark tank (?!) with my very best friends in the whole universe. I'll be a little over 24 hours away from marrying the love of my life, after being together for 9+ years. (WHAT?!) It's an exciting time, and it's also one that's full of details, timelines, obsessing over things like wedding veils, travel steamers, and my "dream" nails.

In the middle of all of the wedding planning I’ve been doing over the past couple weeks, one of my besties texted me to ask what my favorite wedding rom-coms were. I haven’t consciously been keeping a mental list of my favorite wedding rom-coms, but with ZERO hesitation, I listed off my top 5.

And so, the inspiration for this non-traditional edition of Friday Bites: my favorite wedding rom-coms, in no particular order.

27 Dresses

I realize that by putting 27 Dresses as the first in this no-particular-order list, I may lose a lot of you, and I don’t care. I love this movie. Katherine Heigl plays a woman who has been a bridesmaid an obscene amount of times (27 times, to be exact) and unironically loves weddings. James Marsden plays a cranky, cynical journalist who is stuck writing up fancy wedding announcements for a national newspaper. Can you even imagine the shenanigans these two get into?

Sure, this one is full of un-feminist tropes: the woman who spends her life caring for others and always putting herself last, and she isn’t bitter about it (mostly). The curmudgeonly dude who doesn’t believe in marriage, blah blah blah. Intellectually, I know it’s all wrong and silly and stupid. But goddammit, when Judy Greer’s character slaps Katherine Heigl in the face after Katherine whispers after her dreamboat boss (played by Ed Burns), “I love you, too,” it makes me laugh every time. And the “Bennie and the Jets” scene? Forget it. Have fun with your eye-rolling, I’m going to be over here singing about electric boobs with Katherine and James.

The Wedding Date

This one…this one is pretty terrible, I’ll admit it. Debra Messing plays a woman who hires a male escort as her date to her sister’s wedding and help her brave a minefield of ex-boyfriend sightings and fucked up family dynamics. Dermot Mulroney plays the male escort, who’s full of charm (obviously), wisdom, and romantic one-liners.

I don’t know what it is about this movie that technically makes it fall flat or why I continue to love it so much in spite of that. I just want Debra Messing’s character to blossom and be her best self. I want her to admit her love of Air Supply and belt out “All Out Of Love.” I want to believe in the chemistry between Debra and Dermot. I want to believe the dreamy one-liners. This one misses the mark in a lot of ways, but I kind of don’t care. I love Debra and I love Dermot, and this movie has enough funny moments to keep it as one of my fave rom-coms.

My Best Friend’s Wedding

If you haven’t already watched this movie by now, I can’t help you.

Just kidding. But honestly, this one is so good.

Julia Roberts plays a food critic (a-HA! There IS food in this edition of Friday Bites after all!) whose best friend, Dermot Mulroney, is a handsome sports writer. A million years ago, they made a pact to marry each other if they hadn’t found love by a certain age. On Julia Roberts’ pact birthday, Dermot tells her that he’s found the love of his life and they’re getting married. Julia realizes she loves Dermot, and the rest of the movie is dedicated to Julia plotting to destroy her best friend’s relationship. This movie has everything: Karaoke! Plotting and scheming! Devastating good looks! A gay best friend! Julia Roberts’ laugh! A bread truck car chase scene! Slow dancing! Etc.

This was one of the first rom-coms I loved and watched over and over again, and I’m not sorry about it. It’s also one of the few rom-coms whose characters (and audience!) don’t always get the ending they want, but the one they need. I’ve always loved that about this one. And also, this was the world’s introduction to Dermot Mulroney, and I don’t think the world was ever the same. Am I right? I’m totally right.

Wedding Crashers

This might be surprising, but it’s hard for me to pass up a Vince Vaughn movie. Swingers? Love it. Four Christmases? I might hesitate, but I’ll watch it. (I actually don’t remember this movie all that much, if I’m being honest.) The Break-Up? One of my favorite movies EVER. Wedding Crashers? I will say YES to this movie every time.

Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson play two D.C. lawyers who spend their free time crashing weddings and sleeping with women. One weekend, they crash the holy grail of weddings (a politician’s family!) someone falls in love, Will Ferrell makes an appearance, Vince Vaughn is Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson is charming, Bradley Cooper plays a convincing DUDE, Rachel Adams plays sweet and uncertain really well, some questionable things are said and done, etc.

It’s a rom-com with enough silliness and raunchiness for the dudes (I say ‘dudes’ as a non-gender-specific aesthetic. I hope you know what I mean) among us, and enough sweetness and romance for the sensitive hearts. I have a little bit of both in me, and Wedding Crashers strikes the balance. It definitely has its problems, but whenever I just need to have a good, ridiculous laugh, Wedding Crashers is it.

Bend It Like Beckham

So, technically, Bend it Like Beckham is not a wedding movie. But it has a wedding IN it, and that’s good enough for me.

Parminder Nagra plays an Indian girl in Britain who idolizes David Beckham and dreams about playing football (or “soccer” for all the ‘mericans reading this) professionally. The dream begins to come true when she meets Kiera Knightly, who invites her to try out for a girls’ team coached by Jonathan Rhys Meyers. She makes the team, but has to walk a tightrope between her obligations to family, their expectations for her future, and her own goals and dreams.

I fucking. love. this. movie. I loved this movie when it first came out because it starred Indian women, and even though my own culture and theirs are vastly different, it still felt like I saw myself on the screen. A fellow brown girl trying to live up to her family’s expectations but wanting to pursue a path that might disappoint them. Growing up in a culture where family bonds and obligations are strong and inescapable. And crushing on a white guy who kind of doesn’t get it, but kind of does, and is cute, so why not?

Honestly, the story of my life.


Last but certainly not least.

Kristen Wiig, a failed baker (a-HA! More food!), plays best friend and maid of honor to Maya Rudolph, who just got engaged. The whole movie is the most hilarious shenanigans: Kristen Wiig’s character is honestly all of us, as she tries to do all the things a maid of honor does, but keeps getting outshined by Rose Byrne’s character, a snooty rich woman who is clearly competing for the title of best friend and maid of honor.

This movie is everything: it’s about best friends, it’s about making new friends. It’s about dancing to your favorite ‘90s jams with your bestie whenever and wherever. It’s a cautionary tale about eating rare meat and then getting horrific diarrhea in a fancy bridal shop after. It’s about how well Jon Hamm plays a douchebag. It’s about finding your footing and direction when you’re feeling uncertain about your place in the world. It’s about knowing the exact ratios of ingredients to make exactly ONE cupcake. It’s about finding your voice and being confident in it. It’s about breaking old patterns and receiving the love that the world brings to you.


WELL! I’m getting married tomorrow, and then I’m going off the grid for a bit, so no Friday Bites next week. I’ll be back the week after, and I will talk about all the food I ate (what if I dedicated a whole post to my wedding cake?! or the second reception we're having in my hometown?! or our reception meal?!), and I'll talk all about what's coming next.

2017 : The Year of No Intention

On New Year’s Eve, two years and six days ago, M asked me to take a walk in subzero temperatures. The sun was shining, and that feels rare in an Indiana winter, so I said, Sure, why not? We went downtown and stopped at a coffee shop we never go to (and haven’t gone to together since) and bought warm beverages. From there, we wandered onto campus and found ourselves at the Rose Well House, a gazebo where M and I had lunch together for the first time. 

M started talking about the history of the gazebo, the legend about it, how it came to be, and what it was made out of. It was all very interesting, but I wondered why he knew all of this and why he was telling me now. 

I knew it was going to happen about 10 seconds before it actually happened. It feels like it happened in slow motion, but I’m sure it was only a few seconds. 

Standing in that gazebo, with both the sun and the moon visible in the sky at the same time, M asked me to marry him. 

I was surprised. In shock. Freezing. 

And I reacted the way most people do in those videos of proposals: I gasped, covered my mouth, and cried, even though it was far too cold for me to cry as many happy tears as I wanted to. 

And I said, yes. Of course. 

A few minutes later, the campus clock began chiming the hour.  

It couldn’t have been a more perfect moment for the two of us. 


Even before this moment, New Year’s Eve has always been my favorite holiday. I’m good at celebrating a new year. I’m good at dancing all night, I’m good at counting down, I’m good at drinking champagne. I’m good at cooling my face on the bathroom floor on New Year’s Day. 

More recently, I’ve been good at eating well and hydrating so I can wake up sans hangover on New Year’s Day.

I’ve been good at knowing what I want to work on for the coming 12 months. I’m good at setting intentions, and I’m good at working hard at them and being kind to myself when I fail (usually). 

This year, though, I haven't been able to come up with one or two words to set my intentions for the coming year. I’ve tried to sit down and write out what I want for myself and out of myself, and my body resists it. I feel like I’d rather crawl out of my own skin than write down what I want in 2017. 


I love New Year’s rituals. My mom does, too. She’s collected so many over the years, both from Filipino culture and others. On New Year’s Eve, when the clock strikes midnight, she opens the front and back doors to let out the old energy, and lights candles at both open doors. She fills her pockets with silver dollars and walks around the house, throwing silver dollars around the perimeter. On January 1st, she doesn’t leave the house (unless it’s to go to church), she wears as much polka dots as possible, keeps those silver dollars in her pockets, and makes black-eyed pea stew. Her new tradition is to eat 1 round fruit a day for the first 13 days of the year. 


When M and I started telling people we were engaged, the responses varied so widely. Everyone wanted to know when the wedding was. Our joke was, “Oh, we don’t know. One, one-and-a-half, two, two-and-a-half years from now?” To each other, we said, "Isn't it enough that we finally made this commitment to each other? Why do we have to rush this?"

When people started asking questions about dates, the ceremony, dresses, bridal parties, I started to realize how uncomfortable I felt with the whole thing. I wasn’t uncomfortable with my commitment to M — far from it. In those early days of our engagement, it felt like we were in this cozy, private bubble that no one and nothing could enter. The world was what we made it, and we were making it our home. 

What was making me feel claustrophobic and uncomfortable was all the tradition around weddings and gender roles and marriage. When I looked at wedding dresses on Pinterest, I started clenching my jaw and felt a rage cry bubble up in my chest. All the dresses looked the same, they cost so much money, and I just hated them. All of them. When it came to the ceremony, there were so many options, and so many of them were patriarchal nonsense or cheesy or creepy or not reflective of who M and I are. 

I could go on and on about everything that overwhelmed me when I started to think about planning a wedding. I don’t know about M, but for me, it felt like there are so many expectations on every aspect — the wedding itself and how we should do it, and where we should do it, who we should invite, picking the right color scheme. And then even more expectations and projections on who we’re going to be as a married couple — the old “You’ll see when you have kids” routine, the “You think you don’t want kids now, but you’ll change your mind” routine, the old “Is the old lady being a ball and chain?” routine. And on and on and on. 


When I sit down to map out my intentions for 2017, I am overwhelmed by uncertainty. It feels like I’ve just been washed up on the shore after being sucked under by a wave and tumbled around violently. It feels like I finally have the ground under me, and I finally know which way is up, but I don’t know where I am and I don’t know what to do from here. 

And god dammit, shouldn’t it feel that way? It should fucking feel that way. 2016 was a real shit show of a year, but the past three years for me have been full of life-razing moments. In the past three years, one of my parents came out as a trans woman, M and I got engaged, I fell into a new career path, I had the privilege of being accepted and able to attend the VONA/Voices writing workshop in Miami and the Pink Door Women’s Writing Retreat, and my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. 

And that’s not even mentioning all the other things happening in the world to marginalized folks that always weigh heavy in my mind and heart. Police brutality against Black folks with no repercussions, mass shootings, stripping away reproductive rights and access, the Dakota Access Pipeline, the weight of daily microagressions, and and and. As I'm writing this, I'm thinking of all the things I'm not mentioning here. It's too much to write out all in one place. 

The results of this election were the thing that finally broke me. 


Since the election. I’ve been trying to figure out how to look into the future and still be able to get out of bed in the morning. 

There is so much uncertainty that lies ahead. I don’t know what the world will look like. I don’t know what will actually happen. I know what I’m afraid will happen, but I have (some) hope that it won’t turn out that way. For once, I truly have no idea what lies ahead. Sincerely. 

And it’s terrifying. Because it’s hard not to know what you’ll run into in the dark. 


M and I still haven’t gotten married. But we’re close. We’re getting there. I think we’re finally ready to do this thing, and do it our way. 


In times of uncertainty — in times of possibility — we turn to ritual to maximize the potential and luck of what will come next. All those new year’s rituals might not have any influence on the future. But who's to say that they won't? 

Coming up with intentions for the new year has been my ritual. And this year, 2017, I’m not going to do it. I can’t. My body won't let me. I have to leave everything I know behind. All the old tricks that worked in the past just ain’t gonna cut it anymore. It’s time to clear away all the old shit, all the old equations. 

This is a time to be radical. To uproot everything that I know. This is a time for revolution. In society, yes, but also in the self. 

It’s time to do something new. To make something new. To be new. 


So I won’t set intentions for the year. What I will do? I’m going to marry my guy. I’m going to keep writing. I'm going to write 52 essays in 2017 (this is the first). I’m going to be active. I’m going to care for myself. I'm going to follow my heart, my intuition, and my gut. And I’m going to see who I become and where it all goes.