Cutting the cake with a sword. Jenny Jimenez

Upon my arrival at Adam Swan and Karam Yousef's wedding, I handed the groom—who happens to be the keyboardist of Truckasauras—a wicker basket of wedding gifts, including a bottle of lavender liqueur and a book of Dale Chihuly postcards. He was so excited to show me the majestic three-foot-high wedding cake that he didn't even look in the basket. The cake was covered in purple and gold swirls of frosting and topped with plastic bobbleheads of Adam and Karam.

The Georgetown Ballroom is all brick and shiny hardwood floors, like a high-end speakeasy, glowing with paper lanterns and industrial relics from the International District. While admiring a vintage jukebox, I saw my reflection and realized my neck was covered in bicycle-chain grease. I dashed to the bathroom to clean it off, got a beer, and went out to the courtyard.

Guests talked and drank under luminous strands of lights, as a troupe of little girls in matching green dresses ran among their legs. The sky was just dark enough for a crescent moon to be visible above flowering trees and the sheet-metal roof of a neighboring warehouse. As the sun went down, everyone gathered in the ballroom, where a fez-wearing Palestinian band played under a white tulle arch and a giant neon sign that said "Jolly Roger."

The ceremony was a lovely mixture of traditions. Karam emerged from a room above the ballroom with an entourage of tambourine players and the girls in green dresses, who were now carrying wedding rings. When she reached Adam, who seemed dazed with excitement, she yelled, "Woooo!" inspiring cheers from the guests. An Episcopalian priest performed the wedding ceremony, and the bride's uncle said a Muslim prayer for Karam's father, who had passed away.

After the ceremony, everyone moved to the dining room to eat eggplant Parmesan under a glowing Chinese dragon head. I talked with Adam's cousin, who is on the football team at UW, and Karam showed me the decorations on her hands from a prewedding henna party. Finally, the swirly gold-and-purple bobblehead cake was served in the most appropriate manner: by the bride and groom, with a sword. recommended

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