An authentic Spanish wedding. Frankly, I couldn´t ask for a better cultural experience. And I would have never imagined in just 7 short months that I would become close enough with a group of friends (one of whom happened to be getting married soon) to be invited to the wedding. But, I got lucky, and my Spanish fairytale continues.
The wedding was set at 12:00 on Saturday, April 25, 2008. Roque Jesus, the groom, was already in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento at 11:30 waiting anxiously for the guests and the bride. Little by little, the guests also started to gather in anticipation of the arrival of Marie Carmen (the bride). Suddenly, to the sound of churchbells ringing and the honking of the bride´s car, Marie Carmen arrived. Everyone rushed to the car´s side, and Marie Carmen stepped out in an intricate lace wedding gown, with a veil measuring at least 12 feet. Once the guests got a glance of the bride, some ran quickly into the church, while others filed in behind the bride and her groom. The ceremony began. And continued. And they were pronounced husband and wife. As quickly as we had all entered the church, we all ran out. While the bride and groom, and their families were taking pictures, everyone prepared to throw rice. Marie Carmen and Roque finally came out of the church, and were showered with a curtain of rice.
From the church, the bride and groom went to a photo shoot while all of the guests went to various bars around town to mingle and have a quick drink before the reception began at 2 o´clock. Once at the reception, we enjoyed a variety of 15 different tapa-like hors D´oerves. At 3:30, the bride and groom arrived, and this time, were met by a curtain of confetti and balloons. We all entered the hotel reception room, and prepared for the meal of a century. The meal started with appetizers (as if we hadn´t eaten enough already) of Iberian ham and sausague, and an assortment of cheeses. This was follwed by a mixed salad. The salad was then followed by a plate of 10 shrimp (yes, you had to behead and peel the poor lil guys yourself). After the shrimp, we enjoyed a nice lemon sorbet (which was allegedly to help the digestion process and cleanse the palate). Then came the "first" plate, a typical Spanish stew consisting of broth, ham, and egg. The second plate was a fillet of lamb filled with ham and peppers in a mushroom sauce and fried potatoes. For dessert we enjoyed a typical Spanish cake. And to top it all off, we sipped on a hot cup of coffee (or tea). To my surprise, the bride and groom did not have a specific "wedding cake" nor did they partake in any ceremonial cutting (like a typical American reception). I was also surprised when the reception finished and no one had made a single toast [aside from various people shouting "VIVAN LOS NOVIOS" ("long live the bride and groom)] and the bride and groom themselves did not speak either.
After the meal, the open bar (admittedly the best part) began and continued for about 3 hours. Three short hours of drinking, singing, laughing, dancing, crying, and celebrating. When the open bar finally closed around midnight, we all left the hotel. You might be thinking that the party ended there. You are quite wrong. From the hotel reception, we ALL (bride and groom included) went to Avenida Espana (the main/only bar hopping street in Ubrique). From there, the party continued until 7:00 in the morning. Unfortunately for me, the festivities ended around 2:30, since I had to get up the next morning for a hike and climbing/rapelling adventure. So around 2:30, I slowly managed to find my way back to my flat, and I crashed until 8:00 am. What an adventure and what an experience! I have said it before, and I will say it again...The Spaniards (specifically these Andalucíans) know how to PaRTy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!