A Bolivian Wedding
This weekend I got to attend a Bolivian wedding. Two Bolivians (Jimmy and Christina) who work with SAM got married. It really wasn't a completely typical wedding, but there were some aspects that were very typical! Most Bolivian weddings take place at night - they start about 7 or 8pm and usually go until after midnight. This wedding was supposed to start at 10am on Sunday morning. Laura and I rode with Jeff and Beth Hause, who were participating in the ceremony so they had to be there by 9:30. We were the first to arrive...and the only guests for a long time. Finally, around 10:30, most of the guests had arrived and were starting to seat themselves at the tables. A very harried woman suddenly rushed around the room, setting numbers on the tables. Then she started going up to each guest and telling them which table to sit at. She had this huge list (there were over 200 guests) and you were supposed to tell her your name and she'd find what table you were at. I know, doesn't seem like the most efficient way to do things does it? (Joy, I can just picture you cringing and rolling your eyes). Laura and I were told we were supposed to be at table seven. We found tables five, six, eight, and nine, but no seven. Finally I found the number way across the room...on a table that also said number fifteen. The woman grabbed the seven and scurried over to a table marked "Familia de la novia" (Family of the Bride) and set it down. None of us were family (in fact we were almost all North Americans), but we sat down anyway.
The whole wedding was pretty much that way. The ceremony started at 11:30, and took place in a little garden behind the reception room. There wasn't room for the guests to stand in the garden, so we just stood and watched through the french doors.
After the ceremony we all sat around and waited some more while they went to take pictures (fortunately there was the novelty of a chocolate fountain to keep everyone entertained...until they ran out of plates. Then people used napkins, with rather disasterous results). Finally the bride and groom came back, and they started serving lunch (by now it was 1:30). Toward the end of lunch they started the special music, which included several songs and a dance number by an adorable ballerina. After the boquet toss (which I thankfully did not catch...who invented that crazy tradition anyway?) we passed out bubbles and lined the exit to send them off. This was a very non-Bolivian thing to do. Usually the newlyweds are the last to leave. However, Jimmy and Christina had a plane to catch that left at 4pm...and planes don't wait, even for newlyweds, even in Bolivia. I think it was 3pm by the time we sent them on their way...they still had to drive to the airport, and they hadn't changed clothes yet (hopefully they had their luggage with them).
It was a shame to rush through everything, but I don't think anyone really felt concerned except for Dana Wilson, who was trying to be the coordinator (Paul Kiensle started calling her"DayLo"). She did a great job...considering what she was up against.
Virginia, Laura, Dana W., Katie, and me
After the Hause's dropped me off I went into my room and slept for two hours. The experience was really fun over-all, but I think one Bolivian wedding is enough for me!