And now, Valeria’s rich, amazing, wedding graduate story continues… (And can we talk about the dress that she made herself, her amazing ceremony, and her heart bursting love for all of you?)
We had an imperfect wedding. Just like life.
And just like life, our “Two-week wedding celebration” was, at moments, beautiful in that the sky was so blue I was convinced I didn’t need anything for my something blue. Funny, in the imperfection – I spent quite some time doing my hair with some rollers and as soon I got in the golf cart that drove us from the room to the wedding location the wind messed it all up and the fresh flower I had put on it blew away after 10 minutes.
Sad, in that I never thought my dad wouldn’t be there and, although I truly believe his spirit was with us, my human mind still would have loved to see his smile when seeing my dress for the first time or to hold his hand while walking down the aisle.
And happy, for having the people we consider our own little circle of love with us that day. And because both of our families were spending two whole weeks together, getting to know each other in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and all while sipping margaritas.
It was a true celebration that joined our families’ traditions, the traditions of the place where we married, and other little things other things that represent who we are.
The day of the wedding went like a dream. All the guests and my husband arrived at a pretty gazebo at the beach while I was in my room getting ready. I did my own hair and make-up (imperfect but cheap, following my everyday look). My mum, sisters, baby nephew and brother in law picked me up, so we had a private moment to do a prayer in my dad’s memory.
I arrived to what I thought was the bluest of the skies and sea, and we had a civil wedding, a champagne toast after, and the photographer took some pictures. So far, so typical right? Then my new husband and I disappeared behind some trees and bushes while the guests were taken to an area right on the beach were they saw some smoke and some food laid out (cacao beans and corn). They thought we were going to have some kind of barbecue wedding reception, but what they saw was a Mayan shaman and the two of us appearing from the bushes, barefoot, while the shaman’s assistant was playing drums and singing.
And right there we had the most wonderful Mayan wedding blessing. It was all about the true meaning of marriage, the union of two people in communion with the Universe. Asking permission for that union from the four cardinal points at the beginning, with lots of incense, and symbols – like washing each other feet to reflect on our humility as husband and wife, tying on each other’s wrist a band made of flowers, inviting some members of the family to join us in a prayer, saying spontaneous vows to each other and finishing by throwing some of the flower petals as an offering to the sea. Amazing.
Our guests were so happy to have seen something so different and to also be able to understand a bit more of the culture of such a magnificent place like Mexico. And for us, it was the true meaning of our wedding. To be able to commit to each other, while standing at the beach, almost the same beach that brought us together for the first time, and having our closest people as witnesses of that. And to still have my dad’s presence somewhere around us, despite his physical absence.
We didn’t plan for a reception after dinner due to costs and the size of the group, so instead we spent the evening in one of the live music bars where the guests requested that the singer play a song for us . She called us on microphone to go in front of the stage and we danced right there, in front of tons of people we have never met and they all gave us a great round of applause at the end.
We wanted a nice wedding and a nice honeymoon and we got both for the same price. I didn’t want to spend crazy money on my dress, yet I poured my soul and every single hour I had after work for about two months in order to make myself a dress that reflected my style, my background and, although it was nerve racking at moments, I would do it again and again. And I would recommend it to anybody who is thinking about it. It’s easier than you think, especially because nobody would dare judge its construction or design or fit and instead they will be moved by your bravery at taking such a task on. Plus, you will end up with a great heirloom. All that for almost no money.
In terms of money and budget, yes, a destination wedding was cheaper than a wedding in any of our countries, and we were able to financially help some people that otherwise would have gone into debt to join us, or missed out altogether. And that money was the best money ever spent (I am the kind of person who compares the prices per liter or kg in the supermarket to save a penny or two and yet I would easily have saved and spent it again for something like that).
Yes, our wedding was imperfect. We planned it in the middle of the hardest moments that you can have as a daughter (or son). And we were tested as a couple. Experiencing loss and stress put a very clear perspective on weddings and life in general – when something like that happens, you worry less about minute details like napkins or color schemes or any other thing I could have stressed about before. What’s really important becomes clear.
If I could give anybody in their planning process a little tiny advice, I would say:
- It’s ok to have the wedding you and partner want. We definitely didn’t want a big production, and the minute we were clear about that everything else fell into place.
- It’s ok not to invite everybody you know. We didn’t. For us the wedding was meant to be intimate, with the people that have an everyday emotional involvement in our lives. That meant that, for example, some of my larger family didn’t find out until last minute or my coworkers didn’t know until I was back from Mexico.
- It’s ok to feel guilty about planning something so nice when other things in your life are not so nice. It’s ok to feel sad as well. And happy and sad as the same time. You are only being human. You are planning your wedding while your life still happens. And no matter how you may feel, you still deserve all the happiness of the world. You will see how the people who really care for you will be there to hold you through the tears and share the fun in the same measure.
- It’s ok not to have a dress three months before the wedding. It is only a dress. And it’s ok to have a bit of fun when you see the horror on peoples face when you tell them.
I hope you enjoyed this. I doubted whether to write or not, but it has been a wonderful way of remembering the wedding. So often, you ladies who post on APW have truly been my “ladies around the kitchen fire” and I felt it was important to share with you.
Lots of love for all of you, with admiration and respect, hugs and kisses.
Photos by: Arrecife Studios