This Is What Casual Racism in the Wedding Industry Looks Like

I’m Mexcellent, and then some

Photo of a caketopper of a wedding couple in a car

When it all started, I was email dating a few different wedding coordinators to see who “got” the vibe my fiancé and I were trying to go for with our wedding. It was shaping up to be “Game of Thrones meets Jane Austen,” full of winter coziness and old time cuteness. Like the Internet-loving girl I am, I’d share my wedding Pinterest boards with some of the coordinators I was talking to so they could visualize all the pinecone visions dancing in my head. Oh, but there was one bit I forgot to mention: I’m Mexican.

The Planner’s Email

So how does that factor into anything? Well, I’m not really sure. I’m a Mexican girl marrying the cutest Swiss-German-Nicaraguan you ever laid your eyes on and we’re having a Catholic wedding with a full Mass wherein about fifty percent of the guests will be (you guessed it) Mexican. But it ends there. Or so I thought. As I opened emails from different coordinators and relished the fact that I had an opportunity to spout on and on about “my vision,” I happened across one from a planner that was full of links and pictures of what she said was perfect for me.

Here’s what it was: maracas, pink and orange and yellow papel picado, cacti and succulents everywhere, and teeny tiny tequila bottles as favors. In short, what a wedding between Chiquita Banana and Frito Bandito would probably look like.

A Spiral Of Self Doubt

I was confused. Where in all the autumnal wintery glory of my wedding board did I convey my desire to have the most Mexican wedding north of the Rio Grande? But that wasn’t all. I began to wonder if there was some sort unwritten rule relegating me to the category of Latinos Only weddings. Conversely, was there something wrong with me not having more Mexicanity in my wedding? Was I subconsciously ashamed of my heritage? What does it mean when a Mexican girl doesn’t necessarily want the big, fat, Mexican wedding?

This bizarre email exchange sent me into a mini identity crisis. I quickly went from, “Why does she think I need to be so Mexican?” into, “Crap, why don’t I have more Mexican things?!” and my fiancé became the one looking on with furrowed eyebrows as I freaked out beside him.

Turns Out, The Problem Wasn’t Me

After being told to calm down multiple times, my ever wise boo reminded me that heritage isn’t something that I need to validate or justify. It is in me, in the ways I can see and the ways I can’t, and has helped mold me into the person I am today. There’s no way to be any more Mexican or less Mexican than what I already am. Even though this particular wedding planner seemed to see me as the walking, talking embodiment of Cinco de Mayo, there’s actually more to being Mexican than covering my wedding head-to-toe in churros and carne asada.

He was right (per usual) and the brain shit storm that was raging inside me finally subsided. I realized that I can’t be forced into having the wedding some people may think I need to have because I’m Mexican, nor should I tell myself that anything short of a balls-out Mexican fiesta is somehow negating my cultural pride.

No, we’re not having a mariachi. Yes, our first dance will be to a traditional bolero. No, my groom will not be dressed as a charro. Yes, we will be having a lasso and arras at our ceremony. Hello, I’m Massiel. I’m Mexcellent, and then some.

This post originally Ran on APW in June 2014.

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