04:52 PM: Magical Glimpses of Weddings Around the World
I promised you more tidbits and sightings of weddings around the world. Since I’m a wedding planner, friends share everything wedding with me. I really like this part of my job! I’m always interested in something novel that I might incorporate into a wedding sometime in the future.
One friend was telling me of some weddings she saw while traveling. Here’s her report.
“I was ambling through some narrow streets in Madrid. Across the street I heard voices, a small commotion, heavy doors opening. I watched the doors and there appeared to be only darkness inside. All of a sudden in the doorway was a newly wedded couple. I was caught off-guard and my throat caught with emotion. I was mentally unprepared to see the first moments of a couple’s married life. Churches in Spain can be tucked between other buildings and can be fairly inconspicuous. I stood and watched, as if hypnotized. The rest of the wedding party and the guests poured out of this little parish church and overflowed into the street. Loud, happy, friendly chatter began to fill the street. It was such a narrow street that I began to feel as though I were in this wedding. I wanted to see everything I could. I wanted to catch all of the details of her bridal outfit. She wore a voluminous wedding gown and, on her head a peineta (a tall comb) holding up a white lace mantilla. As I watched, smiling, I caught the bride’s eye. Tears of emotion spilled onto my cheeks. I put my hand to my heart to share my feelings with the bride. She smiled back at me. The entire wedding party began to walk down the street. No stretch limo here, where life is lived more in public, more in the streets and in the plazas, and people walk—on purpose! I wouldn’t have gotten my few minutes of sharing in this wedding—even though I wasn’t formally invited—if not for the cultural setting in Spain.”
Big Island of Hawai‘i
“I escape to the Big Island of Hawai‘i to find peace and calm. Over the years I’ve found myself adopting the custom of going down to the beach to watch the ocean as the day ends. I wandered down to one of my usual spots. I saw a pathway outlined with stones from the beach. Did some keiki (children) make this for fun? From a small parking lot nearby I heard cars arriving, seemingly all at once. Then I got it. The women were dressed alike. They had to be bridesmaids. Was this after a wedding? Were they all coming down to watch the sunset? More and more bridesmaids arrived, really a lot of bridesmaids, as well as men in matching aloha shirts. It was a really big wedding party by my California West Coast standards. I was still standing around when I saw the bride in a wedding gown and her father emerging through a gate and heading toward the stone pathway. I saw the minister walking behind the couple. Yikes! This was a wedding about to happen. This time I wasn’t on the sidelines catching a glimpse of a wedding. I was about to be standing right in the middle of this wedding! I scurried away as fast as I could, heading up a path that winds around a tiny mountain across from the beach. I walked and thought. I’d seen plenty of posh weddings of couples from the mainland having their Hawai‘ian wedding on the beaches in front of upscale hotel resorts on another side of the island. I hadn’t known that some Hawai‘ians also chose to marry on the beach. I felt rather stupid! A public black sand beach, hand made wedding attire in mainland style, a bride and groom, minister and wedding party had all seemed to appear out of the ocean spray. If I hadn’t learned about the Hawai‘ian custom of heading to the beach at sunset to pause and reflect, to take in the magnificence of the great Pacific Ocean, I wouldn’t have had the chance to catch glimpses of this wedding. In contrast to the wedding I happened upon in Spain, where my presence seemed welcome, here in Hawai‘i I knew that this wedding was private.”
How different our wedding customs are around the world. If you’ve observed weddings while away from home, please leave a comment! I’d love to hear about it.
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