Many times before leaving the island, we had been reminded by the groom that the civil ceremony was to take place at 10am sharp in the Municipal Building. I guess in his stress over everything, he forgot that we are Americans. We are always prompt and do not need constant reminding of where to be when. Since we were to be the witnesses for the Groom, I suppose he did not want to mess up and start out his married life by being yelled at!
Bear in mind now that they had already been to Izamal a few times and talked to the Justice of the Peace to arrange their marriage and all plans were set. Just read on.
But there was to be a change in plans. One of, it seemed, many. They had to take the last of their paperwork to the Justice of the Peace on Friday afternoon so that he could finish up preparing the paperwork and license for them. Imagine their dismay when he told them that they were getting married in the Yucatan, a different state from Quintana Roo, where we all live. As such, they had different requirements for the paperwork. More pointedly, for the blood work that needed to be done. It seems that he would not accept blood work results from the island and that they would have to go get blood drawn and analysed in Izamal before he would consider finishing the paperwork and marrying them.
And wouldn't you know it. He happened to know of a lab that was open late on Fridays and could rush their work. For a mere 1000 pesos ($84) more! We are talking about a couple of people here who are not rich. This represented a major financial set back to them in the wedding cost. No matter, it had to be done. But he was not quite finished with them yet.
He then announced that he really did not feel like working on Saturday, his normal day off. However, if they coughed up another 1400 pesos ($118), he would come to where the party was and marry them at 5pm sharp. Otherwise, he just couldn't see how he could work on his day off.
What a piece of lowlife. I will bet money that he has a kick back scheme with that lab also!
When the Groom told us all of this, he looked like he wanted to cry. I don't know where they came up with the extra money, but he did not ask us for any. I would have given it to him had he asked, but I was not going to offer it and act like the Rich Gringo.
So then he told us that his future sister-in-law would meet us at the hotel at 4:30pm sharp to lead us to the party location. Which she did.
And we were the first to arrive. Flowers were still be arranged, tables still being set and beer being delivered. No sign of the Bride or Groom. So we waited. And waited some more. Guests started arriving for the 5pm ceremony. And we waited. Finally the Justice of the Peace arrived at 5:30 and the Bride and Groom about ten minutes later.
Flashing forward a bit, I want to show the main table where presents and cake were set up. (I love cake!) As part of our wedding present, we paid for all of the flowers. At first I was a bit dismayed that the Bride had chosen to go with silk flowers instead of real ones. But then it dawned on me. The individual floral centerpieces from the tables are always given away by the Bride as keepsakes to guests. It would be stupid to give them fresh flowers as a keepsake. So in the end I was happy with her cleverness.
A close-up of the ceremonial cake. (I like cake) We didn't eat this one.
So the ceremony finally commenced. Since we were witnesses for the Groom, we got to sit right behind the happy couple. Well, actually, we got to stand through the whole thing while the Justice of the Peace read every line from every piece of legal document that he had. Really. Well, almost. It seemed like it anyway.
The Groom. Our best friend and sometimes surrogate son. I almost cried, I was so happy for him. And I really, really like the girl he married.
Me putting my signature to the legal documents. It took quite awhile to sign all of those papers. Six people had to sign. I could not look the man in the face. I was so disgusted by him and his maneuvers from the day before.
The happy couple.
The party was not a fancy affair at all. There were around 80 guests. The food had been prepared all day by the aunts of the Bride. And was it ever good! Pork leg (which is a fancy cut here), rice and potato salad. They were quite proud of the potato salad. It is only prepared for special events.
Much celebrating and dancing with a live DJ ensued. I didn't drink all that much but managed to have a good time. In the picture below, two friends from the island who were there, were teaching me slang (and possible filthy, dirty, vile) phrases in Spanish. I would repeat them and the whole table would howl in laughter. Thankfully, today I do not remember a single one of them!
All in all, it was an event that I will long remember and cherish. Made all the more special because our good friend included us in the wedding party. I feel honored and special to have been a part of it.