Destination wedding

by Barbara Lewis
Wedding
Wedding couple

The title has several connotations depending on how you say it but needless to say it involved a wedding and not just any wedding,the wedding of my only daughter. This was a much anticipated event; in fact she made a vow that if her husband had not asked her to marry him by the time she was thirty years old she was going to move on. Well that came and went and still we waited for another two years. When she had made that statement I truly believed her as she is a very determined young woman. They were together for six years before the blessed event and yes it was an actual destination wedding, so starts the tale. They lived together for six years and to be truthful there were points in time that I didn’t think they would marry at all because for them as a couple it didn’t seem like it was something they believed in and then we finally heard they were engaged with a ring to prove it. This ring she had chosen the stone and had it specially designed for her. It is very minimalistic and he has a Danish background so it has that kind of sparse design flare.

When I got engaged we never had an engagement party because we were very young when we got married and I don’t think it was done, so my husband and I wanted to throw an engagement party for my daughter and her fiancé. Unexpectedly, even though she was super busy, my daughter planned and executed the most beautiful detailed catered engagement party for approximately 25 -30 people in their home in Lion’s Bay, Canada. We flew in to attend it. We had to do nothing except minimally help with the final preparations and bring out two cases of wine that we had bought in Burgundy France in 2010 especially for an occasion like this. My daughter did an absolutely brilliant job of this event, so much so that the caterer asked if they were open to rent their home for other events. So next, the wedding and the couple quickly decided on a destination wedding in Oaxaca,Mexico. They had visited this area a few years previous and fell in love with it.

Lover

Oaxaca is one of the poorest parts of Mexico and at one time it was riddled with drug lords because these people could ply their trade and support the community. It has since been cleaned up but is still a very poor area of Mexico. They knew of a hacienda that hosted events outside the city and only the availability determined when it would take place, January 6th, 2019. From the time of the engagement party (we did not have venue confirmation yet) to the time of the wedding was about 10 weeks to plan. My daughter is a designer and very detail oriented. A destination wedding meant it was going to be a small mostly family affair, about the same size as the engagement party with a number of twists. Since we knew little about the area and were in Bangkok there was very little we could do from our end except pay. My daughter in her brilliance planned the wedding, reception dinner and flowers, arranged for cultural excursions, found places for people to stay, bought her wedding gown and completely had it reconstructed and did this in the allotted time in another language, which she did not know, Spanish and in another country.

Dancing

We left to go to Mexico on December 26th, 2018 and the time leading up to that was of course Christmas, which has its own stresses and joys but added to this was all the plans and payments that needed to be completed for the wedding. We definitely had the lag time of the holidays to contend with and that seemed to be more of an issue in Mexico than it did in Canada. Additionally we did not find out until we were down in Mexico that they consider this time holiday time, until about the middle of January and that all of the vendors put an additional tax of 30% on their goods, so of course this was parlayed on to our bill through the florist and caterer. Mexico also likes to use PayPal, which just is not something we use, for one thing because we live in Thailand and have our bank in Canada we can’t, plus we have never found it particularly successful or safe. You might have already gathered that making payments was not easy and did cause a great deal of stress. As is quite often the case a few personalities can be a major cause of strain and in a small destination wedding like ours when certain members of the group keep changing their mind about whether they want to participate in an excursion or not it completely changes the arrangements as it may reduce the group to half its size.

Cheers!

My daughter had made all the arrangements and when people complained whether it was directed at her or not she felt it, this upset her and it did me as well because she was upset. The wedding ceremony and reception were at the hacienda. The florist set up an arch of flowers where the bride and groom stood for the ceremony, which was officiated by his sister, reciting their plus we vows. Oaxaca is known for its Mezcal; a kind of alcohol made out of different agave plants. It is quite different than Tequila much stronger. It is normally drunk straight not in a cocktail but for the wedding my daughter wanted to only have Mezcal and beer (small beers called Coronitas) and some cocktails at the beginning of the evening made from Mezcal. We convinced her that we also needed wine for dinner and for those who can’t drink Mezcal. We had purchased the Mezcal from local artisan producers on our Mezcal tour a few days previous to the wedding.

two giant dancing puppets

After the ceremony a band started playing outside the hacienda and we gathered everyone to come outside to see what was going on. Two giant dancing puppet effigies of the bride and groom were dancing around. The band and the puppets danced into the hacienda and we all followed. The band stayed and played music while we danced with the puppets, bride and groom. The puppets were delightfully fun and they are a particular cultural practice of the people from Oaxaca. The reception dinner consisted of a number of Oaxacan different kinds of mole. They had the traditional cutting of the cake, in Oaxaca it is done with a sword. Later, at about 11pm, they stopped the dancing and a man came to trumpet in fireworks, another glorious Oaxacan tradition for weddings. The crowd danced and drank until 2am when we had buses take them back to where they were staying. For most of us this meant over an hour’s drive.
The late afternoon and evening of the wedding were absolutely magical. Just like the weather where it went from the heat of the afternoon to coolness of evening to the night chill. My daughter and her husband said it was everything that they dreamed it would be and forever etched their memories; in ours as well, not always easy but definitely worth it.

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