After I woke up from my nap Friday night, we went shoe shopping for the wedding that was on Saturday. After, we went to the President’s House. When you first walked in, the Flag of Ecuador is on display and everyone bows in respect. There was a tour guide showing us all of the rooms that were available for us to see. President Correa has another home that he usually stays in, but that night they were honoring a musician – my host sister, Anahí, saw him but I didn’t. (Better luck next time.)
I still didn’t feel too well, but we went to a coffee shop and WOW DID I FALL IN LOVE! It was so cute and comfy and the coffee was yummy. Plus, Anahí got hot chocolate that was made with dark chocolate and it was DELICIOUS. Around 3 or 4 in the morning, I heard the doorbell ring. Shortly after, I could hear voices I didn’t recognize and my host dad laughing. Turns out, family from Cuenca, 4-5 hours away, had arrived for the wedding.
Fast forward to Saturday (actual) morning, we had breakfast and then my host mom, sister, brother, aunt, uncle and (baby) cousin went to the market. There were a couple things they needed to get, but also my host mom and sister were getting their hair done for the wedding. The rest of us went to eat, managed to lose my host mom and sister and left without them! My host aunt and uncle are the Godparents of the bride which means they take the bride everywhere regarding the wedding. When my uncle cane back from getting his car washed, my brother’s phone was gone… needless to say, wedding days are stressful now matter what country you’re in.
The wedding was supposed to start at 3:30pm…so we picked up the bride at 3:45. After helping her with finishing touches, we were off to the ceremony by 4:10. Around 4:35 the actually ceremony starts. Ecuadorian weddings are both similar to and different from American weddings. Obviously, punctuality is one thing different.
Similarities to American Weddings:
- Mostly close family and some friends present
- Lots of flowers (Ecuador’s flowers are more beautiful, but when one of your largest exports is fresh flowers, I should’ve expected it)
- “Da da da da here comes the bride” song is played while the father of the bride walks her up the aisle
- Rings are exchanged
- Traditional Catholic mass with the homily being about the couple
- Babies cry/are passed around the family
- “In sickness and in health.. blah blah blah” vows are the same
- Throw rice at the newly wedded couple as they walk out of the church (semi-violently here)
- There’s a first dance (the one here reminded me of Cinderella because it was such fancy choreography)
- The bride wears a garter
- Everyone eats dinner
- Lots of dancing (in Ecuador, I mean LOTS)
- There’s cake (and marshmallows here)
- Drinking alcohol (but in Ecuador, the bride and groom pick a liquor and everyone drinks the same thing. In this case, whiskey waters….yeah, I had the one to toast the bridegroom and politely refused the rest!)
- In Ecuador, there is no rehearsal the night before
- Family and friends video and photograph the whole wedding, often getting up during the ceremony to get the perfect shot
- Only those who want communion get up to receive it. At this particular wedding, only about 6 people did and. by the time I realized the custom here, the priest already walked away. They also all receive the host in their mouth.
- The wife wears 4 garters, the first 3 are taken off by the husband and then 3 single girls and 3 single guys are chosen. They take turns dancing to impress each other and then the guy puts the garter on the girl.
- The final garter is white, and instead of throwing it to a crowd of single men, like in the US, the groom gives it to someone special with a small speech about how much this person means to him. The groom chose his mom.
- The Maid of Honor also wears a garter and a final guy is picked to impress her enough to have it, and then has to put it on a different girl. I ALMOST got picked for this, but thankfully I lost the game of guessing the brides favorite color.
- The bride doesn’t have a bouquet, so instead of throwing one, she had a plastic one pre-made and gave it to someone special as well. She gave it to her best friend, the maid of honor.
- Godparents of the bride have a HUGE role within the wedding and even sit at the head table with the couple during the reception.
A blown fuse cut the music for over an hour, but we ended the night strong with paper masks and ties, confetti cannons and showering the dance floor with flower petals.
Sunday morning was pretty rough for most of the family, but we spent the whole day together (extended family, too). We went to the farm (grandma and grandpas) for lunch, played a game where you throw coins and see who can get it closest to the line without going past and then played guys versus girls basketball (fun, but aggressive/slight dangerous in the rain). The girls won in a shootout when it started to downpour.
The weekend finished with Rummy and a family dinner out at a restaurant (delicious strawberry lemonade). I ate gatita which is a traditional Ecuadorian meal – if you look up how to make it, please don’t tell me until I get back, because right now I like it.
Anahí and I stayed up late to watch Pirates of the Caribbean because we didn’t have school Monday for “día de trabaja” – a day of work (I slept in, did laundry and worked on homework so I’ll take it).
In case you care, I still have water in my year from the weekend I went to the waterpark in Puyo.
Chao(this is the proper way to spell it down here – whoops)