I don’t talk to my cousins really as often as I should, but once day out of the blue my cousin Hugo sent me a message on Facebook asking if I would like to attend his wedding. It was kind of random to me, but not wanting to pass up an opportunity to visit my family I told him that I would be coming. Going to a Mexican wedding was kind of interesting to me. Being of both a different faith (the majority of my family is Catholic) an of a different ethnic background (I had never been to a wedding in Mexico), I knew things would be different. I have attended a few Mexican-American wedding receptions in California before, so I knew a little bit of some of the customs, but there was a lot of things that I didn’t understand.
Once very important thing of note in Mexico is the idea of social status. As far as social status goes in Mexico the Pedroza family is kind of a rarity. In that I mean that my family is middle class. In Mexico you don’t really see a middle class. Most of the time I usually see either very rich people (the kind that own a monopoly) or really poor people. My family doesn’t really fit into those categories. Big by even Mexican standards I have 15 aunts and uncles. They all went to college and they all have university degrees in their prospective fields of interest. All but three of them got married and needless to say their are a lot of cousins (last count I totalled over 40). Due to their educuational status they all do quite well for themselves, but all of them had to work at some point and even though some are now retired they all have to watch their spending.
I mention this as a background because I think in American society, although their are classes they are not so defined as they are in Mexico. Anyhow, that being said it was a very nice wedding. I asked my dad if it was typical and he said that it was. The wedding ceremony was held at the San Antonio Catholic Church in Aguas Calientes, Aguas Calientes, Mexico (if you look at a map of Mexico it is the very middle). A very imposing structure it was built by a self taught architect. On the outside it is has a single tower design. Inside the church is flanked by murals of the miracles of San Antonio (St. Anthony), a Portuguese Fransican monk who was known for being a good preacher. His church is very popular with those wanting to be married because it is said San Antonio helps people get together. My aunt said to be married in this church a reservation must be made at least a year in advance.
The ceremony was part dedicated to the marriage party and part of it was a regular mass. There were different talks about the question of love. A lot of times the congregation stood and sit down. Some things that I thought were different were that when the bridesmaids came in they all carried food and put it by the altar. My guess is that this was a kind of symbolic gesture to prosperity. I had seen this before but at the end of the ceremony the couple were bound together with a white rope (kind of self explanatory). Since the ceremony was being held in a major church, it was open to the public. It was a kind of a strange mixture of people dressed very well and others in street attire. Also, there were professional photographers their taking everyone’s picture. Right after the wedding they tried to sell us the pictures. We had plenty of our own pictures and therefore had no need to buy any.
About two hours after the wedding we went to a reception hall on the outskirts of the city and had a big party. My cousins had a very nice reception complete with a full dinner, wedding singers, and even a marachi band dressed all in white. The party started at about 8 pm and went until about 2 am the next day. Having traveled from California we only lasted until about 1am. The food was very good. The starter course was called Azteca soup. Kind of like tortilla soup, but with no chicken. The presentation was really interesting. First they gave us the bowl with avocado, tortilla strips, and spices. Then, they came by with big spoons and put in the broth. For the main course we had chicken cordon bleu with potatoes and vegetables. The cake pretty much looked like any other wedding cake I had ever seen. As far as entertainment went they had a wedding singer, a DJ, and a white marachi band. The music was of course mostly Spanish but it was sometimes funny when they started singing in English. I almost lost my composture when the wedding singer started to belt out New York. Most of the traditions like the garter toss, the boquet toss, and first dances were familiar to me. Some of the customs however were not customary to me. For example right before the boquet toss they had a kind of a conga line thing going where all the single females danced under the arms of the bride and groom. I took a video of it but I didn’t understand it.
Also while they were dancing they passed out really long baloons and everyone started to dance with them. Kind of strange, but it made everyone happy so I just went with the flow on it.
All in all it was a wonderful day. I wish the best for my cousin and hope him and his wife have a wonderful life together. I am grateful that I have such a great family. It was good seeing that side of the family again and indulge a bit into my Mexican heritage.