You can read the first parts to this story by clicking through the links to the next post in the series at the bottom of each post. Here is a link to the first installment:
This is the final piece of our lovely tale. Enjoy.
We were running late, as all weddings do. We were meeting the pastor and my host mom at Cerro Santa Lucia about 6 or 7 blocks away from the hotel. So we set out.
Israel had not seen me in my dress yet, so David set him up on a (beautiful) street corner and Israel got to see me as I walked around it. He was warned that I was coming by all the people. Yelling “congratulations” and honking at couples is quite normal in Santiago. We waited for a clear moment, I made my appearance, David and Sandra took some amazing pictures and then we crossed the street to walk to the hill. My dress will never be the same after crossing the dirty street, but it made for some fun pictures.
On our way there we were congratulated, hugged and given besos (standard chilean greeting) by absolute strangers. Cars honked and people stared. It was very fun and we felt like movie stars. Over the course of the day we realized that they might actually have thought we were some American celebrities since most Chilean weddings happen in churches and never outside. It was quite fun.
We made it to the park where we were greeted by the guards at the entrance to the park, I stepped back and let my non-spanish speaking relatives deal with them since we weren’t quite sure if they were going to try and stop us (since we had not reserved anything or called ahead). I would guess that generally they don’t let weddings happen there, but they let us through. I have no idea what was said, I stayed out of it just in case my knowledge of spanish would result in better understanding of limitations.
My hostmom was there, waving and smiling, though she pulled me aside and said she hadn’t seen the pastor yet and would I tell her what he looked like. We decided to just wait for him, we took some pictures and I worried a little since I hadn’t thought to bring the pastor’s phone number with me. I saw a girl my age who looked slightly familiar, but I wasn’t sure who she was so I didn’t approach her and we kept waiting. After half an hour we were getting slightly worried and David was at the point of writing down the marriage ceremony from memory and having one of my relatives read it (the advantages of being a wedding photographer),when the girl showed up with the pastor. There had been a misunderstanding and he had been waiting for an hour at a different part of the park and the girl was his daughter who he had brought to interpret for us and theoretically provide the service in English.
We were very glad to see him and set ourselves up in a pretty place.
My dad walked me up the ‘aisle’ and the ceremony began.
Pretty quickly we found out that the pastor’s daughter’s command of English was about the same as my command of Spanish. She could understand just about everything that was said to her, but was very shy about actually speaking. We immediately found it was easier for me to interpret since she was a very quiet girl. I’m sure she would have done fine, but my English came a little faster than hers for obvious reasons. I found it helpful to have her there however since she nodded her approval of my approximation each time I spoke. It worked surprisingly well however strange it might be for the bride to interpret her own wedding.
The ceremony was pretty standard, I don’t remember it very well. The vows were almost the same as the ones I have heard all my life and we were prompted to say yes at the appropriate times. Once I said “Sí” instead which was amusing to all and brought a laugh, but we made it through.
Near the end of the ceremony the pastor included a piece that very special to me. I had thought over and again how it would be nice if our family gathered around us, put their hands on us and prayed for us. This would have never happened spontaneously at the church I grew up in in Idaho, but apparently for this pastor it was a normal part of the wedding ceremony and I was extremely blessed by it. Our family gathered around us, put their hands on us and the pastor prayed us into our new life together. I know that although my family wasn’t given a moment to pray themselves that they were in agreement with what the pastor said and were praying the same for us in the quiet of their own hearts at that moment. It was a God moment. Only He could have caused that to happen.
We were pronounced married, we kissed, and walked up our imaginary aisle to the cheers and clapping of our loved ones.
We took family pictures, thanked the pastor and my host mom, visited a while before the majority decided to go to the hotel and find food, and then Israel, David, Sandra and I wandered the hill for a couple hours. Israel and I were the main characters of pictures and Sandra and David had a lovely time taking them. Every now and then a chilean would come up and ask to have their picture with us or to take our picture. It was a fun afternoon.
Eventually we had wandered the whole hill, eaten ice cream and were ready to go back to the rest of the family at the hotel where we cut the cake, had some sort of mango juice, looked at pictures, and finally notified the world (via facebook) that we had gotten married. The reaction was just as we had hoped :)
That evening we had a very fun dinner at a restaurant my mom had found online. It was entirely lovely to have at least part of both of our families in the same place, to chat and joke, and to share food and stories.
The day ended, we took taxis back to the hotel and Israel and I gathered our things to go to our hotel which was across the city in Las Condes. One little problem did happen as we had accidentally parked the car in a garage that closed at night and sundays. We didn’t worry about it too much at the time since we were tired and ready to relax. We just caught a cab across the city and checked into our beautiful hotel room at the Grand Hyatt. We would only be at that hotel one night as we had plane tickets to fly to Punta Arenas the next afternoon.
Our wedding was complete and our honeymoon had begun.