Saturday, October 31, 2009

The (Three year-old) Wedding Crasher

What’s a girl to do when it’s Halloween and you’re in a country that doesn’t celebrate this wonderful occasion to wear a costume? You dress up (in your fanciest three year-old dress) and crash a wedding.

We live a block away from a beautiful cathedral called Igreja Nossa Senohra de Lourdes. On the odd Friday or Saturday night when we are actually out past 7, there is often a wedding getting under way. This is like eye candy for Ginger. Ginger and I have spent a handful of evenings watching the goings-on from just outside the gate as the wedding party gathers. She is absolutely hypnotized by the full-length gowns in a rainbow of colors that the women wear and the pageantry of the bride exiting the car and having the wedding coordinator re-arrange her train.

So it’s Halloween. The closest the kids have come to celebrating is Ginger wearing butterfly wings and Bas a cape on the way to the library this morning. Throwing the kids a bone, we let them pick out a restaurant as a ‘treat’ for the evening. No surprise when they select McDonald’s for dinner. (The ironic thing about McD’s is that it is not cheap. In fact it is rather expensive here. The kids just want the cheap toy). On the way back, we walk by the cathedral and notice the goings-on. Ginger and I make a quick decision that we’ll go back to the apartment around the corner, throw on some nice clothes and watch the wedding from the inside this time.

We slip in a side door and grab a seat at the back of the church. I give Ginger whispered directions about what is happening and what to expect. We inch to the center of the empty aisle for a better view. She is riveted when the main doors open and the parade of people pass inches from her. There are at least fifteen couples who walk down the aisle before the doors close again as the bride arrives and has last-minute pictures taken in the entry-way. The doors open again, the music swells and Ginger is in love.

I keep asking if she is ready to leave. There’s lots of the priest droning on and not much to keep my attention. But not so for Ginger. She’s soaking it all in. The most entertaining thing for me was when one of the photographers, in a rush to get the vows captured, tripped over the bride’s very long trail. Her head yanked back, but amazingly, she kept her poise and the show went on.

Ave Maria played when the vows had been exchanged. I’m not Catholic but hearing this song made me appreciate the fact that my workmate at the University of Texas had the Elvis version at her wedding. A Portuguese version of “And the Way You Look Tonight” played while the bride and groom had pictures taken before walking back down the aisle. Ginger and I took this moment to investigate a group of young girls who were dressed like a bride and her bride’s maids hanging out at the back of the church. Too funny.

As we left the church, the bride and groom were getting in their car to head to the reception. On the way out, we passed another bride in another car waiting to get her wedding under way.

Oh, and just to give you some perspective, Brian spent the afternoon in a favela (shanty town) conducting interviews. And so our life goes.


  1. cool blog
    loved the personal touch in the writeup

  2. I loved hearing this story from you over skype, and so much fun to also read about it! Will share with Kayla and Carson...