Sunday, August 11, 2013

Ecuadorian Weddings


Since coming to Ecuador, I have attended three Christian weddings. The biggest differences I have noticed compared to American weddings are: way longer, way more food, and way more talking. In the following section I will explain the beauty and mystery of Ecuadorian weddings.

THE CEREMONY
The basic style of weddings here is the same, just extended (typically they last 2-3 hours). The bride wears a white Western-style dress, and the groom a suit. 


There are bridesmaids and groomsmen, decorations, processional, and a reception afterward. 


However, there are also some noteworthy distinctions:
Instead of a flower girl, in Christian weddings here there is usually a young child who carries in the Bible, as well as a boy and girl who together bring in the rings. 

Sometimes, instead of throwing birdseed or rice on the happy couple, we throw rose petals!

There is a designated time for worship during the ceremony, during which a praise band and/or guest musicians play a few numbers, everyone singing along.



The pastor will actually preach a message, having to do with the commitment and love required in a marriage, before initiating the marriage ceremony.


The bridesmaids and groomsmen, instead of standing in front with the couple-to-be, are positioned in the aisle, making an arch of flowers as the rest of the party enters. 



Words of the parents: before or after the vows are exchanged, the parents of the new husband and wife, as well as the godparents, are asked to give words of wisdom or encouragement for the new couple.


THE RECEPTION
No dancing. In Christian weddings here, there is not dancing. Sad, right? Since dancing here is associated with drinking, it is looked down upon in many Christian families. There is sure to be music at the reception, but just for listening and clapping. 



More food than any human being could possibly eat in one sitting. At the first wedding I attended here, I could not believe the amount of food we received. First came a huge bowl of soup, which was enough to fill me. Then came an enormous plate of meat and potatoes, including literally a third of a chicken and steak. Later I was relieved when the servers came around with to-go baggies for everyone. Apparently no one expects you to finish it all. Finally, the cake. The bride and groom usually cut it and hand it out to the guests, but there is no smashing cake in each other’s face.



 More toasts. In addition to the family members and those in the wedding party, any guest who wishes to publicly congratulate or well wish the new couple is welcome and encouraged to. Tis all very lovely, but makes for a seriously long day, and often, night. 



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