I’ve been so dreadfully tardy in finishing the saga of the Argentinian Wedding. My apologies! As of now, the party happened three weeks ago. Eek! Egads! Godzilla! Anyway, here’s how the night went down.
We were whisked into Negro’s car and driven around town with friends and family trailing behind us in their own cars. Everyone honked and shouted, and we made a loop around the plaza a few times. This was our “caravan” to announce to the pueblo that we were getting married!
When we finally arrived to the venue, everyone was there. Jorge and I entered through an archway, arm in arm, where all our guests greeted us with grins, cameras, and applause. In the background, some terribly romantic 90’s song played–something like Phil Collins, I shit you not–that maybe made me die laughing on the inside as I beheld the majesty of such a reception.
And then the hugging began. And the photos. One by one, everyone approached us to hug us, kiss us, wish us well, and snap photos with us. I’ve never hugged so many people in ten minutes! Good lord, the amount of cheeks I touched.
After greeting everyone, people made their ways to the tables and food was served in rounds: starting with empanadas, then the Russian Salad and bread, and ending with those little guys involved in the rural transaction I mentioned in a previous post.
After we ate and drank, Jorge and I made rounds to each table to greet our guests and take pictures with them.
And then the damndest thing happened. One of my fears, I suppose, was something unexpected and foreign happening to me, something that might put me on the spot. Jorge reassured me that nothing of the sort would happen. “We’ll just be eating, and greeting, and drinking til dawn.” Seemed like a solid enough plan.
Music sprang to life after we finished greeting all the tables. Jorge and I were called, very urgently, to the dance floor.
“IT’S TIME FOR THE VALSE,” they all told me.
“WHAT IS THE VALSE?” I screamed inside while smiling appreciatively and going where I was told.
Jorge and I began a simple dancestep alongside his parents. This is pretty easy, I thought. I can do the Valse. I got this. It’s like a piece of cake, basically.
And then Jorge dislodged from me and floated away. I sighed with relief. Well that wasn’t so bad. Before I could make a furtive exit-stage-left, one of our friends swooped in to dance with me. And then another. And another. The entire male guest list made their rounds, one-by-one, to dance the Valse with me. Jorge received all the female members of the crowd. And with over 100 guests, this was no speedy feat.
This was a legit cycle through all the guests. EVERY SINGLE PERSON DANCED WITH US. Even Jorge’s uncle, who’s like 95 years old and can’t walk without a cane.
Halfway through, I was sweating and wondering when it would be over. It was like, 20 minutes of Valse’ing. For a surprise Valse Attack, THAT’S A LOT.
Once the music (thankfully) stopped, Jorge and I had a little bit of time to wander and relax. Though really, I couldn’t relax fully. After a Surprise Valse Attack, who can entirely relax? The family might have more surprises planned.
After a time, we were ushered to the cakes. Jorge’s parents bought these for us (another gift, in addition to the cow), and one of them had a cake topper of a guy on a horse with his bride riding behind him! Very appropriate for the Gaucho Jorge.
Once the cakes were cut and rapidly devoured, Jorge’s family had not one but TWO more surprises for us. What on earth could be left, you might be asking. Yes, I was asking myself the same question.
You guys might recall my recap of our wedding reception, and ceremony for that matter, in the States. It was what some would call totally non-traditional. We abided by almost none of the rules of wedding events and etiquette.
Well, in the way that the universe is a master of balance whether one wants it or not, South America made up for the tradition that North America lacked. Jorge’s family hit every point–not just the traditional wedding dance, or the cake cutting, or the parade around town, etc.
His family gifted us wedding rings, those little round symbols of love we’d opted against, and they also made a highly emotional, sentimental presentation that made everyone at the party bawl their eyes out.
THE AVILA CLAN KNOWS HOW TO TUG AT THE HEART STRINGS.
After Jorge’s cousin Guillermo finished reading the heartwrenching letter that Jorge’s family members had collectively created, the announcer (yes, we had a real radio personality at our reception) handed the microphone to Jorge so he could say a few words.
And then he handed it to ME, so I could say a few things. Panic cinched my belly. Here it was–the dreaded on-the-spot moment. I had to speak in front of a group, with a microphone, in fucking Spanish. And say something gramatically correct and sufficiently sentimental.
UHHH, YEAH. I basically said “I LOVE YOU ALL, THANKS BYE” and handed the mic back to Mr. Radio Personality and ran away.
Oh: and the nieces presented us with the rings on a platter which was, come on, let’s be real, the cutest thing I’ve ever fucking seen.
Once all the traditional bits were out of the way, we basically continued drinking and dancing until sunrise. Jorge’s parents stayed at the party until the very end, which was around 6 A.M.! They helped us pack up and bring everything back to the house, which was an admirable feat. His parents usually go to bed around 10 P.M., and they’re in their 70’s, so this was pretty damn impressive. Their baby son’s wedding reception is a sufficiently big enough event that I’m sure they made it through on adrenaline and shrieks of laughter alone!
By the time I passed out, it was well after 7 A.M. and my body was sore from dancing, laughing, and EATING. To the sounds of twittering birds, I drifted off into a peaceful sleep. Argentinian Wedding Reception = A BLAZING SUCCESS!