Trying to be Married to a Mexican
‘Trying to marry a Mexican’, by an uptight English broad!
The bride and her family gathered outside the church inSan Juan Capistrano. It was the wedding rehearsal. The beautiful Mission stood strong and proud waiting to unite, yet another happy couple within its walls.
The rehearsal was set for 7.30pm. It needed to start on time, to accommodate another rehearsal afterward.
The bride was me and my family consisted of my father, sister and cousin from England.
As 7.30pm rolled around my father kept looking at his watch, while I prayed my soon to be husband would arrive before my father could say anything.
This was just the way Alejandro was. Always late, while me, being English, am always early and always meet my obligations with an insistence that may not always match the task. As the time ticked by, I desperately kept calling Alejandro but he never picked up.
Finally, the priest suggested we get started without him. I could see my father tense up ‘you don’t need this stress right now’, while I insisted it was ok.
Alejandro was not the only one missing. Our best man – Alejandro’s eldest brother was also not there. So during rehearsal I married the photographer and we went without the brother.
As we were wrapping up and heading back to our car, Alejandro arrived with his sister. He looked totally frazzled with a look of ‘don’t push me’ when I bleated he had missed the rehearsal.
As it turns out, he had gone to Los Angeles to pick up his sister who was going to cook at our house, the feast to feed 300, despite my pleas for getting the event catered. I had catered for years and knew what was involved in throwing weddings together. Another brother was going to supply the drinks. His friends would serve the food and the mariachis would play as hors d’oeuvres were served. My asking ‘I hope they know how to set up the cake table?’ was always answered with ‘of course, don’t worry.”
Traffic had been bad and they had been held up on the way to the church. Big sister had insisted their mother come to the wedding which meant trying to cross the border with a false passport. She had got caught and was now being held by immigration in Mexico. Our best man – the only one who was a greencard holder, had to go to Tijuana to rescue their mother, so brother number two had to fill in. He was not at the rehearsal because he was out having a hair cut and getting himself a suit!
Back at the house the cooking began. It was creeping up to 11pm and after having gone to the airport to pick up friends arriving from England, I was tired and thought the bride to be should probably get a good night’s sleep. From my bed I could hear the activity in the kitchen, pots, pans, and music and felt guilty about not helping out. I was frustrated. This is exactly what I didn’t want the eve of my wedding. The house was being thrashed, his sisters would be exhausted guests and I, instead of feeling like a princess felt bad and eventually told Alejandro. His response was, “if you feel so bad you should get up and help”.
I had a fleeting vision of myself in a flowing white dress, a stretched white limo, rested and gorgeous, strolling down the aisle, beautiful reception, simple but elegant and a horse drawn carriage to take me away from all the mess…but back in reality I realized this is what I was marrying into.
At the reception in San Clemente the next day, the guests from ‘my side’ were packing up and leaving around 5pm after hours of festivities. As I sat down and breathed a sigh of relief, the Mexican contingent arrived. Friends from soccer and all their friends! Cousins and their friends. Aunts and Uncles and their friends. Disappointed that the party was wrapping up even though the invitation stated the reception would start at 1pm, Alejandro insisted they all come back to our house instead.
I was sweeping up the reception hall in my wedding dress when I realized I hadn’t said good bye to my Dad, and hurriedly finished up by helping load up dirty pots and pans and finding the prize dish his sister made – Mole, had never made it to the buffet table. I also found the stack of parking passes I so desperately wanted everyone to receive so they wouldn’t have to pay for parking.
“Don’ t worry’, he would always say.
Back home, the house was more and more thrashed as pick up truck after pick up truck came by to unload dishes.
Then Uncle and Aunt pulled out the guitar and started singing. I resigned myself at this point and tried to relax, usually loving this part of the evening, but was constantly distracted by Jose, letching after blond Myra, newly arrived from England. “Alejandro’, I pleaded, please tell Jose to leave her alone.
“Stop worrying’, he said.
The night went on and on. The guests weren’t leaving. At 1am just as the party really got going, I took on my new husband once more, and we ended up having our first fight as husband and wife!
Myra wriggled out of the grips of Jose once again and reminded me, ‘you love his culture, just chill and be one with it.” ‘Abrazame’ belted out from the sitting room .
Two days later when the guests were gone, the house put back together and the wedding behind us, I cuddled up to my husband and laughed about it all.
“Man”, I said, “we’re in for a wild ride”.
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