Tonight was a very special night as Tía Nilda got married! The ceremony took place at the church where they met (fun fact- they were both sponsored through Compassion which has a program at this church in Chulla where the majority of the tías live and that's how they met) and then we all were taken to the reception.
It was my first Bolivian wedding, and the ceremony was short and sweet and overall pretty similar to a wedding you'd attend in the States. Nilda's nieces were flower girls, another niece brought the rings (apparently girls do that instead of boys!), and a nephew brought the Bible. Although I think several girls were her bridesmaids, they do not stand at the front, and the groom doesn't have groomsmen either.
At the reception, we waited and waited on Nilda and Luis to arrive. After over an hour, someone received a call saying that the car they were in had broken down. Someone else went to retrieve them and then the party started. Unfortunately as it was already almost 9pm, I had to leave as I knew I would have a hard time getting home if I stayed much later. I was able to see them receiving their gifts (you bring gifts to the wedding) and then a Mariachi band arrived and they danced a little. I left right as dinner was being served. I was told they'd be celebrating at least until midnight.
It was a fun night and I wished I'd been able to stay longer! Several CDA tías are related to Nilda so they were all there. I also saw a few others who were invited and a favorite former tía (Jenni) and her baby too! I also met lots of Nilda's family who came in town for the wedding. The funny thing is whenever I'm at parties with the tías, their family members tend to think I don't speak/understand Spanish so they always start talking to me very slowly and with lots of hand motions. It's always funny to see their faces when I do start talking to them.
I wasn't able to take many pictures, but here are a few!
Tía Lucy: "I can't smile in pictures. I don't know why, but I just can't."
In Bolivia, you do not have a civil and religious ceremony at the same time. If you only get married in the church, your marriage is recognized in the church but not legally. If you get married in a civil ceremony, your marriage is recognized legally but not in the church. You can choose to have one or the other or you can have both. Tía Benita and her husband (Nilda's brother) were the "padrinos" (godparents) of the civil ceremony for Nilda and Luis. Basically it means they paid the fee for them to have their civil ceremony which took place earlier this afternoon at the Civil Registry. Nilda and Luis chose to have both ceremonies so their marriage would be recognized by everyone. As padrinos, Benita and her husband sat at the table at the front with Nilda and Luis and were also asked to dance with them during the reception.