Today, two of my very best friends got married to each other. It is so exciting to see people that you love very much tie the knot, knowing they are perfect for each other and ready to begin their life together. Her family is all from Nuevo Laredo (just across the border from Laredo, Texas), so that was the location for the festivities. The Mexican Catholic wedding doesn't really have bridesmaids and groomsmen, but there are three sponsor couples for different parts of the mass. The groom's best friend and his wife were the padrinos, or godparents, of the rings, the bride's sister and her boyfriend were the padrinos of the lasso, a giant rosary that fits over both the bride and groom while the prayers are read, and my husband and I were the padrinos of the arras, or gold coins.
The tradition of the thirteen gold coins is one that is really interesting, and one that I wish was more prevalent in the general American wedding population. The priest blesses the coins and hands them to the groom. The groom then tells the bride that these coins represent his intent to provide everything he can for their family, and drops them into her waiting, cupped hands. She then thanks him for his plan and promises to make their earnings stretch to meet their needs and appreciate what he does for them. While this particular couple is more likely to have her work and him stay home with the future children, the sentiment that is shared between them during this piece really drives home that "for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer," part of the vows.
Anyway, this responsibility in the ceremony is the closest thing to being named the matron of honor in a US wedding. So, it was my job to help get the bride ready in the morning and over to the church for the noon start.
I started out in fine fashion by waking up when I was supposed to meet the bride to go get our makeup done. Conveniently, she is always running late, so I was downstairs by 9am, and she hadn't left her parents house at that point. We got makeup and hair finished up and were back at the hotel to get into the dress and over to the church. We had made up any lost time, so we weren't rushing to be on time. However, we did have to have her all dressed up before going over to the church (unlike any other wedding I've been at where the bride dresses at the church). Then I was going to drive her over in the groom's car, which I've never driven before. This is where things got interesting.
Now, I have no problem driving a manual transmission. I've had extensive experience with four of them in my life: my dad's Ford Escort, my first car, a Nissan Sentra, my husband's 1978 Chevy pickup truck (a three-on-the-tree), and his Mini Cooper. It's a wide range of styles, and I wasn't too worried about it. However, I didn't want the bride to have to traipse through the garage parking lot in her dress, so I told her I'd bring the car around and pick her up. I got in the car, a VW Jetta, and started it up. And then, couldn't get it into reverse. Now, I have since learned that the Jetta requires you to push down on the shifter in order to access the reverse gear, but I didn't know that, nor did it occur to me to try. So, try as I might, I couldn't get it into gear. Not wanting to stress out the bride or call someone for help, I found my own solution when I realized it was a small car, and couldn't be that heavy. The spot next to me was empty, so I turned the steering wheel all the way to the left, dropped the shifter into neutral, and got out and pushed it out of the spot. In my dress...and heels...by myself. I did look around to make sure there were no witnesses. Whew. Once it was pushed out, I got in and drove the bride to the church without incident.
The ceremony was beautiful, even if I understood very little of what was going on since the whole thing was in Spanish. The groom did a great job of managing all his spoken parts in a language he doesn't speak, and the bride didn't cry enough to mess up her makeup. The reception included great company and wonderful food. What more could a couple want? I was just happy to have been a part of it.
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