Originally published on Young American Expat in 2017
Hi guys! Back again after way too long of a hiatus. I plan to correct that in the future! One of the things overwhelming my schedule this winter is wedding season, and let me tell you, in Spain we are different! I thought I’d highlight one of my favorites from just this past February, and also include some of the highlights from others I’ve been graciously invited to attend here! And on top of that, my own wedding and the fabulous Spanish guest list in attendance opened my eyes to some cultural differences I hadn't noticed before, even though I was already a seasoned Spanish wedding guest.
Our friends Almu and Nacho are obsessed with skiing so it only made sense they chose a winter wedding in a castle town north of Madrid, in the Province of Guadalajara! Siguenza is known for its Parador, a castle dating back to the 5th century that was remodeled by the Moors under their rule. In fact, the town has been ruled by Romans, Visigoths, Moors and Castilians!
Right after the run and the hostel´s huge breakfast spread, I went to get my hair done in a brief 30 minutes at the same place the bride (and probably everyone else, since the town is small!) got theirs done. The breakfast was important because Spanish weddings usually have the ceremony or the mass, followed by a long cocktail hour before dinner, so you can´t go into it on an empty stomach!
The wedding ceremony was Catholic and took place in the gorgeous Cathedral of Siguenza. The Bride had a spectacular winter cape that looked like something (classier) from the movie Frozen. In Spain, rather than bridesmaids and groomsmen, they have testigos (witnesses), usually only a couple, to sign that they bore witness to the union. However, Almu and Nacho are a fun and inclusive sort and they had quite a few testigos on each side. My husband Daniel and I were invited to be witnesses among several others, and Daniel had to rent coattails in order to be properly formal for the altar! I made sure to wear gloves and a wrap to also be properly dressed.
We got to take pictures with the bride and groom over the course of the cocktail, and finally they started ushering us into a great hall for dinner. Dinner has a first course, second course and dessert, all accompanied with generous amounts of wine, red or white alternating based on the dish. Dinner lasts a few hours, because Spaniards take time to enjoy each dish and of course, talk A LOT. Just like in America, the couple went from table to table greeting each of their guests, and the bride brought her bouquet to a couple at our table, giving them a little bit of a nudge to be the next ones engaged.
More to come, but in the meantime, practice your 12 hour straight drinking and eating skills if you are planning on attending a Spanish wedding!