Monday, July 19, 2010

Wedding in Santiago de Compostela

So, my sister-in-law got married this past weekend. They had been living in La Coruña for the past 2 years and had already planned their wedding in the Santiago city hall and a lovely restaurant in a small town near Coruña, so, even though they are back living in Madrid, they still had the wedding up north. It was a good choice. Beautiful location! The town hall in Santiago is across the plaza from the cathedral. Let me give some background on Santiago.

Legend says that the remains of the Apostle James were found in the 9th century in Santiago and the cathedral was built around them. On another of the four sides of the plaza is the Parador de los Reyes Católicos. This is a hotel that was built for the pilgrims as they made their visits to the cathedral. My parents and I stayed here in 1995 when they came to visit me while I was in grad school. I'll never forget the "little snack" this super nice waiter prepared for us of some seafood. It was a platter the size of the table that cost probably $150. (Yeah, the tourists got suckered on that one :) Across from the cathedral in the plaza is the town hall. It's not an american style town hall. This is a beautiful former palace type town hall. Beautiful chandeliers and tapestries. Encarna María and Juan Carlos got married in this framed type throne area. Really cool! To the right is a picture of Carlos and María with their "primas grandes" (big cousins) María Dolores and Isabel María (the cathedral in the background). They are both studying in university now- María Dolores just graduated from nursing school and is studying to specialize to be a midwife. Isabel María just finished her first year of medical school. Beautiful and smart young ladies! Carlos and María had a blast at the wedding with them. When I met Guillermo they were just little girls. It's so weird to see them so grown up!

The building to the right in the picture of the plaza is the Parador Reyes Católicos. The building to the left of the picture is the Town Hall that Encarna María and Juan Carlos got married in. You can see them coming out of the building in the picture above. Below is a picture of Papá José and María with the Parador in the background.

Here they are sitting in their thrones with Juan Carlos' mother and José Antonio behind serving as the witnesses. In the previous photo you can see more of the room where the ceremony was. The guests mostly stood in the back of the room and there were a few seats for the close family. .
 After the ceremony, we waited for the couple outside and threw rose petals. Then off they went to have pictures taken and the guests all piled onto the bus to head back to Coruña for the dinner and dance. Santiago is like an hour from Coruña.

The bus finally arrived at the banquet place. It was a beautiful old home on top of a mountain above Coruña. The pictures I got don't do the place justice. We had a cocktail hour while we waited for the couple to arrive. Carlos, Maria, and Juan Carlos' niece and nephew entertained Gloria while the rest of the guests partook in the food and drinks.
Finally they arrived and another photo session ensued. Have to document all the guests and family relations for the wedding album!  it was probably close to 11pm by the time we entered the hall to eat.

We had a huge three or four course meal. As I said in a previous post, I had the child's menu. But, really, the meal was delicious. They had grilled lobster, baked clams, then there was a filet wrapped in bacon, and the wedding cake (which interestingly, they cut before the meal rather than after) and ice cream followed by coffee and liquors then the open bar and dancing followed the meal. (That didn't get started till 1:45am or so.) Following are pics of the cake cutting, Gloria clapping when they cut the cake, various family members enjoying their traditional after dinner cigars, Maria and Tita Loli dancing, and my favorite: Carlos giving Gloria a goodnight kiss as Mamá María is trying to get her to sleep in the middle of the dancing at 2 am!

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