The day I met Angel in 1990 I knew he was special. Within a few minutes of meeting him, I felt some sort of unique bond. The next seven months that we spent together as “novios” were absolutely wonderful, but as graduation approached I knew the end of our relationship was near. We were both students at a small college in north eastern Pennsylvania; Angel was from Barcelona and I was from Chicago. The day of graduation was a sad one as we said our final goodbyes. At the young age of 21 we did not feel that it was an appropriate time to start a serious long-term relationship. So the years passed and every so often I would drop Angel a line, but not once did I receive a reply. Nevertheless, the good memories lingered in my mind and reminded me of our happy times together. Can you believe that I kept up a “one-way” correspondence for an entire decade? Was I crazy or just plain pathetic! I always had hope that we would one day be together again. Shortly after the millennium I received a phone call from Angel. Apparently he had just moved back to the US and was working and living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Sure enough I was on the next plane to PA! He explained to me how he had kept each and every letter that I sent and dreamed of what life would have been like had we stayed together. It seemed that destiny had brought us together again.
A few months later I was sitting on a beautiful Mediterranean beach on the Spanish island of Formentera, with a marriage proposal from the man I loved. Little did I know what I was getting into! We have all heard the famous phrase “Spain is different”, however when describing our wedding to you, perhaps the word “different” is not quite the adequate word. When Angel and I were writing the text for our wedding invitations, I knew he was up to something. He insisted on putting a little request at the bottom of the invitation “costumes appreciated”. Knowing his sense of humour, and the fact that he and his friends take every opportunity to act silly, I was not a bit concerned. Of course I did not believe that our guests would take the request literally. In jest I said to my fiancé, “if you want to dress in costume for your own wedding, feel free”, knowing full well that he would be the only foolish one there dressed in such a manner.
We planned our wedding as a two-day weekend event in the beautiful countryside of Catalunya. After researching the perfect place to celebrate this special day, we finally found the ideal spot in the village of Perafita. Our choice was a spectacular 16th century Catalan estate, called “La Tria”. Also enchanting was the small 13th century hermitage located a short distance from the property. This is where we chose to have our marriage ceremony.
As I put on my pristine white formal gown the morning of the “big day”, I imagined my fairytale wedding which was to take place in a matter of hours. My first surprise was to see Elvis alive and well acting as my chauffer to the church. “Elvis” is a close friend of my husband’s family and is usually known for his serious and formal manner. Another family friend, 60 yr old Alfredo, was decked out with designer shades and a perfectly tailored suit, “Men in Black.” However, his long pants had been cut into shorts and held up with garters, this of course erased all impressions of a “secret agent”.
Upon arriving at the church, I saw a family of gypsies who were having a picnic in the parking lot. They drove a beat-up old van topped off with a mattress and wore authentic flamenco-style dress. I hardly had the heart to disturb their day, but I had inform them that a wedding was about to take place. Of course I was taken by surprise when I found out that the “gypsies” were actually the groom’s friends in costume. The picture began to get clearer when I saw four people dressed as period Romans standing in front of the church. The geographical region where we were married is know for its´ Roman ruins, and I thought perhaps they were “simply lost in time.”
As I entered the church I saw my fiancé in a head to toe gold suit and a tailored striped blue shirt. The best man also stood out dressed as a 17th century French count. In addition, my husband’s family had a range of colourful costumes that would take too long to explain. My side of the family, in direct contrast, was conservatively dressed. I am not sure if the priest was entertained or frightened. Despite the humorous atmosphere, the ceremony was very respectful and extremely touching…we all had tears in our eyes.
It seems that our caterers wanted to participate in the celebration as well. Our waiters served the first course of the evening dinner dressed up as monks as Gregorian chant music played in the back- round. The best man made a second dramatic appearance, this time dressed as “The Girl from Ipanema” wearing tight flared green satin pants with an enormous fruit basket hat on his head. A reoccurring thought came to mind throughout the day, “I am just a character on the movie set of an outrageous interpretation of a Spanish wedding.”
Apparently, many had taken my husband’s costume request seriously. In the end I was the “foolish” one for NOT dressing up!
I believe our wedding proved that indeed “Spain is different”.
Note: Renting a rural home is a fine way to enjoy any celebration whether it be a birthday, anniversary, wedding etc.. You many want to consult this website for further information regarding “casas rurales” in Catalunya http://www.casesrurals.com/angles.htm