The final part of our busy January is ready at last…
In addition to Katie’s visit to Peru, our trips to Kusi, Ica/Nasca and Cusco/Machu Picchu, January was also a big month since it, as you have already guessed, culminated in our wedding (and subsequent trip to Cusco with family and friends).
After months of dress fittings, emails, meetings, suit fittings, navigating through hundreds of Pinterest photos (of flower arrangements, suit styles, dresses, invitations and anything else you can imagine), AIDS and tuberculosis tests, a newspaper announcement, translated birth certificates, the day (or days) finally arrived.
Before any of the ceremonies, the SU staff in Lima hosted a shower for both Billy and I. Apparently, both wedding and baby showers here are more for the guests to have fun with the groom or father-to-be. Billy’s participation in the shower was more than just stopping by to open gifts – he was there for every game, speech, and definitely present as we did a “practice wedding ceremony”.
They dressed us up in wedding attire and set the chairs into rows and literally performed a wedding ceremony – from walking down the aisle to vows, from toasts to the first dance.
In Peru, the religious ceremony that we are used to in the States holds no legal validity. To get married here, a couple must have a civil ceremony and then if they choose to, they have the religious ceremony afterward. It is not uncommon for couples who have been together for years and live life as a married couple to legally not be married due to the cost or the pile of paperwork that needs to be submitted. It is also common for couples to have their civil ceremony but wait 6 months or even a year or two as they save money for the big wedding event.
Since Billy and I were having the “big wedding event” with our religious ceremony, we elected for the basic Tuesday afternoon civil ceremony at the Salón de Matrimonios in Surco (our district within the city of Lima) a few days before our religious wedding. Before the ceremony, our wedding photographers did a little shoot with us in the Parque de la Amistad, where the Salón de Matrimonios is located.
We had never attended a civil ceremony before and weren’t exactly sure how formal they are or what was going to happen. At our last meeting (of many) with the staff of Surco Matrimonios, I happened to ask for a copy of the text that the officiant would use. We knew that we would promise to “feed and educate our children” and that among other things, “both parties will have equal say in the location of the household” but other than that, we were clueless.
So on a Tuesday afternoon at 4pm (January 22nd to be exact), Billy and I were legally married in simple ceremony in a yellow room with some interesting paintings on the walls – and then went to dinner to celebrate with our witnesses, best man, maid of honor and my brother.
The following day, our first international guests began to arrive and the busyness that is a wedding plus international guests really kicked in.
About 5 months prior, Billy and I decided that we wanted to get married in Peru and be able to share the day with our friends here. We knew that it would mean that not all of our friends and family from the States would be able to come because of the travel commitment, but we would understand. We wanted to get married in a place that has become very important in our lives, and the place that we met, became friends and became a couple. Specifically, we wanted to get married in the chapel at Kawai – a property that Scripture Union owns about 90 kilometers south of Lima on the Pacific Ocean. It is a place that we have spent a lot of time at over the past 11 years and, was one of the locations we traveled to on our first trip to Peru in 2001. We even spent a good part of that trip helping build the chapel on the property.
As the RSVPs from international guests started to roll in, we decided to make the wedding not just a one-day affair, but a whole weekend at the beach for our guests. After everybody arrived in Lima, we all headed south to Kawai on Friday afternoon to enjoy the sun, beach and final preparations before Saturday, including the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner.
The following day was the big day. While the girls and I went to the salon to get ready, Billy helped with the final details and the decoration of the reception tent.
And then once we were back in Kawai, it was time for the ceremony.
And then it was time to party!
We were very blessed to to have two wonderful wedding days and to be surrounded by friends and family from Peru but also the United States and England who traveled a long distance to celebrate with us.
As we wait for the professional photographs, thank you friends and family for sharing your shots with us!
Up next — the great Cusco adventure!