Day #6: Saturday
Molly & Arturo's WEDDING DAY!
Finally, we have arrived at the day that was the whole reason for the Mexico trip: Molly and Arturo's wedding day! Brace yourself, folks...this will be a long one.
The bridesmaids (minus Arturo's sister Andrea) met up in the lobby of the hotel bright and early Saturday morning so we could head over to the wedding hotel to start getting ready. We all were sporting our "bridesmaid" tank tops from Molly, and our bachelorette party heart-shaped sunglasses. So festive!
These girls are ready for a wedding.
We loaded all of our stuff into a cab and headed off to Casa Kau-Kan on Playa Larga in Zihuatanejo. When we arrived we went right up to our suite, which was spectacular. People, if you are going to this part of Mexico and are looking for a totally relaxing escape-from-the-world vacation, this is where you want to go. It was incredible. The grounds had a lovely pool (with a lounge bed alongside it), hot tub, outdoor dining area and easy access to that beautiful deserted beach (where we went horseback riding on Wednesday!). In the room, there was no TV, no phone, and no Internet, and it was glorious. The room was enormous, with a huge king bed in the middle of the floor. There was most wonderful window seat running the length of the windows at the front of the room, which overlooked the wedding site and the beautiful beach. Everything was just fabulous. Of course, we wasted no time in absolutely trashing the place (as girls frantically getting ready for a big event are wont to do), but I made sure to get some pictures before we demolished things.
The exterior of Casa Kau-Kan
When you enter, you walk down this gorgeous palm tree-lined pathway
Our suite! We all got ready here, and Eric, Heather and I stayed the night in this room, too.
The window seat
The view - that wooden platform down there is the dance floor for the reception!
We ordered up some room service breakfast, including scrambled eggs and ham, black beans, fresh bread and jam, and freshly squeezed orange juice. Molly unpacked all her various wedding things, and we started in on painting our nails and steaming our dresses. We also went outside for a bit to test out the volume of Heather's singing over the waves, and walk through the processional to get a feel for the timing with the music.
Heather painting her nails
Instead of a wedding cake, Molly had a wedding cake piñata at the reception!
Goodies to be stuffed inside the piñata
Zita and Molly steaming The Gown
Setting up for the reception! The ceremony was held on the beach, and reception on the grass.
Figuring out spacing, placement, volume, etc. That's a happy bride!
I also helped Molly put together a to-do list for her mom and aunts that were coming to help set up, and before long, Aunt Debbie arrived and got right down to business. She (and the others) were such a help to Molly!
Aunt Debbie stuffing the piñata!
Meanwhile, we started getting ourselves ready. We started by doing our hair, and Zita and Heather did their makeup. Oh, and we drank some champagne while we did it! What else are you supposed to do on a wedding day?
Cheers to the bride!
As soon as I finished my own hair I got to work on Molly's. She and I had done a couple trial runs of her hair style over the past year, and I think they definitely paid off because it turned out beautifully (not to toot my own horn or anything!). Molly's "look" was a collaborative effort, really: Heather did her makeup, I did her hair, and Zita did her nails! What a pampered bride!
Molly being thoroughly pampered
Doing Molly's hair
Heather on makeup duty
After Heather did such a beautiful job on the bride's makeup, she was quickly recruited to also do my makeup and Aunt Debbie's!
Work your magic, Heather!
Touching up the mother-of-the-bride
Andrea also joined us that afternoon for hair and makeup. I helped with her hair, too! It was nice to have all the girls together to get ready.
But, can I just pause for a second to discuss the temperature in our suite? BEASTLY. HOT. Notice Heather's shirt pulled up in the above pictures? She's not just trying to brag about her awesome abs, she's trying not to die. There was an air conditioner in the room, but there were five girls in there, all using hair dryers and curling irons and flat irons and steamers and what not, all at the same time. That poor little A/C unit just couldn't keep up, and we nearly died. I had to keep taking a break from doing my hair to stick my face in the mini fridge. Brutal.
But, we made it through!
And meanwhile, downstairs, Aunt Debbie & Co. were setting things up perfectly. The casita was in place, the luggage tag placecards neatly lined up on their table, guestbook postcards scattered beautifully on each table, etc. It all came together so nicely!
Ready for a wedding!
Flowers on the casita and the breathtaking view behind it
Luggage tag placecards, to go with the travel theme
Each guest filled out a postcard for Molly and Arturo in place of a traditional guestbook
Before long, it was time to get dressed. The bridesmaids got dressed first, taking time to get our corset-back dresses laced up perfectly. The mother-of-the-bride also got dressed, and you would never have known she spent all afternoon running around like crazy in the heat getting everything set up. Beautiful!
Sisters/bridesmaids ready to go!
Once we were ready, it was time to dress the bride in her spectacular gown. What a beautiful bride she was!
Molly's gown on its fancy hanger
Lacing her all up
I was the Official Bride Cooler Off-er
And finally, we were ready - right on time! Unfortunately, I don't think any wedding ceremony in the history of wedding ceremonies has ever started on time, and this one was delayed due to a guest's wave-related shoulder injury! We weren't delayed long, though, and finally things got underway.
View of the guests from our suite
The beautiful bride watching from above, waiting for her cue
Heather sang "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" as the parents processed in. As could be expected, she did a wonderful job.
VIDEO: Heather's solo and the parents' processional
Molly's friend Marisa sang "Of the Hair Most Delicate" as the bridal party processed in. She also sang beautifully.
The bridal party
Top: Molly's brother Jacob and his wife Zita; Arturo's friend Fernando and sister Andrea
Bottom: Molly & Arturo's friend Arasp and Heather; Arturo's friend Omar and me
At last it was time for the bride's grand entrance. She came down the stairs from our suite and met her dad at the bottom in a very touching moment. As she neared the aisle, she tried to peer around the crowds to see her husband-to-be, and Arturo crouched down to try to catch a glimpse of his bride. It was so sweet.
Molly and her dad
Arturo crouched down to see his bride
When Molly reached the casita, Uncle Peter hugged her and Arturo, and then the wedding ceremony began with a prayer written by our grandfather (a retired pastor). This is what our Gramps wrote:
Oh, Gracious God of Love. We come to You with grateful hearts that You have brought Molly and Arturo to this union and bond in the holy relationship of marriage. We seek Your rich blessing upon them. Bind their hearts in unconditional love for each other throughout all the days of their lives together. Pour out upon them your Holy Spirit that they may grow in faith and trust in our Heavenly Father. Grant that we who are witnesses of this marriage may give our love, our support, and our blessing to them as they begin this journey in the holy relationship of Christian marriage. Hear our prayer, for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.
The prayer was followed by several readings, by Arturo's sisters and my mom. Then, it was time for the vows and exchanging of rings. Molly and Arturo each wrote their own vows to each other. Arturo said his in Spanish, and Molly said hers in English. (Later, at the reception, Arturo repeated his vows in English for all of us English-speakers. He said some truly beautiful things. If you'd like to hear what he said, there is a video of his translation here.)
With this ring...
Molly reading her vows
The groomsmen looking on
The vows were followed by the unity sand ceremony, symbolizing the joining of two hearts into one.
Next there were two Mexican ceremonies. The first was the coin ceremony, in which Arturo's sister Andrea presented Molly with 13 coins to symbolize that Arturo's family will now take care of her. The thirteen coins represented trust, commitment, respect, happiness, harmony, love, wisdom, wholeness, joy, nurturing, caring, cooperation and peace - all things wished upon Molly and Arturo's new life together.
The second Mexican ceremony was the lasso ceremony, in which Heather and I placed a lasso (really like a large, double-looped rosary) around Molly and Arturo as a symbol of the promises they made to each other. Even though the lasso itself is removed, their promises and enduring love continue to bind them together.
Placing the lasso around Molly and Arturo
The ceremony concluded with a closing prayer, written by Arturo's father:
We have just witnessed the union in marriage of Molly and Arturo. This union links not just two people but two entire families. Molly and Arturo have developed lasting friendships, reflected here today as we have all gathered to wish them happiness and great joy in their life. I invite you to join hearts as we ask God to bless Molly and Arturo, to always care for them, and to keep them in His grace.And then at last...the kiss!
You may kiss your bride!
After the ceremony, those two were just on top of the world.
This is another photo by Molly's friend Bryce. Don't they just look so happy?
The way Arturo is looking at his new wife just melts my heart.
The bridal party and parents then set off down the beach for photos before the sun went down. The setting sun made for absolutely gorgeous light, and the sunset itself was stunning. To top it all off, we saw dolphins jumping out in the ocean once again, and had a full rising moon behind us. Could you ask for anything more?
Sunset over Playa Larga
The happy couple
Bridesmaids heading off for photos
The bridal party
Bridesmaids showing off our foot jewelry, handmade by Molly!
Eric and me
Mom, me, Molly, Arturo, and Heather
And then, my friends, it was time to CELEBRATE! But, since I have already rambled on so long today, and shared more pictures than one person should probably ever share in one blog post, I will leave you in suspense. I will return tomorrow (yes, on a weekend!) with a recap of the awesome reception.
In the meantime, if you still want more of a taste of the wedding, check out this highlight video I made. It includes some reception moments (spoiler alert!), but I think it pretty accurately sums up the emotion of the day. It is set to Molly and Arturo's first dance song, "Tù Està Aquì," by Nek. Molly explains a little about what the song is about during the video. Enjoy:
VIDEO: Molly & Arturo get married!
Congratulations, Molly and Arturo! It was an honor to stand up next to you at your beautiful wedding.
Coming up tomorrow: a reception to remember!