"You haven't written much in your blog lately!" Let's just say, "I've been busy." I won't bore you with details of the busy time leading up to the wedding, but instead tell you about the event.
Friday morning the 29th, I woke up at 6 am for the big day. 'Woke up' isn't exactly true. That would imply that I had slept some, which I'm not sure that I had. I quickly fell back on my experiences as a marathon runner to get me through. I've run several marathons without sleeping hardly a wink the night before and I don't feel that it made much difference in my performance, so my wedding day could be the same. The wedding dinner team was already clanging about the kitchen and setting up tables when the 37 North Americans and our pastor and his family were eating breakfast. After breakfast, my groomsmen, Erik Tullberg, Keelan Kaiser, and Jerry Busselman, tried to help me put my clothes on properly while the girls did their hair in the other bathroom. Too bad they didn't remind me to put sunscreen on my head. At 9:00am the photographer started lining us up for the requisite shots. By 10:30 we done, with enough time to wait in the wedding tent for the mayor. She arrived exactly at 11 am as scheduled. A week before I had asked the municipality secretary if the mayor was punctual and she only would say, "The mayor gets there when she gets there," with the same air as the Queen in Princess Diaries saying, "The queen is never late. Everyone else is simply early." The buses full of guests from Arequipa had just arrived and after they unloaded, we started the civil wedding. The civil wedding is quite sterile. No pomp. No fluff. I didn't even get to kiss the bride! The mayor read the legal articles pertaining to marriage, had us sign the forms and put our fingerprints on them (how do you wipe off the ink on your finger while wearing a white wedding dress?). She did say some nice things about what a wonderful woman Mary Beth was and then that was it. But we were married! I said several times the week before that as long as I'm married by the end of the day it is a successful wedding. Everything from this point on are bonus points! Mary Beth and I disappeared for 15 minutes while the waiters served fruit kebabs and drinks and then at noon we started the religious ceremony.
The religious ceremony was a fusion of American, Canadian and Peruvian customs. Everything went as planned, except the sunflowers on stage were already starting to wilt having been cut 6 hours before and not put in water soon enough. We did parts of the wedding in Spanish and parts in English, only translating the question, "Who gives this woman to be wed?" as we felt Jim and Linda should know exactly what they were answering when he said, "Her mother and I." The sermon was in Spanish. Our vows were in English as that is our heart language despite years in Peru. After getting to kiss the bride, we jumped off the front of the stage and ran out the back appearing at the reception dinner 15 minutes later.
The wedding was held in a tent for 400 people on the camp soccer field. We had about 275 guests. During the reception, a gust of wind carried away the tent. Providentially, it was after the wedding and the only damage we suffered was our piano getting smashed. Peruvian custom is for the newlyweds to go from table to table during the dinner and greet everyone and get pictures taken with them. We did this during the meal and then handed out the sunflower-shaped cupcakes that my sister Carolyn had made. Peruvian tradition is to toss the boquet and an exagerratedly big bowtie matching my already silly-sized bowtie to the unmarrieds and then have a mock wedding for the winners. My brother-in-law Keith performed the 'Mawage' ceremony in a bishop attire similar to that from the Princess Bride movie, which was a hit. Ben caught the bowtie!
By 4:30 pm the buses were loading to head back to Arequipa and Mary Beth and I escaped shortly thereafter to begin our Happily Ever After.
As an interesting note, my parents were married on the same date, December 29th, 1954. My sister put this picture up on the cake table of them and brought the candle that is pictured from 63 years ago!