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Ok, so now I’ve been to 2 weddings in Northern Mexico, one being my own, and had such fun at both experiences that I thought I’d share what they were like. Let me first say this: they go all out. I mean, ALL OUT. From the pre-activities to the guest’s dresses and hairdos, to the decorations, to the band(s)(wow!) to the service, to the ultimate untiring dedication of all on the dance floor, I was impressed from beginning to end. I did an informal poll of Alex and Co. to see if this was generally the norm for weddings in Mexico, or if I just happened to participate in two of the most extravagant weddings in history. He assured me that is was pretty much the norm-even for people who couldn’t afford all the details, certain things were always a given, such as always a live band, and always the over-the-top dresses and hairdos. I think I may have to become a Mexican wedding crasher while I’m here. they’re just that fun.

How can I break it down?

First, before the wedding…

For our wedding in Cadereyta, a small desert town about 40 minutes outside of Monterrey, we had an entire day of pre-wedding activites. These included, oh, a bullfight (with wedding party participants) and a night in Alex’s Uncle’s nightclub where they entertained close to 300 people with hired entertainers (comedian, singers), traditional food, music and dancing. Ah-mazing. The bullfight was, shall we say, a cultural experience, and you can still hear my screams on the video footage, as my husband, intelligently sporting a red polo, kept a smile plastered on his face while a raging bull charged straight towards the future of our unborn children.

That bull's aimin' low...

That bull's aimin' low...

Also, they surprised us and had the wall outside the bullfighting arena painted with our names on it. So cute, and a great memory for us.

So cute.

So cute.

Unfortunately, for this last wedding we went to, we arrived in Monterrey just in time for the reception, so I wasn’t able to participate in the ritual preparations for dress, hair and makeup. Almost every woman who goes to a wedding, as a guest, gets their hair and makeup done.  At first, the tomboy in me reacted with a big ‘YIKES’ at first glance seeing the daytime soap makeovers, truly red carpet worthy (or at least Latin Grammys worthy) but then I thought, “why the heck not?” How many occasions do we Americans have to dress over-the-top other than prom? So now I kind of approach it as if I’m going to a costume party, which if any of you know me, yeah. I wish I had more close-up example pictures to show you, but for your viewing pleasure, I do have a few gems:

My family were the world's best sports for our wedding...

My family were the world's best sports for our wedding...

Oh yes. You have to love it. Mom, I love you, but you are totally pulling a Cruella de Ville in the picture. MWA! You ladies are the best EVER….

OK, fair is fair. Here is one  of me from the wedding…IMG_3409 poor Alex. He’s looking so stately in this picture. I’m expressing my feelings on being the center of attention for an entire night. My inlaws ROCK by the way for setting everything up for our wedding. We literally didn’t lift a finger. In return, we let them decorate us and dress us however they wanted. Including my mom making a last-minute trip to the dress rental place for a more “mexican wedding-appropriate” dress, as decided by my suegra. Mom-I’ll say it again, you are the world’s best sport!

Since I don’t happen to have many formal dresses in my repertoire, Alex’s sister was super nice and let me borrow one of hers for the wedding we just went to. It was elegant but pretty mellow compared to the spectrum of dresses we saw that evening…

Gettin' ready...

Gettin' ready...

Being a dork

Being a dork

Alex pulling a 007

Alex pulling a 007

Alex, has the patience of a saint, by the way, because his dear wife who has literally 1% responsibility per day forgot her only task, which was to bring his fancy black suit to the airport with her. The result: only one man in a brown suit in the entire wedding, the same suit he happened to wear to work that day…he didn’t complain once. What a guy.

The food, as many ask me, sadly isn’t the traditional Mexican fare that one would expect-it’s more of a European-American style creamy chicken cordon blue type of thing, but tasty none the less. The service is amazing! There is a guy assigned to your table to serve your drink of choice all night long. For my non-tee-totalling family, this involved a massive quantity of diet coke for the evening (enough to power a space station I think), and for the rest of the bunch, you can only imagine. It makes the evening interesting but keeps people on the dance floor. There may be a cake-cutting ceremony, but both weddings I went to had amazing deserts that had nothing to do with the cake displayed:

Yum.

Yum.

Double yum.

Double yum.

And the BEST part is that there is a 2nd meal, around 2-3am, for the guests who have worked up an appetite dancing their butts off. In our wedding, it was cuajitos, a meaty soup, and in our friend’s wedding, it was Chilaquiles, a delicious blend of tortilla chips, chicken, and salsa. I bow down to the Mexican cuisine.

Another fun part: the bands. In our wedding, we had two! But the bands are much more than background music. They are a full-blown entertainment extravaganza, from rocking out all types of music for dancing, to orchestrating ridiculous party tricks, to cultural song-and-dance routines. For HOURS. And hours. In our wedding, there was a musical song and dance review by the band who sang songs from all regions of Mexico in traditional costume and dance. Then they DJ’d karaoke contests, lucha libre fights, a Mexican version of the hokie pokie, and much more. THEN there was a 2nd band, more traditional, about 20 guys who played traditional “banda” musica and showed up around 1am. In our friends wedding, the band changed costume about 10 times, doing around a 6 hour review of musical genres, from the 50s-the 90s, and for each costume/theme change, they had a gimmmick and costumes/ props for the crowd. Theater and costume-party-loving friends, take note. For the carnival theme, there was a guy on stilts dancing around the crowd, confetti/balloon drops, women in Carmen Mirandaesque feather carnival outfits leading the limbo and conga lines…for the 70’s theme they handed out afro wigs and disco ball necklaces… for the 50s they handed out sunglasses, for the Norteño/old Mexico theme they handed out fake mustaches and cowboy hats (my personal fav)…for the 90’s there was an old-school NY-style DJ spinning and they handed out glowsticks….I can’t even remember them all! It was so freaking fun!

Balloon hokie-pokie: our wedding

Balloon hokie-pokie: our wedding

Can you name this masked man?

Can you name this masked man?

2nd band in our wedding...

2nd band in our wedding...

Festive partygoers...

Festive partygoers...

One of my personal favorites

One of my personal favorites

I think this was 50's meets 70's...note the disco necklace

I think this was 50's meets 70's...note the disco necklace

Even my drink had fun.

Even my drink had fun.

Old school DJ cracked me up

Old school DJ cracked me up

Random man on stilts!

Random man on stilts!

All in all, the Mexican Wedding experience is an unforgetable one. If you know any single Mexicans, tell them to get married. Then, invite yourself to the wedding. Or crash it. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

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