With my media naranja…and our media naranja wedding cake!
Like unwanted, irrepressible weeds the chickenpox bloomed in spring. To be exact, the spots appeared two weeks before the wedding and two days after we bought the plane tickets to the US. (Insert bad joke about in sickness and in health.) This upped the to-do list to:
- Write vows
- Find Justice of the Peace/Minister????
- Buy gifts / Pack suitcase
- Translate Andres’ birth certificate (por si acaso)
- Make up missed hours at work
- Hope Andres recovers from the chickenpox—if not, change tickets/wedding date and start again.
The to-do lists from January and early March had nothing in common. Our plan to get married in Spain was spun on its head mid-February with the news that no, we couldn’t get married by June after all. The hoops were already dizzying, but add the long, snaking lines at Madrid’s registro civil to a mini strike and *poof*! Plans A, B, and C had barely been dreamed into existence before they were snatched away.
Spoiler: everything turned out fine
The formidable to-do list was made more difficult by unforeseen circumstances and most assuredly several black cats. When I Skyped my parents at the end of January, I warned them at the beginning of the call that I had both good and bad news. By the time I’d descended to the third rung on a list of lows, they asked me to let them know if I’d skipped the positive stuff.
I told them about the derailing of our initial plan. This mini huelga threw the date of a Spanish union back a few centuries (and therefore out of any realm of possibility). Alternatives like Gibraltar and Denmark sparkled with the cool factor, but came with a hefty price tag. It made much more sense to go to the States and celebrate the event with my friends and family. The good news: we were coming to Arkansas to get married!
Posing with my parents
With Sara and Brian
Why was it so important that we get married quickly? Well, with my current paperwork I can’t reside in Spain after June; Andres needs to claim me as his spouse for us to stay together. We need to be married for this to be possible. We’ve known for a long time that we want to be married, so why wait? The longer we wait, in fact, the longer we’d have to be apart this summer. Cue dim lighting, stress, and Pachelbel’s Cannon.
Andres reviewing his vows before the ceremony
And that is precisely what we did, weaving a wedding together in the space between work and sleep, Spain and Arkansas. It wasn’t the ideal amount of time or even the correct continent to plan a US wedding. We didn’t have the luxury of eloping, either (which, let me assure you, sounded appealing at the moment).
There was Spanish cheese, of course
Thankfully, neither Andres nor I never wanted a big wedding to begin with. So we celebrated the best way we knew how—a small event with friends and family, in the same place my parents started their own marriage. No grandiose shin-dig, no signature parlor games, and no keepsake totes of our smooching faces. We did have hand-written vows, a jolly minister, a few tears, and lots of good cheer.
Marriage certificate: signed!
We weren’t the first to cut the cake–my grandpa found it first
The back-to-back scares of watching Andres get sick, as well as wondering how —and where!—on earth we could get married—made the event even more meaningful. It reinforced how much we want to be together even when it seemed the world was conspiring against us. From exchanging vows to watching my grandpa snitch the first piece of wedding cake, I was glad that in the end we weren’t celebrating alone on a Danish island. Throughout the evening, I couldn’t stop grinning. Andres and I may not know where we’ll live in two years, but we know we’ll make it work—chickenpox scars, red tape, and all.
An old married couple in a rocking chair