Earlier in the year Gary had proposed to me. Since we both were passionate about cave diving what better place to marry than in a cave. Unfortunately, there were no local cave divers who could legally marry us in the cave itself.
There are two ways to be married in Mexico. One is a religious ceremony, which means nothing legally. Or there is a justice of the peace type thing, with all the documentation. We opted for the latter.
Bride's List of Things to do:
- Invitations. I did have invitations printed, of course the location of the wedding changed from one cenote to another so I penned in the new location on the invites (very classy). Our friends invited were all from the Akumal - Tulum area, with the exception of my parents who came in from Buffalo, NY.
- Location: Dos Ojos Cenote
- Blood work, complete, except for a few parasites (which is normal living in Mexico) we were good to go.
- Documentation: In Playa del Carmen we watched them painfully type out the documents with an old fashion non-electric typewriter, one finger at a time mind you. We had to sign in a big book, a bitacora.
- Time: The judge was to show up at Dos Ojos, 2 kilometers back in the jungle at 2 pm.
- WHAT TO WEAR, YIKES: Having given away any nice clothes I owned, Gary and I went to the hotel zone in Cancun to shop. He found a pair of linen pants and a shirt, and I found a longer skirt and vest type suit. A taupe color, yeah I could have gone for the white thing but we were going to be in the jungle. (We won't even get into the whole white thing, my parents read my blog, I am sticking to my jungle story).
- Rings: My silver band was $12. Gary's I believe was $19 US.
- Flowers: I spent $40 US on flowers which I had to get in Cancun, there were no florists in Playa at the time.
- Music: none
- Champagne: Remember to tell mom to smuggle it in her suitcase into the country.
- Reception: La Lunita on Half Moon Bay in Akumal. Annette the owner and who is still running the restaurant came up with the menu.
- Cake: Bakeries were not super common in those days. Sabor was a "all-natural" restaurant/bakery of sorts located on 5th Avenue. They had agreed to make the cake.
Morning of the wedding. By this time we had moved again from our casita in Aventuras Akumal to Las Iguana Condominimums over looking Half Moon Bay in Akumal. 10:00 am and I am drinking Bartle & James wine coolers. In retrospect I am not sure what made me queazy the wine coolers or getting married. Time to get the show on the road, path so it was. My mom had a nice tropical outfit on with some cute tropical shoes. I spun her right around back to her room to put her sneakers on, there was no way she could crawl into this big cavern with sandals you would wear to the beach bar.
Buddy at Dos Ojos arrange our chariot.
So the entire wedding party loads up on two trucks to go into the jungle. All of us, parents in tow, bumped our way down the 2 klicks (kilometers) to Dos Ojos.
As the bride I was nervous, so like at all weddings a bride gets a moment to collect and relieve herself. The photo was taken by of course, who else but the father of the bride.
Once at the site Gary and I ceremoniously rode horses to the edge of the cenote where we then climbed down.
I will say it was quite the trick to ride side saddle, in a polyester outfit and not slide off the saddle!
A platform was built for us to stand on over the water. That platform is still there, and movie crews, tourists and divers have used it as a staging area for years.
The judge of course was late. Two hours late if memory serves. The formalities were all in Spanish and our friend German Mendoza now in Cozumel translated in English for everyone.
My parents had smuggled a few bottle of nice champagne into Mexico. This was not the first time or the last time smuggling was necessary over the years. After the ceremony in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the jungle we all toasted and sipped champagne. Hilario Hiler long time resident of Akumal was dating a beautiful woman Gloria from Cuba. Gloria was a professional singer. I really did not know her very well. While we stood in the cavern Gloria sang a Cuban song a cappella. Her voice resinated in the cavern, brought tears to the eyes of some, and goose bumps to others. It could have never been planned to be so sweet.
We loaded up and moved 'em out, out of the jungle, down the roughest road around. Time for the reception.
We were hosted by Annette at La Lunita. I cannot remember the food as much as I can remember the people. People who were to leave the coast years later. People who have since died. People who still are our friends today. (Ok, and maybe a couple we are not friends with anymore). But we were all there laughing, talking, toes in the sand, enjoying the moment and the magic of why we lived on the coast.
Since it was Halloween a skeleton bride and groom were on the cake.
In Mexico one tradition be it wedding, birthday, etc. is the "Mordida". A group of people gather around and chant: MORDIDA! MORDIDA!
mordida (Spanish) |mor-dee-da|
verb: 1. bite2. bribe, pay-off (Mexico, Central America)
The bite concluded the reception.
A month or so later, Gary and I returned to Baltimore and had a more formal reception at the Baltimore Museum of Art, with friends and family. We had a great band and it was wonderful to be with people who probably never thought they would see us again once we moved to Mexico.
Married in Mexico, is like being married in dog years. 16 yrs x 7 = 112 years.