Wedding: The Barrio Way
We were supposed to take the bus which would leave before dusk, but since we were aiming for a cheaper cost, we waited for the 8 PM schedule (don’t ask me why it’s cheaper; i don’t know either). I have traveled before. Even on a plane. So what’s an eight-or-so-hour ride to the hometown of my mother? Vomit. That is. But I’m a three-year old kid, so it would not be that gross. Consider my mother’s.
That pukey situation did not kill my excitement, though. For months, me and my sister had been so excited looking forward to have a change of environment, temporarily leaving the provincial feel of our home to go to, well, another province. But it would be different. There would be my other cousins, my aunts and uncles, my grandmothers, and my great grandmother. It would be a riot. Especially for my great grandmother who, although loves our presence there, hates to be bothered with even the littlest noise, and me and my cousins would make a lot of big noise because we had missed each other and we would play a lot. And there would be a wedding. Since the bride’s house, where the reception would be held, was near the sea, there would be beach time, too (big smile on my cute face). And that was why we came. The beach. Noo, i meant the wedding. My Ate was a flower girl. And I? I was there for the beach. I didn’t envy her at all.
We arrived. And everyone seemed busy already.
My family was on the groom’s side. Just like most cultures (I’m just guessing since I’m only a kid), it is the groom’s party here that should prepare everything and spend for everything (I hope that this tradition remains when it is my time to wed, that is, if weddings are still a thing in the future). On the eve of the wedding, the group already went to the bride’s home. A small red truck plus a jeepney carried for them pigs, chairs, gowns and suits, utensils, decors, and of course, the gin, which I know only because I had seen it with my father. It was amazing to see the willingness and cooperation of everyone.
The wedding’s eve was not only meant for the preparations. I learned that it was also part of the tradition to have a sort of a dance party or a small ball the night of its eve. This would also be an opportunity for the soon-to-be husband-and-wife to start collecting money- like gifts- from attendees. And here, it didn’t matter if the groom saw the bride the night before the occasion. It wasn’t a bad omen. Just one good night of fun. And no fancy dresses were even required. We just danced.
The freezing cold woke me up early the next day. Despite that, I enjoyed the view of the sea at the back of the cottage one good relative provided us. But my Ate enjoyed it more because instead of readying herself for the church- getting dressed, make-up, and all- she still had the guts to join our cousins jogging by the beach and savor the fresh breeze along with the view of the sunrise-kissed seascape. And I? I had to drink my milk.
Off to the church. It was a simple wedding. The number of people though, present here is much less than the number of people who ate at the free dinner the previous night, and I was guessing even less than the ones who would come after the church ceremony. It was generally quiet. Maybe because the officiating priest
threatened reminded the parents to control their children. I didn’t really see who cried and who didn’t in both parties, except for one ring-bearer who, if was not making a sudden yell, was giving a sudden shriek. I didn’t really care. I was playing somewhere, except when my mother was able to control me, especially toward the end of the ceremony. How come there was no you-may-kiss-the-bride declaration of the priest just like how it is in the movies? I guess it was the photographer’s task. Anyhow, while my mother carried me, tired from roaming around the church, I contented myself watching the couple and the entourage do some interesting, sometimes awkward, poses the cameraman instructed them to do. Creative, nonetheless.
Feeling hungry, I was already pestering my mother on our way back to the bride’s house, the reception venue. A line of makeshift tables surrounded by some red and white balloons, paper flowers, and other decorations that made the area somehow glow with color greeted the visitors. Some were not invited, but they came anyway because these days, as my aunt put it, it is rare to hold the reception in the bride’s house, even in this seemingly old-fashioned place. Most were joining the bandwagon, and more practical way, of bringing the celebration in a cozy restaurant. Or they just don’t get married at all. The number of “eaters” was overwhelming making the place crowded that you could already lose your appetite. But who would have thought the food was tasty? I wanted cake, though, but my mother insisted it was only for the couple (and the mustache man?).
After the food, dancing started along with other activities common to any Catholic weddings. We had ice cream outside the area, so I didn’t get to see the entirety. We came back and witnessed only the throwing of the garter and afterwards, the speeches. But now, I saw who cried.
We headed back to our cottage to prepare for the next part. The swim. I didn’t know how to yet, so I just played at the shallowest part of the water. It was clear at this part of the year since the beach was not yet crowded by many people who dirty it. We actually owned the sea that day. We were the only ones there. I was still begging my mother to stay but she just told me we would come back the next day. Little by little, I am beginning to learn lies.
After half-a-day of rest, we packed again. This time, we had to go back home. I might not anymore remember this occasion in the future since my brain is still that small to retain memories. But I know, somehow, a part of it will remain in me. It might not be the details, but the feel of it. Something will always make me seek this place of “happy.” With the sea, the breeze, the warmness of people. With family- the very reason why my Uncle Rio and now-Aunt Fe married, for the rest of their life.