Argentine Weddings–Party 'Til the Break of Dawn

Je T'aime by katiemetz, on Flickr

I'm pleased to say that my approaching nuptials served as inspiration for an expat group blog post about weddings. Ana, Argentine blogger and author of A pinch of this, a dash of that, came up with the idea for a group post centering on wedding customs and stories from the countries we now call home. Ana entertains us with the story of her wedding to her British beau here in Argentina, while Aledys, author of From Argentina to the Netherlands, For Love!, tells of her experiences at her very first Dutch wedding. Please take a few moments to read their stories!

Once upon a time, I used to consider myself a night owl – that is, until I moved to Argentina. Argentines are creatures of the night, eating late and socializing until all hours of the morning. Weddings are no exception, as I found out last February when Daniel's cousin got married.

The evening started off as one would expect. Our presence was requested at the imposing Catholic church on Necochea's main square at the respectable hour of 6:30pm. Though the traditional cadre of bridesmaids and groomsmen was notably absent, the wedding ceremony followed a predictable, albeit short, course of events (I believe it may have set a record for quickest Catholic wedding ever).

Immediately following the ceremony, we headed to the reception, which took place in a lovely venue located riverside here in Necochea. We noshed on hors d'oeuvres and sipped champagne on the deck overlooking the Río Quequén, with the nearly full moon reflecting off its waters, while we awaited the arrival of the happy couple. In the wake of the bride and groom's grand entrance in a cool, vintage convertible, the guests were ushered inside to take their seats in preparation for dinner.

I noticed the bride and groom readying themselves for their first dance right after the appetizer course, which struck me as odd since the dancing at most American weddings doesn't begin until the meal has just about concluded. After an elegant waltz around the dance floor, the bride and her new husband also danced with their parents. And with that, the dance floor was officially opened, with guests rising between each and every course to boogie down a bit before the next round of beef and various salads arrived at the table (What else did you expect for dinner? This is Argentina after all).

The food and drink kept pouring out from the kitchen, as I glanced in disbelief at the clock. The sweet table, filled with assorted pies, cakes and cookies, opened at 1:30am, and the bride and groom paused momentarily from the action to cut the cake, a multilayered, dulce de leche-filled confection known as rogel.

There were celebratory toasts, a comedy sketch, and a digital slideshow of photos of the bride and groom. The bride tossed the bouquet, which I scrambled to catch (to no avail). The groom cheekily slid the garter off the bride's leg. The father of the bride even danced atop one of the tables (!).

At an hour when most American weddings would be long over, they busted out the party hats, feather boas, masks, and crazy glasses (items collectively known as cotillón). Back in the United States, I had never attended a wedding that went later than midnight, and here, at half past two, the party was just getting started!

Daniel and I packed it in around 5am. Still going strong on the dance floor, a bunch of grannies in sparkly, multi-colored party hats put me to shame as I dragged myself out to the car. Apparently, for those who braved it until the bitter end (sometime around 7am), the reward was piping-hot pizza and other goodies.

I slipped into bed around 5:30am, with the pulsating rhythm of Latin tunes still echoing in my head. With aching feet and a gurgling stomach, I drifted off to sleep quickly as the bride, groom, and other partygoers continued until dawn.

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