My Argentinean wedding

We all like weddings, don’t we? At least, I do (pun intended).

Sean saying his vows

A while ago, Katie from Seashells and Sunflowers wrote a  post on her engagement photos and upcoming wedding on her blog. The post, the photos and the comments inspired me to organize a group post about weddings with fellow bloggers Katie, Aledys (From Argentina to the Netherlands), and Wendy (Vivir el momento). We’re all expats and our husbands/partners are from countries other than our own. The idea is to share the memories of our weddings or wedding traditions and experiences in our countries or the countries where we live now as expats.


Sean and I got married in May, 2005. We lived in Buenos Aires, in a gorgeous apartment in a lovely part of town. But sadly all good things come to an end: we decided to move to Dallas because of Sean’s job. Our wedding was going to be our farewell to friends, family and the city we loved so much.

The first big decision was where to have the wedding. I’m not talking about which church or which banquet hall but which country: Argentina or the UK? I wanted to elope to Barbados! But we chose to fly his folks to Argentina. So as well as wedding planner, I became a travel agent.

In Argentina, the civil wedding is the only legally binding marriage. A religious ceremony is optional and usually takes place the weekend after the civil wedding. Our civil wedding was on a Friday and the church and reception took place on the following Saturday. Because it is an official occasion, it is conducted entirely in Spanish. It was fine with Sean -his Spanish is up to par- but his parents and siblings were completely in the dark. A very good friend of mine was going to translate the ceremony for them but she was suddenly taken ill and was in hospital. Some passages of the church wedding were in English as well as in Spanish.

 

It's official!

While we were waiting for our turn outside the Registry Office of Haedo (in the western suburbs of Buenos Aires), one of my sisters heard a young boy say to his mum “Look! A man wearing a skirt!” That was Sean. He was wearing his kilt and gillie shirt, an outfit extremely rarely seen in the Pampas… (In case you were wondering, that’s the Ancient Ferguson tartan.)

I almost gave up on a religious ceremony. The Catholic Church has too many requirements: book the date, pay for the flowers and other expenses, attend a short course delivered by the priest and submit a baptism certificate issued especially for the occasion. Soviet bureaucracy sounds like a walk in the park compared to this. They wouldn’t accept Sean’s baptism certificate because it was a copy and not an original. I sent an irate email to the Diocese; the bishop’s secretary waved his magic wand and made everything right.

At one point during the religious ceremony, the priest asked us to kneel. I heard laughter behind me. What was going on? Sean looked at me sheepishly and said “I’m sorry”. He’d written OH! NO! on the soles of his shoes. Much needed comic relief.

 

A little joke

Wedding receptions in Argentina last all night long. Literally. Breakfast is usually served at around 5 am and it’s very welcome after so much dancing (and horsing around and drinking). After dinner, the cake, the toast and the first dance, comes the disco and carnaval carioca.

The first dance is usually a Viennese waltz, although Sean chose a song by the great Stevie Ray Vaughn, followed by waltzes (although we hadn’t practised beforehand, we did a decent job). Then those who wish to do so can join the twirling pair.   The carnaval carioca comes late in the night. This is when everyone lets loose -if they haven’t already- and dance to very lively music, generally Brazilian, and people wear silly hats and throw confetti.

 

Carnaval carioca

 

Our first dance
The toast and cake


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Published by

Ana

Hi, I'm Ana. I'm originally from Argentina but I'm currently living in Dallas (USA) with my British husband. I'd like to share my experiences as an expat and as a traveller.

28 thoughts on “My Argentinean wedding”

  1. Qué lindo! 😀 Beautiful photos and I can imagine that Sean caused a sensation wearing a kilt! What possessed him to write that on his soles? Hilarious!
    I would kill to be able to attend an Argie wedding again! It doesn’t look like I am going to, any time soon – friends are all married, or already divorced 😛 and my younger cousins are taking too long…

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      1. I bet your mother-in-law begs to differ on that! 😀
        OK how about we do a bit of wedding-crashing at Katie’s like Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn in that film…. 😀 Ooops, shouldn’t have said that here, now she’ll hire some private security to keep us out to be sure.

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  2. Lovely post! It sounds like you had a lot of fun. We had similar language issues – the ceremony was in Spanish and we had ‘volunteered’ a couple of friends to translate into Italian and English. So it took three times as long as normal. Luckily the guy running it was pretty funny so hopefully the guests didn’t get too bored!

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  3. Que hermosas fotos de tu boda !! Muy ocurrente Sean con su inscripcion en los zapatos “no” !!
    Ana estabas preciosa !!!

    Tus blogs son super interesantes .

    Besitos

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  4. Ha! What a great post! I love that you two didn’t take yourselves too seriously (or maybe that’s just Sean). The comment that boy made about Sean’s kilt is priceless. haha For the record, I kind of dig the blue and green plaid. 😉 And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how stunning you look in your wedding dress, Ana. I love the floral detail around the waist.

    You and Aledys are welcome to crash my wedding, but be forewarned that we’re not having a big to do. There will be no religious ceremony – just the civil one – and then a small party afterward with our closest family members.

    Thanks for organizing the group post. It was fun!

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    1. It really was fun! We should do other group posts in the future.
      Thank you for your compliments! If you look closely, the flowers are in all shades of blue and green… Speaking of the dress, it took me and the designer a couple of hours, o less, to design it. The basic premise was that it had to be different from those of my two sisters, which in a way made it easier for us.

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  5. Lovely wedding, Ana!

    Congratulations!

    I like the Carnival Carioca part! Must be such a fun! I would like to try an Argentean wedding with a party all night long!

    In my country, generally, the party is until midnight because the ceremony is around (=/-) noon.

    I like the way you do it. There is less stress, I guess… we can enjoy more your day because we don’t need to wake up at 7 am to go to the hairdresser and be in a huge rush to be in the church around 10 or 12.00 o’clock.

    Very funny the soles part! Hilarious!!! Muito Bom! 🙂

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  6. I’ve just read this! How cool! I’ve loved the pictures and the OH NO! in his shoes is just hilarious! Hey, what a great hair style you have in the first picture! You look like a Hollywood diva! Besos,
    Marta

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  7. Ana,

    Congrats on the wedding and the move to Dallas.
    It’s not BA of course, but I’m sure you will find a cool place to live
    and fun places to visit here too.
    If I can help you find a rental or if you want to buy feel free to contact me.
    I came across your site when you typed in “move to Dallas”.
    Hey and if you or your husband would like to visit our Rotary Club
    stop by any Tuesday night at 5:30pm…Cape Buffalo in North Dallas near
    Frankfort and the Tollway.
    Welcome to Texas.

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  8. How lovely! (I found your blog via Gran Tourismo)
    I think you dress was nice and the ceremony looked very sweet.
    Its very interesting to hear about wedding traditions in different countries.
    I am from the Philippines and probably all the weddings are Catholic or Christian and the requirements are the same as yours! You need the seminar, the baptism, the confirmation and the whole lot. Have had friends who married foreigners who had to go through a lot (like you they wanted to give up!) just to get married. Glad it all turned out well in the end.

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    1. Hi Larissa! Thank you 🙂 I don’t understand why they make it so complicated for one to get married 😦 Anyway, we had an unforgettable night. Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. Ana, well done, I greatly enjoyed the read. Its very helpful for me, as I intend to get married in Argentina this year. November will be the civil ceremony, and I have no idea what to wear, or what to expect. I have read so many different things that I am completely lost what to expect. I am trying to plan the church wedding (rather late compared to what I have read) for end of January. I have never been to a civil wedding before, and I am trying to figure out what has to be done in order to pull it off nicely. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

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    1. Hi Miranda. I’m glad you enjoyed this post. I know there are a million things you can read on the Net, from success to the worst horror stories. I don’t know if you’re living in Argentina or not, but I’d suggest that you first find out which registro civil you need to go to (that is defined by the address of either the bride and the groom.) As far as I know, different districts have different requirements. We got married in the Moron district. If you do not hold a DNI, you may need a constancia de domicilio or similar (issued by the police in Capital or the Registro Civil in Provincia de Buenos Aires).

      If I were you, I’d go straight to the source: the Registro de las Personas webpage and see if it has enough info. Failing that, call or have someone call your Registro Civil (and double-check what they say)

      November is one of the prettiest months of the year, flowers are in full bloom. I’d wear a pretty summer dress with a matching pashmina and great shoes. but that’s just me 🙂 And it is also ‘wedding peak season” You should be all right finding the church you want in January, most people are away on holiday anyway. Now, March and April are a different story.

      Also, check Katie’s posts on her wedding at http://www.seashellsandsunflowers.com She’s American and recently wedded her Argentinean fiance in the city of Necochea.

      Best of lucks and let me know how everything goes!

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  10. Hi Ana,

    This one may be a little late but a friend of mine is getting married in Mar Del Plata and we are looking for somewhere to hire a kilt and maybe a matching jacket or tartan of some kind. Do you know of anywhere in Mar Del Plata that hires out the above? Any help would be greatly appreciated 😀. Regards Andrew

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    1. Hi Andrew! A wedding in Mar del Plata sounds wonderful. I don’t know of a shop that hires kilts, as my HB owns his. Besides, you’ll find that the most common heritage there is Italian 🙂
      Try to contact the British or Scottish communities in Buenos Aires, they may know something I don’t.
      I’m sorry I can’t give you any really useful information!.

      Like

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