By Ginger Truitt
Due to the hubs’ work, we have been to Belize many times over the past seven years. Two particular families have extended incredible hospitality to us, and always welcome us with open arms.
Last month, we were overjoyed to hear that these two families would be united as their adult children had fallen in love. They said it was my fault. Apparently, I had inadvertently played cupid.
We were surprised and honored when we were asked to stand with the bride and groom as witnesses. We had never attended a Belizean wedding ceremony, and weren’t entirely sure what to expect.
The wedding was a small affair, with fewer than 20 in attendance. The day before the ceremony, I helped decorate and prepare food. Chubby, white women like me do not do well in 95-degree heat, and sweat poured from my body. As I worked, my clothes became drenched, my ankles morphed into cankles, and I found myself daydreaming of a white Christmas. I was wrestling with a strand of ribbon and strip of tulle, when I noticed the bride and two other family members standing to the side, discussing a particular decorating idea.
I stopped and took it in. Of all the people in the world, I was invited to be part of this very special time in someone’s life. Not only invited, but actually given a place of honor. I love everything about weddings, but rarely am I part of the inner circle and behind-the-scenes moments. But here I was, thousands of miles from home, in a country that is barely more than a dot on the globe, in this town, in this backyard, in this moment in time, with this family. I felt the sensation of being picked up and dropped into someone else’s life, and I was humbled.
The intimate wedding was one of the most beautiful I have seen. It was unique from American weddings, and since there was no rehearsal we just had to wing it. The couple was seated in front of the minister. I was seated next to the groom, while hubs was directed to sit next to the bride.
Thanks to my two years of high school Spanish, I recognized about every 10th word of the half-hour ceremony. I’m not sure what Arnold Schwarzenegger had to do with it, but “The Terminator” was mentioned twice. At one point, I gathered that the minister was sharing a humorous story about how he proposed to his wife with a tortilla, so I laughed along with everyone else.
I nodded in agreement when he cautioned the couple that there would be “muchos problemas.” With 21 years of marriage under my belt, I could give my own speech about the muchos problemas they will encounter.
We printed our names on several copies of the licencia de matrimonio, and then they were pronounced man and wife.
Then there was a slight hesitation.
“I’m pretty sure he just told you to kiss,” I encouraged.
Replied the groom, “Ha! I see you understand the important words!”
We toasted the happy couple, and then dined on shrimp, vegetable rice, and my famous all-American broccoli salad. Candles hanging in the tropical trees cast an ethereal glow over the yard. The sound of laughter floated on the cool evening air, and the bride and groom were enthralled with one another. I thought about how they said it was all my fault, and I smiled. I am more than happy to bear the blame.
Truitt is an author, speaker and mother of five. Find her on Facebook (Ginger Truitt-Author), Twitter (@GingerTruitt) and Pinterest. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.