In yesterday’s post I mentioned the two weddings I attended the last couple of weekends. As I raved before, both were fabulous and each unique in its own way. One of the major differences between the weddings was the ceremony itself: one was a “civil” ceremony and one was a religious, more spiritual ceremony.
To give a frame of reference, the civil ceremonies can somewhat be equated to the majority of ceremonies we attend in the States (or at least in California). Many times, a couple’s close friend receives special permission from the State/County/Gov’t Entity to marry the couple on that particular day. That’s how my friend Amanda did it with her husband, as well as my friend Corey. If not this exactly, definitely something similar. There’s also the option to have a government officiant marry the couple “with the power granted to [them] by the State of XYZ.” These ceremonies may seem cold and rigid but that’s because you most likely have no idea what a civil ceremony in Chile is like. At least in the States, the couple is encouraged to state their own vows, tell one another the reason they are so in love and so sure that he/she is the one for him/her. Mucho romantico! All the legal jargon is taken care of in the States alongside the romantic jargon that the couple deserves to share. Love it!
In Chile, the civil ceremony is, in two words, a nightmare. But the thing is, the couple has NO CHOICE. If you’re lucky – yes, LUCKY – you will get an officiant who will allow you to state short vows. But the majority of the time, the officiants are annoyed that they have to be there in the first place, could care less that the wedding day is UBER important for both people getting married, and basically acts like a prima donna who’s doing you a favor with his/her mere presence!
Our experience so far with the officiant has been less than stellar. In fact, when G first made the trek down to the city hall of the town where we’re getting married, the officiant straight up told him that no, she no longer did evening weddings because it interfered with her life and why didn’t we consider moving the wedding time to before 1 pm? I swear the b*tch said this. As if my wedding would EVER revolve around a grumpy old woman from the middle of BFE Chile! My reaction would have gotten us nowhere and thankfully I wasn’t there when she said this. My wonderful husband-to-be is a TOP NOTCH schmoozer and not only did he get this b*tch face to ok the 6 pm ceremony but also agreed to do it on site. Mad props to G!!
On the other hand, when someone has a religious ceremony, it’s exactly as you see in the movies. The priest/pastor/rabbi/what-have-you marries you in a church/temple/again what-have-you, says spiritual things about the sanctity of marriage and marries the couple under God. Yes, the couple also has to do the civil part as mentioned above, but this is usually done the day before, either alone or with close family friends. The wedding itself, with party, reception and all is done via the Church because this is when Catholics consider themselves to be TRULY married.
Since I’m Catholic and so is G (along with about 98% of Chile) I’m going to refer to a Catholic ceremony from here on out. The couple who marries in the Church, marries after going through a series of “classes” to prepare for the sacrament of Marriage. For those who don’t know, the Catholic Church has Seven Holy Sacraments which are: Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Communion (also known as the Eucharist), Confession (also known as Penance or Reconciliation), Marriage, Holy Orders (becoming a person of God such as a Priest), and Anointing of the Sick (a rite done by an ordained priest or above). As a Catholic “ordinary” person, from the list above, I’ve gone through almost all the Sacraments I can achieve without being a “holy vessel” of God. Marriage is the final one since I’ve completed all of the above, as required, by the Catholic Church.
But I can’t receive/go through the Sacrament of Marriage.
The reason is simple and though I fully accept it, I can still state and write that it’s a thorn in my side. G was married before and was so via the Catholic Church. This means that he can NEVER again marry in the Catholic Church because he is already considered “married” in the eyes of God and also because, of course, the Catholic Church doesn’t believe in divorce. In fact, because Chile is a Catholic country, in 2004 Chile became one of the last countries in the world to grant married couples the right to divorce. 2004!!! I mean, that was like yesterday!!
Three things make me sad about not having a Catholic wedding: 1) the Priest actually blesses the couple and blesses the rings. God is thoroughly mentioned as being present in the union and further, APPROVING the union. 2) the fact that the Priest says something to the like of “What God has joined together, let no man separate,” tugs at the heart strings. Does that mean that God sees the previous marriage as real and ours as fake? 3) Though to some, maybe to many, this may seem ridiculous but I was raised Catholic. Though I am not as devout as perhaps I should be (I haven’t been to Mass in eons), I pray almost every night and thoroughly believe in God and the fundamental teachings of the Catholic faith (not all, but most).
And G knows that this is important to me and God love him, one of the times he was in the dinky little town where we’re getting married to take care of the civil business, he stopped by the Church to talk to the Priest to see if he would at the VERY LEAST bless our rings … and sadly, the Priest said no.
So what can I take away from all of the above?
First and foremost, I am in love and completely adore a wonderful man who also loves and adores me right back. I also believe that just because the bureaucracy of the Catholic Church won’t allow me to even have a Priest PRESENT at my wedding to say “God is with you,” doesn’t mean that God himself doesn’t look upon us with blessings and approval. I realize this just as much as I realize that I won’t be walking down the aisle with a long veil, approaching the altar to receive the Sacrament of Marriage. I can be bitter and wonder why the ex gets to have married him in a Church and I can’t but I’ve felt that before and it’s a useless feeling. Besides it never lasts long…one look, one moment with G and it doesn’t matter anymore. He’s with me now, he chose me and I chose him back.
The Priests don’t want to bless us but that’s ok — we’re already blessed. We feel it together, in our hearts, in our home and in every second of our story together.