quechua wedding

i was able to join our team to machachi because a wedding i had on june 4 was moved to the fall. so to be able to attend an indigenous quechua wedding on the same day was a double blessing.  i volunteered (and begged) to be in the group attending the wedding. 

we dove deep into the quechua culture that day. words cannot express the awe we felt. 
lynn and i were up with the roosters loading our backpacks for an entire day. if we needed food or water, we would need to pack it. we were supposed to leave the hostel at 8:00. however, the friend we were traveling with didn't know the location of the wedding. at 9:10 all six of us hopped into a five passenger car, that felt more like a four passenger car.  we had to be a sight in that tiny car. backpacks, water jugs and a bag of food.thankfully i was high on motion sickness medicine, so i could enjoy the experience. 

we got lost so many times, lynn said it felt like a comedy movie. all of us crammed together, making u turns and dodging traffic. our trip should have been set to music.
we we arrived, things got so awesome. we started with a processional to the church. the bridesmaids, family, friends, maybe a few strangers, either walked or hopped into trucks.  
the sweetest translator carried our food and water.
i mean really.... how cool is this!
we assumed the church was right around the corner. we learned not to ever again assume :) it was up and down a mountain. i understood the need for stuffing people in the trunks.
i wouldn't have wished for anything different. we were experiencing raw culture... and it was fascinating.
we made it to the church a little dusty and a lot excited. the church was in a tiny section of a small town. 

when i looked around, i noticed that no one was frantically hurry around or stressing about the details. despite it being a half an hour after when the wedding was to start, everyone was relaxed as they could be.  the bride nor the groom had arrived yet and still everyone seemed so carefree.

while waiting outside, i met some adorable children. elizabeth, annette, and nancy quickly became my buddies. they loved posing for pictures and seeing themselves on the back. any free time was quickly filled with these little ladies rounding up every group imaginable.

the bride arrived late according to how americans view time. however in ecuador, the timing was perfect!

when i peaked inside the church, i loved what i saw. the ladies had decorated everything themselves. take a close look at the streamer! it was toilet tissue! how awesome is that!

the church was crowded! this picture is before the two buses arrived! fire codes kept running through my mind. i think we were over the limit 100+ people ago.

i sat on the floor by the stage. 
by this time i had made several new friends!

after feeling a little claustrophobic, i followed out the first set of bridesmaids. i watched the rest of the wedding from the back of the church. (near a fire exit :) 

pig skins and popsicles were being sold outside. i was loving this wedding more by the minute!

 back inside, the ceremony was still taking place. how long was the ceremony you may ask? how about THREE hours! this was traditional for their culture.
 i am fast forwarding through so many things! the video below shows so much more.
 we passed the wedding chairs as we walked back to the reception site.
 the cake made my mouth drops! 
fourteen layers!
 it had been hours since we arrived. the gift ceremony is a tradition.  each guest walks to the front and presents the gifts to the bride and groom. the couple opens the gifts and thanks each person. i am guessing another two hours before dinner and cake.  our (scheduled) taxi had arrived so we missed a lot of the reception. 

what a blessing it was! most likely a once in a lifetime kind of thing. 

i couldn't put enough pictures on this post to get the full feel for the wedding. this short video will let you jump into this culture  too.

and the music. this is traditional ecuadorian music. i wasn't sure about the birds at the beginning. our translator angie assured me it is purely traditional. 

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