Unlike the first wedding I attended last September in the sierra, the wedding I went to in Chiclayo in December reminded me a lot of a typical wedding in the states. In general the coastal cities of Peru are known to be more westernised. With easy access to internet, more exposure to foreigners, and TV/ media influences, it is is easy to see that from clothing to ideas the coast is more modern and less conservative.
The wedding mass was held in a Catholic church and the bride and groom wore a beautiful white dress and tux. It was a sweet ceremony complete with a string quartet, and their young daughter as a flower girl. Like the wedding in the sierra there are no big wedding parties in Peru, the bride has a madrina and the groom has a padrino… essentially just a maid of honor and best man. After the ceremony we all cheered as the newlyweds exited the church and then photos were taken on the lawn.
The festivities began shortly afterwards in a beautiful outdoor space about 10 minutes outside of the city. From the welcome sign to beautiful sheer drapery, it was a Pinterest worthy wedding if I ever did see one!
About 200 guests filled the tables eagerly awaiting the entrance of the new happy couple! When they entered, soft classical music began and so did their first dance. After only a minute of dancing the best man and maid of honor stepped in and took over. Then after a minute of dancing with them, the bride and groom were each handed off to different family members and the song continued for more than ten minutes with family and friends stepping in every minute or so.
After the dance came the toast, and speeches were given by a few close friends and then two hundred people raised a glass to the newlyweds. A late lunch of cabrito (baby goat) was served along with rice and vegetables! There were also two tables of delicious meats, cheeses, dips, and crackers laid out for the whole evening… talk about a PCV’s dream!! Haha, I discreetly went back for seconds and thirds. It is has been too long since I have had any cheese besides queso fresco.
The photographer and videographer made their way around the room with the bride and groom to take a picture with each table of guests. After asking who is who for about twenty minutes, I found out that almost everyone was family!!
The festivities continued with hours and hours of dancing cumbia, marinera, and other typical Peruvian dances. My favorite part of the whole wedding was the hora loca!
The hora loca is a Peruvian tradition that takes place at any type of fiesta. The custom is that after hours of dancing when the energy is getting low, crazy people in costumes come out and throw beads, hand out favors, and dance with guests to revive the party.
During this wedding the dance floor was starting to empty and all of the sudden the Mario Bros theme song starts up and giant Mario, Bowser, Yoshi, Luigi etc. appear out of nowhere and started dancing with the bride and groom. Then lights started flashing a confetti started shooting out and men on stilts entered and started pulling guests onto the dance floor! It was like a mini carnaval celebration and noisemakers, mario bros masks, and beads were thrown out as everyone started dancing and taking pictures again.
As you would imagine, the hora loca lasted an hour and then just as quickly as they appeared, all of the characters vanished and a pile of confetti and happy guests were left behind. Afterwards the cake was cut and the food kept on coming. Almost 8 hours after arriving we finally packed up our stuff and hobbled out of there. Leaving behind about 50 guests that were sure to continue the party into the wee hours of morning.