The day of my friends wedding started off with time with my family since they were with me in San Sebastian. We had some breakfast at the hotel. Here is what they had to offer. I love Spanish food, so I could spend forever nibbling on Spanish breakfast buffets.
Eggs to order! I love when hotels offer this. In fact, many do, but you just have to ask.
As always, everything looked really good.
I made sure I had a chance to pose with our lobby mascot.
Then we all set out walking towards the old city. This was my family's only full day in San Sebastian (AKA Donostia in Basque) and I had the wedding all afternoon and night, so they decided to do the hop on-hop off bus tour. I walked with them to the starting point, so these are pictures I took of the gorgeous scenery along the way as we walked by the river.
As we got closer to their bus stop, we passed the restaurant where dinner was the night before, so I made sure to take a picture this time.
These pictures I took on my walk back to the hotel.
Before I knew it, it was time to get ready for the wedding. The wedding was up at a hotel above the city, at a place called Gudamendi. Since it was outside the main part of the city, the bride and groom arranged for buses to take the wedding guests up to the venue. Here are some pictures I took as we drove from down town, along the beach, and up the hill to the west side of the city.
After a short (maybe 20 minute) ride, we arrived, eager to see what the bride was wearing and how beautiful she looked for her wedding day. The best part so far was the weather. For days it had been calling for rain, and then just 2 days before the wedding it switched and promised sun shine. It looked like it was right, and the day couldn't have been more perfect.
Before I get to the wedding, let me share a little about the bride. I first met Laura in 1991, when I was 11 and she was 10, and we were Lil' Dips at Camp Chateaugay in Upstate New York. I still remember meeting her for the first time. As the years continued we saw each other each summer for camp and then a few times during the year for little get togethers or reunions. When we were 17 (ok, she was 16 for part of that summer) we both came back to camp to work in the kitchen. Most of our other camp friends were off doing other things since most did kitchen staff (K-Staff as we called it) the year before, but I had been in Israel. In fact, if I remember correctly, I was scheduled to work there, but we were short staffed so we called Laura and she decided to come up and work with us that summer. Most of the other staff were people from the year below us, so we had a chance to really get to spend some time together and become closer friends.
In 2001, Laura was studying abroad in Sevilla, Spain, and I wanted to go visit camp and drag her with me, but she said she would be in Spain. I asked if I could come meet up there instead. I swear she must have thought I was kidding, but after checking with my mom, I had the go ahead to visit Spain (mind you I was by myself most of the time and then only a short part at the end with Laura) and see Laura. While we did not go to college together or live in the same state, we still kept in touch on and off because we shared a bond from childhood and it was always easy to catch up back and feel as if no time had passed at all. A few years back, Laura came to visit me in Las Vegas. We got to go to the Hoover Dam together and see a little bit of the city. I have known Laura for a long time and I am happy to say that no matter how much time passes between us, our inside jokes will never get old, our reminiscing of camp will always be a blast, and our endless chanting of camp songs is bound to annoy anyone not from Chateaugay. We may not talk all the time or see each other often, but we always have a good time together and I am honored and thankful that I got to spend this special day with her.
So, that is a little of my background with Laura. I wish I could say more about Alex, the groom, but I only just met him the night before. He seems wonderful, and what I love is that he is the right person for Laura. You can see that he cares about her deeply. Laura happens to speak Spanish fluently, so I am so happy that she know truly has a Spanish family and I know she must love that she can talk Spanish all the time to the man she loves. They actually met in Philly, and are now living there, and this is why the decided to have the wedding back in his home town where his friends and family still live.
Back to the wedding, and boy was this one heck of a wedding. Seriously, I can cross 'attend a Spanish' wedding off my bucket list.
Check out this amazing view.
Here I am with Naomi. She grew up with Laura and we all went to summer camp together. I love that I have this picture and somewhere at home I have the pictures of us as kids.
Here is the wedding set up.
This is the groom (he is super tall) and his parents.
Here is the bride and her parents.
Don't they look beautiful?!?!?
Here are the grooms sisters. I sat next to the one in the green dress the night before at dinner and she is such a lovely lady. I really enjoyed talking to her, even if it was brief. Here they are giving speeches to the bride and groom.
Here is Laura's brother (far side) and her cousins giving their speeches.
The ceremony was done in Spanish, and Alex's cousin translated to English. At this point they are lighting the unity candle.
Here they are exchanging vows. They look so happy. What a gorgeous view in the background too!
Heading back after the ceremony.
Here is Naomi and her boyfriend.
Here I am with San Sebastian down below.
I actually think I like this picture better, but I left both.
I just love this view!
This is the bride posing with all of the groom's male friends.
This is the bride, groom and the bride's brother, Brian. I actually know Brian too because he went to camp with us.
Here is the bride and groom with all their siblings.
Here is all of the female Spanish friends. I must say they all looked stunning and so fashionable. Plus, everyone I talked too was friendly and so welcoming.
Since the servers were walking around, it was hard to catch them for photos of everything, but I did get this picture.
I managed to pull the bride aside for a moment to snap a picture with her.
Here is the lovely set up inside.
First up was a full 4 course sit down dinner. Check out the menu. Yes, please! Well, everything but the meat. To take care of this, the staff prepared me something different for the 1st and 3rd courses.
As the meal began, the bride and groom welcomed everyone to their celebration.
We all started with bread, which was necessary because I had already had a glass of champagne and a glass of wine, and more was being poured to go with the meal.
This was what everyone was served to start.
Here is the foie gras up close. I believe it was wrapped in something.
They were kind enough to bring me a nice salad.
The second course was hake in a parsley sauce. It was so good!
For the next course, steak was served, which of course I passed on. This is Naomi's, so thank you Naomi for letting me take a picture of it.
Instead, I was served this lovely plate of veggies and more fish. It was delicious.
Out came the wedding cake and they did the official cake cutting.
So, in Spain they do not do the tossing of the bouquet or the garter belt. Instead, the groom takes the cake topper and presents it to the couple he thinks should get married next. Here you see him presenting it to the couple. The Laura took her bouquet and presented it to who she wanted to see get married next, which was of course Naomi and her boyfriend. So fun! This was done to one of our camps songs, Love The One Your With, so it was also a lot of fun for that reason.
After this, dessert was served. No, not the wedding cake (that was kept until 11 pm). This was a chocolate and espresso cake. Heavenly!
Plus, we also had this cream (the menu says yogurt but it was more like whipped cream cheese) with tropical fruit. Both were so good.
After dinner, and the 2 glasses of wine, then dessert and the champagne that accompanied it, we all moved to the dance floor in the next room. Would you believe it that for the rest of the night this bar was open with only hard alcohol (no wine). Insane! I had a lemon soda and vodka, and then I had to call it quits).
Here you see the Dj and photographer getting ready for the couples first dance.
After the first dance, Laura did a father/daughter dance, and since this is not the tradition in Spain, the DJ explained this to the people in Spanish so they wouldn't rush to the floor to join in with the dancing.
Well, my pictures end there, but the night was only beginning. Spanish weddings go for hours, so after this we had about 5-6 hours of dancing. The sun was out until about almost 10, and when it went down they kept the lights off and turned the disco lights on and the place was more like a club. Around 9:30 pm the servers came around with bocadillos (small sandwiches), but it was too dark to take pictures. I had one with a Spanish omelet and one with tuna fish. They were delicious too. Then we just kept dancing and dancing. It was so much fun! I am so happy I was able to come, but sad that my husband couldn't have been there with me.
Congrats to the bride and groom! I wish you both a lifetime of happiness!
QUESTIONS: What is the furthest you ever travelled for a wedding? Do you keep in touch with many of your childhood friends? Have you ever attended a Spanish wedding?