You may have read in my recent day trip to Tequila post that we (my boyfriend and me, plus an unwieldy group of his work friends) were in Jalisco a few weeks back for a wedding. The plan was to travel down en masse, spend a few fleeting hours in Guadalajara (stuffing our faces on all the food we could find) before taking the aforementioned day trip to Tequila (you can read all about that here) and then going overnight to Vallarta for the wedding.
Do you feel breathless just reading that ridiculously overloaded itinerary, because I fucking did. It was not the most refreshing weekend I’ve ever had, let’s just say that.
However, it was definitely eventful, and honestly? My alternative title idea was ‘Here’s the story of how we went all the way to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for a wedding and ended up missing the ceremony’. Because, I mean, we both live in Mexico, but still…that level of Mexican optimism and lack of foresight was impressive even for us. Kinda wordy though, isn’t it?
WEDDING WEEKEND IN PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO
The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Mexicans…
We had it all planned out – me, my boyfriend and his entourage would head up to the Cerro de la Cruz in the morning, before taking a lancha to Playa Las Ánimas direct from the malecón in the afternoon. What could possibly go wrong?
EVERYTHING. Literally everything went wrong from start to finish.
First, we woke up late and didn’t meet his friends on time, so I stayed in bed (because, sleep and the fact that I knew how horrendous the climb to the Cerro de la Cruz was and didn’t fancy putting myself through that again). Instead, I agreed to meet them in the centre to take the boat to the beach, after showering and shaving my legs of course. Did I do that? Did I bollocks. By the time I got a phone call telling me they were waiting in the centre, I’d barely even dragged myself out of bed and so I threw on a pair of skinny jeans (the most practical beach attire, obviously) and went to meet them.
By this point it’s 1pm, and we’ve just realised the price of the lancha from the malecón to the beach is extortionate so now the plan is to take a bus…and then a boat. Suffice to say I am freaking out – I haven’t showered, shaved, washed or straightened my hair yet and I’m fretting. I did the only sensible thing and left, sulk-sweating my way home on a bus that had a hole in the floor.
Flash forward a few hours, and I’m waiting at home as smooth as a dolphin, my hair has been (somewhat) tamed into submission and I’ve daubed on a bit of nail polish. Oh, and my pants are double coated with pantyliners because this was Day 1 of my period and my outfit of choice was a cream playsuit. Way to go, Lauren. However, it’s also 5pm, they’re still not back and the wedding starts in an hour and a half.
By the time they roll up, sun-drenched and covered in sand, it’s 7pm and I’ve been sat in front of the fan for two hours which, combined with the general hair-destroying humidity of Vallarta itself, has left my once straight hair looking like Monica Geller’s when she visits Barbados. And we’ve missed the ceremony.
No One Told Me There’d Be Sand!
When we finally made our awkward and in no way fashionably late entrance, everyone was already sat around the tables waiting for the food to be served up and I was immediately regretting my footwear choice. Turns out lace up black heels don’t combine well with sand, and no one told me there’d be sand. At a beach wedding.
(If you weren’t convinced of my stupidity when I told you I was wearing a cream playsuit on day 1 of my period, then let my footwear choice change your mind).
The plus side to our late arrival? They had just opened the buffet and the free bar was in full flow, which led us seamlessly onto the dance floor where we were handed all kinds of props from grass skirts to tequila-filled water guns and, eventually, sparklers that provided the backdrop to the newlyweds’ first dance.
Oh, and I cried and fled to the bathroom at one point. Over the fact that I can’t dance salsa, leaving my poor confused boyfriend on his own. Yeah, I still feel silly about that one, but like I said, it was day 1 of my period, what do you want from me?! (At least I fulfilled the crying-women-at-weddings quota for the newlyweds though, so there is that!)
Once I’d come to my senses and ordered another drink, it was time for the garter removal and bouquet toss. Me and my friend Cristy did our duty…and by that I mean, we joined the crowd of women and hid well at the back to avoid running the risk of actually catching the damn thing.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Tavo
Did you think this long and unwieldy story was over?! Oh, think again, because no Mexican party is complete without an after-party and that goes doubly for a Mexican wedding. You’ll enjoy this part of the story though, because it involves stealing beer, getting caught in the act (no, not that kind of act) and absolutely zero crying.
After a lengthy discussion about getting litros from across the road (which turned out to be closed), we finally traipsed through the resort to the onsite bar, slipping in (much to the dismay of the poor barman) ten minutes before it was scheduled to close. It’s worth mentioning at this point that the group of us there from Monterrey/Mexico City/ Germany (lol jk, but every Mexican taxi driver likes to point out that I somehow look German) were not actually all guests of this hotel and we were absolutely not supposed to be getting free drinks from the onsite bar as a result. Luckily, two ballers had booked a room and so they went and ordered for us, shuttling beers back and forwards to our table for a good five minutes before downing them and going back for more before the place closed.
If only we’d known we didn’t have to frantically rush. What’s that? Why did we not have to rush? Well, when the barman leaves and turns the lights out, leaving a rowdy bunch of wedding revelers behind in the bar, turns out they’re going to do what anyone would…hop over the bar and serve themselves. (DON’T JUDGE OUR LACK OF ETHICS, OK?! This is not the time! And it only gets worse, so buckle up.)
Yes, we’re horrible people, I know. And we continued to be horrible people when they threw us out of that bar, leaving us to wander around for another option. We found one. We stole more beer. We’re AWFUL. And then the real hilarity started.
Up until this point, we’d been relying on the kindness of strangers to shuffle behind the bar and serve us some more deliciously unethical beer, but eventually we sent in one of our own. And…just as he was reaching for the tap, the security guards turned up and we started our own real life comedy skit, with Tavo hidden furtively, unable to come out, Cristy gesturing to him to stay where he was, me and Inti being generally useless and Isaí trying to butter him up and distract him with cigarettes and chit chat.
Eventually, Isaí managed to get the guy to go for a walk with him, leaving Tavo time to dash out of his hiding place. Beerless, I might add. The kicker? The guy wasn’t a security guard, he was just a random hotel guest (dressed slightly like a hotel employee) who was wandering around at two in the morning.
(…the real security guards did turn up and throw us out eventually though. I guess we kind of deserved it.)
Wait, you don’t have your keys?!
Oh, lovely innocent readers, I’m not done with you yet. Our beer stealing antics were not, sadly, the end to this debacle of an evening, because when we got home, my boyfriend realised he didn’t have his keys with him. Awesome.
A few minutes of frustrated pacing later, an attempted shimmy onto the porch roof to open an upstairs window (unsuccessful – yay household security!) and we were fashioning a door opening device from a long stick and my hoop earring (which broke), so we had to swap to my bracelet instead (which thankfully did not break). After some McGyver style maneuverings, we were in! (NB: I have no idea what or who McGyver is, I only learnt the phrase from watching Brooklyn Nine Nine on repeat. I assume it’s something to do with Die Hard).
Anyway, we weren’t in the house of course, just the garage, which is exactly where we slept until my boyfriend’s dad came round at 6am to let us in. So, all in all, the perfectly ridiculous end to the perfectly catastrophic day.
REFLECTIONS ON MY MEXICAN WEDDING EXPERIENCE
It had been a longstanding dream of mine to attend a ‘proper’ Mexican wedding (and a quinceaños, but that’s a ridiculous aspiration for another day) and so when I was finally invited to the wedding in Puerto Vallarta, I was excited to say the least. Por fin, my integration into Mexican society was to be complete, I thought to myself, wrongly believing this would be some kind of momentous cultural awakening.
It didn’t take me long to notice that chart music, crying women and people dancing awkwardly in circles ‘til the tequila kicks in are staples of any wedding, Mexican or otherwise though. But I guess my biggest realisation was that weddings are essentially all the same; a marginally awkward generational clash that comes from cramming everyone you know and love into one place and trying to find music that suits them all, until everyone gets just the right level of drunk to loosen their tie, shift out of the slightly awkward pre-drunk dancing stage (the kind where you’re not quite tipsy enough to be coordinated and everyone else is just the right level of tipsy to remember it) and squirt tequila into your mouth with a water gun – yes, that happened, and I loved it. It was an inspired touch, honestly.
What more can I say? This wedding had it all. Great anecdotes that I’ll undoubtedly be trotting out for years, crying women (me) and classic wedding music that eventually descended into cumbia beats, a musical touch which I maintain is the mark of any great Mexican night out. If only we’d seen the actual ceremony.