Religion in a Bicultural Marriage

I grew up in a pretty conservative Presbyterian church in Virginia. Jorge grew up in a Catholic church in Cancun. Both of our families had/have leading roles in our respective churches, so religion played an important part in both of our lives growing up.

When we were dating, there were several times when I wanted to discuss religion to find out exactly what Jorge’s beliefs were and how they lined up with mine. Anyone who has lived in Mexico knows that this is like pulling teeth. Even though Mexicans are admirably firm in their beliefs and principles, there’s still a cultural barrier that prevents them from talking about it. The Mexican culture doesn’t like to talk about anything that could lead to conflict, including religion and politics. (This is starting to change a little bit with our generation, internet and social media, but that’s a post for another day.) If you bring up religion or politics at a gathering, Mexicans will usually close up a bit… or maybe Americans are just a little too open. I guess it depends on who you ask. ūüėČ

After several years, Jorge and I were slowly but surely beginning to discover that despite our different upbringings, our core beliefs were exactly the same.

Once we got engaged, I had some very good conversations with Jorge, his parents and my parents as we planned what our wedding would look like. In the Catholic religion (at least here in Mexico), you need to be married under the Catholic church. We couldn’t do that in our case because I’m not Catholic. Jorge might have been able to get some sort of permission to marry me under his church anyway, but I have some disagreements with the Catholic faith that prevented me from having a Catholic-approved marriage under good conscience.

With a little (not a lot) of pressure from both sides of the family, Jorge and I compromised. We had an outdoor religious ceremony at our wedding, but we made a point to combine wedding traditions from Protestant and Catholic faiths so that everyone involved would feel comfortable. My uncle John (who performed the ceremony) even had a talk with my in-laws beforehand, which helped to ease a lot of their concerns a few days in advance. We received many compliments from both sides of the family on how beautiful the ceremony was, so it was a huge success thanks mostly to my uncle.

Jorge with his mom holding the "lazo" at our wedding

For awhile after we got married, neither of us were going to church. I don’t have any good excuse for this. Sunday is my only day off and I love to sleep in, so I was always too lazy to find something. Last December, after seeing several online friends mention an English-speaking church here in Cancun, I decided it was time to rebuild my relationship with God and began attending. This non-denominational Protestant church is small but with a great community atmosphere and excellent sermons.

Jorge and I had decided long ago to try to look around for a church that made us both happy, and he agreed to go with me once his job started to give him Sundays off 2 months ago. He seems to really like it, and we’ve been together a few times.

At our "legal" wedding ceremony (different from the religious one)

That’s where we stand now. Time will tell if Jorge continues to like our current church or if he wants to explore more options later on. If we were in the US, there would be tons of options that could offer us a more solid compromise… maybe an Episcopalian church or some sort of Unitarian church. Here in Cancun, however, we’re limited to mostly Catholic churches and only a few Protestant options. We also go to his church when we’re in the neighborhood or on special family occasions. I really like the church he grew up in, but again certain beliefs prevent me from ever officially joining.

Our talks about church used to get a little tense and end in hurt feelings. Even though our beliefs about God line up, we both have different ideas of what a church should look like and what religious traditions should include, but I feel like things are beginning to fall into place after 5 years. Now that we’ve both seen that there are churches out there that we both like, we have more hope for the future.

Do you and your significant other have the same religious beliefs? What compromises have you made?

First Trash the Dress Photos!!

My photographer, Monica Lopez (info@monicalopezphoto.com), sent me a few of my Trash the Dress photos today! The location is the beautiful Garrafon Park on Isla Mujeres, who were so generous with us throughout the day.

There will be more sometime next week, but for now I can’t stop looking at these:

I think I might ask Monica to follow me around with a camera everywhere I go from now on, forever. Check out her website here: http://monicalopezphoto.com/

More to come in a few days! Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Update: Now you can check out the rest of our Trash the Dress shots!

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Juan and Viri’s Beach Wedding

My frequent readers will know that Jorge and my best friends are Juan and Viri. They already had their civil ceremony back in December, but this past weekend was their big Catholic wedding. It was SO MUCH FUN!

The wedding was held at Ocean Events, a beautiful outdoor venue set on the beach near Puerto Juarez, right in front of El Meco ruins. (Jorge and I almost chose this venue for our wedding last year, before deciding to get married in Merida.)

I got to be a bridesmaid (there were TWELVE of us!), and of course I took pictures… you know me.

The ceremony venue

Jorge and me (a vision in purple, if I do say so myself)

I told you there were 12 of us

It's a Mexican tradition for family and close friends to pay for certain parts of the wedding. Juan and Viri sponsored our wedding cake, so we sponsored their dessert table... money well spent.

Here's a Mexican wedding tradition for ya... the men carry the groom off to the restroom. They undress him (completely), and bring his clothes back to the bride, who then has to go to the restroom to dress him again.

Here they are bringing the clothes back.

The wedding was filled with great food (especially the cupcakes… ooooh, the cupcakes…), tons of dancing (the dance floor was NEVER empty, and the salsa music was the most popular), and tons of friends. We ended the night around 2 am.

Congratulations, Juan and Viri!

Tuxedo Rental

Yay! Yesterday I broke my record for daily site visits.

191 visits yesterday! Woo-hoo!

This past weekend, we went to check out tuxedos for the groomsmen. We took along Jorge’s brothers, Jair and Darwin.

Darwin insisted he wanted coattails. I didn’t say anything, hoping that Jorge would take charge and take a stand against it. (Nothing against coattails, but I just don’t see our wedding being THAT formal, plus it would look funny alongside Jorge’s tux.)

We had already rented Jorge’s tux at a store called Royal Tuxedo. It cost $1200 pesos (about $100 USD) for 3 days.

We heard that a store called Omni was much cheaper, so off we went on Saturday. When we got there, they had more vest color choices, but they were all pretty ugly. The suits themselves looked a bit outdated. Most of them were available for around $800 pesos, however, so we thought if we could find something decent it might be worth it for the cheaper price.

Darwin started getting all excited about a suit with coattails (NOOOO!) and instead of standing up for his own wedding, silly Jorge started pointing at it and talking to the sales lady. DOOM! DOOM!

We were told, however, that nobody could even try anything on until 15 days before the event, and we had to have the money with us just to try it on. (What?) Also, the rental was only for 24 hours. Since the wedding is out of town, we’d need at least 2 days, meaning it would cost us $1600 pesos.

We decided to just go back to Royal Tuxedo, which would end up being less expensive because they rent for 3 days.

After looking around, Jair and Darwin decided to try on a simple black suit (no coattails!) with a vest and tie that I had originally wanted Jorge to get. (Jorge ended up with something equally cool, but the one his brothers tried on was my personal fave.)

While they were trying suits on, Jorge whispered to me that the reason Darwin wanted coattails was because he has no butt, and he didn’t want anyone to notice. BWA-HA-HA-HA!!

I was so excited when I was told the particular suit the brothers tried on was only $700 pesos!! for 3 days!! Talk about lucky.

So there you have it… Royal Tuxedo has great service, cheaper prices and much better suits.

Jair looking like a stud

The name's Mendez... Jair Mendez.

Darwin lost a lot of weight recently and he looks AWESOME.

I know 2 guys who need a haircut before July 22.

I love this color! It matches my dress ūüôā

Wedding Blessings

45 days til the wedding!

I have to admit, I was stressing out for a few months because¬†costs just kept adding up and adding up. I hadn’t really told anyone that except for Jorge and my wedding planner, Marina.

It got to the point where I wasn’t sure if we were going to be able to have a few things I wanted due to budget constraints. I just couldn’t get excited about anything¬†because I was worrying about money, and I felt guilty for anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary. We got everything at a great price, but with 250 guests and 25 tables, EVERYTHING is expensive!

We love and cherish every single one of our guests, so cutting the guest list was never an option. Actually we did cut it… it WAS at 330!! It stressed me out having so many people, but when I think about it, how awesome is it to have SO MANY friends that you care that much about?

Anyway, recent budget changes and some very generous¬†family and friends¬†have placed everything well within our budget!!! Hurray!!!¬†Stress no longer! I can finally enjoy this, and I’m gonna be milkin it for all it’s worth!

Anyway, I’d like to take this time to thank the people who have made all this possible:

-My parents, who have generously paid for most of our wedding budget. Without you, it wouldn’t be as beautiful as it’s going to be. I hope you both love it as much as I do.

Noelle, Mommy, Daddy, Sarah and Yours Truly

-My mother in particular, for her amazing talent. Thanks to her seamstress skills, my $5,000 dream dress only cost $250. The wedding invitations she made look professional, and only cost $100. (Remind me to do a post on the invites! They’re so cute!)

-My grandparents, who have helped all my family members to be able to make it down to Cancun.

-My future in-laws, who are helping us financially as well as helping us make so many decisions. I know at the end of a long day, the last thing you want to do is go over a guest list with me… AGAIN. Thanks for doing it with a smile on your face.

Jorge and Glenty at their vow renewal reception

-Juan and Viri, our great friends, who are generously paying for our cake. (chocolate-nut flavored! woo-hoo!)

-Jorge’s aunts and uncles, who are helping us pay for a few things and have¬†saved us so much money¬†(We’re renting a charter bus for my family to get from Cancun to Merida the day of… one uncle got the price from $1500 to $600 dollars!)

-Jorge’s grandmother, who is making the flower girl dresses herself

-Jorge’s mother, who is making 100 candles for us, along with the centerpieces.

-My bridesmaids, who put up with my indecisiveness and always make me feel special. (I’m missing pictures of Isis, Jorge’s cousin, but I love you just the same!) My mistake was having seven gorgeous bridesmaids. It’s gonna be tough to outshine them all!!!

Thanks sisters, for always photoshopping me in when I couldn't be there.

Me with Zareth and Viri

Damayanti

Julyssa

-My wedding planner, who is doing all this for FREE. You’re awesome, Marina. Thanks for putting up with all the last-minute changes, for all the great ideas, and for winning the hearts of florists, makeup artists¬†and DJs. You’re going to make an awesome wedding planner, and I’m proud to be your first bride.

Me with coordinator Marina and bridesmaid Julie

-Iliana, the sales manager at Hacienda Teya. I have sent you thousands of e-mails, and you always responded within 24 hours. You’ve made everything so easy, and thanks for bending over backwards to get me everything I’ve asked for, even when you didn’t have to. You’re my favorite person I’ve never met.

-My horrible math skills, which brought me great relief in times of trouble.¬†(I might have miscalculated a few things and thought it was going to be $1000 dollars more expensive than it was going to be… oops. I felt really stupid and somewhat concerned about my financial skills, but also friggin ecstatic, when I noticed that slip-up.)

I’M SO EXCITED NOW!!!! ūüėÄ I think it’s awesome that so many people have come together to make this day awesome for us, including all of our guests, who are traveling short and long distances to be there on our special day. (250 people willing to travel anywhere from one hour to 10 hours just to be there? Amazing. God has really blessed us.)

Check back in tomorrow to see pictures of the tuxes for the groomsmen!!

Wedding Plans: Another Visit to Hacienda Teya

Mommy’s visit was very productive! I went with her, fiance and my future in-laws to Merida to sign contracts with some vendors, to do a trial run for my hairstyle (yay!) and to visit the hacienda to do a food tasting and pick table settings. It was a busy (and hot) day, but we got everything done we wanted to and then some.

I can’t show you pictures of everything (have to maintain some mystery up until the wedding), but I’ll distract you with beautiful pictures of the hacienda.

Mommy at the hacienda's restaurant (I want those tiles!)

 

There was an event going on while we were there... can we do THIS at our wedding?

 

Mommy and me checking out one of the bedrooms

Me & Jorge

Me & Mommy

Mis Suegros