The morning started off well, I got up and had my normal breakfast and still wasn't so nervous. I headed to the hair salon to get my hair all pretty and the sky was pretty cloudy, but as long as there was no rain, I wasn't going to complain. I got into the salon and for the umpteenth time, told the hairdresser that I wanted super plain hair - a bit curly, but natural and touchable. After washing and blow-drying I was feeling quite pleased until BOOM it started pouring. My heart sunk. Then after she had finished styling my hair we headed to the make-up station and it kept raining. Here I hadn't even brought an umbrella and I was going to have to walk home with my lovely hair in a downpour. But for the moment I was more worried she was going to make me look like a hideous make-up freak, so just pressed the fact that like my hair, I wanted it very natural and that my fiancé likes my make-up plain jane. I told her that Grammy used to tell me that you put make-up on to make it look like you don't have any on. Seeing as the lady was all dolled up I was a bit worried I might have offended her, but in the end my make-up was nice and simple and I felt beautiful. Even better, it had stopped raining so I rushed home while I caught a break and started getting dressed.
Luckily, I had basically set everything out the night before, because when I got home, the nerves hit me! I quickly got dressed and wrote the last blog really fast and then headed out with my roommate to get picked up by my witness, Emma. and her boyfriend down the street. Waiting made me even more nervous and by time I got into the car I was almost shaking I was so excited! Never was it a cold-feet nervous, just an oh-my-gosh-im-getting-married-in-1-hour-nervous. An amazing feeling nonetheless.
We arrived to Orio no problem and parked and headed to the main square to meet Joseba. Thankfully the sun had started to bless us with its presence. At this point I was a ball of nerves and as I saw him walk down the staircase from the Old Part I got a big smile on my face. Emma had been helping me stay calm by talking and such, but as soon as Joseba and I met eyes I just got a spark running through me and got all nervous again. He was walking with his mother, Maixus (pronounced my-shoes) who was carrying a lovely bouquet of flowers and when they got to me, she handed me the bouquet with an equally big smile. It was a gorgeous bouquet of 2 dozen short-stemmed deep red roses tied with a elegant cream ribbon with 3 beads on it. And when I picked it up, I saw that she had clipped a photo of Grammy on the back, which of course made my eyes well up with tears. It seems Grammy had been talking with Joseba for some time leading up to the wedding and since she couldn't be there, she wanted it to seem like she was. Joseba did a great job of honoring her wishes and with her photo on the bouquet she was set to witness the whole day!
With about 20 minutes to spare, friends and family started trickling in and with the customary two-kisses, it seemed like I doled out a hundred kisses. Joseba's family was all there and even friends of his family to congratulate us. On top of that, my brother and sister-in-law just had thier daughter, Irati, last week, so people were coming up to all of us to kiss me and get a glimpse of the newborn!
In the meantime, Joseba had went to talk to the judge to ask if it would be possible to say atleast one line of the ceremony in English. We had the option to have the ceremony in Basque, Spanish or both, but seeing as Basque is his first language, and Spanish is neither of ours, that Basque would be the only one we used. But, being me, I wanted to atleast say 'I do' at some point in the ceremony to make it feel like MY wedding. The judge (an old man with quite slurred speech) agreed and said to write it down phonetically so he would pronounce it right.
Then with about 1 minute to spare the judge called us up and we headed into the Town Hall with a crowd of family behind us. Although the room is only about big enough for 6 people, we crowded all the family in, and left the door open for family in the hall to see it too, and then we entered and started the process. At this point I was just shaking and holding Joseba's hand so tight! Joseba took a second to write 'Do you take this man to be your husband' and 'Do you take this woman to be your wife' as it should be pronounced and then the judge came and we were ready! He asked for the identity cards of our witnesses, Emma (my friend) and Iker (Joseba's brother) but it turned out that Iker had forgotten it because they had come walking, so in the end Joseba's mom took over as his witness. Then the ceremony started. I would love to tell you everything that was said, but I was 1) too nervous and 2) not far enough along in Basque classes to grasp it all. But I did pick up on quite a lot and one thing I thought was quite funny, maybe we do it at home too, was a list of recommendations for a successful marriage. One of those tips was sharing house work. I kind of wanted to laugh but then doubted that maybe I had understood it wrong haha, but later asked and yes yes, the judge recommended we help each other with the domestic tasks! We already do, but I thought it was an interesting part of a wedding ceremony. When it got to the 'I do' part, we first did it in Basque, and just said 'Bai' (pronounced bye) when we were asked the questions. Bai means yes in Basque. Then we slipped the rings on each others hands and kissed and there were smiles all around and some clapping. Then, he said he was ready to do our sentences in English, which I had already imagined was going to be pronounced horribly but didn't care.
When you get married in Spain, they give you something called a Family Book, which has your names and then when you have kids thier names go in it too. The judge gave us a book with space for 6 kids and joked that we better get started. Chuckle chuckle, but I doubt we will fill that book up! Also here, the wife does not change her name, like we do in the States. So I will remain Amanda Gonser and Joseba will remain Joseba Brit Elola. If we had a child, it would be first name + joseba's first last name + my last name, so for example, Steve Brit Gonser would be our child. The kids always take the father AND the mother's last name.
The room started to empty out as everyone headed downstairs and outside, but Emma pulled me back and said she wanted to give me a little soemthing that she figured I might get a bit misty-eyed about and maybe better I read while less people were around. So, I opened it and what was it? A letter from Grammy with a photo. I of course started crying and then started worrying about my make-up and tried dabbing the tears away but couldn't help it. At seeing me cry, Joseba gave me a big hug along with his mother and my brother and sister-in-law started getting teary-eyed too! The judge, not understanding what the note was said 'hey, you just got married, it's time to be happy' which made us all laugh and then we headed downstairs for our first presentation as a married couple.
After getting a bit lost in the double staircase of the Town Hall, Joseba and I finally saw the sun and low-and-behold when we stepped our the main doors, were Monste and a male dancer, in Basque costume next to a Basque musician gretting us. As soon as we stepped into the threshold of the door, the Aurresku started. The Aurresku is a traditional Basque dance that is performed at weddings. With a male and female dancer (called dantzaris) alongside a txistulari (a Basque flute-player who also plays a small drum), the dance is very solomn and heart-felt. I, being American, got a massive smile on my face when I saw one of my best-friends suited up to do this dance for me. And Joseba got very serious, understanding the importance of this dance on this day and in his culture. Our faces in the video show it all!
With the tough part out of the way, the next few minutes were just hugs and kisses all around and probably the biggest smile I have ever had. Everyone cheered and threw paper confetti (which I still found stuck in my dress at the end of the night!) Soon after we headed to a bar to calm what were left of the nerves and start the party! I of course will tell you all about the after-ceremony lunch and reception, but wanted to give you a little bit to chew on, because I have SO much to tell it's going to take me a bit to write it all down. I also wanted to share some pics - I know you have been waiting patiently. I plan to upload them ALL on the internet and will put a link on this website later (I'm going slowly but surely!). Thank you all for your well wishes via email, phone, etc on our special day. Although you weren't here, I hope I can share it with you on the blog and through all the amazing pictures that were taken for us.