Get us to the church on time–Nicaraguan style

Catholic church in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Hola, dear readers, once again, from San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.

Are you dressed in your wedding finery?

It’s time to celebrate–Nicaraguan-style!

Jesus, pedestal, window

Oh good, we make it to the church on time.  Luckily, we can glimpse it through the trees from our casa here at Pelican Eyes Resort.  In Spanish, they call this resort Piedras y Olas, which means stones & waves.  Here is the official story from the resort’s website:

In San Juan bay, pelicans dive and fish, and occasionally, ensnare themselves in fishing lure. One day the founder of Pelican Eyes Resort and Hotel helped untangle a pelican from a line and found himself looking into the bird’s beautiful eyes. He felt a deep admiration for the plucky bird and renamed his sailboat “Pelican Eyes.” Pelican Eyes Resort and Hotel was first a sailing charter business, and eventually grew into the incredible resort we know today.

Walk quietly inside the church

But let’s not think about the resort right now.  We’re here to celebrate a wedding!

The wedding of my nephew, Tim, and his beautiful fiance, Natalie.  Natalie is a dual-citizen of both Nicaragua and the United States.  The bride and groom met at Michigan State University a few years ago, while out dancing.

Open arms

I can’t take my eyes off the statues, can you?

Aren’t they wonderful?

Couldn’t you just admire them for hours?

Church windows wide open for all

It’s comforting to sit with breeze blowing through the open windows of the church.  The wind blows softly through buildings everywhere.  No separation exists between outdoors and indoors.

It feels free.

Here comes the bride on her father's arm...everyone stand, please.

Oh my–look!–who is coming through the open church door?

It’s Natalie and her papa, Trinidad.

Everyone have a kleenex handy?  It’s time to weep, remembering when you held a tiny babe in arms, never imagining the day would come when he or she stood close with a beloved in a distant church, ready to vow eternal love.

Papa "gives away" his daughter to the groom from Michigan

Natalie and Tim...you are now husband and wife...

Let’s join the wedding party on the front steps of the church, la iglesia.

The bride’s sister passes out silk petals in transparent bags.  Are you ready to throw them at the bride and groom?

I shall decline.  It’s hard enough to take photos at a wedding.  I can not seem to take photos of anything moving–such as the wedding party.  Very challenging.  (If you don’t believe me, you take photos.  See how many turn out blurry.)

Flower girls

What a beautiful bridal party!

The priest speaks Spanish, although a translator appears for the sermon.

Sweet Christian songs arise in Espanol, a duet of male harmony resounding through the church.

Tears stream down my face, wetting the camera.

Por favor, another kleenex?

Shadow, Virgin, Child

Gosh, I love these statues.

Looking closer

Here comes the shuttle to transport us back to the reception!  Watch your step, watch your step.

Always cobbled brick pavers everywhere.

Always bouncing through bumpy streets.  (Hey, it kind of reminds me of our dirt roads in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan!)

Wedding cake

The main restaurant is closed to the public.

How beautiful it looks!

Another tropical drink?

Yes, indeed, thank you for the welcoming rum and guava.

Gracias, gracias!

Reception at Pelican Eyes Resort, sunset. Do you see the church down in the town?

The sun sets.  We sip drinks, mingle, sample deep-fried chicken and vegetable appetizers.

I try to communicate with some of Natalie’s family.  Many live in Managua; speak little English.

Proud grandparents at the reception (my mom and dad)

After the wedding party arrives, Natalie hugs us. She tells my parents, “I have new grandparents.”  We tear up again.  She tells me, “You are my new tia, my aunt.”

Gosh darn, we should have brought a box of Kleenex.

First dance

Timmy and Natalie dance their first dance as husband and wife.

As the evening progresses, we all find ourselves on the dance floor, even Mom and Dad.  We dance wildly to “We are Family”.  We boogie to a throbbing pulsing Latin beat as the night deepens, as the cradled moon rises.

Nicaraguans are so expressive, so loving, hugging.

They repeat one hundred times:  We can not believe you all came from Michigan.  We can not believe what a wonderful family you are.  We can not believe that you made this effort to come to Nicaragua.  You understand the value of family.  We love you!

Proud parents (my brother Tim and his wife, MIchele)

We are grateful to be here.

We are so grateful for Natalie’s family and the wonderful celebration.  For their amazing generosity and love.

Traditional dancers perform

See the traditional dancers?  How they dance their hearts and souls around the floor, the music reverberating high in the hills.  Later Mariachi-style musicians entertain us with bongo-like drums and many musical instruments.  Dancers swirl around a maypole with long ribbons, feet thumping, hips swaying.

Are we dreaming?  Will we awake in Michigan, in snow and cold, dreaming of this deep Latin beat, tropical beaches, tall green and orange drinks, cawing birds, cobbled streets?

Traditional Maypole dance

Natalie’s family pass out feathered masks, tiaras, novelty ties, cowboy hats, cigars.  We dress playfully in  costumed fun and dance, dance, dance again.  Many abandon heels and shoes and dance barefoot.  Blue and green and purple lights pulse.  The energy throbs, awakening our northern hearts.

The song “Have I told you lately that I love you?” plays.  Tim, the young groom, bends down to my mother and leads her to dance.  I think my mom will remember this moment for the rest of her life.

Who are these cowboy Gringos anyway? (**smile** my dad and the groom's other grandpa and uncle)

Are you sleepy now?  It’s near midnight.  Do you want to wander up to bed, or will you stay later, much later, until the fiesta ends in the middle of the night?

We’re leaving now, quietly, not to disturb the energy of the fiesta.

Gracias, again.  This is a memory we will carry close to our hearts as the seasons turn.  When the geese and robins and hummingbirds fly south in autumn we shall wonder, “Are you going to Nicaragua?  Can we fly with you to see once again this land of palm trees and our new family beneath the ancient Mayan sun?  Por favor?”

41 responses to “Get us to the church on time–Nicaraguan style

  1. Ohhhhhhhhh fantastic post! It’s always fun to live vicariously through you! “Church Windows Wide Open for All” and “First Dance” are my absolute favorite photographs.

  2. google tells me that I want to say felicitaciones por su nueva familia!

  3. Beautiful, beautiful, BEAUTIFUL! Everything! The architecture, the scenery, the cake, the dress – I love it all! I can almost feel the wind blowing through the windows of that church, you describe it so well. Looks like everyone is having the time of their lives!! :)

  4. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful occasion with us. I am truly jealous! This is sooo much better than a traditional destination wedding. You have loving hosts not just resort staff.

  5. Oh, my, as I read this and looked at the photos, tears started rolling down MY face. Everyone is glowing, in addition to the gorgeous bride. How beautifully you captured the feelings of family unity and the spirit of the culture. I am enchanted by the little girls in the background as Natalie walks into the church with her papa. The faces in all the photos tell such wonderful stories, in and of themselves. What a marvelous job you did, Kathy Sue, in the midst of being the special tia there! I only wish we had one sweet photo of you! Thank you so much for sharing all this wonder!

  6. Wonderful family! Everything looks so beautiful. The windows of the church are really special. Wish I could have seen the dancers in person :)

  7. Love the kiss! The knot has been tied!

  8. What an amazing wedding, what stunning photos, what a magical celebration of love and family. Plus, your photos are fabulous. I especially love the one of the tree through the window, and I adore the necklace your new niece is wearing.

    Great post, my friend!

    Hugs,
    Kathy

  9. Wonderful!!! The colors in the church were so lively – the dress of the bride is awesome – the views from the reception took my breath away. Lucky you!!! :)
    Hugs
    Suzen
    Betcha can’t wait to get home to the snow, eh? haha

  10. Truly beautiful in every sense! Your pictures of the scenery, the people, the church, the locale…it’s all beautiful! The bride and groom are a lovely couple. I wish, though, there was a picture of my dear Kathy of the north (temporarily of the south!) ♥ Thank you for allowing us a glimpse of your time there and sharing the special moments that touched your heart. Tia….I love that word for Aunt ♥

    By the way…it’s a balmy 41 degrees C here in MN :) Thought you might appreciate the warmth in sunny Nicaragua more after being reminded of winter in the north!

    • major oops…I suppose everyone caught it…the 41 degrees on this day in MN was Fahrenheit….not Celsius. I kept looking at it thinking, something isn’t right, but didn’t put it together until just now, several days later. Guess my head cold caused more than sneezes, runny/stuffy nose and coughs…it caused brain cells to go on strike. Or maybe they were with you on this lovely trip…yeah…that’s it…:D
      From your friend in MN who has gone looney ….sigh.

  11. Love this! I’m so glad you decided to share. Everything and everyone looks beautiful and happy.

  12. Oh, gosh – I do need a tissue. What a meaningful celebration of love and family. Thanks for taking us along, Kathy. I’m sitting looking out at the snow, but i’m feeling all warm inside.

  13. Wow, Kath–you really captured the flavor, spirit and love of the wedding with your words and photos–once again. You are my bestest blogger! Are you coming home soon? I miss you! Love, Barry

  14. A terrific blog, Kathy. I could almost hear the music. Glad you are having such a wonderful time. Blessings to the newlyweds. Fantastic pictures.

  15. Kathy, I’m tired. That wonderful, exciting, long day tuckered me out. Thanks for letting me tag along. ‘night.

  16. Ah Kathy, so much beauty here. I always cry at weddings and this one was no exception. Many blessings and the best of all wishes to Tim and Natalie.

  17. Great blog, kind of had the feeling I was there for a minute. I am so glad the Michiganders were able to make it to the wedding, looks like it was beautiful. Congratulations to the newly married couple. It brings back memories of the wedding I attended a couple years ago, vacation, wedding doesn’t get any better. Last but not least her dress was just beautiful….

  18. Aww, your hubby Barry is so sweet ♥

  19. Oh my goodness – what a gorgeous wedding!

  20. What a wonderful wedding so many tears and so much happiness. The church is so lovely and like you said the statues are so beautiful with some so very expressive.This has been such a special experience one you will never forget. :)

  21. How lovely! Congratulations to all of you :) I can tell you had an amazing time!

  22. Wonderful story and great photos. Thanks for finding time to keep us posted on your amazing adventure :)

  23. So lovely! What wonderful memories for all. I’ll bet your photos would make wonderful book for the bride and groom, and for you.

  24. Ohhh, what a beautiful wedding! ♥

  25. There is nothing left to say except ditto all of the above.

  26. Goshdarnit, now I also need a kleenex, Kathy… Sniff… this was SUCH a beautiful, heartwarming post, thank you so much for sharing it… gentle hugs.

  27. Amazing, Kathy– simply stunning. Like an earlier commenter, I got all misty-eyed just reading this post! What a beautiful occasion to witness. I love the colours, the statues, the flowers– everything! The bride looked gorgeous, and I covet her necklace. ;)

  28. Pingback: Please don’t step on the chicken in the coffee shop (and other Nicaraguan photos) « Lake Superior Spirit

  29. Dear fellow wedding-readers: Thank you for your lovely comments. My heart loves what you’ve shared! It’s been way too busy to respond to you individually, but please know I feel great happiness that you’ve paused and joined the wedding celebration in Nicaragua. Thank you!! With my whole heart!!

  30. Michele Sheldon

    kathy, it was so wonderful to see the wedding through you eyes…you captured everything perfectly…i relived the whole experience…and I was there….thanks for the memories…love you forever…Mich….pass the kleenex please…

  31. Crying now. Please pass the tissues. xoxo S

  32. Thank you again, everyone. Have we all stopped crying now? How many boxes of kleenex have we used, anyway? ** grin** (Thank you, Michele, for enjoying re-living the wedding through the blog. So happy that the mother of the groom stopped by!)

  33. What a wonderful time, what a wonderful post! I am delighted to have “joined” in. Thank you for sharing!

  34. Somehow I missed this post! Glad to see it now, beautiful wedding, beautiful couple…beautiful setting. Thanks for sharing!

  35. Thanks again for all your comments. I like it that people keep visiting and commenting because it brings me back to this blog to re-live our beautiful wedding in Nicaragua!

  36. Pingback: I’ve returned to Nicaragua! « Lake Superior Spirit

  37. “We can not believe that you made this effort to come to Nicaragua. You understand the value of family. We love you!” What a special thing to say – reading it started the tears rolling down my cheeks… A colorful celebration of love and family… Will the newlyweds be living in Nicaragua, Michigan or some other place?

  38. Barbara, it was so special. Their encompassing love was so special. The newlyweds will be living in Atlanta, Georgia, for the current time. (They’ve been living there for the past couple of years while Natalie got her Master’s Degree.)

  39. Pingback: Who says we can’t go back to Nicaragua again? | Lake Superior Spirit

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