No not my wedding (and it’s way way too far from realization, I don’t even know if it’s ever gonna happen). A friend invited me to her dream wedding at Kyoto. Our friend Rita is from Peru while her groom, Rafael also our friend is from Mexico. I did not expect to be part of the selected guests whom they wanted to share this very precious moment of theirs. Guests from Tokushima gathered at 7 am in front of Hotel Clement. We took a reserved bus bound for the church at Kyoto. The wedding was held at the St. Viator Kitashirakawa Catholic Church.
With only three hours of sleep, I was sleeping most of the time at the bus. I get awakened once in a while by the direct sunlight from the opposite window or when my mouth opens a bit while asleep (yes and it is embarrassing). It was partly cloudy day and the weather feels like Autumn even if it is already December. And just like what everybody is talking about, the leaves have just turned red, orange, and yellow just as weird as the warm weather on December.
The church is near the Kinkakuji (Golden Temple). Upon arriving there, we saw some guests greeting us in English in reply to our Japanese. We (the guests) came from different places – Mexico, Peru, Spain, Philippines, Congo, Indonesia, and Japan. It was a diversity of guests from different parts of the world. I was confused which language to use, whether English, Japanese, or the limited conversational Spanish that I know of. And then we saw Rafael, the groom wearing a dark blue suit for their big day. He looked very busy as he welcomes each of us. I asked him if he’s nervous. He smilingly replied“I’m tired!”
At the entrance, the guests will sign at the reception area, and then leave a fingerprint on their family tree. A first time for me. And then at the entrance of the church there stands the mother of the bride and the father of the groom. It was my first time to meet Rafael’s father, while it was a long-time-no-see for Rita’s mother. We already met before when she visited Tokushima last year or so. She was wearing a beautiful pink gown which really fits her. And most of all, the unmeasurable happiness that glows in her face as the mother of the bride. I could feel how very happy she was for her daughter. I wish I could have expressed the same feelings to her if only I could speak Spanish.
After a few more minutes, the bride arrived. She was shining in pure white wedding gown with a smile that glitters like a diamond. An indescribable happiness. Since it was my first time to attend a foreign wedding, I was very careful of my manners not to loiter around. I really wanted to say hi to Rita and have a picture with her while she’s standing outside. But the wedding facilitators were asking us to wait at the church entrance thus, I can’t get a closer encounter.
The wedding was delivered in three languages – Spanish, English and Japanese for the sake of all the guests attending the wedding. Luckily I was able to follow the wedding guide distributed at the church seats. My friend Janice said, the Japanese seated beside her commented “Is it really that long?”, referring to the matrimonial rites. So I wonder how a Japanese traditional wedding goes. As the ceremony is about to end, I was moved when the bride and the groom were introduced to Virgin Mary as part of the matrimonial rite. They went in front of the holy image of Mother Mary while the prayers were recited (off-mic I guess because I did not notice it or did I not hear it?). The background song “Ave Maria” sung in heavenly voices of the choir was a different version which I heard for the first time.
After the announcement of the marriage, there was no kiss-the-bride in contrast to the customary kissing the bride that we all got used to. The couple stood in front and marched towards the door as they exit the holy church. No picture-taking at the altar as well. From the church entrance, we went straight outside as per instructions from the facilitators for the throwing of petals and taking of pictures.
We enjoyed the food while we chat with new acquaintances. There were sushi, salad, wine, sake, fruits, pasta and dessert. Burp! (Excuse me hihi!) I still wanted to eat more of my favorite pasta, too bad my stomach was already full. While everybody was eating, cheers and greetings went its way along with pictorials with the couple. After a while, guests were leaving little by little. We also managed to prepare leaving. Unfortunalely, we were not able to hand over our present to the couple. We were not able to bid good bye as well.
This was really something that I will not forget. It reminded me that in every weddings, its center will always be God’s unification of two souls as one – forever. Nothing else. We only live once and finding your one true love could only be once in a lifetime. Best wishes to Rita and Rafael!
(Please forgive the delay. This was written right after the wedding but got delayed due to re-writing and editing and procrastinating. This is the best I could give though. Peace!)