Minivans and Mariachis. Nicole marries Isaac. Helen was there.

While I was up to my eyeballs in Oompa-Loompas on the 7th of February, my niece, Nicole was getting married to Isaac. 

Obviously we were unable to attend, but my other niece, Helen,was there.  The wedding was held over the border in Ensenada, Mexico which made it a "Destination Wedding."  I'm sooo sad that we missed it, but Helen was there.

Family member who shall remain nameless: "Why haven't you blogged about Nicole's wedding?"
Me: "I wasn't there, remember?"   =(
Another family member who shall also remain nameless: "It was a beautiful wedding. And so much fun! You should blog about it."
Me: "I totally should, except for the part where I wasn't there."  (Sadly, Amy Kikita who was supposed to represent got stricken by a killer flu, so she wasn't able to attend either, therefore we had no first-hand documentation.)
Me again to Helen, who was there: "Helen, you were there. Write something for me to post on the blog."
Helen: "Okay. I can write something. I was there."

The following is Helen's description of the My Big, Fat Cuban Family's Destination Wedding Weekend in Mexico (with occasional notes from me) because, well.... she was there and I wasn't.

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Nicole and Isaac’s Wedding – Not the just Destination but the Journey…Highlights…
  • The Airport
  • The Bus
  • The Journey
  • The Party
  • The Forgotten Bridesmaid Dress

Destination weddings are always fun. Living in Southern California means that we can jump on a bus and attend a wedding in another country! So when Nicole and Isaac announced that their wedding would take place in Ensenada, Mexico, of course our family was game! You may have noticed, from other blog posts – we are always game… Here are the highlights from the journey and the destination…

The Airport
We all met at the San Diego Airport – in the spot designated by our driver. “Excuse me, are you with Sun Tours?” we were asked over and over again. “No,” we politely answered each time. “We’re part of a private group. We’re on our way to our cousin’s wedding!” we enthusiastically told anyone who would listen. Until an Airport Official arrived and said, “This is where the Sun Tour meets. Please remove yourselves and your luggage from this spot.” Umm, sure.
Minivan #1  
The Buses
There were twenty people in our party. Several tour buses drove past as we glanced hopefully up, but when our bus arrived it resembled two delivery vans. Could we possibly get twenty people into two vans? We did! And we had fun doing it!

NOTE from Marta: Yes, that's my mom in the front seat. After all, she's only 94, why would she skip the Family Destination Wedding Weekend? *sigh*
Minivan #2  
The Trip
The ride to Ensenada was a highlight of the trip! We saw a rainbow!
We saw Gigantic Jesus on the Mountain, welcoming us and offering us a benediction! We talked. We laughed. We enjoyed ourselves tremendously.

The Party
There were actually several parties, a party being defined as every time a group of us gathered for any prolonged period of time. We arrived at the hotel -which was beautiful- and practically empty except for us. We all met at the restaurant and so began the first of the parties. That evening there was a rehearsal and then a reception with a mariachi band. 

Cowboy mariachis

Leave it to Nicole and Isaac to hire a band that could sing El Rey and cover Pink Floyd. It was inspired. (Some were even inspired to join the band, despite sleeping toddlers.)

NOTE from Marta: These are four of my five siblings singing with the mariachis (obviously undaunted by the sleeping toddler). So sad I missed this!!  (Glad Helen was there to document all the fun.)
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The day of the wedding finally arrived. It was a spectacular wedding!

The bride looked gorgeous. The groom looked smitten. The bride walked down the aisle to the melodious sounds of The Beatles' “Across the Universe”.
Wedding bride 2
The ceremony, which was conducted in both English and Spanish, included the lovely Mexican tradition of placing a lasso around the bride and groom to symbolize the love that binds the couple in their marriage. One of the advantages of taking over the hotel was that the celebration went on well into the night. And celebrate we did!

Wedding with helen
Congratulations, you two! Welcome to the family, Isaac!

Nik & Isaac

As for the Forgotten Bridesmaids Dress (*see note below): Would you believe we scraped one together from an old t-shirt and a mascara wand, MacGyver-style? Look closely. Bet you can’t tell which one it was. 

~ Helen

*NOTE from Marta:
  I never wrote about the Forgotten Bridesmaid's Dress.  Here's what happened....

The Forgotten Bridesmaid's Dress

Friday morning (when all 20 of the wedding-going family members were packed into those two minivans and were already crossing the border from California to Mexico) I got a text from my niece, Natalie:

Nat on her cell

Aunt Marti....HELP! I forgot my bridesmaid's dress. Can you go to my house and get it and then FedEx it to me in Mexico???

(Actually, I got several texts and multiple phone calls from different family members, including the panicking bride, but that's not important right now.)

And just for the record, FedEx would not deliver overnight to Ensenada. Neither would UPS, or the random Mexican courier company we found in the phone book. Trust me. I tried.  There was a "Next Flight Out" deal but that was only for real emergencies like ummm... the transportation of vital organs.  (I was tempted...)

Here's a picture of  Attempt # 27 To Get The Bridesmaid's Dress Over The Border:
Forgotten bridesmaid's dress
Finally Nat's dad picked up the dress from my house and drove it to San Diego (about an hour and a half south) where one of the minivan drivers agreed to pick it up and deliver it to the wedding venue in Ensenada (another hour and a half south of San Diego).  Bridesmaid's Dress Crisis averted for only a tank of gas and a $100 tip.

I like to think this was my family's way of saying they missed me and that they wanted to include me just a little bit in the Amazing Destination Wedding Weekend.  =D

(Thanks, Helen! I'm soooo glad YOU were there.)

Congratulations, Isaac & Nicole!