The original aim of our trip to Guadeloupe was to celebrate Bertie’s parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, however, his sister took advantage of the presence of all but one of her siblings (when they number 12 that is no mean feat!) to get married.
I have heard many stories about Guadeloupean weddings from Bertie, mainly how 300 plus people will be invited to the evening do and yet still more will come sneaking in, hearing about free drinks, but I had never actually attended one, so I looked forward to filling this gap in my cultural knowledge. And a learning experience it was! Lessons learnt:
1. How you look is SO important. Hours are dedicated to finding the right outfit and accessories. Evening dress is probably best for women, though men seem to get away with less formal attire. Further hours are given to preparation of hair, nails etc on the morning itself. Even a slight matter such as making the official ceremony in the town hall is not to get in the way of being ready!
2. Being on time is a very relaxed concept. See above (very few people did make the town hall!). We waited 20 minutes in the heat for the priest to arrive at the church celebration. The evening meal, hopefully announced on the invitation as 7.30pm to eat at 8.30pm, was in fact served at 10pm! No matter, most the guests didn’t arrive till then!
3. After the ceremony all the cars in the bridal party will drive around town with lights flashing and horns beeping. Just because. Onlookers – feel free to join in and beep back!
4. One can never have too many cakes. There were in fact 20 to choose between that evening. The highlight was the one shaped like an island with a fish swimming around underneath it!
5. Nor can one have too much food or drink. In fact, there should be enough for everyone to come back and enjoy the next day. And quite possibly the day after. And the day after…
6. Early birds beware, it will go on late!
7. The bride and groom get a marvellous throne to sit on/stand by whilst they welcome their guests. I guess if you have 300 there a place to sit is not a bad idea!
8. A lot of work is done by family and friends, so your holiday will be taken up by plenty of wedding preparation. Perhaps Bertie’s other sister had this in mind when she arrived on the evening of the big day, rather than two weeks in advance like the rest of us!
9. If you wear heels double the height of your highest ever pair, get practising in advance!
10. There will be a lot of dancing and loud music. The aforementioned sister told me that she generally loses a couple of kilos just from dancing!
All in all it was a very successful event enjoyed by all the family. I must admit, by 1am I was happily back home in my bed, glad to kick those heels off!
Here is a very small selection of the many family photos I took that day!