Alan Curthbertson – Wedding for Free

A Wedding for Free

A recent survey by a wedding magazine shows that the average English wedding costs £20,983. Not in Spain it doesn’t. In fact getting married in Spain not only costs you nothing, you actually make money.

I found this out whilst seated next to Antonio (van Cleef) at his son’s wedding during our first year in Spain. Surrounded by over four hundred guests and perusing a menu that included five courses. I turned to Antonio and said “This must be costing a euro or two?” He smiled and explained that not only wasn’t it costing a penny, the bride and groom expect to be able to furnish their house with the profit. Apparently it’s Spanish tradition that all the guests work out how much it is costing for them to be there, food, drink etc, they then add between fifty to a hundred euros to that figure. This is then placed into an envelope and after the meal everyone queues up to place the envelope on the head table. What a brilliant idea!!!

During the meal, trolleys were forever circulating, stacked high with every kind of drink you can imagine, wine, beer, soft drinks etc. All this was free and by the fifth course spirits were high. A group of young men from the village began gathering at the head table. Antonio became quite excited and pointed to the small crowd. This was obviously one of their traditions, maybe the speeches? The young men, chanting and cheered on by the guests, carried the groom from his seat around to the front of the Head table. They then removed his trousers putting his tight fitting Y fronts on show for everybody to see. It didn’t stop there. These were skillfully removed using a pair of sharp scissors and placed on a silver tray.

A bunch of young women then, a little more gracefully, escorted the bride to the front of the main table. Antonio and I gave each other a knowing grin. I had noticed how Heather had enjoyed the groom’s participation now it was our turn. Alas she simply pulled up her wedding dress and allowed them to cut the garter from around her thigh, this too was placed on the silver tray. I would have loved to see Heather’s mother’s face if this had happened at our wedding. To my astonishment these two articles were then cut up into small pieces and offered for sale, all the pieces were eventually replaced with Euro notes.

10 minutes later and once again the younger guests approached the head table, only this time they were carrying two cakes. Theirs was a little less ostentatious than the five tiered one that sat to one side. These in fact had been expertly molded into the shape of a woman’s and a man’s private parts, the coloured icing giving them startling realism. The male version was placed in front of the bride and the female’s in front of the groom. As the onlookers cheered both their heads were pushed into their respective finely modelled privates. All quite surreal.

The celebrations went on until 5am the next morning. One of the best weddings I’ve ever been to.

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