Finding love and marriage, half a world away from home.

I read in the newspaper a story where a local woman had emigrated from Venezuela because she feared for her son’s life. In making a new life for herself in Canada, she found the job and love of her dreams. The next day, I received a wonderful email from her asking that I conduct her wedding ceremony.

She left Venezuela to find refuge in Canada. She felt that her young son’s life was in peril. She came to Canada to rebuild her life in a safe place. However, her time was running out and she was become desperate. Just when she thought that she would need to go back to Venezuela, she landed her perfect job … and she found the love of her life.

I was so moved by her story in the newspaper. She was expressing great gratitude for her new found country and her new life. You can imagine my delight when the next day, I found in my email in-box a message from her asking me if I was available to perform her wedding ceremony.

The guests came from all over the globe; Venezuela, Malta, England and Canada. Those who could not make it sent her brooches so that she could make a special bouquet from it. Her veil, headband, necklace and bracelet were all gifts from various family members as well. She was a stunning bride in her dress.

During the ceremony, her brother read a Spanish translation for the Address to the Couple which I delivered in English. The best man did a great job with the reading of “To my friend”. The couple lovingly recited each their own vows that they had composed. The groom’s mother was pleased to bless the bride and the groom on their marriage.

I performed the Las Arras ceremony. This ceremony is not one that I get to do very often. In essence, thirteen small coins were placed in a bag. They represent wishes of good fortune for each month plus one extra for charity. I received the bag of coins from a ‘sponsor’ and blessed them. I placed the coins in the bride’s hands. She transferred all of them into the groom’s hands saying LO MIO ES TUYO Y LO TUYO IS MIO; “What’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine.” He then did the same, giving them back to her. At the end I placed them back into the bag. I declared them married. The couple kissed and the party began.

The Las Arras ceremony was very special. This particular bag and coins have been used in many wedding ceremonies in the bride’s family. The bride’s mother could not remember how many generations back they have been used – but affirmed that they were in every wedding ceremony she could remember. All together, I felt like her family had gathered in this place, half a world away from home, to celebrate life and love.

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