The two provinces of Extremadura are beautiful, both their villages and their capitals, with Badajoz enjoying the largest Alcazaba in Europe and Cáceres being a World Heritage Site, so a wedding in Extremadura is a great idea.
It´s well known that my priority in a wedding is the ceremony, that the blessing has authentic meaning for you and your guests, and this could lead to the fact that ceremony and celebration happens at different locations. It is a luxury on such a special day to be able to enjoy two different venues, so that all your senses and expectations will be completly fulfilled.
In Extremadura you will not lack options.
A wedding ceremony in Cáceres capital city is a guarantee of being surrounded by history and lordship. Choosing the views from the many Casas Palacio, where you can walk to your wedding through cobbled streets, crossing its arches, or climbing the hundred-year-old stairs, will properly make you feel like “the bride and groom”.
In Badajoz, pronouncing the “I Do” from the roof of a fortification or in the gardens of the Muslim palaces will agree with rituals such as the Fastening of hands, or poems with verses related to the similarity between the symbiosis of two hearts with the one of the different cultures that have inhabited the city over the centuries.
And if you want to count on nature for the blessing, areas such as the Monfragüe pastures (Dehesa), the Jerte and Ambróz valleys, the Sierra de Gata, towns such as Llerena, Guadalupe, Zafra, Plasencia, Trujillo offer rural landscapes combined with Hosterias (inns), Palaces, Paradors and Agritourisms that will make your soul vibrate and feel a deep connection with the natural order and all its elements. Marriage rites with water, planting seeds, deep breathing, will be totally organic for the ceremony.
Meanwhile, in Convents such as Alcantara, converted into splendid hotels that preserve that mystical, almost magical air, you will be able to experience that you are isolated from everything, in your own sanctuary.
Or imagine, if you like theatre, scenic arts, or history, getting married in Merida, the capital of the region. Classic authors´ texts about marriage, dreams, engagement, will be perfect, or even a themed wedding.
Also, providing details from the traditional culture to the marriage instills an added value, if you love the place.
For example, 3-day weddings, which seems to be a recent invention where the most chic marriages are preceded by the “pre-wedding day”, where families and guests meet to get to know each other and begin the celebrations (a rehearsel day), and the post-marriage day, in which a complementary activity is organised so that the wedding can continue to be enjoyed, originally this option have their origin in the most ancestral weddings, typically in Extremadura.
In the past, in the villages of the area, days before the nuptials, pastries were made in the bride’s family’s house, as the day before the wedding the guests would come to bring them the “compliment” consisting of oil, sugar, flour, eggs, in order to bake pastries, while the bride had to offer them back already prepared. If they brought too many perishable “compliments”, it was allowed to the couple to sell them in other villages, to make them profitable.
During this visit, the bride displayed her trousseau, which in ancient times included the mattress, for which she had to keep the wool from the shearers for months.
Meanwhile, on this same day, the groom together with the town’s youngsters, sacrificed the animal that would be prepared for the wedding reception.
Later on, both friends of the groom and bride came out specially dressed for the ocassion as “avisadores” (warners) as they were in charge of inviting personally to the wedding to those designated by the couple. Even the whole town was invited sometimes and in this case it was a municipal ordinance, proclaimed by the town crier, what announced it.
After the announcements, all friends would come together to sing Las Alboradas to the future spouses, spicy and ingenious lyrics accompanied by the drummer; they would even sing to the best man and the priest. (I wouldn’t mind being at one of those celebrations and that in my role as officiant they sing to me too, turning it into a fun roast battle of wits).
And that was what we would call today the pre-wedding party (a rehearsel dinner stravaganza), or a joint bachelor and stag party, where crullers, homemade sweets, anisettes and liquors brightened the party.
As for traditional rituals that you could incorporate into your “Great Extremaduran Wedding”, only if those reflect your style, it could be, for example, putting grains of rice in the hem of the bride’s dress, so that after the nuptials they are planted, and if they germinate it would result in a fruitful and prosperous marriage, just as if the couple with the best man as master farmer (making their task difficult), sowes or ploughs a few metres of land, demonstrating how they will strive together to enjoy a happy and joyful marriage.
Or we could rescue the now extinguished tradition of coins being stuck into an apple, held by the bride, during the wedding reception; today we would take it to the altar and instead of coins it would be messages and good wishes from the main guests.
Any ritual, explained in a suggestive way and in harmony with the style of the bride and groom, will be both romantic and novel, although it may be ancient.
You only should be careful when leaving the ceremony, in case some traditions´“erudite” revive the one of instead of throwing petals to the bride and groom, throws eggs to them as a symbol of fertility… there are uses that must remain in the past! 🙂
The one that you will love is the serenade for the spouses on their wedding night, which the most resistant friends try to make it last until the next morning, in order to start “the post-wedding party”, in which more gifts are brought into the couple’s new home and the celebrations resume.
Now that’s a big Extremaduran wedding!