Tuesday, September 13, 2005

BYE BYE, CONCUBINE: Legally Wed at Last

Hurrah! No more the “legal concubine!” We finally unraveled the last bureaucratic knot and tied the legal one on September 7 before ten family and friends. Most had attended our religious wedding service and grand fiesta last year, but insisted we have yet another wedding in 2006. Argentines know how to party!

The civil ceremony was short and simple: two Civil Registry staff women read the Argentine matrimonial laws, after which we and witnesses Hugo and Maria each signed two leather-bound ledgers. We received a formal certificate and lots of hugs and kisses—even from the staff. Perfect for hanging in a gold-leaf frame as a trophy!

Afterwards we were pampered by the staff of the Bistro, the soon-to-open restaurant in the elegant Club Social in Plaza Mitre. The five-star luncheon included a pear-and-mesclun salad, filet mignon with a wine-champignon sauce, a vegetable pave, orange cheesecake with raspberry sauce, and a world-class chocolate wedding cake festooned with dark and white chocolate flowers, with a dense mousse center and a touch of raspberry filling. (As my then-adolescent son said a few years back, “You can’t get a bad meal in Argentina.” Could it be all the Italians? At any rate, it was a memorable meal—and for about US$20 a person including wine.)

As Roberto noted in our couples’ gratitude journal, our second wedding day offered numerous portents for a life of married bliss: an incredible blue sky over the pampa, the fabulous lunch with our nearest and dearest, the first full day of our first strawberry harvest, and a lovely hotel in Victoria all to ourselves! What could be more special than sitting on the balcony of the honeymoon suite, savoring champagne and chocolates, while contemplating the lunar conjunction with Jupiter and Venus over the Rio Paraná? Later, as the only patrons, we convinced the restaurant staff to scrap the bright lights and irritating disco music and oblige us with candles and romantic music. We laughed a bit about having a second wedding night, but concurred that you can’t have too much romance!

So I hereby thank the ladies of the Civil Registry labyrinth for adding a few more Romeo-and-Juliet obstacles to enhance our exhilaration: our love triumphed in the end. Now we certainly don’t want to lose something that we fought so hard for, se we’ve got extra motivation for us to keep our marriage fresh!

So what do you think of renewing marriage vows annually? The value suddenly seems clearer too me. After all, we had nearly 18 months to change our minds without legal penalty—but we continued to choose each other. That is a wonderful feeling! And if chocolate cake comes with it, why not?!

P.S. To my feminist friends: Women here keep their birth names after marriage!!! However, I am entitled to add “de” and my husband’s surname to mine if I wish. I said I will just as soon as he adds “de” and MY surname to his!

Coming: Strawberry Fields Forever. . . with chocolate

1 comment:

Katie said...

haha Just read the previous entry and now this one. Seems like the Registro Civil was a real hoot. Don't you just love Argentine bureaucracy?

It sounds like your wedding day was very special. I hope you and Roberto are still just as happy as you were back in '05.