Day 3 – My Trip to Mexico City and It’s Surrounding AreasThe Wedding – A photographer’s bad luck, good luck or both?

It’s best to read about my trip in order so you don’t miss part of the “story”. If you haven’t read the previous posts, go to the sidebar on the right and in the archive section, start at Day 1 in April of 2011.

Today’s the wedding!  My mom wanted to eat something light at the condo since it was supposedly going to be “so hectic” that day, but our hostess told us about a place just “two blocks” from where we were.  So we set out to walk to the restaurante – me, literally in the shirt I slept in and the jeans I wore the day before.

Let me let you in on something.  It wasn’t two blocks.  It was more like four or five.  We affectionately gave our hostess the nick name of  “Just Two Blocks” after that.  Our hosts nickname is “Just Two Minutes” – he took my brother on a walk one night which turned out to be four miles!  My sister-in-law was also given a nickname “Maybe”, because we’d ask her a question about if something was somewhere and she’d say “maybe”.

So we get to this restaurante.  I think it’s expensive by the way it looks.  $75 pesos scared me a bit – it’s that darned dollar sign that throws me off!  It actually equaled out to $6 American dollars.  Not bad for the spread they had!  They even have a valet guy that washes your car while you’re eating if you’re so inclined to pay.







It’s a an absolutely gorgeous day so we sit outside to eat.  The groom doesn’t look nervous at all, does he?

I look at the table next to us and see this:


Cool!  It turns out many places have these for women to hang their purses on.

Look at the spread – I didn’t get hot cakes today because there was such an awesome selection of food, but look at the toppings they’ve got for hot cakes – oreo’s, caramel…:





What?  Is there a wedding we need to get ready for?  My mom’s calmly panicking in her own way.  The flowers are to get delivered to the condo by 10:00am.  It’s close to that now.  Thank God we’re only “two blocks” away LOL.  My brother now gives my mom a half a Xanax.  This is an amazing accomplishment since she’s not comfortable taking medication that’s not her’s.

This is a picture I took on our way back to the condo.  Notice that there are NO lines on the street.  I guess they paved it, but haven’t painted it yet.  When the light turns green, there’s CAOS and pedestrian’s DO NOT have the right of way as in the states.  You’d better watch your butt!  Cars can drive anywhere in that empty space.  It’s not two separate roads.


As I said in Day 2 of my trip, my brother’s suit arrived.  We realize it needs to get steamed at the last minute.  We were supposed to meet everyone at the chapel an hour ahead of the service to take pictures.  It gets changed to 15 minutes before hand.  I’m starting to get nervous.  I’m offered a pill, but decline.  Let it be known that I’m a freak and panic easily and I’ve got my own panic pills (what do you think got my butt on the airplane, especially with all the bad luck we had that day and  the horrible weather).  I am a photographer, but do not want to be a wedding photographer.

Literally 5 minutes before we’re supposed to leave, my brother is in his underwear, a t-shirt, and brushing his teeth in the living room while he’s sitting on the couch relaxing.  When we get up to leave, we all have our arms loaded down with things that need to go with us.  We separate into two cars (my brother, me, and our hostess / my mom, our host and his mother).  We follow each other to the chapel.  Parking, as I mentioned, is at a premium because of the population.  My brother says it’ll be easier for our carload to park in a parking garage five blocks away and to take a taxi to the chapel.  I now gratefully accept the other half of Xanax.

We park.  The garage is actually attached to an outdoor furniture store (grills, furniture, etc).  Yes!  A sanatario.  When I’m nervous and don’t know where my next bathroom may be, I have to go.  You should have seen me at the pyramids.  I went every few minutes!  Anyway, my brother can’t pass up a bathroom either.  Must be genetic.  Only he includes washing his face with every trip.  We’re standing there waiting for him, holding all these things, camera gear, his jacket…  I had put my two camera together in the car on the way over so that I could jump out and take pictures of the bride as she pulled up.  When I realize we may walk five blocks and not take a taxi, I take my camera’s apart and put my gear away.  We walked.  The bride got there before us.  It’s five minutes to the time the wedding starts.

I go into the chapel to check out the lighting.  There’s a videographer there and a photographer.  My sister-in-law knew nothing about it.  The chapel has it’s own on staff to try to  make more money.  The guy (videographer) say’s my flash would distract him.  We basically say, sorry.  So I’m checking out the lighting.  My flash is firing, but not when I’m taking a practice shot.  Uh oh!  I look at my menu.  My camera isn’t recognizing the external flash.  Thankfully I calmed down (medicine?) and took the flash off and put it back on.  Ta da!  Phew!

Now, all my practicing of processions – I even had models at our local mall practice walking towards me – was a mute point.  They all walked down the aisle very close together, not spread apart.  I was anchored by the alter so that I could get better shots.  I was next to the video guy.  Bad choice of spots.  It turned out the priest was behind the alter most of the ceremony.  There was no way I could get to the other side.  When I did have a chance, the other photographer literally got in my way.  She stuck the camera inches from their faces and I couldn’t get a shot!

After the ceremony, we stood outside to take some pictures.  She (the photographer) was standing directly in front of the people posing.  At this point, I politely asked her to MOVE.  My sister-in-law told her we wouldn’t be buying any of her pictures.  It was a bad time of day to take pictures outside.  Almost high noon.  Very harsh.  My brother moved everyone to a gray, ugly wall to take pictures.  I finally was able to take matters into my own hands and moved everyone to the area with the pretty arches.  The meds are working.  I’m calm.

I get in the first car that leaves so that I can take a picture of them getting out of the car at the reception.  When I arrive, I’m ushered upstairs.  I found a place to put my camera bag and was about to head back down to take the couple’s picture.  Friend’s of the couple stopped me to ask about my stay in Mexico.  The couple walks in the door.  Blew that.  I had them pretend to walk back in, so it was ok.  I wanted to get other shots, some outside, some posed, but the groom thought that wasn’t necessary.

The only other issue was that I had my flash diffuser set to take pictures outside.  It wasn’t in the inside position until about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way through the evening.  Sigh.  All in all, they didn’t turn out too bad.

Thirteen Gold Coins



One of the most popular Mexican Catholic wedding traditions is the 13 gold coins or arras. In this tradition, the groom presents the bride with 13 gold coins that are blessed by the priest during the ceremony. The coins represent the groom’s certitude and indisputable trust. It is also considered a declaration of the groom’s possessions. When the bride accepts the grooms’ coins, she commits to honor his certitude and trust. Often the coins have been in the family for generations and are passed down at each wedding.*

The Kneeling Pillow and El Lazo (The Lasso)

The kneeling pillow is a special pillow for the couple provided by a designated bridesmaid. The couple spends most of the ceremony kneeling on the pillow at a traditional Catholic mass.

The lasso is a large rosary or white ribbon. It is placed in a figure-eight shape around the bride and grooms’ necks or around their wrists during the ceremony. This symbolizes the couples’ union and unbreakable bond of their love and trust.*



The Capilla de santo tomas de aquino is a cute chapel.  Very small.  I think it holds 40 people.  You can click on the link for more pictures of it.

I was just taking a picture of two guys, then I realized afterwards it was the videographer:


This next shot was on the way to the reception.  They just walked out in front of the car when we were at a light.  Advertising!


They brought tons of appetizers out to the tables – dishes for everyone to share, and then the main meal could be gotten from the buffet tables in the hall.  I just had two appetizers and nothing else.  I was saving room for the four desserts my sister-in-law said they were having.  I had two.


My mom and I are not dancers.  I told her we lucked out, that there wasn’t any room for dancing.  I was wrong.  They moved some tables out of there:

They really know how to have a party!  My sister-in-law has a fantastic group of family and friends that I now (and I’m sure I can speak for my mom and brother too) consider my family and friends too.


So, was it a photographer’s bad luck that she didn’t have her tripod, couldn’t take the creative pictures she wanted, was late to everything?  Or was it good luck that the bride and groom were layed back and didn’t care too much about the shots.  Or a little bit of both – bad and good?

Still missing two suitcases…  See you on Day 4!

*13 Gold Coins and the Kneeling Pillow and El Lazo excerpts taken from an article on Mexican Catholic Wedding Traditions written by Chris Newton


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