I have been recently in a wedding in Sevilla and I realised that this celebration is not so similar in all spanish areas. This last Halloween weekend I had another wedding of my cousin, and I decided to explain a bit how is the tradition of a wedding made in Galicia posting at the same time pics taken on that day.
Well, first, saying that even we are a lay country, not related with any religion, most of spanish population are still catholic. There are an increasing number of non-practicant catholic in the last years and even not catholic at all but they follow the traditions of catholic religion. Weddings are a good example. I can bet most of the current weddings in Spain are being celebrated without the faith of the cristian religion, but they are still keeping due "tradition", the pushing of parents, or the "more beautiful". So, for example, I guess my cousin and his wife are not attending regularly to church or having too strongly the catholic faith, but they have chosen this way of celebrating their union.
So, we, as part of the future husband, are firstly invited to his home in the afternoon (this was an evening wedding, not very common in winter times). There we talk with him, rest of the family and eat some appetizers.
When time is approaching, all of us with his car at the head of the line, are following him to the church, situated in the town of the wife. This time, the little town was very in the middle of the forest! we went through difficult and solitary roads up there, and attended to the celebration inside the small church. It was so small that almost everyone waited outside till they finished.
After 40 min. (it depends on the priest) they are officially married (I will not talk about the celebration itself this time), and people start taking "official pics" with them inside the church (I think he will send us when they are in his hands).
When finished the photo session, they go out from the church and many people are waiting for them to throw rice (not cooked rice :D). It seems to be a tradition that came from Asia, where rice is a symbol of fertility. Guests throw rice to the couple wishing they have lots of children.
Not necessarily the couple must take an old car with them :D but this car is quite special cause my cousin is a mechanic and he prepared the car (which was a mess of metal and cables when I saw it for first time!) to be ready for the wedding. Quite impressive work, he re-made the entire car with pieces from others.
They are leaving first, and then they are going to take pics to some place with the photographer. Meanwhile, all the guests are going to the place where we are about to eat. They will bring some appetizers while waiting again for the couple.
This time, they have chosen one of the best places I have seen for a wedding.. EVER. This place is Finca Galea. It is a kind of "water museum" that I remember since I was born, it is just 10 min. walking far from my home in Alfoz. Time ago, the place was hired or bought (I dont know very well) for a company that shares benefits with the original owners. This company introduced many commercial activities and improvements, such celebrations of weddings, events, catering,... in general an expansion of the business.
When wife and husband arrive, they are still making pics with guests that require that (the place is worth a few more pics) and later we start eating the dinner (usually it's lunch, but this time they wanted dinner).
I have missed where the wife is throwing the bunch of flowers back, and the one who picks it will be the next having a wedding. I guess this is quite a spread tradition worldwide.
One of the things that I missed when I was in a wedding in the south of Spain was the GOOD and ABUNDANT FOOD. We, galician, are known because of being good big eaters and by our good fish and seafood.
So, in a galician wedding, seafood is a must, as many dishes that will make you to be all the full you want.
This time we got as seafood (I will link pics of the way or similar we ate those): lubrigante (I cannot find the translation in english, but a kind of lobster, one of our most expensive seafood) , almejas (clams) and langostinos (king prawns). Later rape (monkfish) with potatoes, and after a kind of tangerine sherbet, then ternera (veal meat) with potatoes. Afterwards the dessert, and finished, of course all joining galician wine (our best wines are white wines which join fish and seafood quite fine).
It is a kind of tradition as well that there must be a fish dish and afterwards a meat dish.
Obviously I didnt finish everything, few people could! and I think it's a bit of waste of food, cause I dont know what they will do with so much remaining dishes (at the time of the meat we were quite full already)
Then it is time to push a bit down all the food with some dancing time.
There is a guy (sometimes 2 or 3 making karaoke) trying to make more enjoyable our digestion with awful latin music playing from his pc all the sh.. succesful cumbias, merengues, and salsas that came from south american fields.
After dinner pic of my cousins, yes they are twins, and born the same day my brother did!
Then it is time for their presents, the wife is distributing for women and the husband for men. They are usually quite old-traditional presents: men are usually having a big cigar, and women some ornament or jewelry.
After that, the real party starts all night long with dances and so on. I have been in weddings with just a small group that made karaoke, others with DJ, others with a small orquesta (dont think about classical orchestra or something like that, I will try to explain at the end of this text what is that XD) and this time they hired one of the biggest galician orquestas, one called Panorama, which brought their own light and video show.
The first ones dancing are the couple, and they start always dancing a waltz.
Then all the others are joining till morning comes.
Close there is a place where you can get all the drinks you have, we call it here "barra libre" (open bar).
An "orquesta" is a music band that plays mostly in the summers around the spanish geography. Each one of the towns -even the most little ones- have their own party in summer, and they are hiring these "orquestas" to make enjoyable their celebration. They are playing mostly latin and easy-listening/easy-danceable stuff, but they dont compose anything, they just make cover songs. Some "orquestas" became very famous and they have hundreds of concerts all the summer and even autumn or spring. The biggest ones work almost like an enterprise and have an amazing system sound and scenary. But.. they are sometimes suspicious of not really playing music and just push the play button (it happened more than once that people realized some of them were not playing their instruments).
I have some friend playing in orquestas, and they are winning quite a lot of money, but they are having concerts almost everyday in summer, so it must be a very stressful job.
I would change hiring "orquestas" for hiring bands, but people want better to have all the summer hits and old spanish traditional songs and latin stuff in one.