Jul 22, 2014

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The Power of Ritual, The Power of Blessings

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Happy Valentines!

This week, we are celebrating LOVE by bringing you a full week of weddings and love stories.  Five New Latina readers share their beautiful photographs, stories and wedding tips!

We begin our wedding series with a beautiful, lovely and fun Latina, residing in Mexico, Sue Valencia!

Married October 9th, 2010

Antonio and I, already in our thirties had been living together for a couple of years when we decided to get married. We both come from traditional Mexican families, and even they had come to terms with the fact that we moved in together just 6 months after we started dating. And I must say, we were an easy fit right from the get go. It was so easy to move in together! So the question was, if everything was so perfect, why get married at all?

The answer was easy: the power of ritual, the power of blessings, the power of having the people you love send you off into a new stage in your life.

Where/how did you and your husband meet?

Antonio and I met at our meditation center, so right from the get go that was the heart and soul of our relationship. We knew that the most important part of our lives was already there: we wanted the same things, we had the same goals in terms of personal development and growth, we shared what was most sacred for the both of us.

How/where did your husband proposed?

He proposed on November 2nd 2009.

(It was a long weekend and he had wanted us to go away to a cabin in the mountains so he could pop the question in such a romantic setting. Unfortunately everything was booked! So we ended up staying home and just enjoying being there, cuddling all weekend, relaxing. Finally, early morning of November 2nd he couldn’t help it anymore, got up and tied the ring around our cat’s neck with a red ribbon. When I opened my eyes because of all the noise he made (we try to be very quiet when either one of us is still sleeping) I saw BenThomas, our cat – because he only answers to Ven! Toma! – walking towards me in perfect rhythm, it’s as if he had rehearsed it! Because I was still sleepy I couldn’t figure out what was the sparkly thing dangling from his neck, or furthermore, why did he have a ribbon tied around his neck?!

So Antonio had to clue me in, asked me to take a good closer look. That’s when I saw IT and just started crying. He helped me untie it, got down to his knee and popped the question. BEAUTIFUL!

We had already talked many times about getting married, we were absolutely sure about wanting to spend the rest of our lives together, but neither one of us felt rushed to do it soon. We knew the perfect time would come eventually.

So once we got engaged the first thing we did (after calling every single relative and friend of course!) was set our intention for getting married. We wanted to be absolutely clear about what we wanted, how we wanted it to happen and why. Every single element in our wedding had to be meaningful, not just done because “everybody else does it.”

We believe in the power of ritual. We believe that when you create that space to honor the new journey you are about to embark on, something special happens.

We believe in the power of blessings. We believe that having our parents, our siblings, our families and friends give us their blessings would absolutely make this beginning an auspicious one.

I am forever grateful that Antonio was an active part in planning our wedding. We did everything together, it had to be special for the both of us, not just me. He was the most engaged groom I’ve ever seen!

Where was your wedding and did you have a theme?

We planned everything to be casual, intimate and meaningful. The venue was at his parents’ country house 2 hrs away from Mexico City. It has a beautiful and huge garden, so that was already perfect.

My Sister basically helped me design my dress. She has always been my fashion master and styler! My dear cousin Joe was our DJ (he does this as a hobby, and he’s the best!). My sweet friend Paola and my Sister were the official photographers, along with other friends who decided to jump in with their own cameras and expertise. My other dear friend Nora did my makeup and hair, as well as my mom’s and sister’s. And my mother in law baked us my favorite cake in the world: her secret recipe chocolate cake.

Also, our dearest friends from our meditation path helped with the setting up of the altar for the ceremony and the live chanting. It was all done by the people we love!

The most memorable/wonderful part of your wedding day?

We came up with our own ceremony “format.” There was no Minister or Priest or anyone like that; we had our best friend, Ray, be the MC, and his role was to offer some context for the guests to relate to everything that was going to happen during the ceremony. We wanted to have every single person feel included so it was important to give them elements to relate to.

Objectively speaking, it was the most beautiful and powerful wedding ceremony I’ve ever been to. Seriously! Haha!

  1. Guests were handed a “prayer stick” on their way in to the ceremony area
  2. Ray invited them to write a blessing or a good wish for us on the prayer stick. That would “feed” the fire we had started earlier, in order to make it sacred.

Fire symbolizes the Divine Light within, so it was a way to have every guest nurture that fire within us.

  1. Guests lined up to offer their blessings to the fire and a few read them out loud
  2. Each of our parents gave us a blessing out loud. We had asked them to be ready ahead of time!
  3. After we received our parents’ blessings Antonio and I honored them by offering each of them a garland made of flowers as a symbol of our gratitude for having brought us this far
  4. By now everyone is crying!
  5. Then came the time to make some offerings to the fire: ghee, milk, yogurt, honey, rice, lentils and some grains. Our siblings took turns giving us the plates with each offering while Antonio and I poured them into the fire
  6. Then came our vows. We had 8 of them. Antonio would say the first one, then we walked around the sacred fire holding hands. Then I would say the next one, and we walked again and so on.
  7. We exchanged our rings.
  8. My sister read a beautiful paragraph that talked about Love and how natural it is for us humans to seek it and want to experience it.
  9. We chanted for a few minutes and then let it rest in silence for a couple more.

It was so powerful, every single person was moved one way or another.

After this blessed event we had the Civil Ceremony which was a quick and to the point affair. The judge came over and in a matter of 10 minutes we were done.

And then it was party time! Manu, one of Antonio’s dearest friends, gifted us with boxes of champagne so we had the official toast with him offering some beautiful words to us. And cheers to all!

We had a Mexican buffet that was so good everyone licked their fingers afterwards. Tinga de pollo, frijoles, red rice, nopales, chicharrón, hand made tortillas made of blue corn… you name it! And a Mexican dessert buffet table as well, everything from cocadas to chilitos and chamoy. Oh! And Don Chencho, the ice cream man who was been coming to my in law’s house since Antonio was little, came over with his little motorbike all adorned with white ribbons and our names on it. So cute! And ice cream was delicious as well!

We ate, we danced, we sang, we jumped to our heart’s desire. It was the most fun and special party!

Your best advice to someone preparing their wedding day?

And in the end, I understood one more thing about the power of ritual: having the people you love there with you gives you powerful memories – every embrace, every smile, every word, every laughter, every picture taken, every dance, every taste, every smell – it all stays with you, engraved forever in your heart. So the blessings are there, to walk with us through this journey, to support us through the rough times and make the lighter times even more special. All we have to do is close our eyes or look at our wedding pictures and every single blessing comes right back.

That’s what ritual is for. To create these powerful moments that stay with you forever.


Sue and Antonio live in the beautiful and historic Puerto de Veracruz, right at the Gulf of México. She is a psychologist, and works mainly with astrology as her main tool. She is also a blogger. She co-writes her blog, NiceThingsInSmallPackages, with her little “Sisterna,” Denise. They blog about the nice things they enjoy: Denise is all about music, style and cuteness while Sue shares her astrology insights with a very down to earth attitude.

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Angélica Pérez-Litwin

Angélica Pérez-Litwin

Dr. Perez-Litwin is the Founder & CEO of ELLA Leadership Institute, a multi-platform professional development organization designed to advance the careers and leadership of women. She's the creative force behind the LATINAS THINK BIG™ national tour, sponsored and live-streamed by Google.

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Comments

  1. Wow!, wow wow!! Que hermoso todo!! I am so envious! I love how you mention the power of ritual, it is a great way to define why we all get married. I wish I was one of your friends that could be there helping with that wedding!! You are right, having so much love around you make it much more special! Thanks for sharing Sue!
    Oh, and I love Veracruz! It’s one of my favorite Mexico cities, when I visited I felt very identified with the culture, the music, the food, eve the accent is more similar to some of ours (Venezuela).
    Me encantó leer acerca de ti y conocerte un poquito más!

  2. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing your story and your photos.

  3. You are a gorgeous couple – like from a bridal magazine or a romantic comedy movie. <3 I adore the photo of you praying together.

  4. Wow! MUCHAS GRACIAS!!!
    @Dariela – come visit! My best friend here in Veracruz is from Venezuela too, she is an amaaazing person! And yes, there is something very similar between Veracruz-Venezuela, un saborcito guapachoso muy lindo! Thank you for your comentario tan amoroso!

    @Tessa – thank YOU for reading!!! :)

    @Tracy – LOL! Love the “from a romantic comedy” description, I think you are spot on! I kept bursting into carcajadas every time I saw my wedding dress hanging… it looked like a vestido de Primera Comunión! Jajaja! So tiny (I´m super short!)!!! And the whole thing was pretty much like that, lots of laughter and lightness! Gracias Amiga. ;)

  5. Of course a super special THANK YOU to Angélica for posting my very lengthy wedding story in such a beautiful way! Gracias A!!!
    Abrazos abrazos abrazos,
    S.

  6. Ay, mama mia!!!! Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous — the bride, the groom, the location, the every single thing — especially, your love and how you celebrated it with the people you love.

    Thank you for sharing it with us.

  7. You are awsome Sue! And you guys make all of us belive in LOVE. Cheers for Toño and Sue

  8. I love every single detail. Sue, you are so beautiful! You look divine!
    And have such good taste! And those special details, prayers , offerings! I am so in love with your wedding!

    • Gracias Marcela! I am officially blushing so much I might just start a fire here! Ay Dios mio! The wedding was sooo beautiful because of those details that you mention…oh! and friends, and family, and food, and music!

  9. Qué linda historia de amor! A mi también me hubiese encantado ser una de tus amigas asistiendo una ceremonia tan, pero tan bella y especial!

    Mi foto favorita es la de ustedes bailando y tu con tu gran sonrisota!!

    Thanks for sharing such an intimate part of your lives with all of us! Qué viva el amor!

    • Jajaja! Mi sonrisota es un trademark ya Roxana, jajaja! Soy gestuda, a morir! ;D Pero si, la verdad refleja la meeega felicidad vivida ese día… y sigo sonriendo a todo lo que da!
      Y ahora que lo leyeron siéntanse parte de ese día, de verdad. All your beautiful words and kind thoughts keep feeding that blessed fire.
      Gracias!

  10. Qué belleza y con lo que me encantan las bodas!!!! Felicidades y que reine el amor por siempre!

  11. I share Dariela´s feeling of envy…de la buena!!! Wow..qué hermoso todo. My husband and I never had an official wedding ceremony. mostly because we would have wanted something like this but never had the guts to get our family involved since they wouldn´t “get it.” But, from what I felt reading this, if it is done with love and respect, then it will embrace everyone involved.
    Thanks for sharing this!

  12. That´s right Ana! We were very careful of making everyone feel included and that they could relate to every bit of the ceremony, and in the end I think we achieved just that! It was truly beautiful to see how all our friends and family (and parents!) were so involved and loving every minute of it. :)
    Hey, maybe you could have a vows renewal ceremony! Yo definitivo te ayudo! ;)

  13. Sue, que Bello!! Gracias por compartir detalles tan íntimos de tu celebración.

    Los dos lucen radiantes y la comida se ve deliciosa! Me dan ganas de tomar un avión e irme a comer unos tacos con mi familia en México!

    Love you cat’s name!

    Un abrazo

    • Gracias Silvia! Y sip, servir guisos mexicanos en cazuelitas fue la mejor idea… los taquitos fueron lo máximo! Mmmm!! Ya me antojaste a mi también. :)
      Jaja! Mi gato es un ser muy chistoso. En serio sólo reacciona al Ven! Toma! LOL!
      Abrazos de regreso,
      Sue

  14. Lisa Renata says:

    Precioso, romantico y muy pero muy espiritual. I loved it. Thanks for sharing with us.

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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jean Ml. Jimenez and Sue Valencia, New Latina . New Latina said: The Power of Ritual, The Power of Blessings http://goo.gl/fb/CZ2Wc #latism [...]

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