Apparently Dominican weddings start a lot later in the day than American ones typically do. The ceremony didn't start until 7:15 PM, so we had a lot of time to kill beforehand. Luckily, we had a mission: Grace's boss (who served in the Dominican Republic previously) told her about a local jewelry maker who she had befriended. She even enlisted Grace's help as a courier to deliver a present to his wife. Anyway, turns out Norberto (the jewelry maker) was taking part in a recycling festival thing at a mall nearby (he makes jewelry from recycled aluminum). Grace, Maurine, my cousins Daniel and Simon, and I all headed out to investigate. It was pretty fun! Perhaps a bit more mall and less festival than we were hoping, but there was still some pretty cool stuff. More importantly, we met up with Norberto so Grace could make her delivery, pose for a picture, and buy a sweet necklace. Simon also almost bought a sword (from a different vendor) before deciding that it might not travel all that well. There was also a really cool, Machinarium-esque sculpture of a cellist that I liked but, again, probably not carry-on compatible.
The wedding itself was quite the experience. First up was just getting there: I was somehow entrusted with driving and tasked with following my uncle Monchi. Normally not a big deal (especially after some experience driving in Dhaka traffic) but made quite a bit more exciting by a torrential downpour which resulted in several inches (up to a foot, maybe?) of standing water on a bunch of the streets. Still, we made it to the church in one piece and just in time to sit around for an hour waiting for the ceremony to start (7:15? No, no, no. Much too early. More like 8:30.). Still, there were many worse places we could have spent an hour, as the church was beautiful (and around 500 years old, being part of the colonial district in Santo Domingo).
The arrival of the bride and the beginning of the ceremony was heralded by the arrival of a small army of photographers and their assistants. The wedding ceremony itself was very nice and completed fairly quickly. To our surprise, the priest then segued directly into a full Catholic mass. I'm not sure we left until around 10PM (and none of us had eaten, yet, as the reception was to follow). I don't think we were the only ones ready to move on, as communion was a brief affair with most attendees apparently choosing the imminent wedding cake over wafers.
The reception was at a nearby country club. It was absolutely gorgeous. Perhaps more importantly, delicious finger foods abounded. Unfortunately for the lamer attendees (read: pretty much the entire Crouch side of the family) the live band, while excellent, was really, really loud. A lot of the older folks retreated outside, though this was hardly a problem as it was very nice out after the earlier rain. At Grace's (right-minded) insistence, we got a few pictures of ourselves before the evening ended.