Well, I (Ashleigh) figured that there were so many of you who follow this blog that know Adrian and Vero that it would be a crime not to post about their wedding! :) Aren't you glad I thought so?
It took me almost an hour to upload the pictures but I think it will be worth the effort to take you on a little photo journey of the day. I will admit to you that I was skeptical as to how fancy a Mexican wedding would be because weddings don't seem to be that important within the culture. The 15th birthday is usually a much bigger occasion than a wedding (if a couple even gets around to having a wedding at all). I was greatly surprised and overjoyed when I walked into the wedding location. It was so beautiful and fairytaleish which, in my humble estimation, the bride and groom totally deserved. I was giddy with excitement for Adrian and Vero. I have watched their journey from almost the beginning and hoped for nothing but joy for them on this day. I wasn't the only one excited for them...all of the kids were amazingly obedient and helpful all morning as we prepared. The air was electric with excitement. Little ones were dressed in beautiful gowns and three piece suits for hours but played quietly and stayed in the house where they couldn't get dirty. All of this was accomplished with great attitudes. An answer to many of your prayers and a great gift for Julie! We even got through family photos without any bumps right before the wedding! (Which is actually another post with pictures that I will let Julie share later.)
The wedding site amid a canopy of avacado trees (The reception was in a tent directly behind this picture)
The aisle down the center. If you look close it is very mossy which added to the enchanted feel.
Inside the tent before the wedding. The really cool thing about the tent is that the lights were under a layer of sheer white fabric providing a lovely atmosphere.
I have rarely seen a bride smile as much as Vero. She was absolutely glowing.
All of the younger kids were the flower bearers. They had baskets of petals and distributed them down the aisle. It was the most adorable thing EVER!!!!!
This is approximately half of the "bridesmaids" with Julie playing the piano for the processional.
Vero walking down the aisle on her father's arm.
I love this photo. If any of you have met Adrian and Vero you will know that this picture shows their personalities so well. Adrian with a mischievious smirk and Vero with a winning smile.
This is most of the rest of the bridesmaids for the wedding. As you can see, all of the older girls were in the wedding. Angie, Diana, Martita, Lolis, Martha, and Fatima.
John and Dani giving them a Bible. (Dani is Adrian's sister) In Mexico they have a tradition of giving gifts to the bride and groom during the ceremony. All the gifts represent something about them and the hope for them as they head into the future. The bride and groom ask specific people in their lives to give certain gifts so that all of them are covered for the ceremony.
This is the giving of the unity candle.
Vero and Adrian blowing out their own individual candles to symbolize their unity as one before God.
This is another gift. We are told in scriptures that we are the salt of the earth. So, in keeping with that someone gives them two bowls of salt of two different colors (their's was pink and blue). They then pour them into a third bowl combining them together so that they cannot be separated and cannot be distinguished from each other. Again symbolizing their unity.
Vero's father praying over them as they begin their new lives together.
Adrian's father praying over him.
Rosa had the honor of giving the gift of the rings to Adrian and Vero. I love this picture because they are all three smiling. This was probably my favorite part of the entire wedding ceremony because Rosa is also so dear and close to my heart.
Rosa's daughter Marisol and her husband gave the gift of the "laso" to tie them together. It is two circles that are attached and they are ceremoniously placed over each of them.
The first kiss as husband and wife.
Walking back down the aisle through a cloud of bubbles!
Victor, Adrian, Vero and Julie
James provided the music for the reception with the help of his sister Elizabeth and Diana.
The bridal party helped serve the food so I got Angie to pose for a photo for me.
The first dance
Feeding each other cake
Their wedding was marvelous. There are hardly adjectives enough to describe the day. What is even more amazing is their testimony of allowing God to lead their relationship directly in front of all of the Zaragoza children at Refuge Ranch. Thier light shines so incredibly bright. Two amazing people united before God to serve Him more powerfully together as husband a wife. *great sigh of contentment with the day*
Julie's reflections on the day:]
It was so wonderful to have Ashleigh back at the ranch, even if it was only for a few days! For those who don't know, Ashleigh spent two years living at Refuge Ranch on staff and is a dear friend of our entire family, and now even of those children whom she had never met! It was also great to have her help on this blog...just like old times! But now, for a few of my reflections on this special day!
The anticipation building up to Adrian and Vero's wedding in our household rivaled the anticipation that the children feel for Christmas! We had been waiting for a loooong time (over a year?) for Adrian to actually ask Very to marry him and were all overjoyed when that finally happened! That event then initiated the race to plan the wedding!
Victor has known Adrian since he was an elementary school boy when they both attended the same church (the church where Victor accepted Christ and left the gang lifestyle behind). Then, upon moving to Mexico eight years ago, Adrian started attending the church we now attend because he had recently moved into that area of the city. We met Vero, who also attended our church, at about the same time.
They have both served on the Evangelistic Medical Mission Crusades (EMMC) for years now as volunteers. Their commitment to God, to each other and to Fishers of Men has gradually grown over that time to bring them to this moment where they are leaders of the young adult group at church, now are husband and wife, and serve full-time on staff at Refuge Ranch and with the Evangelistic Medical Mission Crusades with the desire to raise their family here at Refuge Ranch.
So, we love Adrian and Vero VERY much! Adrian spends a lot of time listening to the kids, playing with the kids and trying to help their creative ideas come to life (Karaoke parties, building swords and shields, etc.), besides serving as Victor's right hand man for anything and coordinating all of the local EMMC's. Vero serves on staff as a teacher in our homeschool, as the Spanish secretary for all of Victor's communications, and keeps track of expenses, as well as being one of my best friends. Whenever Victor and I need to be away, Adrian and Vero serve as substitute parents for the day (or overnight) and do a great job of maintaining our love and discipline towards the kids.
I hope that that background will help you realize how intimately involved our lives are with each other and, therefore, how special this wedding was for our family! As Ashleigh mentioned, I cannot stop thanking the Lord for the testimony that Adrian and Vero have been for our kids! All of our children (other than biological) come from broken homes. They have a very negative view of marriage, which is reinforced by television and other mass media sources, as well as, sadly, many of the people around them, even members of our own church. One of our passions is to teach our children purity and the importance of waiting for their future husband or wife. Nothing has supported this passion of ours in a more concrete way than watching Adrian and Vero's relationship grow and develop. Our children were able to see two young people love each other, care deeply for each other and grow in their relationship while they continued to seek the Lord above all else, serve Him faithfully as individuals and together and then commit to a lifelong relationship through marriage, all while remaining openly sexually pure.
The kids witnessed firsthand the freedom, joy and blessing that comes from doing things God's way as they saw all of the blessings He provided for such a beautiful wedding ceremony, fun reception, great honeymoon (we assume:-) and even an incredible apartment upon returning the the ranch (the Marshall's former apartment will now be the Tovar apartment). God's was is truly the best way!
So, this all resulted in a lot of primping, pampering and preparation! All of our boys wore suits, while I was worried about keeping any prospective ladies far away! All of our girls looked gorgeous in their wedding attire, high heels and their best hair days ever, while Victor was worried about keeping any prospective young men far away! David and Daniel, our two youngest at ages 2 and 4, could eat, sleep and play in their suits! They LOVE dress clothes and David actually cried the two times we had him try on his suit and made him take it off!
The ceremony was beautiful! Victor officiated the service, while I provided the music, with James' assistance. Angie, Diana, Martita, Lolis, Martha and Fatima were bridesmaids and David, Daniel, Ana, Carolina, Miguel, Jocelin, Leo and Alejandro served as flower girls and boys. Ruth helped carry in Vero's train.
The reception ended quite early as the wedding was held in a garden near the ranch and most people had to travel a decent distance to get there. So, by the end of the reception, the only ones present were our family and the young adults from our church. The music got turned up and we had a great time dancing to Christian remixes of some of our favorite Spanish worship music! The kids had a blast (OK, so the adults did too!)! It was great to watch Vero in her wedding gown dancing with our kids and knowing how much she and Adrian love the kids and how important that is for our kids to have positive relationship experiences, learn how to receive love and give it back. We were home around 9 p.m., but the kids felt like they had been at some wild party until late at night! It was just great!
Later today we will welcome Adrian and Vero back from their honeymoon and into their new life at Refuge Ranch as husband and wife! Praise the Lord!