If it is Saturday, there are weddings to be had at the Parroquia de San Miguel in Centro.
Wedding parties are stacked up like planes over O’Hare, waiting to touch down in the gaudy sanctuary for their moment of nuptualism.
Yet, there is no assembly line feel to all this.
Like marriages, no two weddings are alike. Each wedding is unique, its own piece of theater — a signature look, with its own cast, its own script, and its own accessories. And when your stage is the Parroquia, you tend not to do things in a small way.
Take the wedding I happened on this afternoon.
Being the observant sort, I picked up my first clue right at the main entrance: a big black carriage drawn by two black horses.
“There’s a wedding going on,” I say to myself.
Then I heard the joyful music in the church courtyard and saw the giant bouncing bride and groom mojigangas.
And there was the wall of people — a mixture of tourists and the elegantly dressed — all with cell phones raised in the air, as if in salute to wedded bliss.
Ah, yes, a wedding for sure.
I joined the wall and raised my iPhone.
Immediately, my lips broke into a smile. This very large band was playing a snappy number — and the bride and groom seemed to be having so much fun, clapping and swirling along.
There was enough bouncing and clapping to set off a seismograph.
Everyone was having so much fun, it looked like they might not leave the church.
They did though, led by the bride and groom. Outside on the street everyone clapped and danced some more, as the band played on.
I headed for home. Still grinning — as a joyous tune danced in my head.
***** ***** ***** ***** ****
The whole thing reminded me of a wedding last spring which I single-handedly rescued from certain disaster.
The groom and many of the invitees were milling about outside the church. Workers were carrying in enough white flowers to carpet the front room of heaven.
Meanwhile seven event-minions scurried about, desperately trying to look relevant. They were, of course, dressed in black from head to toe. The important ones had cellphones and clipboards. Everybody was wired up like secret service agents.
The chief minion wore a lime green suit that shined like neon and had super tight pants that stopped six inches short of the ankles. All the better to show off the sparkly rainbow Nike sneakers.
All these people and nobody noticed that the grooms black suit had a very bright blue laundry tag hanging off the back.
Everybody in this wedding looked like they’d come right off the set of a most glamorous telenova. They were all beautiful. They were all dressed beautifully.
Except for that tag.
“Mexico City, high society, celebrities, media people for sure” I told myself as I debated whether to alert the groom.
All I could see were a thousand wedding photos of the bride and groom at the altar and all anyone could say is, “What’s the blue thing hanging off the groom’s jacket?”
“Disculpe, señor, hay una etiqueta azul en la parte posterior de su traje,” I said as quietly as possible. No sense embarrassing the fellow.
The groom looked genuinely startled.
“I said, you have a blue laundry tag on the back of your jacket.”
He spun around like a dog trying to catch its tail a time or two, then snagged it and yanked.
“Oh, thanks, man. That would have been embarrassing!”
“Most welcome. I take it you are not from Mexico City?” I said.
“No, man. Downey. That’s in California.”
“Yep. I know it well. Passed it every time I drove to LA from San Diego.”
“My wife’s family is from here. That’s why we’re getting married in San Miguel.”
He started asking questions about gringos and the city but the call to arms went out and eight nervous event planners were forming a train to pull everyone inside.
I wished him a great wedding and a wonderful life.
He thanked again, as I pivoted to leave.
“My work is done here,” I said to myself with a sigh.