Bridal Brunch

Over the course of the last year and a half, I have received a slow induction to Peruvian culture and today I crossed another milestone: Peruvian wedding festivities.

When I was invited to the brunch, I was flattered but slightly confused. I have been around the bride only a handful of times. I work with her mom and we also have a mutual friend, but I didn't feel like we were close enough to merit an invite. I was thrilled to be invited but also terrified when reality hit me: I know nothing about Peruvian weddings.

One day this week, on the way to school, the teacher I ride with gave me a full introduction to Peruvian wedding traditions. I asked her every question I could think of: What do I wear? Do I bring a gift? How long does this last? Do I show up on time or on "Peruvian time"?

Thankfully we had that conversation because otherwise I would have gone about this all wrong. I would have brought a present, not money which is expected. I would have called with an RSVP which isn't necessary. I would have showed up at 10am and probably been the only one there.

This was unlike the small, intimate bridal lunch I had imagined. We walked into the second floor of a restaurant and were greeted by over one hundred smiley, ecstatic women. A friend of mine came with me and we were seated at one of the two tables reserved for people from the school. As we looked around we noticed that we were the youngest ones, by at least two decades. But it didn't matter, we snacked on sandwiches and discussed the history of the school. The sweet, elderly religion teacher flagged down a waiter to order my first algarrobina- a cocktail made with pisco and the syrup of a Peruvian tree.

There was lots of hugging and smiles. Lots of chatting and excitement regarding the upcoming nuptials. When the groom arrived with a dozen roses, the whole room squealed in unison. I looked around and felt comfortable, the check kissing and the excitement feels natural. What once would have terrified me- a room full of 100 chatty Peruvian women- now feels like second nature. I now have one more milestone in my extensive training on how to be semi-Peruvian.