Our first Chilean Wedding Experience!

Our FIRST Chilean wedding experience was this past weekend!  Boy, was it ever memorable!  It was an outdoor wedding (as it's summer here), and it was breathtaking!  I'll show the pics with captions and give you an overview and then share a few thoughts at the end....
The entrance into seating area...
 The seating for the ceremony....
 The awning under which the couple would later say their vows....
 Another happy couple....this one was just in attendance!
 The guests seated and ready for the ceremony to begin....it was DEFINITELY a formal occasion!
 The groom and his mother preparing to walk down the aisle....
 The proud father of the groom shooting pics from his phone of his son along with the photographer..
 The flower girls....
 The ring bearer and jr. flower girl....
 The bride and her father....isn't she beautiful???? (She is one of our co-workers at the school...)
 A closer view of the dress....
 The bride saying good-bye to her dad as she prepares to say vows to the groom....
 The groom also said good-bye to his parents and then stepped over to say farewells to his bride's parents too....
 The vows and rings are exchanged...
 The immediate family and Pastors pray for the marriage union.....and they are a new family!
 Here's one of the cake....
 ...the place setting...
 ....the meal....
 ....and dessert!
We were among the first people to leave the happy occasion because we were NOT prepared for the hour of the party.....the wedding invite said to arrive at 7:00 pm for the ceremony....and the cake hadn't even been cut by 1:30 am when we left!  The biggest cultural difference for me was the amount of waiting that took place.  It wasn't bad at all, just different than I expected due to my own culture.
While the invitation said the ceremony would start at 7:00 pm, the bride did not even appear until almost 8:30 pm.....and that is NORMAL here in Chile!  In fact, many of the guests did not fill in till almost 8:00 pm.....I was blown away by that cultural difference.  However, upon reflection, I also was encouraged at its spiritual implications. 
The Bible talks about the church as Christ's bride and makes this analogy in a couple different places.  The groom is often the one who "waits" for the bride to get ready (in real life), and he is patient towards her because he LOVES her.  This came to mind while we were waiting for the bride.  When the end of time comes?  Christ will have been waiting for ME and YOU, and it is our job to use that time wisely and BE READY as His bride!!! 
I liked how James put it best.  He says in James 5:7-8 in the Bible, "Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand."  No one knows for sure when our Lord is coming back, but when He does?  Our prayer is that the world is READY!!!!  THANK YOU for your partnership in helping us share this news with the world!  We TRULY count it a privilege and an honor to be serving Christ in the capacities we do for the sake of His glory!  

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