Nora and Paco had a Quaker meets Mexico wedding at the school where Nora's parents worked. Nora comes from Quaker roots and Paco was born and raised in Mexico, so the blend of these traditions was so interesting to see unfold.
There was a traditional Quaker ceremony followed by a surprise Mariachi band that led guests to a Mexican fiesta complete with a fab taco bar and music. Once the Mariachi band departed, a folk band came in to lead everyone in traditional square dancing. Plus, Nora was eight months pregnant so they were able to get some seriously gorgeous parents-to-be portraits at the same time.
Here's what Nora said about her dress choice while pregnant…
For my wedding, I was eight months pregnant, so I thought I wouldn't find a dress in wedding boutique. My mom and I got out dresses that she had been saving for me over the years. She had bought me an empire waist dress over a decade ago when she went to Spain. The dress was very simple but trying it on brought tears to my eyes. It felt right. I liked that it was linked to a Spanish speaking place given the themes of our wedding. We decorated the waistline with a beautiful peach colored sash I had worn as a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding. It matched perfectly with a pair of heels I had and it added color to the dress. I was glad to have a splash of color.
Let's see these cultures combine beautifully at this wedding in West Chester, PA…
One way we personalized our wedding was through music. The Quaker ceremony contains a lot of silence. At the end, we had a Mariachi band waiting outside the doors. As people left the Meeting House, music burst into the air. It was a wonderful contrast to the silence of the worship. The Mariachi band led our guests towards the reception. I come from a tradition of American folk music. After the Mariachi band wrapped up, a folk band gathered, made up of musicians who I grew up around — Ann Percival, Jim Morrison, Steve Hickman, Mathew Clark, DeLaura Padovan, and more. They led a contra dance with accessible dances that anyone could do. After the contra dancing, we put on salsa and pop music and everyone got to dance!
Paco and I come from different countries and different cultures. I have spent time living in Mexico and Nicaragua, and since being together, Paco has spent more time in the United States. We decided to celebrate different aspects of our backgrounds throughout our wedding. Every piece connected to Paco’s background or to mine. The food, for example, was Mexican food and was catered by TacoMar — a Mexican restaurant that just opened a year ago in West Chester. The ceremony was a Quaker ceremony because I have been a Quaker for much of my life. In the Quaker tradition, we marry ourselves without a priest or pastor. Paco and I said our own vows, exchanged rings and signed our marriage certificate. Then, we entered a period of silence where any of our friends and family could share a prayer, a blessing or a story.
Paco and I wanted a beautiful wedding and we wanted it to be a reflection of who we were. We did a lot of the wedding ourselves and in this way, it captured our personalities and our spirit. My parents and his relatives were incredibly helpful. My family and friends spent the day before the wedding stringing flags and creating center pieces. Paco’s family brought many of the thank you gifts that we provided and made a delicious brunch the following day. Our wedding had incredibly bright colors, emblematic of Mexico.
From the flowers to the tablecloths, everything was a blend of reds, greens, yellows, purple. Everything popped. During the Day of the Dead in Mexico, villages and towns string multicolored triangular flags up and down the streets. We filled our reception hall with these flags and colorful strands of puffed paper. Our wedding invitations also had these flags on them. As party favors, we brought back from Mexico beautiful artisanal pieces. There were small mugs, wood carved animals, woven napkins and hot chocolate beaters.
Photography: Christie Green Photography • Floral Designer: Ama Healing Music • Caterer: Taco Mar • Cake: Carlino's • Beauty: Calista Grand • Hair Stylist: Calista Grand • Ceremony venue: Westtown School