Andoni and Laure’s Wedding

September 08, 2008 By: erik Category: Family, Partying, Photos, Spain 1,351 views

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Andoni and LaureMarga’s cousin, Andoni, got married on September 6, 2008. It was interesting to watch because it was so similar to our own wedding. The bride is from France, so there were a bunch of French people attending that didn’t speak Spanish. The church and restaurant were both places that Marga and I had, to use a recently popular word, vetted before making our final choice. They did some things differently than we would have, but they’re very different people. All in all, it was a very nice day that turned out well.

I had to decide where to place my wedding behavior on the scale from “guy with a 2-megapixel mobile phone” to “professional wedding photographer with expensive camera and tripod”. In the end, I decided to dial it all the way back to iPhone photography only and do more participating than observing.

Three Baby Turkeys

The bridesmaids. No, just kidding. On the morning of the wedding, I went with Juan to visit his chickens and his three new baby turkeys. Hey, what are baby turkeys called? Chicks? Turklets? Goblets?

Tapa Heaven

Tapa heaven. We had to stare at this for two hours before the French people arrived. Torture!


The church at Arantzazu (a-RON-thah-thew) is somewhat more special (for some Catholic hierarchy reasons that no one could explain to me) than your average town church. I’m not sure in what decade it was thought that the sound studio pyramid facade was a good idea. The church is quite ugly, really. But it’s perched on a lovely mountainside with nice valley views.

Groom Arrives

The groom arrives. His brother and cousin had driven up there that morning and placed menacing signs along the road saying encouraging things like, “Well, so much for liberty!”, “Turn back now!”, and “It’s too late, you’re at the church!” Good to have such fraternal support.

Groom Arrives

Andoni is always bubbling with charisma, so he did the groom role very well.

Groom and Mother

He opened the door for his mother.

Groom and Mother with car reflection

I didn’t mean to get the cool reflection off the car window here.

By the time the bride arrived in a white limousine, I was tired of taking phone photos and I couldn’t get close enough anyway with all the pushing and shoving to get camera position.

Looking Good

Looking good. My wife, mainly, but it’s good to get some use out of my wedding suit.

Handbag on Pew

Nothing says “wedding” like a stylish too-small-to-be-very-useful handbag hanging on a church pew.

Here comes the bride

Here comes the bride, there goes the bride. Go iPhone camera!

Actually, this is about how I remember my wedding.

Stone Church

The church is like a cavernous stone cave.

One thing they did have that would have been nice at our wedding was a bilingual priest. So the service was half in Spanish and half in French. Actually our priest was bilingual; we had to specifically ask him to refrain from using Basque during our service. There was one exciting arm-flailing moment during the service when the priest nearly fell off his platform.


At the restaurant waiting for the champagne cocktail. All the champagne glasses had chopped up lemon and orange rind floating in them. Stylish and pleasant to the eye, but disgusting to consume. Sipping champagne at an elegant wedding is not the time to be spitting out bitter fruit parts.

Andoni and Laure cutting cake

When I asked Marga which restaurant they had chosen, she said, “You know, that one with the horrible, horrible painting.” I hadn’t noticed the painting when we reviewed this place, but I was aware that it had been struck off the list because of Marga’s recollection of the painting. Upon seeing it again, we decided it wasn’t that horrible, but we still preferred our wedding location.

Andoni and Laure

This bride and groom were better showmen than we were, that’s for sure.

Mr. and Mrs. Cookie Monster

A gift to Andoni’s brother, Maikel and his girlfriend. In Spanish weddings, it’s a tradition to give wedding gifts to couples who might be the next to marry. We gave Andoni and Laure octopuses at our wedding.

  • Goblets. Har. I think they are actually called poults.

  • Poults, huh? What an ugly word. Thanks, though.

  • I actually quite like the “horrible painting”, but I guess you knew I was going to say that, didn’t you?
    Also I find myself trying more and more to “do more participating than observing”.

  • Some help from da’Pedia on church information. Well, what do you know! A virgin sighting! How rare. Behold:

    It’s located in the site where presumably the Virgin of Arantzazu appeared to the shepherd Rodrigo Baltzategi in 1468. Legend has it, the figure of the Virgin was in a thorn-bush, and his exclamation “Arantzan zu?!” (Thou, among the thorns?!) gave rise to the name of the place. According to the linguistic explanation, the name stems from “arantza + zu”, ‘place abounding in hawthorn’.

    Thus, we have the Spanish/Basque female name Arantxa, the most famous holder of which would be Ms. Sánchez Vicario.

    And the Basilica was constructed in the 1950s, no surprise there, given the architecture and the cubist stone carving inside.

  • Marga is totally stunning!

  • don’t you like the arantzazu basilica? i think it’s quite an amazing piece of work, not beautiful in the traditional sense, but incredible in it’s own way, and particularly when you think about the era in which it was built…

    i particularly like Jorge Oteiza’s carvings of the apostles over the entranceway, which if you pay attention you’ll notice that there are 14, which according to the story i heard caused a bit of a scandal because there were supposed to be 12 (well obviously) but Oteiza put in 14 because it suited the artistic and architectural balance of the space… No idea if it’s true, but it’s a good story!

    I notice however that on the Oñati website they just kind of skim over that and make reference to the “14 apostles”… don’t know who they think the extra two are supposed to be!

  • Yes, the apostle sculpture is very nice. And the cave-like interior is cool (in both senses), too. I just don’t like the texture of the facade and the general blocky architecture as seen from the outside.

    I love apostle scandal. I can’t believe I didn’t count them.

    Note to others: Here’s the sculture we’re talking about.

    Yep, fourteen.

  • Re: participating rather than observing, see also here: