The next step on our adventure was the wedding. By now you should be suspecting it couldn't be a regular wedding, ours had to come with a twist. It did. We had two of them!
Let the festivities begin!
We were going back to the island, this time for four months. I would be working for the hotels, enough photos were needed to keep me busy. It was the perfect opportunity. We would get married then.
Follow up to the wedding would be an extended honeymoon. That was the plan movieStar had thought of. She is an amazing plan-dreamer, and this was her masterpiece!
We took care of the practical things for the wedding back home: rings, attire for the ceremony, the legal bits. Papers were filed, and we asked for the process to be transferred to the embassy over there. Done.
We packed for those four months, and flew over.
As soon as we arrived we went to the embassy, and found out things were moving slowly. Very slowly. The process had arrived, but the embassy's staff is very small, and were very busy preparing a visit. Our president was arriving in a couple of weeks.
This presented us with a problem. You see, there are two islands on the archipelago, and we're usually staying on the smaller one. We go to the big one when necessary, but it’s a bit of a hassle. And it doesn't happen often.
We carried on with our life. We worked. We would welcome the press guests, and show them around. Fun times, it's always a thrill when you get to show people around a place you love. And I was lucky, my boss was my future wife. A demanding boss, but a fair one. I had a blast.
Shooting the hotels was only part of the job, as the whole operation is so much more than hospitality. There are agriculture projects, chocolate making, carpentry, turtle protection, beekeeping,... Enough to keep us busy and interested for a long time.
For a month or so we would live at the hotels, moving around every couple of days, as the journalists kept coming, and we were moving along with them. After that we got an apartment in the city, and would love it even more.
In the meantime I was getting to know the local population. They had been friends with movieStar (still not her nickname at the time) for a while, and welcomed me with open arms. We would have beer and talk, talk and have beer. They would show us around, let us in on their lives, and ask for nothing in return.
They would play a huge role on the wedding. And for my birthday, also celebrated on the island. And let's not forget about Carnival. We also spent it there on that year. Four months is a long time, and we were lucky to have such an incredible time there, with them.
The First Wedding
Usually you'll deal with the legal and the church parts of the wedding at the same time, in the church. That is, obviously, if you're getting a church wedding. We were.
We couldn't do them both at once for practical reasons, so we had a two-episode wedding.
The first part was dealing with the legal matters, and that was time consuming, much more than we'd expected. Once the process was going, and transfered to the embassy down in São Tomé, the speed slowed to a crawl... The president was due to arrive, and they were still taking care of that, no time for a wedding. In the end this would work to our advantage, but it was a pain.
As we were living on the smaller island, and only made the trip to the bigger one from time to time, but not often. We were still expecting to get the wedding on one of those days, but we were not getting lucky.
We would have something to do on the big island, get on the plane, go to the embassy, ask if we could do it, and get a "No" as reply. We'd try the same a month later, and the reply was the same.
Mind you, no other weddings were taking place. And it's just a matter of getting us in a room, get some signatures out of us, and we would be done. How long could that take? Not long, of course, but getting to that point wouldn't be easy.
In the end the president arrived. And he went over to the small island. It was a great day. We spent the whole time going around, joining the entourage, and having fun with my old colleagues, doing what I had done in the past. It was a happy day, meeting so many friends in such an unexpected place.
At the end of the day, when the president and press corps were about to board the plane back to the bigger island, one of those colleagues decided to let the president know about our wedding. And he asked us "When is this happening?". We told him "As soon as the embassy allow us to". He quickly turned to the ambassador, and told him "Please marry the kids!" And he boarded the plane.
Armed with this new piece of ammunition, we went back to the embassy, and movieStar, in proper movieStar fashion (she was getting there), told the clerk: "The president said you should marry us". The reply, this time, was "How about tomorrow?".
We spent our last unwed night at a friend's place a few kilometers outside the capital city, she ran a B&B there. By a huge coincidence a cousin and his girlfriend were also on the island, so we were settled for witnesses at the wedding.
There was a huge storm that night, some landslides on the road connecting the place we were at and the city. We left early in the morning, right after a quick breakfast, allowing some time to deal with whatever might happen on the way to town, and got to the embassy with enough time for a quick coffee on a cafe next door.
We went in and got married. Just like that.
It was as quick as we suspected.
After that we moved to the hotel, a couple of hours before our flight to the smaller island was due. We had some food, a dip in the pool, a beer, and off we went. We moved the party to the island next door.
We were legally married!
It was time for the second episode. But, first, we needed to pick the venue.