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You Can’t Judge A Wedding By Its Kelaguen

I love weddings. Whenever I have the good fortune of receiving an invitation to one, I make it a point to attend the ceremony because for me that’s where the magic is.
On Guam, there are people whose idea of going to a wedding is to forgo the ceremony and just show up at the reception. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see twice the number of people at a wedding reception than at the actual ceremony. Ask any one of the reception-only attenders, “How was the wedding?” and they’ll respond with something like, “It was nice. The food was good and there were a lot of people.” If they add something like, “They even had shrimp AND deer kelaguen!” you’ll know you missed the wedding of the year. I’m pretty sure a lot of us from Guam are guilty of judging a party by the grade and quantity of food and/or by the number of people in attendance. For food and gathering is a huge part of Guam’s culture- the more food and people, the better the party. It’s just one of the things that makes Guam, Guam. We show love not only by feeding you and whoever you brought with you, but by also making sure you take a plate home when you go (balutan). Just you try leaving a Guam party without the balutan patrol ordering you to take some food home. It is impossible.
But back to what I was saying about attending wedding ceremonies. I’d attend a ceremony even if there wasn’t a reception because for me, the magic is in witnessing the couple exchange their vows. When I was up there repeating my vows to Husband, it was so intimate and special, I was so happy to have the people I loved most in the world all around me to share it with. Whenever I witness another couple exchange vows, those feelings come back to me and I just feel so honored to have been invited to be part of something so beautiful and exclusive.
The kelaguen is a bonus.

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11 Responses

  1. rome says:

    Josie,
    Unreal work on the site. Building a new site and would love to collaborate.Seems like were on the same boat for promoting a positive Guam with sick photos to tell the story. [email protected] or 687 6139.

  2. Gail says:

    I totally agree with the joy of watching the ceremony. I even like the long very traditional Catholic ceremonies that others try to avoid. Marriage is a commitment and the exchange of vows a beautiful thing. So I say go to the ceremony and then let’s party!

  3. Brian Que says:

    I think when I get married my fiance and I will put in the invitations “Reception location to be announced in the ceremony.” That way people will have to attend the ceremony to enjoy the free keleguen. šŸ˜‰

  4. Mona says:

    On balutan: is it a normal for Chamorros to bring their own tin foil to the party or is it just my family?

  5. rhia says:

    i felt indifferent about weddings at first perhaps because of those feelings that i couldn’t exactly relate to. but this past april i had to be part of my uncle and aunt’s wedding in cali. at one point during the reception, my uncle surprised my aunt with a song we all thought someone else was going to sing. they both started to cry, and usually i’d find it too intimately gross…lol…but i actually thought it was romantic, and funny cause she still was shocked by it all. i guess, it helped a lot that i knew the couple. :] ahh, i miss kelaguen.

  6. Josie says:

    I hear the gallon-sized ziploc bags are a lot more inconspicuous than a roll of foil. LOL

  7. Joie says:

    I feel the same way. I love the ceremony. I don’t think I’ve missed a ceremony for any of the receptions I’ve attended. There’s always that moment that takes my breath away just like when husband and i exchanged vows.

  8. trench says:

    Watching the cermony is a must! Keleguen a must too! haha

  9. Gail says:

    Regarding the balutan, amongst our circle of friends, they still talk about the time that a couple (who shall remain nameless) brought tupperware and started making their own plates to take home. Really, really poor form – it’s still mentioned nearly 25 years after it happened!

  10. Jason Salas says:

    The one thing I haven’t been able to figure out is why us Chamorros insist at christenings putting the baby RIGHT NEXT TO THE SPEAKER. šŸ™‚

  11. fabmimi says:

    donovan only insists on having a 500-person wedding on guam and i am so afraid (yet excited…hehe)that i’ll have to plan that soon. we went to a chamoru wedding in beautiful san diego this past weekend and let me tell you….we knew we weren’t on guam when there were only about 50 bodies in church and ONE plate of food served!

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