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Friends, fishermen, ripped knickers and a Wedding in Chile

A couple more days of solid driving found us safely in Mantecillo a gorgeous little beach town and where we were due to meet our new Chilean friends. Alex had met Penny and Claudio via trying to arrange a homestay for us while we were in Chile. He had told Penny our story and she loved it and offered to help us arrange our Chilean wedding! We were thrilled and knew straight away just from the emails that we were going to get on so well. Penny is Canadian and moved to Chile when she met her husband, they live in Santiago with their two GORGEOUS boys and they just made us feel so welcome the whole time we were there.To keep a long story short Penny is involved with a group of women called the Chile Spouses, basically they are all a group of friends who get together and who all have one very major thing in common…they are all expats with Chilean husbands! They all miss the same brand of foods, talk about the same TV shows and of course have faced so many barriers and adventures while restarting their lives in another country. They are a support network of great friends and it was through these wonderful women that Penny found all the things we needed to make the ceremony possible. We’re talking haircuts, outfits courtesy of Morag Sweeting, shoes, locations…the lot!

So all of this help combined with the whole of Penny and Claudios family being so damn hospitable and offering us a place to stay, feeding us, making us thousands of cups of tea and welcoming us into their homes and lives we had a wedding on!

We stayed for a night with Francho and Maria, Claudio’s lovely Mum and Dad and the next night Penny and family arrived and as soon as the very next day it was the wedding!

We spent the day before the wedding collecting things that I wasn’t allowed to see, meeting friends that would be coming to the wedding and meeting our wonderful ‘master of ceremony‘ Ivan and his lovely wife Haydee.

There was so much going on and we met so many new friends that my nerves had kicked in already! By the time Penny and Claudio and the boys arrived we were a frazzle and everyone was so excited I don’t think anyone had any idea whether they were coming or going! We had spent the evening making a traditional Chilean snack whose name translated to ‘ripped knickers’ and sharing stories as we cooked.

As everyone filtered off to bed to prepare for the big day only Alex and I and Penny and Claudio were left. We slumped into the couches, enjoyed a glass of wine and finally got acquainted in real life! As we had anticipated we all got on so well and all of the panic drifted away as we said good night.

 The morning of the wedding was back to 100 miles an hour and as we dressed in our traditional Huaso and Huasa the nerves returned. We had empenadas to collect, the photographer to meet, Ivan to prepare and a location to decide. The weather had stopped us making any real decisions the day before, Ivan lives in a beautiful spot overlooking the ocean but the drizzle had made the deck a little slippery and the view was obscured by the misty rain. The small beach of the fishing town was lovely too so we were undecided until we arrived in Horcon on the day of the wedding. The sun burst out from behind the clouds and begged us to marry under its rays by the crystal clear waters of Horcon beach.

We met with Gardner who was our photographer for the day and Mauricio his assistant and knew we were in great hands. Gardner a Glaswegian chatter box and Mauricio a calm gazelle footed Chilean with a light umbrella and we were in very capable hands. Everything is a blur from then up until after the wedding! We were suddenly ready! We were there, on the beach, dressed and with a huge crowd of friends and family around us. We thrust our camera at Claudio and asked him to snap away too and the ceremony began.

We stood facing the water in between two brightly coloured fishing boats with Ivan front and centre. Ivan was so excited and had prepared a beautiful ceremony for us in Chilean Spanish and Penny translated for us as he spoke. He welcomed us to Chile with warm words and open arms and blessed us in the presence of everyone there to a long and happy life together.

The ceremony was short but lovely and really from Ivans heart. As we kissed to seal the deal everyone cheered and threw rice and congratulated us with hugs and felicidades. Even the fishermen had come to join in the fun and we had a few fishy hugs too! Everyone was so happy for us and intrigued at our tale. One of my fondest memories of the day is climbing into one of the fishing boats for a picture and my ankle flashing from under my skirt. Everyone was stood watching and all we heard was Ivan shout ‘Oh my God’ as I put my feet up on the side of the boat. We laughed so hard and everyone cheered as we kissed in the boat.

We all went back to Ivans for empenadas and champagne cocktails on the now sunny deck. We chatted the afternoon away and waited for the light to drop to go to the beach for some pictures with Gardner and Mauricio. It was such a gorgeous day, we were so welcomed by everyone, they were all eager to hear our stories and we were eager to listen to theirs too. For us this was one of the more special weddings, a day to share with strangers that become very quickly new friends.

As we left Ivans to go to take some pictures on the beach our guests went back to Francho and Marias to cook up some Asado (BBQ), it was hard to leave the smoking meat but we were desperate for some more images in such a beautiful part of the world. We followed Gardner to a spot he had found earlier that day and turned mountaineers to get down the steps to the beach. The steps were uneven, full of tree roots and things to trip you with a rickety banister running their very steep length. I think the bannister was more there to delude you into feeling safe rather than actually saving you should you fall…anyway, we were the lucky ones, we only had our attire to contend with while Gardner and Mauricio had all of their equipment to carry.

It was definitely worth the climb though, they had found a perfect spot. The beach was pristine with beautiful rock formations jutting out into the Ocean. Gardner had some great ideas and it really paid off him having visited the area earlier in the day. He knew where he wanted us and how the light would behave, he had his vision and we just needed to recreate it.

We had great fun clambering over the slippery rocks, Gardner was so wary of our safety and went to test everywhere before sending us in. We kept telling him we were trained wedding dress climbers, carriers and clamberers but he was very wary and made sure we were never in danger from rogue waves, sharp rocks or ninja winkles.

I’m sure you will all agree that the images are spectacular. He has captured the life in the rocks, the ocean and the light and most importantly the all encompassing beauty of the landscape. Thanks so much Gardner for such stunning shots and for being a big part of our special day! I am sure our paths will cross again in the future! Thanks also to Mauricio for skipping around those treacherous rocks to bathe us in light and to lead the way back to safety!!

We said our farewells to Gardner and Mauricio and headed back to the house for food and a deserved glass of wine. By the time we got back everyone was as worn out as we were and after waving goodnight to all of our guests we grabbed some food and a glass and we all crashed in front of the TV to watch the Olympics!

It was a perfect end to a perfect day. It started with one family wanting to help us out and ended with all of that family sat around relaxing together…with their 2 new additions…US!

Location – Horcon, Chile | Planner – Penny Ortega | Photography – Gardner Hamilton


  1. TR Rickey says:

    Amazing amazing amazing…if I haven’t said it enough…the photos are amazing.

  2. Judy Charbonnneau says:


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