Our first anniversary
Yes, I know I said I did not want to talk about weddings anymore, but something came up… Last Saturday it was our first anniversary. “But how can that be”, you might be thinking, “if your wedding was two months ago?”. Good question! And it has a reasonable answer: here, your wedding celebration is not the moment you officially get married! Crazy, uh?
In China, what counts as being officially married is getting the marriage certificate. To do this, you need to apply in a special office and pay a fee. Then you get a red passport-sized booklet that is called “Marriage certificate”. People usually do this step first, and then they organise a wedding banquet on a different day. Although it is technically possibly to do it on the same day, if you get the certificate in the morning and have the banquet in the evening. But then you would need to have your wedding celebration on a weekday, as the marriage office is not open on weekends.
So last year, on July 8th (which was a Friday), we got our marriage certificates in Nanjing. I don’t remember which documents we needed to provide, apart from a certificate from the Spanish consulate stating that to the best of their knowledge I was still single. The process in the marriage office was very simple, we just needed to fill our personal information and sign a “contract”, and then went to another room a bit more decorated where a clerk asked us if we wanted to get married or something similar. Then he gave us the booklets and that was it!
Getting the marriage registered in the Spanish consulate (so it is recognised in Spain) was a bit more complicated and we needed the translation and legalisation of several documents. We took it easy and we just finished the process a few weeks ago. The final step was having an interview with the Spanish consul in Shanghai! He interviewed us separately to check that we were a real couple and I felt I was in trouble when he asked me what we did on our second date and I didn’t remember! I mean, of course I remember the first date, but the second… not really! I get it mixed with the third and the fourth! Luckily he ended up deciding we were a real couple and allowed us to register in the Spanish marriage registry and get the official family book. So now we have two booklets, one from China and one from Spain!
In the evening I had planned to go to a Spanish restaurant nearby but when we arrived… we found out it has closed! We didn’t even get to try it! So we ended up going to a fancy Chinese restaurant which, coincidentally, was also one of the first restaurants we went together. Dinner was on me as I didn’t get C. any anniversary gifts!