Listen to Episode 14 of "Coffee with Gringos" here or on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher and Soundcloud.

Download the Episode 14 transcript here!

Love is in the air… and the parks… and the metro. This week, we’re chatting about romantic topics like weddings and dating! Paige and Mariah tell you about wedding customs in the United States and we share our thoughts on PDA in Chile. What’s PDA, you ask? Press play, and we’ll tell you!


Paige: You are listening to Coffee with Gringos. I’m Paige Sutherland.

Mariah: And I’m Mariah Wika. Welcome back to our podcast! This week, we will be chatting about weddings. Paige and I are in our twenties, and so it’s a time in our life where a lot of people we know are getting married. Now, of course you can get married at any age in life. This just happens to be a particularly popular time - especially in the United States. And so today, we’ll be chatting about what we know about wedding culture and a little bit about dating culture as well, so it’s an episode about romance. Right Paige?

Paige: Absolutely. And remember, if you get lost, go to our website. You can follow along to the transcript and vocabulary guide. So this year, I think I was invited to six weddings…

Mariah: To six weddings?!

Paige: To six weddings. I have seven next year.

Mariah: Are you kidding me?!

Paige: No. It’s just at that time. I’m 28 years old, so everyone is getting married. My college friends, my cousins, my boyfriend’s cousins, my boyfriend’s friends… everyone’s getting married!

Mariah: Seven weddings!! That is out of control.

Paige: Luckily, it’s a blessing I’m abroad because it’s a great excuse to miss quite a few of those weddings.

Mariah: Uh, any of Paige’s friends who just listened to that, that was a lie. Paige is incredibly sad that she cannot be at your wedding. I mean of course it’s tough to miss weddings when you’re abroad. But, it’s also true that that’s a lot of weddings to attend.

Paige: For the record, I went to three out of the six that I was invited to, while still being abroad.

Mariah: That’s impressive.

Paige: So, I did make it. But, it is a lot of work. Especially because I was in one of the weddings.

Mariah: If you’re in a wedding, that means that you’re either a bridesmaid or a groomsmen. And for those of you who don’t know about that tradition… it’s basically the closest friends of the bride and the closest friends of the groom participate in the wedding. They wear special outfits, the women wear usually a matching dress. The men wear the exact same suit. It’s a very important position in the wedding.

Paige: When you’re part of the wedding like that, you spend the entire day with the bride if you’re a bridesmaid. You do hair and makeup. And for me, I just went to a wedding last week, and I spent maybe eight hours getting my hair done, makeup, trying on the dresses, helping the bride, taking photos. It’s a production.

Mariah: It is a production, and I think that’s one thing that you can absolutely say about weddings in the United States is that they are definitely a production. They’re beautiful, and they celebrate a really important commitment, but it’s also almost like a theatrical performance because there’s the photography and the videographer and the dance performance.

Paige: It’s funny too, nowadays. I, y’know, I went to weddings when I was younger, and there was always a photographer… maybe a videographer. But, you know, not that normal. Now, every wedding I’ve been to, not only is there a videographer… there’re drones. There are drones that go around the ceremony, that go around taking photos and video and really capturing every single moment of this day.

Mariah: It’s incredible.

Paige: I think that also, it almost feels like you’re not quite living the day because you’re always on camera or on video everywhere you look.

Mariah: Right! It’s almost like a reality TV show.

Paige: Exactly, yeah, exactly. The other thing that’s very US is we have all these traditions like Mariah was talking about. We always have maid of honor, bridesmaids, groomsmen, best man, and you know, those are the old traditions. But, there’s a newer one called “first look.”

Mariah: Yeah, the “first look.”

Paige: So, when I told my parents about this, they were like… “What is this?!” Because it’s probably in the past five or ten years that most weddings have it… where the bride gets  dressed, and you’re not supposed to see the groom, and so right before the ceremony, they have this special look where the bride taps the groom on the shoulder, and he turns around and he sees his new wife in her dress for the first time. And it’s called the “first look.” To me, it just sounds very… too much. It’s just too much. But, a lot of people do it. Obviously, it gets captured on video and camera. In the wedding I went to last week, they did the first look, and there was the drone and the videos and the photographer. And I guess they didn’t capture it well enough…

Mariah: The first look?

Paige: The first look. So they had to have the first look, take two.

Mariah: Like a second time.

Paige: So, when they’re watching the video, I hope they remember… this really wasn’t their first look. It was their second first look.

Mariah: Oh, that’s kind of ridiculous. That’s kind of ridiculous.

Paige: But yeah, so these are some of the y’know American, US traditions that are at weddings. Like another one is you always throw the bouquet of flowers.

Mariah: I think they have that tradition in Chile too. The person that catches the bouquet flowers is the next person to get married. A lot of these traditions are very rigid in the United States… like if you don’t do these traditional things, people are confused or surprised.

Paige: Yeah, it’s part of the day. The speeches, the dance by the groomsmen and the bridesmaids when they enter the reception. You’re supposed to do some style of dance…

Mariah: When you enter the reception room.

Paige: So, US weddings are pretty elaborate. Here in Chile, you’ve been to a few since you’ve been here, right Mariah?

Mariah: I’ve been to a couple wedding receptions. So, I was invited to a couple of the post wedding parties with a friend, and they were great. It was a really good time. Both of the weddings were pretty elaborate as well. One thing that was really different, which I was not surprised by, is that we partied much later here in Chile.

Paige: Like how late?

Mariah: Until six in the morning.

Paige: Oh wow.

Mariah: Yeah, yeah. The party went a lot later, the music was loud, the drinks were flowing.

Paige: Did they have open bar?

Mariah: Yeah.

Paige: Okay, so that’s common.

Mariah: But it was a great time. And I think that I love the music here, and at the wedding, that was just in full force, y’know? Everybody was… it was this wild mix of Cumbia and Reggaeton and different classics, and I think one of the best parts about that experience was learning like what their classic weddings songs were. Like you know how in the US we have the songs where we’re like, “Oh! This is a wedding song!” The Cha Cha Slide and those group dances, and there are songs that just scream: “I belong on a wedding playlist.” And it was really fun to learn what songs are like that for them.

Paige: Was there a lot of US pop music as well? And classic rock?

Mariah: There was a decent mix. A decent mix. Yeah, but a lot of songs in Spanish. No, it was fun, it was really fun. I enjoyed it.

Paige: And it’s definitely now that it’s gonna be summer here in Chile… it’s probably wedding season for everyone here. Luckily, our wedding season in the US is winding down. So I think my next wedding on the schedule is not until May. So, I have a lot of wedding free time. Switching gears a little bit…

Both: Let’s talk about dating!

Mariah: It’s Spring right now in Santiago, and every teenager is just kissing in public! That’s called… okay, in English, we call that PDA, which means public displays of affection. And Chile and the United States have very different cultural perspectives on PDA.

Paige: Absolutely.

Mariah: And when I first got here, I was scandalized… like, I don’t mind holding hands. I think that PDA is totally fine, but I had never seen anything like this in my life.

Paige: Same. No, in the parks. It’s very… should they get a room?! What’s going on on that blanket?! It is so much. In the US, like you said, hand holding, maybe a kiss goodbye… an embrace. But people are making out on the train where their faces are so close to mine. Like, should I join? Should I say something?!

Mariah: Oh my god.

Paige: It’s a little much.

Mariah: Yeah, it is. You feel like you’re kind of being forced into being part of something very intimate when somebody is making out that close to you.

Paige: But then you also feel like… is it your 80 year old grandma in you that needs to point at them and be like, “Excuse me! Excuse me! Stop!”

Mariah: Excuse me, kids. Excuse me, kids. No, that’s true. I sometimes feel… okay, I should be more open-minded and free-spirited. And I actually do like it. I think that their perspective on PDA… like, I prefer that perspective to the perspective in the US because in the US people are very judgmental, and they glare at you or they stare at you or they cough… “ahem!” No! That’s not necessary! People can show their love however they want to show their love. And I don’t know. I think that here… at least nobody cares. Everybody’s just united in not caring.

Paige: It’s almost that we’re the weird ones for not doing it in public.

Mariah: Totally, totally. We feel uncomfortable because we’re not used to it, but we’re the only ones who feel uncomfortable. Although, I will say, I do have some friends who have said, “It’s a little too much sometimes.”

Paige: They just have a lot of passion. They want everyone to see it and share it with them.

Mariah: That’s funny.

Paige: But, dating in general here, it seems like there’s a lot of different stages here… It was very confusing to me because I arrived here with my boyfriend from the US. When I arrived, you know, with my little bit of Spanish, I would introduce him as my “novio.” But here, if you say that, everyone’s like: “When’s the wedding?” You know. “When are you getting married?” And I’m like, “No, no. “Just my novio!” Like… just my boyfriend. And it was very confusing to me until I discovered the word pololo… and that there’s different phases. Novo is when you’re about to get married. Pololo is more your boyfriend. And then there’s even before…

Mariah: Yeah, like “saliendo.” We’re going out. Yeah.

Paige: Yeah, that is very different, where in the US you just have your boyfriend and then your husband. There’s no real term for in-betweens.

Mariah: I like that. And I think that another thing that’s cool with Spanish is that there are different ways of expressing love. In Spanish, you have one extra option because you can say “Te quiero” before you say “Te amo,” and I think that in English we have “I love you,” and that is a heavy thing to say! It is a big, big sentence.

Paige: Yeah, absolutely.

Mariah: And so, people get really stressed about “Do I say I love you?” or “Do I not say I love you?” Like here, when you’re advancing towards that, you can say “Te quiero,” which is “I love you!” It’s just not quite as strong.

Paige: No, I didn’t think about that because in the US, the only word that you could say that’s probably similar is “I like you.”

Mariah: And it’s not enough.

Paige: You would not say that… You like things, you like food, you like people that you work with, but you don’t like somebody that you’re in a relationship with. It’s almost offensive to say. If someone says “I love you” and you say “I like you”, your relationship probably isn’t going any further.

Mariah: No. Exactly, you’re totally right. Yeah, you’re totally right.

Paige: So, I know, I didn’t think think of that. That’s true. There isn’t that lesser word for you to express your love.

Mariah: I think it’s a nice in between.

Paige: We’ll have to bring that back maybe. The direct translation would be: “I want you.”

Mariah: Which sounds sexual.

Paige: Which might not come off as great. But yeah, what other things are different dating here in Chile?

Mariah: I mean, I’m definitely not an expert. We’re not experts.

Paige: I’m definitely not.

Mariah: I think that one thing that’s different is that people live with their parents longer in general. And so, if you’re 28 years old and living with your parents… which, by the way, is not a bad thing. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I think that in fact it’s a really cool element of the culture that people are closer to their families because you stay at home longer. And I think that I really admire a lot of Chileans because they look out for their parents in a way that we maybe don’t because we leave the house so young, and so we don’t feel responsible for the well-being of our parents. But, I do think that some of my Chilean friends have told me that one consequence of that is that you don’t have your own space. It’s a little bit awkward when you’re 28 years old to bring your boyfriend back to your mom’s house.

Paige: So you bring him to the park!

Mariah: You bring him to the park! Or the metro!

Paige: Or just the street.

Mariah: So. It is a total change.

Paige: Maybe there should be free spaces. Like, you know they have those...

Mariah: I think that’s called a hotel, Paige!

Paige: those communal work spaces. If you live at home, and you wanna make out with your girlfriend or boyfriend, come to this safe space.

Mariah: Paige is advertising hotels, motels. That is what those are.

Paige: I don’t mean that kind of PDA.

Mariah: Oh my god. Well, this was super romantic. Interesting episode, Paige.

Paige: I hope that some of you lovebirds out there maybe find someone this summer.

Mariah: And um, if you do… I’m sure we’ll see you in the park. Thanks for listening, and we’ll talk to you soon.


Wedding (noun) - the event where two people get married

Example: Paige was invited to six weddings this year.

To get married (idiom) - the most common way to say that two people chose to legally commit to each other.

Example: Paige and I are in our twenties, and so it’s a time in our life where a lot of people we know are getting married.

Dating culture (noun) - the culture involving romantically connecting with other people

Example: Dating culture in the United States and Chile

Out of control (phrase) - impossible to manage, crazy (slang meaning)

Example: You were invited to seven weddings this year?! That’s out of control!

Are you kidding me?! (phrase) - are you joking, are you serious

Example: Are you kidding me?! I can’t believe you were invited to so many weddings!

For the record… (phrase) - so that the true facts are established

Example: For the record, I went to three of the six weddings I was invited to this year, even though I’m living abroad.

Bridesmaid (noun) - traditionally female friends of the bride that have a special role in the wedding

Example: Bridesmaids often wear special dresses to signify their important role in the wedding.

Groomsmen (noun) - traditionally male friends of the groom that have a special role in the wedding

Example: All of the groomsmen at the wedding wore the same suit.

Maid of honor (noun) - traditionally the best female friend of the bride, often a sister or family member. Responsible for arranging many parts of the wedding.

Example: When my sister got married, I was her maid of honor. I planned the bachelorette party.

Best man (noun) - traditionally the best male friend of the bride, often a brother or family member. Responsible for arranging many parts of the wedding.

Example: When he got married, his best friend from college was his best man.

Bachelorette party (noun) - traditionally a party where the bride and her friends celebrate the end of her “single life”

Example: For her bachelorette party, they went to Las Vegas.

Bachelor party (noun) - traditionally a party where the groom and his friends celebrate the end of his “single life”

Example: His bachelor party was relaxed. They just went to a cabin and drank a lot of beer.

Matching (adjective)  - very similar in color or design

Example: It’s very common for bridesmaids to wear matching dresses. For my sister’s wedding, we all wore long, blue dresses!

Drone (noun) - flying recording devices

Example: At the last wedding, I went to, the videographer used drones to fly around and record the entire experience.

Reception (noun) - the dinner and party after the wedding

Example: I’ve attended two wedding receptions in Chile. They included lots of drinking and dancing!

Elaborate (adjective) - detailed, carefully planned

Example: The weddings I attended in Chile were beautiful and so elaborate.

Wind down (phrasal verb) - to come to an end

Example: Wedding seasons in the United States usually winds down at the end of summer.

Switch gears (idiom) - to change topics

Example: I know we’re talking about weddings, but let’s switch gears and talk about dating!

PDA (slang) - Public Displays of Affection, physical affection in public places

Example: There’s a lot of PDA in spring time. People are outside kissing in the parks.

Scandalized (adjective) - shocked by a perceived violation of morals

Example: I was scandalized when I first arrived to Santiago and saw people making out so much in public!

Make out (phrasal verb) - to kiss intensely or passionately

Example: Sometimes people make out right next to me when I’m on the metro, and it makes me uncomfortable.

Glare (verb) - to stare intensely or judgmentally

Example: Sometimes people glare at you when you make out in public in the US.

Awkward (adjective) - uncomfortable or embarrassing

Example: When you’re 30 years old and living with your parents, it can be awkward to bring your partner back to your house.

Download the Episode 14 transcript here!