My fave wedding ever!

So, my previous post was about Prince Harry’s & Meghan Markle’s wedding and of course it made me think a lot about my favourite wedding ever: my own wedding in July of 1999! Of course, ours was not nearly as grand as the royal wedding, but we had really made a celebration of it, with our families and our friends and for me it really was one of the very best days of my life.

I was looking at pictures of our wedding but by far most of them aren’t digital. The digital pictures we do have are only a handful of images we have scanned and pictures taken with my father in law’s digital camera (digital photography was just getting started at the time). The pictures taken with the digital camera were of low quality and the camera also failed at times, giving us pictures that were overexposed, blurry or too dark. No matter, I have collected some of my fave digital images that we have and just can’t resist posting my wedding day story here!

Mr Esther and I had already been living together for 3 years before we got married. Why bother getting married, you ask? In my heart I just knew I had found the man I wanted to be with forever (that still holds true today!) and yes, we were already totally committed to each other. Getting married was just something we eventually wanted to do as well. We wanted a celebration of our love for ourselves and for everyone around us, to cement and clearly state to the world that yes, we were in this together forever. We celebrated our wedding on our 7.5 year anniversary of getting together; I was 29, Mr Esther was 28.

The morning of our wedding we got dressed in separate rooms (we didn’t spend the night before separately, that would have felt weird). We had invited our immediate families and my best friend at the time to come over to our house for a brunch to start off the festivities. When everyone was there, Mr Esther came into our bedroom and saw me in my dress for the first time (that was a very special moment!) and then I walked down our little hallway to the living room where I was greeted by our guests. Another very special moment!

We left everyone in our house to enjoy a brunch while Mr Esther & I and our two best friends came with us and the photographer (not a professional, but someone who did it as a hobby) to help with our wedding pictures being taken. Our pictures were taken in Delft, which is where we were also getting married (we lived very close to Delft at the time). Here are a few that have been scanned over the years…

1 before 41 before 61 Before 31 before 5 Delft city hall

We got back to our apartment and there we picked up all our guests for the short drive to the old city hall of Delft (the building pictured above). As parking was tricky for the center of Delft, we had rented this old bus for the whole family to travel in, while we travelled in a vintage Rolls Royce.

In The Netherlands you can’t get married with only a religious wedding, you always have to have a civil ceremony. In addition to our families, other friends had also come to city hall to witness the event. We had met with the woman who was performing our ceremony a few days before our wedding. She gave a little speech about us, spoke about marriage and then we said our “I do’s” and signed the registry.

Afterwards we were led to a reception room, where we received out first congratulations, before we went on to another venue.

When we exited city hall, the church bells of the old church opposite city hall (where Dutch royals are buried!), started ringing for us, which was pretty cool.

My father was a theologian and minister and I have been baptized and grew up going to church. However, over time I have come to see myself more as a humanist and Mr Esther is an atheist who has only ever attended a church service in my presence. So, we didn’t want an official church wedding. We did want an extra blessing on our marriage and I really wanted my father to perform that ceremony. We went from city hall to a nearby wedding venue where the ceremony as well as our dinner & party would be held.

My father had discussed the ceremony at length with us and, although the structure was based on a church ceremony, we were also able to reform it in such a way that suited us. Mr Esther and I, for instance, never used the word ‘God’ or ‘Jesus’, we had bible readings but also poems, we had classical and ‘secular’ music, my father gave us a blessing (Aaron’s blessing to be precise) after we had exchanged our vows and put on wedding rings, but there was also the presentation of a special wedding gift for us by my in-laws. It really was a very special and deeply personal service and, like Harry’s and Meghan’s service, it had the theme of love and the Song of Songs (Song of Solomon) at the heart of it. “My beloved is mine and I am his” was the theme. The fact that my father was able to perform this blessing for us remains one of my most cherished memories.

After the service there was a cutting of the cake (just one overexposed digital picture)…

MVC-025S

…and as the weather was great we all went out in the sunshine for coffee and eating of the cake and just relaxing a bit after all the excitement (while inside the staff revamped the room from a ‘church’ to a dinner room with round tables).

This was also the venue where lots of group pictures were taken, including one with my brothers and sisters (and lots of other fun pictures, that I don’t have digitally).

We had a buffet dinner afterwards (with yummy Indonesian food). Dinner also included some speeches and presentations of a few gifts.

And then from 8 pm onwards, we had big party (where even more people joined in the festivities). We had a DJ and seriously, from the start, everyone participated in the dancing and fun. We had our first dance to U2’s “All I want is you” (more of a shuffle) and after that everyone joined us on the dance floor.

Some people had also put on acts for us. We had asked people not to give us any wedding gifts separately but if they wanted to give us something, to give money so we could spend it on a honeymoon. One of my brothers had coordinated it all. Friends had thought up a quiz and with every correct answer that Mr Esther and I gave, a letter was turned and together the letters would from a word. We got 2 or so questions wrong but in the end we had enough correct answers to figure out that the winning word was ‘Portugal’. Our families and friends had booked us a honeymoon to Portugal as a wedding gift!

My family had also organized an ABBA act: family members in the background wore masks and were the backing singers and dancers, my mother was in a blonde wig as Agnetha, another family member was in a red wig as Annafrid, my dad was guitarplayer Björn (or Benny) using  an ancient bed pan and Mr Esther’s uncle was Benny (or Björn) on an ironing board as a keyboard. They sang and danced (choreographed!) along to ABBA’s “Gimme gimme gimme” and screamed “Mr Esther after midnight” to follow that line. It was a helluva lot of fun to watch.

Mr Esther and I were also lifted on chairs and carried around…

At midnight the party ended. We thanked everyone and right after that we were surprised with an emotional ending: everyone was given a candle and stood around us in a circle while the song “You’ll never walk alone” was played (and everyone joined in singing). This was something my mother had organized (just like the ABBA act had been her doing) and it was a perfect ending to a perfect day.

Harry and Meghan’s wedding may have been great but ours was better! I am still so happy that we celebrated our love like that and the love we received back was overwhelming. My wedding is a memory I will cherish in my heart forever.

So, dear readers, what about you? Did you have a wedding? How big or how small? If you’ve never been married, would you ever want a wedding? Or are weddings just not important to you? An inquiring mind would love to know.  🙂

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22 thoughts on “My fave wedding ever!

  1. I love the German / European (?) custom of the guests providing “Unterhaltung” for the couple at the wedding. We don’t really have that in the U.S.

    I wrote a post about this a long time ago (if I may be forgiven for linking without asking). The upshot or me is — no wedding. Perhaps a brief marriage ceremony, if I ever had to get married, with the minimum legal presence of witnesses.

    https://meandrichard.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/in-which-i-contemplate-a-wedding-to-richard-armitage/

    That said, if I had kids there’s no way I wouldn’t be married to their father (ceteris paribus) in the U.S., due to the legal and financial protections for the children and to make them more financially secure. Then again, I didn’t want to reproduce. I also have friends in health insurance marriages — I might be able to be persuaded to do that at some point.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The skit part is also Dutch, don’t really know in what other countries they do this as well. I’ve been to weddings where basically the whole party was skits, and that does get old. A mix of skits and partying is best, I think.
      We also said that if we had kids one day, we’d like to be married, so that was another reason to do it, but not the main one for us. Wow, I’ve never heard of health insurance marriages before!
      LOL on your post contemplating marriage! That’s pretty clear, then. 🙂
      My older sister, like you, has never had an interest whatsoever in reproducing or marrying either and, like you, is happily single with no kids.

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      • health ins marriages: I have two close friends who’e done it. They were both in long term cohabitation situations when partners were diagnosed with serious illnesses. I don’t know anyone who’s done it with a stranger. But it’s a fairly common thing, I suspect, in the U.S. As are, supposedly, immigration marriages.

        At the German weddings I’ve been too it’s been a combination of skits, jokes, sometimes musical numbers, etc. Those wedding parties go on SO long, though.

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        • Yep, they do! I told my brother (master of ceremonies) to not let the skits thing get too out of hand. We had 2 or 3 things and the rest was just party. 🙂

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  2. Oh — and I should have said: your wedding was naturally very sweet and thoughtful, just like you! I’m not surprised.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a wonderful wedding you and Mr. Esther had! Sounds just like my kind of marriage (if I’d ever consider marriage – which I don’t😏) Thank you for sharing your memories. I enjoyed your stroll down memory lane very much.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing, Esther.
    I am not a wedding person even if I have been married a long time ago (and happily divorced😉). It was not a traditional wedding: no white dress (I was dressed in my favourite colour, meaning «black»), no religious service (my ex-husband was an atheist and I was searching my spiritual way in those days). There was only a part of my family, few dear friends..and we had rain all day (april).
    I am not against get married again as my companion and I are celebrating our 10 th year together but he really doesn’t like the idea. I consider him and speak of him as my husband, too.

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    • Thanks for sharing!
      Yeah, I believe you can be totally happy together without being married. I don’t think that getting married changed anything in Mr Esther’s and my relationship. The only difference is that being married is an official thing and we wear rings now and we have lovely memories of our wedding day… 🙂

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  5. Sounds as if you had a wonderful day. The pictures clearly show the joy and happiness of all, no wonder it is a happy memory and your favourite wedding ever. Mind you, I suspect that everybody cites their own wedding as their fave wedding – subject to the marriage being a happy one 😉. Even I – self-confessed wedding nay-sayer – would cite my own wedding as my favourite one. It was the complete opposite of yours. I got married in dark blue (including a fleece cardigan – it was November), we took the tram to the registry office and walked back home for a glass of bubbly and some home-made nibbles. There were four guests (the parents – and only because I caved in when my dad told me my mum was mortally offended not to be asked to her only child’s wedding), no party, no skits, no announcements, only a registry office signing of papers, with the inexperienced, flushed and nervous registrar regaling us with happy statistics about divorce rates 😂. I got married because it meant I would earn more money (as a temporary civil servant in training) and because I wanted legal safety for my unborn, binational child. He was born 5 days later, and THAT was truly a life-changing event for me. Weddings – nah, I lack the romantic gene and am too cynical about state-sanctioned interpersonal partnerships. (But I have always enjoyed the weddings I have been invited to – it’s wonderful to see friends or loved family members so happy, and to be allowed to witness and share what is evidently an important, happy day for them. Nothing cynical about that.)

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    • That’s a close to perfect wedding. You’re now my second favorite, behind my friend in Texas who got married to get her husband health insurance. They went to Las Vegas, got a license and a plastic ring that flashes when you twist it, went to a walkup wedding window, and had a hamburger afterwards.

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      • Las Vegas was on my list, too – just because it’s so over the top and non-committal. The baby bump put paid to that. I think health insurance is an excellent reason to get married, or a better tax band (Germany). But hey, here’s the cynic speaking!

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        • I have mixed feelings, because I think it can create a relationship of obligation (as it did in one of those cases). But that in general is one of my problems with marital relationships — the sorts of obligations they create. There are certainly worse obligations than having to provide health insurance for a lover.

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          • Probably depends on the two people concerned and what their respective attitude towards marriage is. If they are both cynical about it, they may not feel obligated.

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            • My impression is that is that you don’t feel obligated, you just don’t get married for that particular reason (and the relationship hobbles along however it will in the absence of that particular component / commitment).

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    • I should hope so, that everyone cites their own wedding as their favourite. 🙂
      I think I briefly considered a very low key event, but in the end we just wanted a party with our loved ones to share. We paid for everything ourselves (except for my wedding dress which my parents insisted on buying) and we tried to keep in informal inbetween the formal bits, which worked out quite nicely, I felt. 🙂
      By the way, legal aspects for marrying played into it as well for us, as we knew that in time we wanted to start a family (and we did so 2 years later).
      LOL on your registrar! Sounds like something from a comedy movie! 🙂

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      • I think, the main difference between your approach to getting married and mine was that for my SO and me the actual fact held no meaning. Hence we had no need to share and celebrate what we perceived as a mere signing of a piece of paper with anyone. It was a non-event, so to speak. My own (cynical) stance on marriage does not extend to other people’s weddings, though – I *have* proudly served as a witness to my friends’ wedding in the old historic town hall in Prague years ago, for instance, and I am not averse to sentimentality when it comes to friends exchanging vows in a church. I think the love, hope and happiness symbolised in those ceremonies, is contagious, and it has never failed to touch my heart. (I just never felt like wanting that for myself.)
        Our registrar was a bit of a Mr Bean figure… I thought it was hilarious. My mother, OTOH, was enraged… 😆

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        • Yeah, I’ve always been a romantic at heart and for me, and for Mr Esther as well, it does have an emotional meaning. But I get your approach as well, my brother has the same and he and his partner (who’ve been together for 25 years now), never got married. They did register legally as partners when their kids came, but that was just something they arranged in a lawyer’s office. 🙂
          I think I would’ve laughed about that registrar as well! 🙂

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  6. My favourite thing about wedding photos is seeing the happy the faces of the couple. And your photos are no exception! Looks like a really great memory. My husband and I had only been together 5 1/2 months when we got married — why wait? My mother-in-law was upset that we didn’t get married in a church, but I told her that because we were getting married outside, it was God’s cathedral… but then it rained! Oh well. It was a great day anyway.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sounds lovely as well! Love the outside wedding thing. My brother and sister-in-law did that as well at the time.
      Mr Esther and I were quite young when we got together (21 and 20) and we felt no need to get married that young, even though we felt very sure of each other quite quickly. We didn’t think about it much until we were settled and in jobs and we sorta turned to each other and figured ‘why not’? We can’t even remember a specific proposal or whose idea it was to get married, I think it just sort of came up in conversation once and we decided to go for it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. […] …. and marrying him on our 7.5 year anniversary… […]

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