Thursday, August 23, 2012

Our second wedding day

The bride.
I totally look like I'm in control.
That's right....I've survived another twelve days in Sweden. Actually, more than survived. I think I've finally figured out how to train in Italy for eating in Sweden and while I don't understand Swedish I do understand a few words and that allows me to put on my "thoughtful and understanding" face as I struggle internally to follow the conversation. Or give up and think about something else....although I tried not to do that  too often. Someone always asks me a question when I think about something else.

There were several significant events during our visit. I guess I'll assume that you'd like me to leave the other events for later and get right to the good stuff. But I'm warning you right now, there was some really good stuff during the other eleven days.

The groom.
The best man on the planet,
hands down.
We had the blessing for our wedding which was beautiful and touching and most of the planning wasn't finished until a few days before the actual ceremony. In Swedish. I will probably repeat that phrase a lot, with good reason. I was usually agreeing to something based on either the speaker's or Leif's translation, and therefore interpretation, of how to say something in English. I have to admit that it added a certain degree of anticipation to the whole day. Would it be what I thought it would be? Or would it take a left turn in mid-stream leaving me to cover my surprise with a smile and a shrug...or if necessary the dropping of something breakable to distract people from the look on my face?

Is it too much of a spoiler for you if I say that I didn't have to break a single dish, glass or vase during the day? Oh, and nothing burned down either which is a miracle considering the number of candles we lit that day.

Tord, Leif's father.
One look at that face should tell you why I
didn't even try to put the flowers on him.
His bark is worse than his bite.
Saturday, August 18 started out gray and cool. I ironed my dress and his shirt. Yes, I left it till the day of the ceremony. Leif and his dad moved us out of the guest room and put on new linens for two of our guests who were coming from very far south. We got a cold lunch ready and then hopped in the car to pick up some flowers for the church and for my hair. Yes, I left it till the day of the ceremony. The church and the hall were only a block away so we walked down to the hall to count chairs and figure out how to set it up. Yes, I left it till the day of the ceremony AND I didn't diagram it either.

Somewhere between 11 and 11:30 his sister and brother with their families showed up at the hall to help us set up and we got started. At this point I should point out that I'm not Swedish and  I'm an artist...symmetry isn't my first design requirement. In fact I avoid it. The rest of the group is Swedish and fond of symmetry. We didn't exactly butt heads over things, but when asymmetry managed to sneak into the design scheme (and it did) I was responsible. Certain things stick out in my mind.

For a short time someone would correct my (obviously incorrect) placement and bring everything back into symmetry and then I would have to fix it. And someone else would correct it so that I would have to fix it the way I wanted it again. At least I assume it was a different  person. Eventually this mystery someone figured out that I wanted things a certain way and stopped correcting it.

Karin, Tomas' wife.
One of the sweetest women in the world.
New super mom. Flower fanatic.
Leif's sisters were a little disappointed that I didn't have a plan for everything and in fact was happy to skip certain things, like flowers on the table. They were very understanding, but drew the line at flowers on the tables. These are important in Sweden, I guess. So, because I didn't have a plan, they brought everything they needed and made the room beautiful for me. This has nothing to do with symmetry but everything to do with learning to live together. And they were right. The flowers needed to be there.

Roger, Ingela's fiancee.
A great guy who picks on my unmercifully.
I like him.
The gift/guest book table had two candles on it and a candelabra behind it on the floor. I had the candelabra to one side and the two (different height) candlesticks on the other side. Roger moved the candelabra to the center and the candlesticks on either side. I caught him and said, "No-no, the other way." He looked at me in complete astonishment, like he couldn't for the life of him understand why anyone would want the table to look like I wanted it. He asked me "Really?" about five times before he just threw up his hands and walked away as if to say "OK, if you want to look completely ridiculous in front of everyone go ahead, but I wash my hands of the entire thing!"

The serving table was just a teeny bit wider than the table cloth. On either side of the cloth about 6" of beautiful birch table showed. I thought it looked fine....the Swedish faction felt it wasn't right. At all. But we only had enough tablecloth to cover the table once, not twice to cover the whole table. After several minutes of heated discussion we agreed to cut the table cloth in half  the long way (it was paper) and fill the center with a runner we found in a cabinet. So I really didn't win that one, but they had to live with an obvious (to them anyway) solution to the problem.

There was slight panic when we thought there wasn't enough refrigerator for the sandwich cakes and the wine, but after some exploring we found more fridges in the basement and managed to get all the wine cold and still keep the cakes ready to serve. Side note: Sandwich cakes are awesome. Bread layered with cream cheeses filling and ham and tuna and then frosted with more cream cheesey stuff and decorated with fruit and veggies and prawns and other good to eat stuff. Also very, very Swedish.

Leif's sister Ingela.
A magician with flowers.
A great new sister for me.
Then we went back to the house to eat lunch. I have found that I really like the potato salad with dill. I wonder why we never had that at home? At almost 2pm I remembered that I had to glaze the cakes I had made the night before so I ran back up to the church quickly to do that and then back to the house. Because we still had to arrange the flowers for the church pews and make the wreath for my hair and the wedding was scheduled to start at 3pm and I wasn't dressed yet.

Leif's sister Ingela made the flowers for my hair while his sister-in-law Karin helped me dress, then Karin took the flowers to the church while we did the final touches on my flowers and got Ingela dressed. At the last minute Leif decided to put some color in his breast pocket and that required finding things his dad never uses but is pretty sure he has and finally, at five minutes to three we started walking down to the church.

Neighbors out for walks wished us a happy wedding day. So did the kids jumping on the trampoline in their front yard. We stopped along the way to take a few photos and finally made it to the church very nearly on time, or at least fashionably late. What were they going to do....start without us?

Vist Kyrka is a beautiful small town church with vaulted wood ceilings and a ginormous pipe organ and a much smaller "back-up" organ as well as a grand piano. The church bells rang for us, and as the last sounds of the bells faded the pipes of the organ filled the space with sound as we walked down the aisle lined with candles and flowers and the smiling faces of family and friends.

It was a lovely ceremony, conducted almost entirely in Swedish, and as perfect as anyone could imagine. Both the priest and his wife, who was also the organist, sang for us. Leif's sister read the words on love from Corinthians. I totally choked and after weeks (OK, months) of practicing my "Ja" I said "Jjjjjjjyes." I'm such a dork.

And then it was over....we were walking down the aisle again. I found out then that in Sweden the guests stay in the pews till the couple leave the church....but we couldn't because it was raining. So we stood in the vestibule looking at them and they stood in the church looking at us. Finally I pointed at the sky and said "It's raining." and those who understood me told those who didn't, there was a collective "aaah" and then everyone rushed us at the door.

Leif's brother, Tomas.
He picks on me less than
Roger, but not by much.
Another great guy.
We walked across the churchyard to the hall and ate sandwich cake and drank wine. Leif's brother Tomas and his sister Ingela made a wedding toast that was really a speech and mostly in Swedish. Leif has promised to translate the funnier parts, but I'm pretty sure that he'll conveniently forget that and I'll have to find someone else to tell me what was so funny. His sister did say part of it in English and it was the best part of the toast for me. She said that the family never really understood why Leif had to move so far away, but that now they understand because he had to move away to meet me. Yup, there were tears all around at that point. We drank some more wine and cut the cake (almond lavender cake) and by the time we were finished there was no sandwich cake and only three pieces of lavender cake left. A pretty good sign that everyone left satisfied, I think.

We had family and friends drive all the way from Stockholm, Gothanberg, and far southern Sweden to spend this day with us and we were so grateful for their presence. It was the kind of day every bride dreams about and sadly only a few get. I'm one of the lucky ones. I got two, that's right, two beautiful and memorable weddings with one man.

At the end of the party we cleaned up and because I was very tired and possibly just a little drunk and someone gave me my camera back, I took pictures. I made everyone wear my flowers for the picture and because it was my special day they did it joyfully. These are the people who made our day something truly special and unforgettable and for that reason I've used their pictures to describe our (second) wedding day.

In supporting, yet very important roles:

Evelina, Ingela and Roger's
oldest daughter.
Wedding photographer.
Smart, funny and growing
up fast.
Simon, Karin and Tomas' son.
Got more ooh's and aaah's than
the bride.
Anyone can see why.

Rebecka, Ingela and Roger's
youngest daughter.
After dinner soccer player
and cute as a button.

1 comment:

  1. "She said that the family never really understood why Leif had to move so far away, but that now they understand because he had to move away to meet me."
    My eyes are full of tears - so very sweet.