Monday, August 14, 2006

The wedding day

What do you write after leaving a post that simply reads, 'Getting married today' ...?

It was a puzzle too difficult to solve the day after the wedding.
Perhaps it will come to me this morning.

How did it go?
It was the most deliciously low-key wedding that I've been to which was the way that we wanted it. It was the day we discovered that the people we've come to call friends here in Belgium, could meet up in one room and talk without ceasing ... it was also the day that we learned just how special our friends over here are.

Having specifically written 'no gifts' on the email invitation, we were blushingly surprised as people arrived bearing gifts, flagrantly disregarding our idea of 'more about people and party' and less about the formalities we had previously associated with wedding.

The wedding ... a Belgian wedding?
Ours was very informal. I had to return to the scene of many a defeat. District Huis opened it's doors to us and one of Gert's colleagues performed the marriage ceremony. It was very relaxed, with space for our laughter ... all in Dutch and ending with a surprise poem that Marleen, our celebrant, read out in English.

Those who have read my blog for a while might remember that District Huis has presented me with many a difficult and downright depressing challenge over this last year, so it was with some amusement that we accepted their gift of District Huis coffee mugs and chocolate, with a small wine reception after the ceremony.

Diede, an old friend from the Netherlands, drove over with his partner Francien. Diede is the man who endeared himself to me years ago by promising my daughter that 'yes, he would become her stepfather but she had to find herself a new mother first'. He came in the capacity of almost-family and old friend.

Alison was there as our witness, photographer and friend, bringing her husband for audience and porter duties ;) and reminding us, once again, of the many reasons we value our friendship with the wandering Canadians.

Amanda and Marlon came in from Brussels as the Kiwi members of the wedding audience ... 8 month old Marlon won the hearts of all who met him.

Freddy, Gert's Belgian friend, colleague and witness, was still recovering from gallbladder surgery, so he brought his parents with him, bumping our Belgian audience up to 4.

Socially, one of our aims in Belgium is to get the number of Belgians at our expat parties higher than just my Belgian. We were getting there, Saturday night we had 5 ... the best result so far.

Our planned balcony party became a lounge party as the weather fell to pieces, and it was fine as our lounge was easily big enough to fit in 13 friends and 5 nationalities. It was a night of conversations ... a delicious night actually.

So we did what we wanted to do and married very quietly and afterwards we were able to spend time with people we really enjoy spending time with. I wrote home with the details for my daughter but it would have been so much better to have had her there. She turned 20 the next day ... Happy Birthday Jessie!

Perhaps Gert and I will marry again over in NZ, another informal occasion for the couple who said they would never bother with marriage again.

Oh ... in response to emails demanding photographs.
They're coming. Our photographer has taken them away to work on them. I've asked that I be made to look like Sandra Bullock so she could be some time ... but I'll post one or two as soon as I have them.

Postscript: One of the highlights of the day, I'll confess, was Alison arriving with two jars of Vegemite ... a toast spread hated by people the world around, much-loved by many New Zealanders and Australians, much-missed by those abroad, especially me.


Alison said...

Quite possibly the best wedding ever (possibly because the only words I understood were "ja, ik will" and the ability to wear pants) :) Seriously though it was great and we were very honoured to share it with you. Much happiness and laughter always. xo AL

paris parfait said...

I'm so pleased you had a wonderful day and joyous celebration with friends! Sounds perfect! I look forward to seeing a photograph of the happy occasion. xo

woman wandering said...

Thanks Alison, I think it was the people that made it 'possibly the best wedding' ... Shannon and Gabriel, Dominique, Martin, Anton and Reinhilde together with those already mentioned in the post, made the day so exquisitely special :)

Thank you paris parfait ... life is one big thank you at the moment. People have been good to us. Photographs to follow :)

Manic said...

Wow, 5 Belgians, that's a huge amount :D.

Sounds like a lovely marriage. Hope you understood what the official said, prolly wasn't that interesting, so no problem if you didn't understand.

I'm waiting for the Sandra Bullock pics :D.

woman wandering said...

Manic ... :) the Sandra Bullock photos will have to be a direct copy and paste from one of her photographs ... (dramatic sigh from Di)

We're working on the Belgians and us foreigners have met some really nice ones lately. Let's see how we go with that.

There were 4 articles from a law book read out as part of the ceremony in Dutch .... Diede assured me these were very serious and he was surprised I had agreed with my 'Ja' ... I may have sold my soul or something more serious you think?

V-Grrrl said...

Oh sure, I don't check your blog over the weekend and I return to find you married. Wow!

Congratulations and best wishes.

woman wandering said...

Well it's the kiwi way v-grrrl, you just can't be sure of 'what's next' ... unfortunately, I'm not often sure either :) Thanks for your congrats.

Jessica said...

Many congratulations! I've been reading your blog for a while, and thoroughly enjoy it. I hope that you and Gert will be very happy, and that you'll get the chance to 'marry again' in NZ. A Dutch reader.

ML said...

Al and I are soo thrilled for you.. We just wished we could have "popped back over" as you suggested, tho I suspect we would have had trouble popping back under the circumstances. But we were there by imagination at least every step of the way! love and best wishes to the dearest hosts ever@ ML

ML said...

Oh and wish Diede and I could have finally met after all these years! ML

woman wandering said...

Dag Jessica, it was lovely to find your congratulations here :)

Ahhh ml, thank you. You'll just have to come back to Europe one day soon ... Diede's not so far away.

When you think about it, there's really still so much to do here :)

diede said...

Francien and I felt privaliged to be part of this special day and enjoyed all the belgium rules that were told and you had no clue about, but said "ja" anyway.
and to ML, next time you visit antwerp we'll arange a meeting.

diede said...

Francien and i felt privaliged to be part of this special day and specially enjoyed all the rules that were told in flemish and you had no clue about what it told but you said "ja" anyway.
to ML, next time you're over in antwerp we'll arange a meeting

woman wandering said...

Well surely I only said 'Ja' to well ... I mean surely there was nothing too serious ... and anyway, I can always claim that I didn't understand ... everyone believes a Kiwi except when they have a Dutch guy in the car while appearing to speed ;)

Anonymous said...

We're upset we couldn't be there as you were there for our wedding. However I'm quite upset personally as you feel you have taken the title of the most low-key wedding possible. I felt I had accomplished that...twice. Then again our quickest ceremony was in the US, lasting a whole 5 minutes max. Then again that's the one Beste was crying in....weird, eh?

Vegemite, what an awful present to receive, but perfect for you. I'm sure you psychically heart my "ugh!" I said outloud while reading that line. We missss you!!!!!!


woman wandering said...

Lol, hi Jason ... I imagined your 'ugh', Diede's too and Gert wasn't so thrilled about it either.

2 jars of the stuff ... a complete windfall :)

Low key, oh oh oh you guys would have enjoyed it.

The Wandering Turk said...

Congratulations Di! I've been out of circulation for a little while, and what do I find? You're married - that's truly marvelous news. I am so happy for you and wish both you and Gert the best (ugh...even with the Vegemite and all)...If you want Sandra Bullock photos, maybe I can arrange - she lives in Austin :-).

christina said...

How lovely! I had no idea you were planning on getting married but I suspected the idea would come along sooner or later. :-) My heartfelt congratulations to you and Gert.

And maybe now we'll finally get our Vegemite pnoto story!!

woman wandering said...

Thank you wandering turk!

Ya see what happens when you're out of circulation for a little while?

'Ugh...even with the Vegemite' - whatever do you mean? Didn't they manage to educate you while you were over on the little continent called New Zealand?

Sandra Bullock photos ... now you're talking :)

Hi christina, so nice to find you here and yes, the idea came to us eventually :) International relationships tend to head that way otherwise it's close to impossible.

Anyway, thank you for your congratulations :)

Ahhh the Vegemite photo story ... give me a few days and remind me if I procrastinate.