This weekend I am in Holland because my sister (Sonja) had her wedding last Friday. Most of the weddings we attend are all over Asia, and they are often quite different from the ones in Holland. For my wife (who of course joined me) this was her first Dutch wedding, and she was surprised to see that there was no church wedding involved. I guess the movies give the wrong impression about weddings in the Western world.
Sonja married her long-time boyfriend Bas in Zutphen, the city where she lives and works as a notary. We first went to her house for a small lunch with the wedding witnesses and close family. After that a colleague picked Sonja and Bas up in his Jaguar, to drive them to the mayor’s office in the old city center of Zutphen. Here many other friends and family joined as well, and there were not even enough seats during the official ceremony! The ceremony itself was nice, with a good speech in which even I learned some new things about my sister. After exchanging the vows and the rings, we went to De Engelenburg in Brummen, an old estate now in use as a luxury restaurant/hotel. A great place for a wedding, situated in the woods and surrounded by a golf course. More than 20 years ago we lived about 1 kilometer from here, and in the meantime the place had been transformed from an old dilapidated castle to a beautifully restored hotel.
The weather was very good (around 25 degrees and sunny), and we had champagne on the terrace overlooking the water surrounding the hotel and the golf course. After a few glasses of wine we all went to change to black tie, which was the dress code for the evening part of the wedding. Before dinner we had some more drinks and then went to the dining room. During the dinner we had some very nice South-African wines, including a combination of Chardonnay and Pinot Gris (the result was a fruity white wine with a color that was darker than a white wine but much lighter than a rose wine). Several friends gave speeches in which I again learned some new things about my sister, I suddenly realize that because of me living abroad for the past 11+ years there is a lot of things I am not aware of. Funny was that they also used some old pictures, one of which also featured me as a 5-year old boy drawing pictures in our garden.
The dinner was followed by a party, that was bigger than I expected. About 120 people showed up, most of whom I had never met before. Interestingly, a former high school classmate of mine was also there, she apparently married one of Bas’ best friends. I has not seen her since graduation in 1991. I also met some family members that I had not seen in years, and it was nice to hear what they are up to. Many seem to read this blog, so thanks to the Net they knew already what I am currently doing. Around 1 AM the main party was over, but a group of friends decided to continue the party inside the hotel until a bit later. But first someone decided to wake up all the hotel guests with some very loud firework (the next morning the organizers of the party were told by the hotel manager that they were not amused by this). A loud ending to a great wedding day!
Sonja and Bas, I wish you all the best in your married life, and a great honeymoon in Thailand and China. See you in a few weeks!
Some of the wedding pictures can be found here