Soon almost two weeks ago was the big wedding of the year, this event also served as a reunion for our master’s programme – as 11 of the guests were so-called masterini (should be masteroni since we graduated but we stuck with the -ini which is the Italian diminutive [making things smaller], i.e the small masters); we studied together in Venice in 2000-2001.
We met up on Friday for a pre-wedding drink in Antwerpen, some of us a little earlier than others… as usual it became a big hug-party after not having seen each other for a year or so. Actually the last “real” masterini wedding was May 2006 in Aix-en-Provence, the couple, A & J, met thanks to the master’s programme! However, our dear friend O is the adopted masterini (he lived with two of them, Å & O in Copenhagen for the 2nd semester) and a lot of masterini were invited to his and H’s wedding in Swedish Lapland in September 2006.
Saturday was a typical Belgian summer day – the sky was bright blue in one direction and completely black in another… Unfortunately it was quite dark over Edegem, a small town outside of Antwerp, and it poured down just in time for the wedding – but in Swedish we say that rain on your wedding day means happiness in the marriage! It was an alternative catholic wedding, no mass (i.e no communion), lots of music performed by a live band (songs by Tracy Chapman (For you) and Lamb (Gorecki, see below) as well as some Flemish music) and the priest looked very cool with a huge beard – a bit like a hippie! A nice touch was that everything that was said/sung during the ceremony was written in the programme, so I could follow almost everything even if I only took one year of Flemish [Dutch] courses.
One thing that struck us foreigners as a bit odd was that a few guests were not dressed up at all – some even wore jeans! The groom had told us that we didn’t need to dress up and to save our party dresses for the evening, but we all thought that it would be weird not to dress a little more formal. Oh well, different customs in different countries.
Religious weddings have no legal value in Belgium, just like in France, so the couple had already been to the Town Hall in the morning with their families to be wed in a civil ceremony. After the church wedding we had champagne (in the church!! as it was still pouring down outside) and then the couple was off to an in-between reception for the guests who were not invited to the dinner in the evening. This is also something that is apparently quite common both in Belgium and in France – you invite colleagues, not very close friends, and maybe even your parents’ colleagues and neighbours to a cocktail before the dinner.
The dinner reception was held in the Grand Café Horta in Antwerp, a very beautiful hall in the middle of the city (read more about the famous Belgian art nouveau architect Horta here!). First we were served champagne and we put our gift on the gift table (it was a big basket filled with bottles of alcohol from our differnt countries and “drink accessories” such as ice buckets etc + the photo album I had made of our hen party for the groom in Venice). We were seated around tables with a music theme (our table had a quote from an Alanis Morissette song) and the couple walked in when everybody had taken their seats. Dinner was great, and entertainment was provided in the form of films showing the hen + stag parties of the bride & groom. Very funny.
Dessert was the biggest surprise of the evening – it consisted of a long table full of cakes, ice creams, chocolate, fruits etc – I have never seen so many sweets at once! After dinner we danced and chatted to our friends before we had to head home, as we were getting up early the next morning to catch the flight to Puerto Rico…
A few lines from the beautiful song that was performed during the wedding ceremony:
Gorecki by Lamb
If I should die this very moment
I wouldn’t fear
For I’ve never known completeness
Like being here
Wrapped in the warmth of you
Loving every breath of you
Still in my heart this moment
Or it might burst
Could we stay right here
Until the end of time until the earth stops turning
Wanna love you until the seas run dry
I’ve found the one I’ve waited for