Before Axel and I moved to Spain, we got married in Amsterdam. Originally, we wanted a small ceremony and maybe drinks with a few good friends afterwards – the party would have to wait until our house in Spain was ready for guests. The Amsterdam wedding got a tiny bit out of hand, but we decided to have the party in Spain anyway. At first, we were planning a 2-in-1 party (wedding party & inauguration of our new house / bed & breakfast) – since the house is nowhere near finished though, we decided to do a wedding party now (with mainly guests from abroad), and have an inauguration party when the house is actually ready for it.
This is how we found ourselves in the Ermita de Santa Rosa on a beautiful Friday morning. Noah, the son of our friends Leon & Ingrid, played the wedding march on his guitar as my father walked me down the isle – to Axel (who had actually been waiting for a while… oops). The society who manages the Ermita had done beautiful decoration (it matched our corsages!) and the chapel is just very pretty and the perfect location for our small ceremony. We had speeches by my eldest brother Gilles and Axels best man Martin, our friends sang “you’ve got a friend” to us, my little niece Delphine gave us our wedding rings so we could exchange them again, and Axels aunt Annemarie had prepared a heartbreaking Spanish song… It was just beautiful. And I was very happy no rice or other foodstuffs were thrown at us when we got out.
Weathermen had predicted rain, clouds and more rain for the day, but the sun decided it wanted to see me in my wedding dress again as well – we had Cava (cold Cava, that shopkeeper Jose Ramon had graciously delivered straight from his fridge only 15 minutes earlier) and local cheese (cow, goat and sheep) with toast. And of course there was a lot of kissing, hugging and shaking hands, and even more pictures taken.
People got hungry, however; thankfully, we had a feeling they would, so we asked a friend of a friend to come and cook for us. And cooking they did; the buffet featured several kinds of salad, fideua (= the small pastas), grilled garlic squid and even lamb (from the shepherd in Cretas) on the barbecue. And yes, the “pan con tomate” was delicious – and no, I don’t have the recipe for that fabulous minty green salsa. With the food came wine; after a tasting session in 2 parts (first at the wine festival in Cretas in March, then at the Crial winery in Lledo) we chose the “Blanco Joven” from Crial as white wine, their rosado as rosé wine, and the Crianza as red wine… We were very happy with our choice, and since we asked to take a few cases back with us to Belgium / the Netherlands next time, we assume our guests agreed.
There was a limerick by Axels uncle Aart, a hilarious song by the Canadian branch of the Ferwerda family (based on “My name is Joe” – I have to say the version we taught Barbara’s children back in Canada was slightly different though ;-)). A bit later on, the Amsterdam side of the Ferwerda family made their own version of “Aan de Amsterdamse Grachten” (and it was beautiful!!).
After the food, there was more food: it almost felt like everybody had been waiting for desserts, as that was gone in a flash. Pasteleria Llerda, the local bakery who still bake everything in a traditional wood oven, had supplied us with “pastas tipicas” (local pastries – some with almonds, other with chocolate or sweet squash filling), pineapple-raspberry cakes and “hojaldre” apple cakes – and my friend Kristin had baked the best (gluten free) chocolate cake ever.
After dessert and coffee, most of the guests went to their hotel for a bit – changing into warmer clothes, putting children to bed and whatnot. The people who stayed either talked some sense into our brand-new-but-not-yet-cooperating dishwasher (thank you Lysander & Dan!) or took a tour of the property.
Around 20:30, it was finally time for music: they started out with a few raised eyebrows but after only one or two songs, the “Blue Tango” boys really set fire to the tent with their mix of flamenco and tango. They sang encore after encore, and for most it didn’t even matter they couldn’t understand a word… it was sung straight from the heart and the guitar performance was flawless.
The last encore marked the start of the evening party: workawayer Radmary had made us the most delicious chili (spicy and non-spicy!), Sigfredo grilled a bit more sheep, sausages from Inma (the butcher from Cretas), and last but not least delicious goat sausages made by Dan & Mellissa (rest in peace, big boy Billy). As people started to say their goodbyes and one by one disappeared into the night, it was time for campfire stories, singing and more merriment… Somewhere between 1 and 2, the bride (me!) made her way to the bedroom as Radmary, Silas and Daniel (who had been working all day and cleaned up most of the party by then) started their own afterparty.
We would like to thank all those present for making the party what it was – you put on your party colours, brought your smiles and your good mood, took beautiful pictures (I know there’s more to come), helped out where needed and generally made the day memorable. A special thanks to Pascale and Radmary who worked tirelessly all day, Amalia and Roz who made me beautiful, the Amsterdam girls who put our ceremony together – and to the ones who have really been there for us in the past few months, and on and just before the big day (especially Dan who worked with Axel for weeks and weeks, and lived to tell the tale).
Although we’ve always kind of know, May 6th 2016 was the day we realised we’ve got the best families and friends in the whole wide world. You’re in our hearts forever, and I hope each and every one of you will come back here – the party we’ll throw might not be the same, but hopefully the feeling of love and happiness hanging in the air will be.