Monday, October 18, 2010

A Wedding, Belgium Style

August 21, 2010

Arnaud and Stephanie, nee Fanuel, Fieve

Please excuse my tardiness in posting our trip to Belgium, the Czech Republic, and Austria last month. My enthusiasm to write faded as my digital camera was destroyed when our canoe overturned on the Vtlava River in the Czech town of Cesky-Krumlov. I have had to rely on some photos emailed to me, stock photos, and memory. Hopefully, more photos are forthcoming from our European friends. After a week of hard rain, the weather was unusual for Belgium, sunny.
The Wedding "Day": Bride's First Appearance

Pictures taken in the garden of Stephanie's parents in Charleroi, Belgium

The wedding started at 9:00 am from Stephanie Fanuel's, the bride's, home in the French-speaking Belgium city of Charleroi. There a continental breakfast with champagne in the parent's garden started the day as the groom, guests, and town people awaited the appearance of the bride in her gown at the top of the family's staircase. The apparition of the bride created quite a stir not only for the groom, Arnaud, but for all young women at the bottom of the stairs who were anticipating Arnaud's reactions.

The Wedding "Day": The Official Ceremony

Vows at Brussel's Woluwe-Saint- Lambert City Hall

Group picture outside City Hall

The legal marriage in Belgium in a civil ceremony conducted at the city hall. It may simple signing of papers or what we might call a full wedding ceremony. Arnaud's and Stephanie's marriage we drove about 30 miles from Charleroi to a city hall in Brussels for a full wedding ceremony conducted by a city official at 11:00 am.

The Wedding "Day": The Church Wedding

Saint-Lambert's Church, Brussels

Saint-Lambert's interior

The church wedding was conducted at 3:00 pm in the 12th century church of Saint Lambert in the Woluwe district of Brussels. Mary and I helped the wedding party of about 20 bride's maids and groomsmen prepare the church for the 1 1/2 hour ceremony.

The Wedding "Day": Outdoor Reception

Groom Tossing

Then it was a 15 mile drive back south somewhere near Genappe to a old chateau converted to a country inn with stables now a dining and reception area accompanied by a beautiful outdoor garden. Champagne, hor d'ourves, helped to grease bringing together the various family members and guests. The wedding party started their own celebration by tossing Arnaud high into the air.

The Wedding "Day": Formal Reception

With Arnaud, his mother, Francoise, and brother, Jerome, at formal dinner

Moving inside for the sit down dinner started about six (very early by French standards). The early start was needed as we were treated to a multi course meal with interludes between courses serving as a smoke break and for the couple's many friends to show videos, toasts, and make jokes. Wine continued to flow.

For those interested, this was the menu:

Le ravioles de langoustines aux petits legumes bisque parfumee a la vanille.

Sorbet passion

Filet de canette de barbarie au miel et aux epices legumes rotis en cocotte

Vacherin glace et coulis de fruits rouges



Bordeaux "Chateau Anniche" 2008

Bordeaux Superieur "Chateau les Paruades" 2007
The Wedding "Day": The Dance
At 10:30pm the DJ started. A new younger crowd joined those from the formal dinner. Everyone seemed to be dancing with the music progressing from oldies to dances only the Belgians knew. We left at about 1:30am, being driven back by our guests who changed clothes only to return again.

The Wedding "Day": The End
The dancing did not stop until 5:30am.

The Wedding "Day": The Honeymoon
Two days later Arnaud and Stephanie left for the Indian Ocean island country of Mauritius for a two week honeymoon.

A honeymoon memorable moment, a Mauritius dolphin

Our Hosts

Quentin Sibille and Christel
Arnaud's long time high school friend, Quentin, his partner, Christel, and their Jack Russell dog, Harper, served as perfect hosts, drivers, and friends to make our stay at their home in Braine-l"Allude more than we had ever hoped.

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