Our friends Elizabeth and Bertrand got married last week! I thought I would walk you through a typical Belgian wedding :)
It starts off early afternoon when family and close friends cluster around the front of the bride's parents' home.
The groom then arrives in a car to officially greet his bride. He knocks, she answers, the men clap and the women cry. It's really special.
The groom then gets back into his car, and the bride gets into a decorated car with her dad. They all ride to the Town Hall with guests trailing behind.
A quick civil ceremony at the Town Hall makes the marriage official. They sign papers, there are witnesses, pictures are taken, and the groom gets to kiss his bride. There were so many well-wishers for this wedding that guests poured out into the hallway and down the steps outside the building.
Then, since Bertrand and Elizabeth are a part of the Protestant church here in Huy, the whole crew moves on to the church for a religious ceremony. This step also can be in the form of a Mass or can be skipped altogether depending on a family's preference. This ceremony is simply tradition. The bride and groom are officially already married by this point.
After the church ceremony there was a small reception.
Then those invited to the dinner/reception make their way to the reception hall. I enjoyed spending time with one of the younger guests in attendance. Sweet baby Lois.
Dinner is served, people relax and laugh a lot, and then the music starts. The bride and groom do their first dance and then others can join them on the dance floor. Super sweet. Bertrand and Elizabeth had been dating for years and years, so this wedding was much anticipated and very precious. What a sweet couple.
After a lot of dancing (by Belgians of ALL ages, we're talking ages 3 to 83), the cake comes out. There are always sparklers on cakes here. The cake was an ice cream cake this time. Well chosen, friends. Yum.
As usual, the cake came out well after midnight, and after tasting it, the Americans decided it was time to get home to bed. We heard they partied until about 3am. The couple left a few days later for their honeymoon in Oslo, Norway. Cool choice.
And there you have it. A Belgian wedding. Very similar to our American traditions but with definite flair that makes it there own.
We were so thankful to be included in this couple's special day, and to get to be part of a true Belgian celebration. It was a long day, but one that truly allowed us to peek inside the community here and see them love eachother and feel loved ourselves.
It was a day that warmed our hearts.