My mother and now finally official stepfather got married last Friday. We celebrated it with a small group of close friends and family and it was a beautiful day. On the picture on the right you can see the groom Guido and his beautiful bride Louise with their (step)children Gyano, myself, Myra, Jurre and Casper. We all had some function during the wedding to make sure we wouldn't get bored ;). Casper and Jurre presented the bride and groom with the official marriage documents during the ceremony, Myra read a poem and handed out the wedding rings, Gyano was in charge of decorations at the restaurant where we had the party and I was my mother's best (wo)man, or witness as we call it in Dutch. As a witness to their marriage, I got to sit next to my mother during the ceremony (Guido's best man/witness sat next to him) and cosign the official documents. Of course this crybaby was unable to contain her emotions and even before the bride and groom came inside tears started rolling down her face. The ceremony was beautiful and more and more tears were generated, not just by me!
After the ceremony and during the congratulations, Gyano and his girlfriend Nikkie sneaked outside to decorate the car with a bunch of funny stuff I had collected during my time working at Expo. We had to make sure that the outside world was also aware of the happy commiting that had been going on that afternoon! Today Guido went back to work and the decorations are still on his car :). It was a rainy day but somehow we always managed to avoid the heavy showers when we were outside, but we did manage to get the couple wet when we were all blowing bubbles at them as they left the building where the ceremony as held. Unfortunately everybody was wet and sticky after that, because we all had to attach the bubble wands to the lid after first fishing it out of the sticky soap solution in the container. Apparently they don't sell the old-fashioned-bubble-blow-stuff-with-the-cleverly-attached-wand anymore... I had a hard enough time finding enough of these unclever-new-fashioned ones, but it was all good fun!
The reception was held at a different location where things didn't go very smoothly; service was slow and cranky and the table arrangement was so inappropriate that the newlyweds and their guests were actually lugging tables around the cafe to create a cosier atmosphere. The lowpoint of the day was when the happy couple cut into their cute-heartshaped-wedding-cake and discovered that they delivered the wrong cake! A couple of weeks ago they had visited the bakery themselves to assemble the perfect wedding cake, and chose a black chocolate cake with a special mousse and fruit filling. The outside of this cake looked exactly as they had wanted it complete with a drunk cow couple (my mother loves cows), but the cake and the mousse were exactly what they had not wanted... Of course they were very dissapointed as this was supposed to be a very special custom made cake, and it's not like we could run out and get the right cake in the store. So they had to make do with this one, but the guests loved it and the entire cake was eaten including the two marzipan cows.
Speaking in public always makes me very nervous but as my mother's witness I was expected to give a speech at the reception and toast to the happy couple. I was a nervous wreck the whole afternoon and wasn't really looking forward to it, but I did it and it went pretty well too! I had thought about what I wanted to say way too many times and it came out differently and half of it never even came out, because my emotions got the better of me (again) and I bursted out in tears. I finished the speech while in tears but I wasn't the only one, besides some of the guests the groom and bride were also in tears (and believe me it's quite an accomplishment to make my mother teary eyed). According to some (including the groom) my speech was the most touching moment of the day :), good job best (wo)man!
After the reception we went to a Spanish/Mexican restaurant to celebrate the happy couple some more while enjoying a lot of tapas, sangria and live Spanish music. You can see the guitarist of the tiny band named 'Corazon' (which means heart... how appropriate) behind Yasu in the picture on the right. Yes that is right Yasu was at the wedding too! He came over from Japan especially for the wedding and stayed here a short week, he went back home yesterday. My parents were very honored and happy that he was able to attend the wedding and Yasu really enjoyed the whole experience, even though he did not understand the ceremony and the speeches because they were all in Dutch he did feel the emotional, romantic and happy vibes that were with us all day. And of course I was very happy that he was here to share this special day with all of us. In the morning, we (all 5 kids, Yasu, my mother's sister Chantal and Guido's witness Steef) had surprised the soon-to-be-wed-couple with their wedding gift: a Canon camcorder and all the necessary (and more) accessories. I thought a camcorder would be a nice gift (especially for my mother who usually only uses the video option on her digital photocamera) and they would at the same time be able to record their whole wedding day on tape. When they opened the package, they were both stunned into silence... well they were unbelievably happy about their new toy and so happy that they can relive their special day on their tv or computer.
I had prepared one more surprise for them which had taken me many many days to make. I made a 7-page-comic-book about their life together so far (see the front page on the right here) which they had to read out loud (!) during the party. The whole process required a lot of cutting out heads out of pictures with Photoshop, and that program just totally frustrates me. It took me quite a while and several fights with that program, to figure out how to properly cut out heads and Photoshop isn't really user-friendly (anyway not for this user). After finishing my cartoon I quickly deleted the trial version from my laptop again, I hope I'll never need it again! It was a lot of hard but the resulting comic book was very funny and the bride and groom were very pleased with their last surprise.
A groupshot of the happy couple and all of their guests
Although the wedding party was small, it was a great and intimate group of people. It truly was a wonderful day and many happy memories were made!
Unfortunately, Yasu had to go back home pretty quickly but we had an awesome week together here in the Netherlands. We used it to do a lot of catching up on kissing and stuff ;) and meet some of my friends who had never met him before. One of them was Negin (see picture) who came all the way to Veldhoven after her work on Saturday to meet Yasu. Because Sunday was Mother's day she had to go home pretty early the next day, but Yasu and Negin still spent a lot of nightly hours to do some serious getting to know eachother, we all went to bed after 4 AM! This Saturday she'll be here again, and with her lots of members of my family, and a bunch of old and new friends to attend my farewell party... That's right my departure to Japan is getting scarily close now: only 9 more days! I try to look at it this way: only 9 more days until I see Yasu again! We have never been apart for such a small amount of time before... I don't even get the chance to miss him :)!