As promised, a report-back on the wedding.
July was a great month for our families. My partner’s daughter got married on the 12th, my daughter Amanda got engaged on the 12th (a surprise proposal while out walking!), and there were birthdays on the 1st (Amanda turned 30), 22nd (Amanda’s mother, who is my best friend in Sweden), and 23rd (me). My partner’s dad drove five hours to Stockholm for the wedding. So the night before the wedding we all met at a local Ethiopian restaurant to have a big celebration.
I had just had my hair and nails done, so I felt very fancy. I wore my favourite black and white dress from French Connection. There was so much love in the room.
After the dinner, my daughter came back to our place to look at my meagre makeup collection. She was doing my makeup for the wedding and wanted to see what I had. She has a huge makeup collection but a darker skintone than I do, so her foundation would not work on me. Luckily I had a free sample tube that matched my skintone, because I never use foundation. After she left, we packed our little suitcase with a change of clothes, and went to bed.
The next day I was up early and did the final preparations of cat food for the catsitter, phone chargers etc. And then off to have my hair done. I could have just left it curly as I usually do, but I wanted something different. It was nice to be pampered and prettified and make it a special day. My fiancé would have married me in my pyjamas so this was very much for me. The stylist did some curls, volume, and added two pearl clips. I have been going to the same hairdresser for years so she had given me an extra Olaplex treatment as a wedding present the day before, and my hair was very shiny.
After that I went to my daughter, who lives nearby, and she did my makeup. I am terrible at applying makeup so usually just wear mascara, kohl eyeliner and lipstick, but for the wedding I got the full treatment. She is really good at makeup so I looked natural but with a little extra. I had foundation, powder, blusher, beautiful eyeshadow in different shades, concealer, and really great eyeliner!
After that we all got dressed. My dress was from & other stories, shoes from H and M, the pearls belonged to my late mother-in-law, and my earrings were heart shaped diamond studs and my wedding present from my husband-to-be. My engagement ring is a heavy plain gold band, so my wedding ring was to be a band in the same style studded with diamonds. I carried a small cream bag from a local chainstore, though in hindsight I didn’t need a bag at all because others in the wedding party could have held my belongings for me.
My daughter, her fiancé and I took a taxi to the Stockholm City Hall, where we met up with everyone else. There were nine of us in total – the City Hall allows a maximum of 15 in the Oval Room.
The weather was absolutely perfect. Sunny but not too hot with a light breeze. The City Hall is right by the water and there were beautiful brides everywhere waiting to get married, walking around and having photographs taken. Sixty couples are married every Saturday and you have to wait up to 8 months to get a time, so there were beautiful dresses everywhere. There were mature brides, young brides, pantsuits, flowing dresses with trains. Some brides had bridesmaids, others were just with their partners. The atmosphere was really happy and excited.
Fifteen minutes before the ceremony you are allowed into the building where you register and have your identification checked, and then you go upstairs and wait in the beautiful antechamber.
Our officiant did not turn up, so we ended up having to wait for 45 minutes for a stand-in to arrive. It all turned out well in the end though. The service is pretty short, but beautiful. Because we have been together a while and live together, we did not think getting married would make much difference, but both of us cried during the vows and it felt really meaningful and a bigger and more emotional step than we anticipated. The whole day was incredibly moving for both of us. It sounds strange to say, but in a secular country where most couples don’t marry, formalising our relationship has made a difference.
After the ceremony, we went to have coffee and cake at the City Hall restaurant, and then we took taxis to the Stockholm archipelago to a beautiful hotel and restaurant – Hotel J and Restaurant J (both our names begin with J) where we had a fantastic dinner. I changed into a lemon broderie anglaise sleeveless pleated dress by Lindex, a green pendant I found in a charity shop, and my grandmothers gold bracelet from 1925, which I wore on my upper arm.
After the guests left at about 9pm, we sat on our balcony, drank champagne, and talked about our day. This hotel has a very beachy, new England vibe which was beautiful.
The next day we slept late, had a delicious breakfast and went for a long walk
We did not go on a longer honeymoon because we are having a party with my family in December in South Africa.