Okay, so I lied. It wasn't a skiing wedding, despite it being held in Åre. It was more like a, um, television personality wedding, although it was mostly just the bride and groom who were the television personalities. Oh yeah, and the press, despite all attempts to keep the thing secret. There was lots of press standing outside the church as I ran into the sanctuary, late as always, the last to slip into my seat in the back before groom and his best man walked up to the front of the church. There was even a helicopter with cameramen circling round the wedding party which had been brought up to the top of the mountain for aprés-ski, complete with the sun making its way down to the Norwegian mountains in the west.
The bride was strong and striking and full of laughter, the groom charming and unshaven and a bit worried about whether he liked his suit. The ceremony started 25 minutes late because someone forgot the bouquets for the bride and her maid of honor, and my husband had to run back with the father of the bride to retrieve them from the hotel.
My favorite part during the seven-hour long dinner after the ceremony was when the bride's mother (a pop legend in Sweden) sang to the priest, in her deep whisky tenor, some song about not letting love pass you by. I had earlier stood in the men's room, peeing next to the priest and he had told me he had family, which my husband laughed at when I told him.
"Huh! I'm sure he must be gay," the husband scoffed when I told him. It's not always easy to tell these things, cross-culturally, even if I am an avowed homosexualist myself.
Which is why the song the bride's mother sang was no doubt a message of sorts. I kept watching him as she sang, but I couldn't read at all what he might have been feeling, except that he was no doubt all overwhelmed by the attention and a bit full of himself, a bit scared, at officiating at such a wedding.
The first Swedish phrase for the day is helt fascinerande, which means utterly fascinating. The second Swedish phrase for the day is tusen tack, Elke, which means a thousand thanks, Elke.
- by Francis S.