When people get married in Denmark, they crowd around the bride and groom when they waltz their first waltz, pushing in close, clapping and laughing and singing along, and then they pick up the groom and take off his shoes and cut off the toes of his socks with scissors.
At least, that's what happened at yesterday's wedding in Copenhagen. And the Danish woman laughing next to me told me that they always do this at weddings.
But, a nearly eight-month pregnant bride dressed in scarlet is apparently not the typical Danish way of doing things. Nor is making a toast with everyone standing on their chairs and their left foot up on the table. And nor is serving cheese to 165 people instead of wedding cake for dessert.
Everything was perfection, though, down to the last detail.
The food was a marvel, mouth-watering fish with mousseline sauce and pickled green tomatoes, glazed veal with little vegetables and broad-leaf parsley purée, all served to 165 people at once and at the perfect temperature by Babette, who is a man, and who did the food styling for the movie Babette's Feast.
Then we danced to some band that we had never heard of but is apparently No. 2 or something in Denmark (the women, aged 15 to 75, were swooning), and then a dj, until our suits were nearly soaked through with sweat and A. the TV producer was in severe pain from her high heels, dancing until nearly 3 a.m., before taking our leave from the bride (who was reclining on a victorian sofa brought in expressly for her to recline on), and getting on a boat that brought us back to our hotel just down the street from the Amalienborg Palace.
It was only a weekend, and an hour's airplane ride away, but it felt like another world.
The Swedish word for the day, which has been the word a number of times, I have no doubt, is bröllop, which means of course wedding.
- by Francis S.