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Published: September 19th 2008
The focus of my long weekend in Sweden was Mads and Jakob's wedding in Ronnang. We touched down in Gothenburg with a big bump and was soon hit with fresh Swedish air and glorious early morning sunshine. We made our way to our hire cars, good old Volvos, put on the latest Killers album and set off for the island of Ronnang. We finally made it to our destination after getting lost several times. Locals were more than happy to give us directions, the only problem was that they often sent us in completely the wrong direction! Amusing at first, but after the fourth time and with empty stomachs we all started to get a little grouchy.
Ronnang was really picture perfect, the sun was shining the little red roofed houses and one restaurant were set brilliantly on a beautiful backdrop of glistening water and smooth rocks. We quickly checked in to our hotel and then even more quickly made our way down to the harbour to the local restaurant. The menu was fish, fish and more fish. There were many different styles of herring on offer, so many of us took that as the local dish and decided to
go for it. I had mine pan fried with preserved lingenberries, whenit arrived it looked and smelled delicious... I wasn't at all disappointed. After lunch we decided to take the local ferry to a near by island, there we sampled some more local beers and took a stroll around.
That evening we visited the same restaurant and met some fellow guests of the Widerberg wedding... All a bit tired from being out in the fresh air all day and the early morning flight, straight after dinner we all went back to the hotel for an early night. I was hoping the best man was going to do the same thing as he was looking sick as a dog, apparently he had a stomach bug but I think pre wedding speech nerves were getting the better of him! The Wedding Day
At breakfast we all got a hint of how beautiful the wedding was going to be, the breakfast room was filled with a majority of traditionally good looking Swedes and beautifully exotic Goans. I was going to have to put some effort in the getting dressed up and putting my face on department to make sure that
I looked like part of the wedding group!
Before it was time to get ready, I decided to go on a little walk around Ronnang with a fellow wedding guest, we strolled up past the beautiful church and down towards the beach. The morning was heating up, it was going to be a great day for a wedding.
Usually at Swedish weddings the groom and the bride enter the church together to signify their new life together, however Mads had persuaded the Swedes that her father would walk her down the aisle and give her away to Jakob. Mads looked stunning as she walked down the aisle with her father who was proudly smiling at guests. The brodesmaids also looked very pretty in their gorgeous dresses. There weren't really any other differences in Church, the ceremony took place mainly in English apart from the end when Jakob had to translate for his wife and the congregation. Jakob's father played the claranet as part of the service which was really wonderful and very heartfelt.
The reception began on the terraces with champagne in hand, after about an hour or so we made our way through to the dinning
room where we were all about to witness the most musical wedding reception I think any of us had ever been to. Not only this but were all about to be part of something very special... celebrating Mads and Jakob's new life together as husband and wife. This was not going to be like some weddings I have been to where the dinner is over in 20mins and then everyone gets trashed as quickly as possible. This reception was different, it was genuine, full of love, happiness and goodwill.
I took my place and soon realised that I was not sat next to my partner, he was sat a few seats away from me... All those with partners realised the same thing that they were not going to spend their evening with their loved ones... After reading the Swedish Wedding traditions we realised why... traditionally you are not meant to sit next to your partner, instead the lady has a new table partner, the gentleman to their left. Mine was a Swedish man called Dennis , he is a good friend of the grooms. I soon found that we know mutually people in London and
work in the same industry. Dennis being my table partner was supposed to keep my glass filled, clink glasses with me first and then to the person sat opposite him and then to his left. The man to my right was another Swede who lives in Singapore, he was a great guy who had lots of great travelling stories, the funniest one was about a kingdom called, Bhutan where locals pain big penises on their houses to ensure fertility.
Another traditional we learnt was that as soon as the bride left the room all the women in the party had to stand up and kiss the groom before the bride returns... and vice versa.
The speeches were really emotional and uplifting, there really wasn't a dry eye in the room... Not only were the speeches great but from both sides of the family came music. Guitars, keyboards, claranets, triangles were played, songs about Mads and Jakob were written and traditional Swedish and Kenyan love songs were sung.
Another traditional meant that anyone could make a speech as long as they let the speech master know, and what a fantastic speech master they had! A family member who
was also a lawyer. His little proverbs and stories before each speech gave a fabulous introduction to each speaker.
The next day we were all invited to Jakob's family summer house which was about a 30mins drive from Ronnang, the scenery getting there was spectacular, we passed two huge sunflower fields. Once there we enjoyed more singing and music from the Widerberg family, I tucked into homemade cake made of cream, honeycomb and more sweet stuff... it was delicious!
We left Ronnang the very next day and visited another island called Marrstrand. There we dined on more fish and visited a nice looking castle. After our ice cream dessert we made our way back to our new hotel for a nap before dinner in central Gothenberg. We ate a nice restaurant called BBQ Ribs... It was very tasty. We got back to our hotel which incidentally was also a college for sign language students. It was located in the middle of a national forest and next door to a crematorium. The area was very picturesque in the daytime but by night it was like a scene out of some really scary movie... We scared eachother stupid before bed
time, to take our mind off what could happen we decided to play poker for berries... I won hands down!! Hope you enjoy the pics!
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