The way that Eva and Jean wrote to me in their first email warmed my heart. They told me they were getting married in the ruins of an old chapel which became the hideout for some bandits the middle of a forest in The Netherlands and everyone, including me, would be camping there. My plans had been to leave Europe straight after Mike and Cecila’s wedding in Sweden (three weeks before Eva and Jean’s date) but this was a perfect excuse to stay a little longer – and I’m so glad that I did.
I received these invitations in the mail a few weeks after Eva, Jean and I Skyped (along with their cat Mr Momoni – who is now incidentally Internet dating myself and Kristen’s cat Quark according to Eva and I). I knew this was going to be awesome.
We spoke a few more times before the wedding and we agreed to meet at the Schiphol Airport Railway Station where Eva met me. We hugged and and led me to Jean who was illegally parked in a big truck. This vehicle was what we would take everything we needed to the wedding in – and it was still empty. We shared some amazing Dutch pancakes, chocolate and Coca Cola (Jean has a slight addiction to the sickly sweet brown beverage) before heading back to Eva and Jean’s place where we loaded up the truck, and I got to spend some time with Mr Momoni on the air mattress which I was sleeping on in the lounge. And the four of us (well three…) chatted late in to the night.
The next two days are still firmly embeddeed in my memory, I doubt anyone who was present would ever forget it. Eva and Jean had created their own wedding venue, a beautiful field in a rural part of the Netherlands which they had called Lovelands. This field was a celebration of their love and the things that they loved (although sadly, Mr Momoni was missing!). With only a small “interruption” where Eva and Jean had to go and officially get married at the local civic office, the sheer amount of work that went into this wedding was a sight to behold. But all of their friends and family were there, helping and it felt like it was already a party.
The story of their wedding I probably don’t need to explain, hopefully my will images do that. But there was one particular moment, I felt moved like I’ve never felt at a wedding before. Eva and Jean, the newlyweds walked down the aisle of the robber’s chapel hideout and Eva, who was jubilant with happiness, started crying. When I turned around and saw what was behind me, I realised the cause of these tears. A few years ago, Eva’s father had passed away and he’d always said that he’d learn to play the bagpipes for Eva’s wedding. Sadly, he didn’t live long enough to achieve it. But Eva and Jean’s friends had organised a bagpipe player to attend – in the end, even though Eva wasn’t with him, he was very much with Eva. I don’t cry at weddings, but I’d grown to love these two beautiful and wonderful people in front of me, and my emotions overtook me for a moment and a tear rolled down my cheek.
But everything else, was happiness exemplified.