Hello Friends, Family, Loved-Ones, Miscellaneous Spam Bots and Everyone else!

First off, let me apologize for not posting for so, so, soooooo long!  I recently got caught up in watching the CW teen drama, “Vampire Diaries” and couldn’t shut it off.  I watched the the series 3 consecutive times.   Alright… that might be a lie.   In fact, I simply had writer’s block.  At first, I was busy with other things and didn’t mind the distractions; but, eventually I tried writing a post and nada.  Not a thing would come out.   I tried to fix it and stimulate some storytelling juju and got nothing.  I went as far as putting myself in “Blog Timeout” where I made myself write the phrase, “I will write a funny blog post.  I will write an funny blog post.” on my whiteboard 100 times.  Still nothing.  Thankfully, life and a trip to Europe conspired to help me and the juices have started flowing again.

Rather than catching you up on all of the exciting details from the summer (which, I plan to do eventually), I thought I would dive into the last week of amazing shenanigans, laughter and exploration and more!  It is easy to pick the place to start… Anouk & Michael’s (A&M’s) Wedding.

Before I even get into the fact that it was a blast to travel to France for an amazing celebration of two wonderful people (side note: If you are ever looking for a way to sound a bit more like James Bond and bit less like … Porter Hall; use the phrase “I am off to France for a dear friend’s wedding.”  Worked like a charm for me … mostly on the old women I sat by in the airport).

SLB Location

Wedding Location: Salins-les-Bains, France

Fort vs Castle (but definitely not a Palace)

While it is 100% certain that wedding was in an beautiful location.  There was small disagreement over the terminology of the physical structure, prompting a multi-week debate.  I, preferring the majesty and romance of attending a wedding in a chateaux, referred to the venue as a “castle.”  Adrian, being a fuddy-duddy, realist, called it a “fort.”

Nick

Adrian

Claim Claims the location was a “castle” Claims the location was a “fort”
Definition Castle – a large building or group of buildings fortified against attack with thick walls, battlements, towers, and in many cases a moat.

 

Note: While no moat was visible, it did seem kind of dry.  My suspicion is the moat could show up later.

Fort – a fortified building or strategic position.
Rationale for Claim Castle sounds way cooler. Name of wedding venue is “Fort St. Andre” (link)

Conclusion: Undecided. The English-French translation for “Fort” has been lost in the annuals of time, so we likely never know who was right or wrong in this debate.

 

New & Improved Wedding Traditions

As some of you know… I loved weddings and have attended more than a few (Anouk’s wedding was my 51st).  I can say unequivocally after attending this wedding that my dream woman is Danish  or at least has a strong connection to an amazing family that will help me pull off a nearly identical wedding as A&M’s.  (Those of you mentally keeping track of the makeup of my dream woman, will note we may be coming dangerously close to mutually exclusive qualities in the her “Qualities Venn Diagram”)

You are probably wondering what could make this wedding so great?  Why was it so much fun?   I’m glad you asked… for me it came down to a few wonderful Danish/French/Swiss trare just a few of the wonderful traditions:

Wedding MCs – That’s right.  Literally, two amazing people who volunteer to host the reception and help keep things moving forward.  In the US, we rely on a random DJ to announce the speeches and queue the Jock Jams classic “Are you Ready to Rumble” as the wedding party is introduced.  At this wedding, guests are prepare speeches, toasts, videos, PowerPoints (these individuals are people after my heart), and … wait for it… songs.  Then throughout the meal, the MCs help the guests perform or deliver whatever celebratory gesture they planned.

The Meal – Some of you have probably deduced, if there are a series of celebratory gestures the meal must take a bit longer than our usual US wedding.  Correct!  Unlike the 1-2 hour affair we have before the dancing starts… A&M’s wedding kicked off with an Amuse-Bouche (translated as “Mouth Amusement” and in this case it was some bacon, salsa, creamy-cheese dish.  In short, heaven).  After the Amuse-Bouche at 7pm, the food (and well-paired wines) continued to tumble out of the catering station until 1 am.  Literally,  more than five  courses of food and drink over six hours.  Well-played, French wedding, well-played!

Amuse my mouth!

Amuse my mouth!

These all seem neat, but what about the traditions?  I’m coming to those now…

First Dance – Yes, there was dancing.  It just didn’t get started till 1 am (an hour after most dances end at US weddings) and didn’t stop until 5 am.  For the first dance, all of the wedding guests surround Michael and Anouk who slowly started waltz.  After 15-30 seconds of waltzing, the entire audience takes one step in.  Another 15 seconds, the audience shifts in.  So on and so forth, until Michael and Anouk are waltzing in a 1×1 meter floor (<- yeah, metric system… feeling so European now).  At which point, Michael was lifted off the ground,  his shoes pulled off, and the toes of his socks were cut away by his helpful, yet quite inebriated friends.  It is unsure how many grooms have lost a toe to this tradition.

  • Explanation: Supposedly, “in the olden days”, cutting off the tips of the socks was a signal to people that the groom was married.  When he visited others’ homes he would have to remove his shoes and reveal his toe-less socks… and kazaam… they would know he is married.   Note: It is unclear why the wedding ring wasn’t an obvious enough signal.
Watch out for the toes!

Watch out for the toes!

Bride/Groom Leave the Room – Sorry in advance to Michael and Anouk if this is a wedding spoiler.   When either the bride left the reception hall, all of the women (and Danes) would get up and kiss the groom on the cheek.  And when the groom left the reception hall, all of the men (and Danes) would get up  or women would get up and kiss the bride on the cheek.  I think the Danes just liked getting up and used this an excuse to refill their drinks.

  • Explanation: I have no clue why, but it was fun.

Tinkling the Glasses – Similar to the US, when guests would hit their glasses with their knives or forks, the bride and groom would stand up and kiss.  Same-o, same-o.
              Version 2.0 – Stomp your Feet – When the guests would start to stomp their feet on the ground, the bride and groom had to crawl under the table to kiss.

  • Explanation: No clue. Still lost.

 

Danish + Envy = Dan-vy

I have a serious case of Dan-vy!  The only thing better groomed and well-tailored than their suits, were their beards.  Moreover, they were incredibly fun and poorly behaved (a people after my own heart).  From the two guys who mooned the photo booth to the clever and inappropriate cheers and chants they lead throughout the night… I can only conclude that I need to make many many more Danish friends.

 

So… that was the first day of the trip!  Many more exciting tales to come (including a photo or two my lederhosen-clad trip to Ocktoberfest).

Photo booth + Props = Yes, please!

Photo booth + Props = Yes, please!