Our wedding: the ceremony at the abbey church

Our church wedding took place at the Park Abbey closeby where we live. It's my parish church and both Jan and I love to walk around the abbey grounds.

I've enjoyed this wedding service most because it was totally "our" service. From all the compliments I've received that day or the days after, I am most pleased when people say they loved our wedding service. After all: the dress, the flowers, the food, the pictures....are all services we've purchased from people/businesses who are doing their job. Our only accomplishment is chosing those professionals who fitted our wishes and budget and communicate with them.

For the wedding service, it's a little different. Here we've been carefully reading a lot of texts, songs, ...comparing, chosing and then rewriting things to find our service. It was very important to me that what we created was meaningful and in line with our thoughts and feelings. It wasn't that easy since we both have quite an opposite view on religion...as opposite as an atheist and a Christian are I guess :p. We wanted this to be reflected: on one hand it had to be a catholic wedding, on the other hand we didn't want Jan to pretend anything or take part in prayers and liturgic traditions he didn't support. So we chose for a "word" ceremony without the sacrament of the Eucharist (something which is actually more and more stimulated by the Church so it seems!). After all in the catholic tradition the sacrament of marriage is performed by the couple itself while expressing their wedding vows, whereas the priest and the community is only witnessing this. Fortunately the priest stimulated us to personalise and we made-up a service that I'm quite proud off.

I'm also quite happy that a lot of people were present in church. I had feared beforehand that a lot of our relatives & friends who were invited to the evening dinner would not have come early to attend the church service. I guess in some countries attending a wedding is a day-event by definition due to the big distances, but in Belgium it can often be combined with lots of other activities. Since we are more and more a secular society , many people only show up for the reception or evening dinner without going to the church service. I think that's a pity since you go to a party to celebrate an event you haven't bothered to attend. But my fear had been ungrounded as a lot of friends and family were in the church after all, which was so great to have them with us!

Our arrival at the abbey in our "London" taxi

Caminhando, the choir I am a member off, brightened the service with their songs and I had fun singing along :)

Jan and I welcoming everybody

Reading our self-written vows to each other

Exchanging the rings

The Church has now pronounced us husband and wife.

Distributing self-made candy brochettes to the children present after the church service, while greeting everybody coming out of the church.


Korie said…
It looks fantastic! And that abbey is so beautiful, I loved it when we visited this past winter.
Hans and I are basically piecing a service together as well, although I'm really lapsed in my religion, so it'll be pretty much non religious except for breaking the glass at the end (Jewish tradition) and I might try to throw a Jewish reading in if I can find one without the word "god" in it.
Jen said…
We had similar dilemmas at our wedding, Goofball, and the negotiations with the minister were ongoing.

The pictures, again, look lovely, and I'm sure it was a beautiful ceremony.

People here do not show up for the reception rather than the wedding - etiquette here would be to show up for the service and NOT the reception if you couldn't do both for some reason.
Goofball said…
@Jen: well, reception and/or dinner is often at a different location and for the dinner guests there was a 4 hour gap to bridge themselves as the dinner guests were not invited for the reception (more about that in a later post). So if you come from far away and you can't return up and down to home, some rather only come for the dinner. In all honesty, we've done the same in the past, but I really try to attend the ceremony as well if possible.
Luisa Perkins said…
It's all so lovely. I'm glad you could have it just the way you wanted it.
felicityXOX said…
It was great to be there :-)

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