Friday, July 22, 2011

The wedding

The main purpose of our trip to the US was Roberts’s cousin’s wedding. 2011 seems to be another one of those years when the wedding invites are non-stop, and one of the saddest things about living in France is that we can not make it to all of them. However, we were able to make it to Asja and Brandon’s wedding, and Roberts had the honor of standing up (maršāls) as well as being MC for the festivities.

We made the trip south to Ohio from Kalamazoo with my in-laws, picking up my sister Z on the way. Springfield is the western part of the state, between Dayton and Columbus. We arrived just in time for the rehearsal, which was followed by a dinner at the charming Woman’s Town Club historic mansion. Built in 1852, this Queen Anne Victorian is one of the oldest homes in Springfield and was a perfect place for the small, intimate dinner hosted by the parents of the groom. A very pleasant evening culminated with a delicious dinner and dessert, and the surrounding garden provided Lauris additional room to explore once he had exhausted the stately rooms.

The next morning was spent in relaxed preparation. Roberts and Lauris went on an excursion to see the town while Z and I napped, and before we knew it, it was time to dress. Asja and Brandon had chosen Good Shepherd Evangelical Lutheran Church, and the photographers were waiting to take the official pictures. Asja is Latvian, and although Brandon is not, the couple did a great job of weaving Latvian traditions into the ceremony and reception. This included walking into the church to be married together, and since that did not require the groom to not see the bride until he is standing at the altar, they were able to take photographs before the ceremony, ensuring everyone looked their very best.

All dressed up
The ceremony was beautiful, with sunlight streaming through the stained glass windows over the bridal party and a full house of family and friends, come to share in this special day. One song in Latvian, one in English, one reading in Latvian, one in English. The bride was striking in a long white dress with lace over the shoulders and a bouquet of red roses, and all the groomsmen complimented the groom with tuxes and white vests, bowties. The finishing touch for the groom was a pair of white gloves, and a boutonniere with a single red rose enveloped by a sprig of baby’s breath.

Lauris and Z taking a break during the photo shoot
After the ceremony I took Z and Lauris back before returning to the church. Just across the street is Wittenberg University’s Benham-Pence Center, where the reception was held. Once again Latvian traditions were seamlessly incorporated into the evening, with Latvian songs interspersing the speeches, and a bride-stealing and capping ceremony late into the night. This probably needs some explanation; mičošana is the traditional Latvian “capping” ceremony. It was a very important part of the ancient Latvian wedding, which usually lasted three days. During mičošana, the bride and groom say goodbye to their single status and don symbolic hats to represent their new roles as husband and wife. This opens way for the stealing of the bride, which has to occur before mičošana and is completed by unmarried boys. She is then ransomed back to the groom, usually in exchange for a few songs or dances. After successfully getting Asja back, Brandon donned his new hat, Asja her aube, and the dancing continued on into the night.

As mentioned, the traditional Latvian wedding lasts three days. The modern take on this includes the atkāzas (directly translated, re-wedding) the following day. We joined the other guests the next day at Asja’s parent’s house for a hearty meal, more conversation until we finally had to say our goodbyes and head back north to Michigan. This was the point Lauris and I had to say bye to Roberts too; he was headed back to Detroit to fly back home, while we were on our way to my grandmother’s summerhouse for a few more weeks with family.
Wishing the new couple all the best in their life together

1 comment:

  1. Tad ir skaista gimene.
    Allen from troy Michigan


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