I should probably be gushing about the bride's beautiful dress or the gorgeous scenery in Brittany, but -- although both were lovely -- the main reason I thought my husband's sister's wedding was fabulous was that the reception was held in the same hotel where the out-of-town family guests were staying. So we got to spend the whole weekend socializing with all of the grown-ups, and there were plenty of relatives around to fuss over my little Nico and Leo and play with them.
Our hotel was mostly filled with the Dutch side of the family. You probably didn't know that my little family has a Dutch contingent, but it does. The thing is that my kids' "French grandma" is naturalized French but originally Dutch, from the southern (Catholic) part of the Netherlands. Her siblings are close and lots of fun to hang out with.
Of course, since the Dutch relatives all speak very good French or very good English (but not necessarily both) -- and since my husband and I don't speak Dutch -- the whole weekend we had a trilingual conversation going on in which there were always a few people confused and a few people translating...
My husband's father's line is the side of the family that actually (mostly) comes from France. This was a bit of a family history trip for that line since they're from Brittany, and the wedding was held in the family's traditional parish church. We visited my husband's grandmother's grave in the churchyard.
Here's Leo climbing on the monument to the soldiers from this parish killed in World War I. If you look closely, you can see Leo's great-great uncle's name carved on this face.
The church was beautiful -- it was one of those typical old French Catholic churches with a vaulted stone ceiling, stained glass, and artwork inside and out. I can't report much on the mass or the wedding ceremony since Leo was only able to sit through the first ten minutes before creating a massive disruption. It was just as well. Even though it's half a world away, after ten minutes of sitting on the hard wooden pews and hearing the same well-worn passages recited from the New Testament, my latent unruly-toddler-is-a-good-excuse-to-go-out response started to kick in. Like riding a bicycle -- you never really forget how it works. ;-)
I was a little disappointed that I missed seeing whether or not my husband ended up taking communion. He was worried that since he was up on the stand as part of the wedding party (and since the groom's family is apparently very religious) his sister might want him to take it just to keep up appearances. I assume he didn't though since the church didn't get struck by lightning or anything.
The one thing I was really sad to have missed was the song performed by my husband's cousin, the opera singer. From outside in the church yard, I could hear him well enough to tell that his performance was beautiful, but not well enough to really appreciate it.
Here the math-professor-looking guy on the left is my husband, and the dashing young celebrity-looking guy on the right is his cousin. I don't know who that lady scowling at you is.
On to the reception, the dinner was delicious, the wine and champagne superb, and the ambiance convivial. They even provided a babysitter so we could periodically check on our little naughty guys without missing the grown-up party.
And I drank in such moderation! You guys would be impressed at the moderation with which I drank. Not like at that previous big Catholic wedding (my little brother's wedding in Scotland). That's the thing about alcohol at weddings -- it makes the atmosphere more lively and social overall, but there's usually somebody who overdoes it and makes a fool of themselves, and I really hate it when that person is me. (I don't know if there was somebody like that at this wedding since we went to bed before the party got going.)
You may remember I told you the second stupidest thing I did in Scotland was to miss my flight. I was surprised that nobody asked me what the very stupidest thing was, since to top that it clearly must have been a doozy.
It goes something like this: "Since I'm here in Scotland, I should sample a few glasses of this lovely scotch whiskey even though I've already had plenty of wine with dinner..."
I ended up missing the whole dancing part because I had to go lie down (in another room from the party, but still at the reception) and proceeded to throw up the whiskey and everything else. My little brother was nice about it -- reminding me the next day how he drank too much and threw up all night after my wedding reception (in the chateaux where my whole family was staying). I was pretty pissed off at myself though that at the age of thirty-four I would still be making such an error about my drinking limits, and at a beautiful wedding reception no less.
I'm not recounting this story because I think it's cool or something. In truth I shouldn't be posting such a story to the Internet at all. But, I mean, nobody's really reading this, are they? Clearly in the wrong hands the Internet is a dangerous tool. Somebody stop me before I post again!!! ;-)
But at least I learned my lesson well enough to be on good behavior for my husband's family even if I wasn't for my own...