Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Wedding

The wedding of our 2 young adults, Anne Louise Degrave and Emmanuel Mangtia was a splendid affair. It began on Saturday at the Mayrie, City Hall. In Europe one must marry civilly before having a church wedding. And so we all went to the Mayrie in Bailleul. The building is quite old and very beautiful. Everyone waited for the couple downstairs. After waiting over an hour things finally got under way. All of those who attended followed the groom upstairs.

The Wedding Chamber.

Then the bride came up with her flower girls and her Mother.

The ceremony lasted a long time. It was over an hour long. The officiator talked about marriage, raising children, morality, and living a good life. Then the couple answered the standard wedding questions.

Then there was the signing ceremony where the bride and groom and 2 witnesses for each signed the "Big Book". The officiator then recited each persons information: name, where they live, their parents, their birth date and place and their occupations. He then talked about what other events occured on this date in history, including the death of Paul Newman. After this was the ring exchange ceremony.

Cute flower girls and ring bearers, one of whom, the 2 yr old, had to be picked up and carried away because some of his cut -out paper hearts that were thrown at the bride and groom blew away under the car and he was crying his little heart out.

Then the family(we were also invited) went to the home of the bride for some lunch. We had sandwiches, cream puffs and drinks.
I took a bite of one of the cream puffs and it was sooooooo hot. I looked at it and wondered if someone had put pepper on it by mistake. I asked Dh if his was hot. He said that his was very good. Then I had him taste mine. Yes, it was hot. A moment later I noticed a group of them looking at me with a funny smile on their faces. "How was your cream puff Soeur Arhets?" they asked. I quickly realized that they had pulled a joke on me. Jean Claude, the inst. director, had filled one cream puff with tobasco and another one with mayonaise. They all felt badly that I was the one who had a burnt mouth, but we all got a good laugh. I was glad I didn 't get the mayo.

Patrick practicing with his daughter and neice. In the afternoon there was a ceremony at the church. It was like a sacrament mtg. but without the sacrament.

Waiting for the guests to arrive. The chapel and the cultural hall eventually filled to overflowing.

There were 3 talks. Reynald and Florine talked about the blessings of an eternal marriage. He told a story of how they were in a very serious automobile accident. At that time he looked at his new wife, barely holding on to life, and realized how fragile life is. He decided then to really try hard to live a good life every day. He realized how happy he was that he was married for eternity.
One of the things I love about our church is that through the power of the priesthood and through sacred ordinances, we can be sealed to the one we love for time and all eternity and we can also have our family for all eternity.
Patrick and his daughter and neice sang a lovely song.

Patrick and Benedicte, the bride's oldest sister, spoke on love in an eternal marriage.

The couple listens to a beautiful piano piece.

Denis-Pierre and Veronique, brides next oldest sister, spoke on the daily life of a couple.

The bride comes from a family of 10 children. All of them have been married in the temple and all but the sister who lives in Tahiti were able to attend the wedding.

The bride and groom speak and bear their testimonies.

The Bishop, brother-in-law of the bride speaks and concludes the mtg.

Afterwards there was a big reception in the cultural hall for the ward and other guests.
The drinks, non -alcoholic, were very tasty and arranged so nicely.
Lots of yummy food served by the young women.
Lots of fun chatting with old and new friends.

Lots of beautiful flowers.
In the evening we all went to the big dinner and reception complete with a live band, the groom's, good music, dancing, tons of food, toasts, and lots of fun.
Mother of the groom, Francoise.
Dh gave a toast that everyone thought was so funny and I also gave a toast which they luckily understood Oh my gosh, I was so nervous, my voice was shaking. We did these toasts at the request of the bride and groom.
The buffet was huge and everything was so delicious. I especially liked the salmon which was cooked and then had a thin layer of smoked salmon on top of it. I also loved the tomatoe stuffed with shrimp. There were also tomatoes stuffed with tuna, all kinds of cold cuts, all kinds of salads, asparagus, olives, grapes, veggies, etc.

The tables were elegantly set. Picture time outside the reception hall.
When the guest first arrived, they had a non-alcoholic beverage to partake of.

As if the buffet wasn't enough, we found out that that was just the first course. It was followed by chicken cordon bleu with twice baked potatoes, sauted mushrooms, and green bean bundles. There was so much food. I couldn't finish mine.

That was followed by baskets of cheese and french baguettes.

We stayed until way after 11:00 and then we left for home because there was still a long drive. The party continued and they next served all kind of desserts; pies, tarts, and fruits. Many people stayed until 2:00.

The next day we had to get up early and drive to Calais. There they combined the Calais and Boulogne branches in a special service. It was very,very nice. The people there were so kind and nice to us. They welcomed us so warmly. Dh gave a very good talk that many spoke to him about after the mtg. we were invited to stay for the buffet. I was able to talk to the ladies and they even understood me. I'm so glad. I am getting a little better at French. One of the sisters told me several times, "Can't you come every week instead of just one?"
After the buffet we drove to the beach to have a short visit. Calais is beautiful. It was an overcast day, but on a clear day you can see the white cliffs of Dover. We looked and looked and we think we saw a faint outline of the cliffs. We will be looking for them again.
In Calais, one can take the ferry or the Channel tunnel to go to England.
The ferry waiting to take off at the far right.

All along the beach are these little beach huts. People set up their lounge chairs, beach tents, and umbrellas and lay out, but they do not face the water.

Monday we had FHE, but no pictures.
On Tuesday the wedding adventure continued. We went to the London Temple where Anne Louise and Manu were sealed for time and all eternity.

This is entering into the bordor patrol area. We were in big trouble. I was not at all prepared. I didn't know we had to have our passports to go to England and noone told me. I should have known, but- one can travel all over Europe without one. We have gone across the French-Belgian and French-Spain border without one. However, England is veeeerrry picky. Luckily I had a copy(which they did not accept) and our carte de sejour for both France and Belgium. I also had our ID card's from the church. Our car was pulled over and after a lengthy interrogation and a trip by the officer to speak to his supervisor, they let us in. Our prayers of being let into the country were answered. We were blessed.
The welcome to England booth.
We drove through lots of barricades and small security lanes.
This is Manu talking to the officer and explaining that it's his wedding and how long is this going to take anyway?

Everyone drove their cars into the train. The train then went through the English channel. Once the train began to move everyone got out of their cars and pulled out their bags and baskets of lunches. Again I was unprepared. I had no idea that we had to bring our lunch. I thought we would eat at the cafeteria at the temple. When we got to the temple we did go to the cafeteria, but everything was in pounds. They could not exchange our euros.:( That's okay though, when some people noticed that we weren't eating they did share.

Our first glimpse of the English countryside. It is very beautiful. We drove for a bit over an hour to get to the temple.

Huge bushes lined large areas of the motorways.
Our first sight of the London Temple.
The temple is set in a gorgeous park. It is sooooooo beautiful there. One can stroll the grounds and enjoy the beauty.

This is the house where many of the temple workers live. There is also housing for people who come to the temple to do work. Many people travel to the temple for 1 or 2 weeks once a year. They are also able to bring their children with them. The accommodations are very reasonable; about 150euros for a week.

The Visitor's Center. It's tiny, but very nice.

A side view.

This lovely house used to be the MTC, missionary training center, but it has been remodeled inside and is now the residence of the mission pres. and his 2 counselors. It might be the residence for others too, I'm not sure. It is huge and very beautiful.

The happy bride and groom.

Ben, the groom's best man drove 5 hours from another part of England to be there for Manu. He is with one of "his" young men who came with him to keep him awake.

In front of the temple.
Dh with David and Stephanie, another of the bride's sister. We gave them a ride from the frontier to Bailleul. We rode with Francoise to go to the temple from the frontier.

The David O. McKay tree. He planted it himself.

Picnicing on the temple grounds after the ceremony.

Did you notice the 2 expectant daughter-in-laws?

The Christus in the Visitor's Center. I love it. It is so beautiful. I listened to the message (recorded) in Russian. It really touched me to hear it in my own language. We also listened to it in French, Spanish and English. It is only 90 secs long, but it's very poignant. Christ is speaking and inviting everyone to come unto Him.

Afterwards we stopped at a bookstore and then drove home. We had a lengthy discussion at the border again. "They let you in with those papers and without a passport?" "Yes" "That is so unusual". Yes, the Lord blessed us.
Some typical english houses.

Finally, the long wedding week-end was over. We arrived back home about 10:00p.m. Next time I will be prepared. I will bring passports, lunches, and clothes to change into. Everyone changed clothes(travel clothes to church clothes and then church clothes to travel clothes) on the train. Our travel time was about 3 1/2 hours each way.