One of the things I noticed is that I really don’t have tons of photos from our three days in Bordeaux. I think that, to some extent, it’s owing to the fact that as parents of the groom, Liz & I were just fairly busy throughout the weekend. Secondly, Timo was the main photographer (aside from the church ceremony where he was part of the action), so we’ll undoubtedly get some of the ‘good shots’ through him…
Finally… when it wasn’t owing to either of those things, I suspect it was just that we were thoroughly caught up in the fact that our son was getting married; the wonder, the excitement.
People kept asking us, “So… how does it feel?”
… and it was tough to put into words: A healthy mix of nostalgia for the boy who is no longer a boy, and pride for the man he has become.
Let me give you a bit of a walk-through of our weekend…
Let me begin with what is of lesser importance, compared to the wedding festivities themselves, but what is nonetheless a cool part of the weekend… our accommodations.
We knew that Liz’s parents would be with us, so rather than get two generic hotel rooms, we opted to look for an AirBnB where we could all stay. The kids, being farmed out to a couple of different locations, weren’t going to be with us, so the search began for something nice for the four of us.
Lots of fairly ‘normal’ things popped up on the site, but then I checked out Thomas’ Place, Un Balcon sur la Garonne (a Balcony on the Garonne River), and I was sold!
This spot didn’t feel so much like ‘sombody’s house’ as it did a true Bed ‘n’ Breakfast experience. It’s very much a bourgeois home from another era, with it’s winding, stone staircase, period furniture and moulded fixtures.
Tall windows overlooked the Garonne River and at night, the glow of great lamps gave a homey feel where you almost hated to go to bed…
Since church weddings are not recognized, legally, by the state here in France, you always get married at city hall first. This was a small affair on Saturday April 29th: Immediate family and the wedding party.
To make it a bit more fun, Dominic and Melanie had customized Converse sneakers made for the occasion: White, with the words Bride and Groom on them, and they invited others to come in Converse as well.
As you can see…. us older folks didn’t live up to the dress code, but members of the bridal party did not disappoint (You’ll see what I mean a bit further down).
After the short, 10-min ceremony where the mayor reads out the acts of marriage – outlining the shared responsibilities of spouses under French law, we took some photos. The Mayor’s designate, as well as the administrator got in on the game and also wore Converse – what a nice touch!
From city hall, we went back to Melanie’s parents’ home for dinner. A number of people had prepared different things (snacks, desserts, etc.) and we just did Domino’s pizza. It was wonderfully simply and informal.
We had a whole afternoon with nothing but time to spend connecting and getting to know some folks a little better:
Melanie’s cousin was there from Australia, one of Dominic’s groomsmen was there from the Netherlands, Liz’s family was there from Belgium, two other MKs were there from Venezuela and there were members of the bride’s family from around north-eastern France, as well as a handful of Dominic and Sophie’s school friends.
Church on Sunday
We all attended church on Sunday morning, and Pastor Paul Brochu shared an incredible message on Desire and how it’s really our desire for God that will determine what, if anything, happens in our spiritual lives. If we deeply desire the Lord, we’ll achieve great depths of fellowship with Him and experience great things. If our desire is merely casual and superficial… the chances of deep fellowship are slim to none. To some degree, it’s like any relationship I suppose.
Pastor Majdling took great pleasure in introducing The Longs to the congregation for the first time… as only a proud dad can do! (Can you see it in his expression?)
We all stayed for dinner onsite as they had a fundraiser dinner for an event that the local church will host this summer, after which we embarked on the wedding rehearsal.
… and so began the waterworks as it all started to become just a bit more real (as if it hadn’t already).
Dominic & Melanie did things a little differently and power to them for doing so. They began their day early, taking some First Look photos at a park near the church, making for a comparatively no-stress photo session, without family, friends or the bridal party to corral… just the two of them (I’ll have a couple of unofficial photos below – I was the bride’s chauffeur that morning, so I was privileged).
The ceremony wasn’t until 2:00pm, which made for a fairly relaxed morning and they managed to begin within about 2 minutes of the planned start-time. Missionary Paul Brochu did the ceremony so that Melanie’s dad and I could enjoy just being dads.
The ceremony was broadcast on the church’s YouTube channel. It wasn’t originally intended for a wide audience, but for family who was unable to be present. It may or may not still be accessible, depending on when you’re reading this, but I’ll link to it here just in case – it won’t stay up permanently.
A couple of meaningful touches…
- The bride wore a dress of Liz’s for the civil ceremony on Saturday, and wore her own mother’s wedding dress, with a few alterations.
- During their personal vows, they sang one song that had been sung at her parents’ wedding (Standing on Holy Ground) and they also sang a song that Liz & I sang at our wedding (Steve Green’s “Household of faith”). Neither set of parents knew ahead of time… so with the first three notes… we were teary-eyed … (for the umpteenth time already).
Even just those two details alone should tell you a little bit about them.
The After Party
Lunch was catered in and the church had gotten a large tent for the occasion, so we all stayed on site for the reception; yet another big simplification… no travel time!
There was wonderful food, touching tributes, a photo-booth off to the side and lots of time to mingle.
Whether during the ceremony itself or during the reception following, everyone was deeply touched by what they had been a part of… believers and non-believers alike. The latter, some of the kids’ school friends were blown away and had never experienced any other wedding quite like that one… Our kids used their wedding to give glory to God and testify to His goodness.
As promised above… a couple unofficial first look pics.
Want to bless the Bride & Groom?
If you live far away and would like to bless Dominic & Melanie with a monetary donation
you can do so by going to PayPal and using the address email@example.com
… for the good things he has done for Dominic & Melanie, and for the good things he’s done for us. To see such a wonderful & Godly union is any parent’s delight.
Thanks for taking a few moments to share in the day, by reading about it.