Our Second Wedding: A Recap

It's been quite some time since I posted last, but I believe I have a good excuse for being a slacker in the blog department: our second wedding. On the 19th of October, the husband and I tied the knot again, this time in front of our family and friends. Though we had officially been married for a little more than three months, I admittedly didn't feel much of a change after our first wedding. We had made a nice day of the occasion, having lunch with our witnesses in the Vondelpark and drinks with more friends that evening, but afterwards things felt just as they had before. Maybe it's because the vows were in Dutch and I wasn't sure exactly what I was agreeing to? I'm not sure exactly, but what I do know is that this time it feels more official. It feels like something has changed.

Our wedding festivities began the Thursday before the wedding when our overseas guests started to arrive in Amsterdam. I was lucky enough to have fifteen guests travel from the United States, South Korea and China to witness our special day. The husband and I planned a handful of activities to give ourselves and our guests the chance to meet and visit throughout the weekend. We had drinks at a café on Thursday, a breakfast open house at our apartment on Friday morning, and a canal dinner cruise on Friday evening. Planning some of these events was a bit of an afterthought since most of the time leading up to the wedding my mind was focused on all the details of the actual ceremony and reception, but I am so thankful that we arranged it the way we did. It was during these times that I felt like I could breathe, relax and enjoy the company of my guests without letting my mind run a mile a minute. It was also during these times, however, that I felt stretched a bit thin. At any one time, I had my family, my friends from home, and my friends from my time teaching in Korea all together in the same room. Most of me felt blessed that they all chose to push aside their busy schedules, hop on a plane and fly thousands of miles away to support my man and I, but there was also a part of me that felt unable to connect with anyone as intimately as I wanted to. I was always aware of those I was not talking to and felt that the conversations I did have were short and a bit superficial. I wanted to stop time and take each person out to coffee and personally catch up on the four months, year, or three since I had seen them last. Unfortunately my ability to manipulate time is not as powerful as I may wish, so the time I was able to spend with these special people is time that I cherish.

The wedding itself was everything I had hoped for. I had suffered from some major anxiety and lack of sleep leading up to the wedding (I'm sure I'm not alone in this), but of course it was all for nothing. The three nights leading up to the wedding were restless. No matter how exhausted my body was, my mind was wide awake creating to-do lists, categorizing said to-do lists, and fretting over whether there would be daisies in the table bouquets because I really didn't want any daisies and even though I expressed this to the florist maybe she misunderstood my English and thought I told her to use nothing but daisies. But, when it came down to it, I was able to check everything off the to-do lists, the table bouquets were perfect, and everything went off without a hitch.

Well, almost everything. I mean, there has to be at least a small glitch on the big day, right? For us, it was a shoe mishap. On Friday, I was in charge of bringing the wedding clothes for my sister and her husband from my apartment to the hotel (on top of everything else for the wedding, may I add). So, I did. I brought all the clothes. All the clothes and none of the shoes. It wasn't a big deal that night as the canal dinner cruise wasn't a formal affair, but it was important that my man - the man who is known to leave his own belongings behind on a pretty regular basis - remember  to bring them tomorrow.

"What do you need to bring tomorrow?" I asked about a million times that night.
"Rob and Chelsea's shoes," he'd answer.
"Where are Rob and Chelsea's shoes?" I'd chirp back.
"On the shelf in the spare room." Ok. Got it. Good.

The next day, as the husband and I were walking back to the hotel after getting our pictures taken not only by our photographers but also by many passing tourists, I called my sister to make sure everyone was ready for the family photos. She reported that everyone was there and accounted for, but that Rob's shoes were missing. I looked to my man who, innocently, said he had brought them. He brought the ladies' shoes that were on the shelf and the men's shoes that were in the bag next to the shelf. Next to the shelf, not on the shelf like we had gone over a bajillion times. But hey, it was his wedding day, gotta cut the guy a little slack right? I mean, I know my nerves were out of whack and my mind was in a million places. So, with some deep breaths and phone calls we quickly realized that the shoes he brought belonged to Guillaume, his childhood friend who was staying at our apartment. Another phone call later and it was decided that, because thankfully the guys wore the same size, Rob would wear Guillaume's shoes for the pictures and that they would do a shoe swap once Guillaume arrived at the hotel. As I said before, every wedding needs a mix-up. And our photographers caught ours on film:

"Ok babe, tell me exactly, where did you find the shoes that you brought?"
Planning shoe-swaps, averting crises.
After that, it was smooth sailing. Some highlights include, but of course are not limited to, the following:

The ceremony. Our dear friend officiated the ceremony and did an incredible job. It was just the right amount of funny, touching and personal, and she even graced us with her vocal talents by singing a love song. It was very important to us that Dutch, French and English all be incorporated into our ceremony, and I'm happy to say that we succeeded. My childhood friend read a blessing in English, my man's sister read a poem in French, and our officiant's song was in Dutch. We also presented each other with our rings in French and, in the spirit of marriage and support, made sure to help each other through the parts we had trouble remembering.

The love song. My mother-in-law wrote us a song to the tune of Yellow Submarine which all of the wedding guests surprised us by singing after our champagne toast (unfortunately I don't have any photos of this yet). This might have been my favorite moment of the whole evening; the husband and I standing up on a staircase, looking down over all of our dearest friends and family as they sang up to us. It was the perfect way to see all of their smiling faces while taking a moment to exhale after the ceremony ... not to mention a perfect start to the celebration as well!

The speeches. Talk about feeling loved! Our fathers, my sister and my man's brother gave heartfelt, make you laugh and then make you cry speeches. My dad translated the last part of his speech into both French and Dutch (I commend your effort, Daboon!), my sister worked in a plot synopsis of our favorite childhood movie Sillyville, and my man's brother surprised us with a picture slideshow (which hilariously featured my chubby baby pictures as The Guess Who's American Woman was playing). 

The dance. The evening ended with a serious dance party. The dance floor was packed the whole time and the DJ did a great job of playing all the classics that I had requested. He didn't, however, do a great job of transitioning from song to song or following my request not to come out from behind the DJ booth to sing along. But hey, it's these unplanned moments that you laugh about later ... and we have.

So there it is: our second wedding. And now that I'm wrapping up this post, I think I've figured out what it is that made things feel different after this wedding. I have always been, at my very core, an extroverted person who places much value on family and friendship. Well, with this wedding I had the opportunity to feed off of the love, happiness and support of those that mean the most to me. I got to have moments like these:

Sillywhim sisters sharing a giggle.

Seeing my dad for the first time.

Wrapping my bouquet with lace from my mom's wedding dress, with my mom's help.

I once overheard my sister's friend saying that her own wedding was by far the best wedding she had ever been too. I remember thinking that that was such a great thing to be able to say, and I hoped that one day I would feel the same way.

I do.

All photos by Luis Monteiro


  1. Your blog is absolutely beautiful, Brit. So emotional and loving. I cried when I saw your Mom attaching the lace from her wedding dress around your bouquet. What a wonderful, memorable day for both your families. Wish I could have joined in the festivities and love of this special occasion..................Luv, Auntie Carolyn

    1. Thanks, Carolyn! I'm glad that I could share the day with you ... though of course it would've been the best to have you there in person. Love you!

  2. Ooooh! Love it. Love it. Love you!

    1. Love you too! Thanks for making our day so wonderful!