And here we are, finally, ready for the wedding part of the Swiss adventures! But I can’t just jump right in to the mountaintop wedding. First we must prepare... with a wedding rehearsal, of course.
As I mentioned a few days ago, it would be nuts for all of us to head up on top of the mountain just for the rehearsal (although as you’ll soon learn, practicing taking the trains probably wouldn’t have been a bad idea). So we instead gathered in a square in old town to do a little run-through!
We made ourselves a makeshift aisle (which other people sometimes wandered through, no bigs.)
And as the bride informed us that “you might be holding lanterns”, everyone made sure to practice their part.
After making sure the groom DID remember which of the bride’s fingers is the ring finger...
... we headed down the street for a rehearsal dinner.
It was a lovely gathering of friends and family (not to mention tasty food)!
And of course, there was a warm welcome from the incredible hosts as well.
We spent some time walking around Thun at night after the dinner, but I already showed you most of those photos. Instead I’ll leave you with this bizarre and thus hilarious photo of the bride and groom, the night before they were to wed!
The next day we did it all FOR REAL!!! But first... well, there was a bit of a transportation snafu. Just that morning I commented to my new friend/roommate that I felt like I understood the Swiss train system, and felt confident using it, which meant of course that I didn’t understand it at all and was probably about to screw up in a really epic way. I WAS SO RIGHT.
That afternoon, while trying to ensure that the brides’ parents made it to the wedding venue in time for photos (not to mention leaving time for me to follow my setup directions)... well. Let’s just say that the town with the cable car up the mountain is a really small town. It’s not served by a lot of trains. And it’s possible that the train toward that town will split in half to serve other small towns. That can be a problem if, say, you’re a tourist and get in the wrong carriage and don’t realize it’s possible that the train will quite literally divide itself into two trains that go in different directions HOW IS THAT EVEN A THING.
Fortunately we realized our mistake fairly quickly after the train split. Fortunately the conductors are very nice and helpful. Fortunately the brides’ parents were (at least outwardly) fairly calm about the whole situation, fortunately we still arrived with plenty of time at the cable car stop, and fortunately, we could send word to the other wedding guests to be VERY VERY CAREFUL about which carriage they board. It all worked out in the end! But whew, what a wedding-day story they can tell now.
Anyway! Once we arrived at the cable car, we went up, up, up...
Two different cars, all the way to the top!
After a beautifully clear morning at Interlaken, the clouds had started to roll in to Stockhorn by the afternoon. But no rain, and anyway, the clouds cleared up not long after our arrival!
While we finished setting up, the guests chilled in the restaurant (later the reception space) and took in the view.
Finally it was time! Because of the setup in the grotto, the wedding party actually walked down the entrance to the grotto while we lined the “aisle”.
I don’t have photos from that part, as the lights were all off and we were holding our lanterns (AS REHEARSED). Dark, peaceful, and beautiful!
The wedding ceremony itself was thoughtfully written by the bride and groom and contained all the rituals we know and love. The statements of intent, the unity candle, the readings, the vows... all just lovely.
And one very lovely but excited bride when it was all over! Seriously, I don’t often see that crazy-excited smile from Lil C.
After the ceremony, we tried very very hard to stay warm...
... while the photo session took place with The Best Wedding Photo Backdrop Ever Hands Down.
(I feel compelled to add that little infant traveled halfway around the world to attend this wedding and was a doll THE ENTIRE TIME. Her dress for the occasion was perfect, too, but it started getting toward her bedtime, so, time for jammies!)
After dinner there were the toasts, all delivered in German and English... even if it meant that the German came from Google Translate, as was the case for the bride’s father. (It was so dang sweet.)
Or if the English was translated on the fly by the groom, as was the case for the groom’s brother. The poor groom’s brain was so tired by this point that he once tried to translate the Swiss German into High German, and didn’t even realize it until Lil C said, “English!”
Then much merriment was had by all!
I made myself quite busy during the reception, either making sure things were running as the bride and groom wanted, or tearing up the dance floor. So don’t let the lack of photos fool you! Still, I can share these fun moments, like this Swiss tradition where the bride and groom hold an umbrella and we blow streamers on top of them.
Plus a delicious cake (made by the groom’s friends!) adorned with SPARKLERS!
We ended up having to cut the reception a tiny bit short because of the high winds on top of the mountain – the cable car needed to get us all down, safely, in time for the train! So after the bride and groom “exited” surrounded by sparklers (indoors – high winds, remember), we all packed up the wedding as quickly as we could and got off the mountain together!
The cable car down the mountain, in the pitch black, with the Swiss breaking into German folk songs, with everyone holding some random part of the wedding decorations, was one of the most fun memories from the trip. It’s one that can’t be illustrated in photos, and I can’t really do it justice with words. But it’s one of those moments where I think, oh my goodness, this trip was worth it.
Not to mention seeing this girl at the end of her wedding day, exiting the cable car. Thank goodness we interviewed for graduate school together over nine years ago and forged a bond that brought me to share these moments with her – and her new husband! Cheers to you, the new Mr. and Mrs. (well... Dr. and Dr., but you get the idea). All my love for a happy marriage!
And thus concludes the Swiss adventures, dear readers! I hope it wasn’t too much like I forced you to sit on my sofa and spend hours talking you through my vacation photos. But even if it was that way, maybe a little... thanks for taking this virtual ride with me anyway!