It’s funny. I was in Holland for a month mostly on holiday. When people asked what I do and I told them I’m a wedding planner, chances are they’d give me a blank stare if they were older than 35 or 40.
You see, weddings here in Dutchland are simple affairs. They can be quite small, but even if there are several guests invited, it’s not nearly as grand as some of the medium sized weddings here in the States.
One of the girls I met in Delft told me it’s quite common for a couple to be married during the week. They may decide to go to the civil officiants on a Tuesday, get married, and that’s that. (Additionally, my online resources mention that officials can often travel to the couple’s place of choice; this, however, may be for certain districts only. If the couple wants a wedding in a church, this takes place after the civil ceremony.) The couple chooses a photographer who takes photos throughout the process of the bride getting ready, the ceremony, the cake cutting (which takes place before the reception), and the reception. There is no superstition about not seeing the bride before she walks down the aisle (and I learned seperately that the bride and groom are actually seated in the front until the ceremony begins so there is no giving away of the bride. Usually, there are no bridesmaids, but the couple may have flower girls and ring bearers).
Perhaps for me, one of the most intriguing things is that guests are invited to different aspects of the wedding. There are “day guests” that go to everything, including morning tea before the ceremony, but this is typically reserved for family and very close friends. It doesn’t seem very common that most people go to every part of the marriage day celebration. This means there are multiple guest lists. It makes it less expensive for the couple since they are not obligated to provide dinner for every person that attends the ceremony. As it’s a societal norm for weddings to be structured like this, the likelihood of guests being offended at not being invited to, say, the reception, is not high.
There are two popular traditional foods: Bridal Sugar, which are sweet meats, and Bride’s Tears, which is a spiced wine. Many brides plant Lily of the Valley at their new home. It symbolizes happiness that continues and the couple can celebrate their love with each season it blooms. Perhaps the perfect little blooms in this garden have such a little story as this to tell us if only they could talk.