What follows is a long and probably very boring post. I feel like I need to apologise for this in advance, but if I don’t write about this damn wedding soon then I’m going to forget what happened.
I joke of course. How could I forget a day like that?
Burned in my mind.
I don’t know if you’d heard, but a little over a week ago, I got married. It was in Vienna actually.
We flew out to Austria on Thursday, and whilst I was waiting for the bags, I bumped into a couple of reprobates from the wedding party at the same carousel, just collecting their bags from the flight from Rome. I had family duties that night (which seemed to mainly involve drinking wine and eating schnitzel), but I was able to start gathering people up on Friday afternoon… which meant that whilst C. was busy flower arranging, I found a bar and with through some judicious use of my mobile phone, and with the help of those scoundrels from Rome, we created a coalition of the willing. Several hours – and several beers later – I seemed to be having the ‘stag’ do that I was determined to avoid. Oh well. What can you do? Not eating probably wasn’t a great idea though.
We finished up at the bar on the fake beach on the Danube canal next to the swimming pool bar. It was that kind of night.
And when I looked in the mirror the next morning, it suddenly felt like that kind of night too.
Luckily the ceremony wasn’t until 2pm, so I had plenty of time to gather my thoughts and to find out where I’d left my eyeballs.
It was a beautiful day in Vienna. It was over 30 degrees and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. A couple of cups of coffee and some breakfast cake and I was feeling vaguely human and just about ready to go and get married.
The Rathaus is essentially the town hall. It’s the first district of Vienna’s equivalent of a registry office. It’s also an extremely impressive building.
C. and I arrived before everyone else and we were lucky enough to meet a friendly fire marshall who took enormous pride in what had been his place of work for the last 27 years and showed us around some of the rooms usually closed to the public, including the council chamber that had some very impressive paintings and a massive chandelier that apparently weighed 3500kg and could comfortably fit 10 people inside the main bowl.
By now guests were starting to arrive and we were pretty much ready to begin. The ceremony itself seemed to take about 2 minutes, and then to the question of whether or not I would take this woman to be my wife, a simple “Yes I will” and I was married. Our hosts, the Gottfrieds, are an extremely accomplished family: Clemenz is in a horn quartet, Stefan is a concert pianist, and Susi, Maria, Michi and Peter are beautiful singers. Between them they managed to pad the ceremony out to half an hour or so, and it was wonderful. Even the bit where I had to shove a wedding ring over a broken finger.
Done, we wandered out of the Rathaus, across the road and into Café Landtmann for coffee and cakes. Somehow that doesn’t seem to do it justice. It wasn’t just any coffee and cakes – this was coffee and cakes from one of the oldest coffee houses in one of the best coffee cultures in the world. Some people – and I’m not pointing any fingers here – may have helped themselves to more than one piece of cake…. But that was okay. It was excellent cake.
From there, the wedding party hopped onto a tram and went on a private tour of the ring, taking in the various sites of central Vienna – the Opera house, the Museums Quartier, the Hoffburg… all that jazz, with Peter and Susi acting as our guides
Apparently Austria is quite a rural country.
Then… after a short pause of a couple of hours for everyone to gather their thoughts, we gathered again at the Fuhrgassl-Huber heuriger (or wine garden) for the evening bash. We had some delicious champagne that had been lovingly brought over from France by the bride’s father. We had some tasty Austrian wine. We had a lovely spread of traditional Viennese food (which is mainly fried, but there’s nothing wrong with that once in a while, eh?). We had speeches. It was a “no speech” wedding, but we had speeches from the Austrian contingent (Clemenz), the father of the bride, the best man, and what could perhaps politely be called a speech by the groom, but was really nothing of the sort, and mainly involved handing out gifts.
And then (after a spot of yodelling from the remarkable Gottfrieds), the disco. The DJs (C’s brother Jake and Statue John) were superb, and even the accidental punching of a waitress in the nose during “Kung Fu Fighting” couldn’t quite put a dampner on the night. We didn’t get to play every song in the end, but the cheese carried the day and Statue John finished us off with the triple whammy of “Ghostbusters”, “Dancing on the Ceiling” and “Vienna”. A few brave souls moved on to a club, I went to bed with my wife.
It was a beautiful, happy, perfect day and I don't think that I could ever hope to do it justice in a blog post. What can I say? I was happy to get married to my beautiful wife, and I was also very happy that so many of our closest friends and family were there to share the day with us.
You can see loads of Hen's fabulous photos of the day here.
And that's it.
Well, except for a gratuitous photo of the bride and groom with Mozart (that reknowned Viennese chocolatier)
It's going to be pretty much all Glastonbury around here from now on, I'm afraid.
Oh, and I forgot to mention.... thanks to the generosity of our friends and families, and in lieu of us having a traditional wedding list, we raised well over £1,000 in sheep, goats, toilets, clean water, condom kits, manure, teachers and in cash donations for Oxfam and for the MS Society.
Well done everyone!