PICTURES FROM THE WEDDING:
STORY BY NEILS MOM:
Well, what a wonderful wedding and week away in Jamaica it has been.
It has all been like a dream and I felt like pinching myself to make sure that it was not a dream.
We arrived on the Wednesday, Neil and Agnese and quite a few of their friends including her boss and his wife arrived on the Thursday. Kerry arrived on the Friday and of course the wedding was on the Saturday.
There were 20 of us in all at the wedding.
Agnese's parents Arijis (Father) and mother Lilija and sister Santa arrived on the Friday night, plus Lilija' s guest- Normunds. Her parents are from Lativia and do not speak English, but her sister Santa does. So Santa and Agnese were continually translating for us. WE had lots of hugs with her family and it really did go a long way to overcoming the language barrier ! Her sister Santa, who is only eighteen years old is a real sweetie and was so thrilled to be there. Santa really hit it off well with Kerry.
The Sandals resort was a lovely place. Couples were arriving to get married continually. I have never seen so many weddings in one week, all getting married on the beach or thereabouts.
We were so pampered at the Sandals resort. The staff couldn't do enough for us and it was like one happy family. Everyone was so friendly, whether they were waiters, gardeners, house maids or other guests, it was such a lovely atmosphere. The weather was hot, hot, hot, and the water on the beach was just like in a lovely hot bath at home with little fish nipping about in the clear water.
The wedding morning kicked off with us girls all meeting in Kerry's room with plates of fresh fruits and cakes and pastries and champagne and all talking together. Agnese asked us to introduce ourselves and how we came to know Agnese. Agnese's mum and myself of course shared anecdotes of our children growing up which made everyone laugh. The cameras were flashing non-stop !
In the afternoon, the time of the wedding, chairs were set out on the beach with a heart made out of flowers on the sand ready for Neil and Agnese to step into for the marriage ceremony. A violinist started playing about 10 minutes before Agnese arrived. He was playing some classical pieces which started me crying straight away.
Agnese looked beautiful and Neil was beaming when she came down the 'aisle'.
The minister was a Jamaican, a lovely Christian man with the same name, Neil. He had a real sense of humour and it was a lovely time.
Previous to Dave and Neil arriving on the beach, Neil had given the two rings to his Dad ready for the ceremony. Dave had put these safely in his top shirt pocket, bearing in mind no one wore jackets except the minister and Neil. When Dave checked five minutes before the start of the ceremony all he could see was one ring in his shirt pocket. What a shock! - where had the other ring got to in such a short space of time ? Dave kept looking in his pocket and it wasn't until he took the ring out of his pocket and pushed his finger into the ring, that the other ring popped out. Agnese's ring had fitted into Neil's ring exactly making it look like one ring. How wonderful !
After the beach wedding, we retired to a garden area where they signed the register and Agnese and Neil released a box of live butterflies that had been semi frozen. The moment the lid was released all the butterflies flew out with two remaining behind for ages, either on the table or on Neil's shoulder or Agnese's dress. It was a great photo shoot time. We then had champagne, toasts and cake and loads and loads of photos. This went on for ages in all the picturesque places in the resort.
After this time, we were all dismissed and went to relax for the afternoon ready for the wedding reception in the evening. For this, Neil and Agnese had hired the outside terrace area of the main restaurant for the private wedding meal.
Agnese had brought lots of decorations to decorate the wedding table with. Huge shell candles, star fish, bells, ribbons, necklaces of coloured stones to drape around the stand up napkins and lots of other things. Kerry and Santa and myself helped dress the table with the help of the Sandals staff. It all looked very lovely. The sun was just beginning to set and it was a lovely scene.
I just want to tell you here a little bit about Lativian weddings. Their weddings are full of traditional games and activities and compared with our English weddings which tend to be quite formal, theirs are very significant and lots of fun. They usually have wedding hosts who organise all the events, and the wedding lasts over an entire weekend. The wedding party usually hire a school or a building which has grounds in it for the two days event. There are lots of games organised and at the end of the wedding evening all the guests retire to a huge dormitory where there are lots of blow up beds for every one to sleep on. Not the married couple of course, they are allocated to a nice separate building for their wedding night. In the morning the entire wedding guests go over to the married couples quarters and 'wake them up'. (Obviously they have received advanced warning of the visit and are fully dressed ! ). Everyone then meets for a morning wedding breakfast and more games. One of the wedding hosts will often hold up an item of clothing that he has discreetly hidden the night before, such as a tie, or a shoe. He will then sa, " Who does this item belong to ?" Whoever claims the item then has to do a forfeit such as eat 10 slices of ham in order to get the article back !
Anyway, Agnese's Dad had a couple of activities that he brought to the wedding reception.
Firstly, as Neil and Agnese came to the table, they were met by Agnese's mum and myself. Agnese's mum held a bowl of salt and I held a bowl of bread. The bride and groom then broke off a piece of bread each and dipped it into the bowl of salt and proceeded to feed each other. This signified that there would always be bread and salt in their homes and prosperity.
Secondly, as they came to the table, Neil picked Agnese up and stomped his foot down of a plate covered with a towel. This resulted in the plate breaking into pieces, the number of pieces signified the amount of children they would have. Wait for it …..the plate had smashed into 25 pieces !! I will leave you to work out how many children ! There was much laughter and the waiters around us were enjoying every minute of it and you cold hear their giggles.
During the wedding meal we found that we had little bells at our plate settings. This was another Lativian tradition. Every time we rang the bells and this we did many times during the meal, we called out 'raut, raut' (I am not sure how you spell it). This meant bitter, things are bitter and this gave the bride and groom the cue to get up and kiss in order to make things better and life sweeter. As I said the bells rang out many times and there were many kisses !
Later on Agnese's dad Arijis brought a huge parcel to the table tied up with string and it looked just liked 'pass the parcel'. So we were expectant as to how this was to be played. Arijis first read some wording that was written on the parcel, which said it was to be given to the thinnest person in the room. He then gave it to that person. Then as the person took the first piece of wrapping off, underneath was some wording that said "Sorry this parcel is not for you but for the tallest person here". This parcel was then taken to that person and we had to line some of the men up to see who the tallest was. That person then untied the string and the next layer of course revealed that the parcel was not for him either, but for the person with the shortest skirt. Anyway, this went on in the same fashion, with each person having to find who the parcel belonged to. Eventually the wording on the parcel read that it was for the most beautiful woman there in the most beautiful dress. Of course this was Agnese. Agnese was given the parcel and unwrapped it. Inside was a baby doll and baby's drinking bottle.
Her father then said in Lativian ,of course. " Does the baby say "Mama ?". Agnese then turned the doll upside down and said "No". Her dad then said "Does the baby say Papa ?" Agnese again turned the doll upside down and replied "No". Her Father said next. "Then you go and make one that does !"
So there you are -a little flavour of the wedding day !
The Bride and Groom looked radiant and we are so proud of our son and his new wife. We couldn't be happier for them and we just praise The Lord for bringing them together and for our wonderful wedding and holiday in Jamaica. All the weeks and months of preparation have been worth it all.
We hope you have enjoyed reading this and being able to share in it even though you were not able to be there. . Neil and Agnese will not be back from their honeymoon until the end of October, and of course will be in touch with you then.
All our Love Dave and Lynn xxxxxxxxxx