On a quiet Friday night, just 10 days before the wedding of our daughter and son-in-law, there was a sudden and urgent banging on the back door of their house.
What was going on?! Who would be hammering on our door like that on a rather cool and drizzly autumn night during Covid times?
It was such a wonderful surprise to see three (and one on Skype) of Hannah’s choir friends who had come to give her an unexpected hen’s night!
This beautiful group of ladies brought champagne and wine, food (including home made brioche) and lots of gifts for the bride to be to unwrap – some fun or silly and some really special.
We quickly gathered up warm blankets, found some wood and lit a fire outside (the government Covid advice was to keep visitor numbers inside homes to a minimum.)
After a while the light drizzle turned into full-blown rain and despite the warming effect of the mulled wine (glühwein) we were forced inside.
Suitably socially distanced we had a wonderful time watching Hannah (ably assisted by Pieter) open her thoughtful gifts.
The following day we were fortunate to be part of an annual ritual/pilgrimage to Hannah’s all time favourite shop – the pumpkin store (the farmer grows each and every one on sale).
It’s traditional in The Netherlands to decorate your house with pumpkins in the autumn. Hannah has embraced this tradition wholeheartedly and each year her displays are more impressive and prolific.
As we stepped inside the pumpkin shop I could at last totally understand Hannah’s enthusiasm for these amazing vegetables.
There were pumpkins of every shape and size and of many hues of multiple colours – it was so hard to choose just a few. Fortunately with their wedding coming up Hannah and Pieter has the perfect excuse to buy extra this year.
Another favourite autumn ritual is to visit the local garden centre to buy autumn plants, visit the pet corner (particularly the rabbits!) and eat delicious apple pie.
We were so happy to be in the Netherlands at this lovely change of season to enjoy all these fun traditions!
The wedding was one week away – we were keeping everything crossed that it could go ahead as Covid appeared to be spreading like wild fire and the government were imposing restrictions that increased on a weekly basis.
Despite everything, the week before the wedding was filled with excitement- a trial makeup session, a visit to the hairdressers, a facial, gifts arriving and the stunning rings collected.
The engagement ring and the wedding rings were just so special and the Delft jeweller did such a fantastic job to produce really individual and unique rings.
The gold for the three rings came from both sides of the family – old pieces that were no longer worn – the green-yellow tourmaline in the engagement ring was from a tie pin thought to have been bought in Burma in World War 2 belonging to Jonathan’s Dad and the white diamond was also from a family ring. Such a wonderful idea and such a precious heirloom.
The evening before the wedding Hannah set and decorated the dining table ready for the six of us (the bride and groom and two sets of parents) to sit down for a celebratory lunch after the wedding ceremony – as you can see it looked stunning!