When we Met (3)
(or how I still don’t get to the envelopes…)
The invitations were finally sent out and everyone was getting real excited about our wedding and trying the hardest to get the day off. It was going to be One Party, like they had never seen before…
Every Day we got the same question from at least one of our colleagues or friends: ‘Did you find a house already?’ Yeah, well, even at that time houses did not grow on trees and the waiting time for that particular part of the city, was 15 years. LOL.
Exactly 2 months before the wedding, we received the keys to our home, from a couple who attended church and we had never met before. (as mentioned briefly in Choose to let Loose). They approached us after a Sunday service and told us the place had been up for sale for some time, but they felt they had to rent the place to us. Divine Intervention indeed.
How to even explain this: though we do believe in miracles, seen them happen with our own eyes and had been speaking things into existence, once it actually happened, we were still thoroughly surprised, we Always Are 😂 You see, our minds cannot begin to imagine, how and when things will take place. We can only believe – read: ‘Faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see‘, Hebr.11:1 – and hope for the best. And The Best We Got.
Ah, proof of one miracle we’ve witnessed? My Mom was practically blind in one eye, which she had been operated on years before, without any real result. The eye got healed instantly and in the end she needed only a pair of – light – reading glasses for the other eye…
The couple took us with them to show the place and it was so much more than we could ever hope for. It was only a 5 minute walk away from our work and church, which was a definite plus, but even better: it was downstairs – a big thing while basically in the middle of a big city. They had been redecorating on the inside and though it wasn’t fully done, the kitchen was beautiful as was the bathroom and toilet. The rest needed some work, but that was fine, especially for that ridiculously low rent they asked.
Fun Fact: a couple of years prior to this, I went along with our youth camp as one of the leaders and had this really funny, smart mouthed kid in my group. He thought he could best me with his jokes and wit, although he never got really rude. He had the proverbial big mouth but a small heart. It was the first time ever I did something like this and it was pretty challenging, but also a lot of fun and very rewarding. When the couple showed us the place, we got to talk about all kind of things and found out, they were that same kids parents and he apparently had a great time at the camp…There is no such thing as coincidence.
Since it was one of those old homes, it was peculiarly built, which meant in our case, we had one small room upstairs. Yep, just one, the very steep stairs tucked away in the back corner, leading to a small bedroom right above our own. We also had a tiny little garden, more like a tiny courtyard, surrounded by the homes of our neighbors. Since most houses were 3 stories high, it meant sunshine was hardly reaching it. But hey, it was something haha. The mice at least were having a pretty good time: the one – and only – time, we left our trash for a night, it was some sight to see them pop from the bag after Steve picked it up…ieeeeuw.
Fun Fact: the neighborhood was not one any sane person would choose to live in. It pretty much looked like a little ghetto at times. Though good take-out food was sold at every corner and in between. It might very well have been the reason why they did not manage to sell the house yet 😆 Still I never felt uneasy or scared, this was where we lived and after closing the front door behind me, I was home. (Looking it up now, it looks way better, no more ghetto feels).
Speaking about the front door: we had some leftover paint from work in a lovely old pink color, which obviously nobody else wanted. Since our front door was in desperate need of a paintjob, it was quickly decided said paint would do very nice. You all know how much I love Pink, in all kinds of shades really and believe me, Steve was already aware too. Our door for sure was really easy to find after that! (and who would imagine we would come to live in a country where colored front doors are a real Thing…)
When we got to work the Monday after, it was most satisfying to tell anybody who wanted to hear, we got a place to live. It was so much fun to tell the story and see their faces while we still had a hard time believing it all ourselves. We had about 2 months left to finish the redecorating, cleaning and furnishing the place. Funny thing that: Steve had been helping others out while moving, painting and decorating, for weeks – with some help from me.
It’s when we first found out, we could work together well, without getting in each others way. I discovered throughout the years, a lot of couples can’t, at least not without starting a fight. Now he could start the same in our own place. Oh Joy haha, but to be honest, a lot of things were done by others. Reap what you sow and all that. Very fortunate too, because it was kind of nerve wrecking, getting everything done with as little free time we had.
Getting our wedding attire in order was a nice challenge too. As I mentioned, our demands weren’t that fancy, but still, we had our wishes. I remember going to a bridal show with my girlfriend – and witness – and it was marvelous. The quality and amount of dresses shown was amazing, with one looking even better than the other, but the prizes… We also visited a bridal shop afterwards, but it was pretty clear to me, this was not how it was going to be. Good for some inspiration though.
Then one weekend, while staying at my parents, I looked through the Sunday paper – more a local gossip rag than anything else – and found this little ad, where in a couple of sentences a wedding dress was offered for a very reasonable price. No picture was included, but the description spoke to my heart and we went and had a look. In my mind I had this image of what my dress should look like and when the lady showed it to me I was sold. It was perfect and it only needed a little adjustment at the seams, which my Mom could handle very well. No Stress.
I had already decided to wear my Moms little pearly crown and her gloves, which looked great together with the dress. They also provided ‘something old’ – from the ‘something old-new-borrowed-blue‘ saying. My Mom also made the veil and together we shopped for shoes and anything else I needed. The end result was just as I hoped it would be. What more can you ask right?
Fun Fact: years later I was able to wear the dress once again – though without the hoop skirt, because the hoops were taken out when I stored the dress. Getting them back in, proved impossible for me. The school our kids attended organized a treasure hunt and I was the appointed fairy. I Can Hear Y’all Laughing 😜 I had to stand for hours in some neighbors garden and wait for the groups of kids to pass and perform my little act. Drama, drama, drama.
Steve also had to decide what to wear and his first wish, was to also marry in white. When we were watching some music program – music has always been there! – he saw this one singer in a beautiful long coat and he thought it would be really cool to have something like that to wear on our day. We found him some really fancy white shiny fabric, with a delicately woven paisley pattern in white and when my Mom found the perfect sewing pattern, we were done. Well, my Mom wasn’t really, she was the one who sewed the coat and did a terrific job too.
Time was moving fast and we were very fortunate to have so many family members, friends and colleagues helping us with the many things we had planned for our day. We had all these little stuff to take care of, as with every wedding, and we did it all ourselves. We already had a nice venue we could use from friends, the only worry about it, was the fact it was not really close to the church and the townhall. But we had family all over The Netherlands so the choice wasn’t that strange. We couldn’t escape the fact people would have to travel for one part or the other anyways.
A lot of our guests who wished to join us for the whole day, would need a ride to and from one place to the other. Steve then had the wonderful idea to ‘just hire a coach for the whole day’, yep. Then everybody would be able to get where they needed / wanted to be and in time too. They also did not have to worry about how they would be getting home, most likely late at night. It goes without saying, they all thought it the best thing ever and so cozy too! To be honest, I never heard anybody else doing something like that before, or after.
Now I know, there are a lot of people who will plan their wedding and won’t sweat when they end up paying tens of thousands of euro’s, but that certainly was not us. I sincerely doubt, even if we would have had the money, we would have spend that much, but anyways. Hiring the coach for a day would cost us 400 euro alone and it wasn’t really like we had money to spare. Oopsies! But we wanted the people there and we always went with whatever our heart would tell us to do. I think I previously mentioned that money – or the lack thereof – should never be an excuse to keep you from doing what your heart wants to. Challenge Indeed.
One of our friends had just started to get serious about photography and he was more than willing to be our wedding photographer for the day. It meant more experience for him and a good deal for us, with someone we could trust and have fun with. Another colleague had just become a professional make-up artist and she already had done my make up once for a photo shoot and was excited to do my make-up for the day. It was hilarious to actually go and buy make-up, since I hardly used any at that time and had no idea what to look for.
Another couple would act as our chauffeurs and drove us the whole day. Pretty car decorated with lovely flowers, provided by an aunt, who worked in the flower bulb sector and made lovely bouquets. Fun Fact: the car we ‘got married in’, was also the first car we ever bought, as in exactly the same, when living in Spain. There was this Spanish lady who had recently lost her husband and needed to sell the car. Coincidence again??
Live Music wouldn’t be an issue at all, since we both had enough family members and now also colleagues, who could play and sing. Live music was mandatory and we would get the best all party long. So basically all things were going pretty much as planned, or maybe not as WE planned, but they just happened 😇 The final cleaning was done, I distinctly remember me scrubbing the floor on my knees, because, apparently we forgot to buy a decent mob, only a couple of nights before our big day.
However, we were pretty strict and in retrospect maybe also a little rigid, in the way we practiced our faith back then. So there was no alcohol and no dancing. Hmmm, we would definitely change that if we could have a do-over lol. But it was just the way we felt it should be and it’s always easy to look back and wish to have done things differently. I also can’t say that it in anyway made our evening any less than the Party it was, although we knew it was some sort of a new experience for most family members haha.
When it came down to Who was going to act as our wedding pastor, as in, who would lead the church service, an interesting little quarrel started. It was ‘custom’, when any of the employees was to be married, the service was lead by one of the managers, who also held Sunday services. However, they weren’t all that happy to acknowledge our upcoming wedding, let alone, show any approval to the outside world. Petty and pity indeed, but not unexpected from our point of view nor something we were particularly sorry about.
So it was decided, somebody else would lead the service and we could not have been more happy with the outcome. The ‘chosen’ one, was not only a pastor from one of their churches, but also a direct colleague from Steve, also working in the printing department. He and his wife were some of the kindest, down-to-earth and most humble people we ever met and we certainly felt blessed to be married by him. We ourselves could not have chosen better. A Lot Of Coincidences right?
We agreed I would marry from our new home and Steve would stay his last night with his parents and would come pick me up on the morning of our wedding. My parents stayed with me that night, since my Mom would help me dress and do my hair, including placing the little pearl crown and veil, a copy of the one she herself wore when she got married. I thought it nice to take a relaxing bath, but I forgot I really don’t have the patience at all for that, so after 10 minutes I was done. I guess relaxing has never been my forte.
After my hair and make up were done and I got dressed, people started to gather at our place and the only thing left for me, was to wait for the day to really begin. Which leads me to say, I still did not get to the envelopes…
To be Continued…
Wishing y’all a fantastic weekend, it’s No Coincidence, we’ll meet again, next week ❤