A Belgian Courthouse Wedding

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We were thrilled to be able to witness our friends Henry and Elena’s courthouse wedding ceremony last weekend.  Since it was held almost an hour away from the site of the reception and party, this was a much smaller event.  I think there were maybe 30 of us in attendance for this part, which took place at the courthouse in De Haan.

All of the wedding party arrived in this beautiful antique bus!

The couple said hello to all of the friends and neighbors who were waiting for them outside of the courthouse, and then went inside.


They sat with their party at a long boardroom table, in front of the city officiant and her snazzily-dressed assistant.  The mood was somber, and although I didn’t understand anything, I loved the warmth of the woman performing the marriage– it was clearly much more than just a routine business transaction!

The ceremony lasted for about 20 minutes.
The room was really beautiful, and in addition to these pretty chandeliers, there were also portraits of the king and queen of Belgium on the wall.  (The king is Albert II, and is referred to as “King of the Belgians.”)
Just like many wedding traditions all over the world, the ceremony culminated in “You may now kiss the bride, ” with lots of cheering.
After the kiss was the exchange of rings, which Henry’s daughter Anna was in charge of providing.
And that was that!!
Here’s the happy couple!
What a wonderful moment to witness.
After taking a moment to receive kisses and well wishes from all of the witnesses, and the taking of photographs, they got back on the bus to go have lunch as a group.
Elena said that they would be eating very lightly, saving room for the big meal at their reception that evening.

We felt so honored to be part of such a special event, and it was so sweet to see them making the commitment and the clear joy on their faces when they were sealed. Also, it was just fun to get dressed up, for once!!(Sorry, no pictures of Amelia all dressed up, since it turns out that a wedding is kind of a difficult thing for a little girl who is used to getting everyone’s attention all of the time!  I guess she had to  learn sometime that it’s not always her moment…)
After the ceremony, we had lunch and went to the beach.  The weather was beautiful.  Then, it was soon time to get dressed up again, and drive to Sint Laurentius, where the reception and party were being held. (I’ll report on that tomorrow!)

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8 Responses to A Belgian Courthouse Wedding

  1. Great Aunt Gretchen September 7, 2012 at 11:47 pm #

    I’m sure your friends will love your sweet pictures that you took. What a fun time for you as well.

    • Ariana September 11, 2012 at 8:42 am #

      I hope they do! They had a lot of friends there with cameras, so I’m sure they’ll have a nice collection! It was really fun. It didn’t matter that we couldn’t understand anything that was going on– it was sweet to just be a part of it!

  2. Rois September 8, 2012 at 10:44 pm #

    I do love weddings! And that bus is to die for.

    • Ariana September 11, 2012 at 8:43 am #

      I do too! We hadn’t been to one in a long time, and this one was pretty special, so that was cool. And the bus… I know– really awesome!

  3. Gypmar September 11, 2012 at 7:37 pm #

    Your shoes. I want them.

    • Ariana Mullins September 13, 2012 at 9:34 am #

      Thanks, Gypsy! I have had very few occasions to wear them here in England, so maybe you deserve them more!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. A Belgian Wedding Celebration | - November 19, 2013

    […] the wedding ceremony at the courthouse, our lovely newlywed couple got on their super cool antique bus, and had a light […]

  2. Seasonal Changes - And Here We Are - June 23, 2015

    […] every beach we could find on our part of the English Coast, and in August alone, we went to Belgium twice and went camping!  I did not get nearly enough sleep over the last few weeks, and now that Amelia […]

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