Sunday, 8 July 2012

Weddings - Slovenian Style :-)

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The day before the wedding was a little tense. The groom was meant to go to the British Embassy in Ljubjana to pick up some paperwork that had been faxed through. When he got there he discovered that the consul had gone on holiday for two weeks and no-one had the stuff they needed in order to get married. So after some frantic phone calls the papers were refaxed through to the Croatian embassy so he had to make a trip down to Croatia (luckily the country nextdoor - but quite a drive!) He arrived back mid-afternoon with everything in order. Phew!

Local Duckie
 We spent our morning walking round the lake. It was a really hot day - 33 degrees again - so we made frequent stops to sit on benches under shady trees to admire the views and watch the local wildlife. We watched a sizeable dragon fly flitting over the water and we were followed by ducks once they realised we had food. I still had some of that giant sandwich, so we fed them some of that. One mummy duck turned up with her brood and she chased away all the other big ducks so that her babies could have some bread. She was ace! In fact one of the babies chased a big duck off all by himself! Like mother like son

The Island of Weddings
 We stopped for lunch too and enjoyed ice cold drinks and some baguettas. It was too hot to each much - but we promised ourselves an ice cream when we got all the way round the lake! It was lovely to see the island in the lake from all sides - and we were looking forward to visiting it the next day.

We eventually got back (after three hours) to our hotel side of the lake and stopped at the kiosk that claimed to sell "the best ice cream you have ever tasted" N tried the Nutella flavour - all swirls of chocolate hazelnut through vanilla ice cream and I had the "Lollipop" flavour. This was very white ice cream with brightly coloured swirls and tiny hundreds and thousands through it.
I think their claim was pretty spot on :-)

Bob Sled Track
 The afternoon had been set aside for the males to go off an do something adventurous - in this case bob-sledding down a mountain, while the girls went off to get massages. I didn't really fancy that so took myself off shopping to buy a few presents for people back home.

That evening there was a restaurant booked for all of us. I think it is an American tradition to have a "rehearsal dinner" with everyone the night before the wedding. We sat outdoors by a coloured fountain and ate and drank and were merry. The bride's party and most of the guest swanted to have an early night (including me!) while a few of the blokes went for further drinks with the groom on a mini stag night. I was surprised to see N come back to the hotel before midnight in a relatively sober state :-)

Wednesday - The Wedding Day!

The outfit

Nathan the Groomsman
  We had all been given an itinery for today at last night's meal. We all had to meet (with the exception of the bride and her father) in the hotel lobby at 14.45 in order to board minibuses and be taken up to the castle. We'd had a nice relaxed morning sitting on our balcony reading and having a spot of lunch on the terrace before getting ready for the big event.
We all got up to the castle and enjoyed the panoramic views and cooling breeze while we waited for the bride and her father to arrive in their horse and carriage. Once they got there the string quartet struck up some music and the Lord and Lady of the castle came down some steps to greet the prospective married couple. They welcomed them to the castle (all in Slovenian - a translator had to interpret for them) and the Lady told them that there were only two words the bride needed to have once she was married - the first one and the last one!

They took us up even more steps where the wedding ceromony itself was to take place. There was a Registar waiting and another important person - I'm not sure what she was though. They read out a list of binding rules that they had to agree to - including one person could not tell the other what to do for a job, they had to decide together where they would live and if one bcame unemployed the other must keep them. There was quite a list - and once they agreed then they were declared married and the string quartet struck up again while they signed the register.

Married at the castle
The Lord came back again with a bottle of champagne. He took out his sword and popped the cork off with it. Then he told Martin that now that he was a man he had to do it that way too. He had a go - and the whole top of the bottle came off too! Pretty impressive :-) We all drank champagne and toasted the couple. Then there were lots of photos taken while the band played.

Next on the agenda was a visit to the wine cellar. There the happy couple filled a bottle with wine from the barrel and then corked it, sealed it with wax and wrote their names on a label and put that on. They have a lovely memento of the day. After that it was to the Print Office we were hustled by the fab wedding planner, to witness the married couple printing their own wedding certificate using an ancient Guttenberg press. This took a while as the typesetter spelt Tamasin's name wrong on the first one.

Just Married!
 The newly married couple left the castle in the horse and carriage while the rest of us boarded the minibuses to be taken down to the lake.

We waited at the Villa Bled until the bride and groom caught up. It was a great chance to sit down ( most of the ladies' heels were killing them!) and have a cool drink. The day was 33 degrees yet again and not a cloud in the sky!

Pletna Boat

When we were all together again we all got aboard a Pletna Boat to be rowed across the lake to the island. Once there we alighted on the platform to be confronted by 99 steep stone steps. Tradition has it that the groom must carry his new bride up all the steps, then they are allowed to ring the church bell - which will bring them luck all their lives.

Ringing the lucky church bell
 It was a very hot day and the dress was quite slippery but Martin gamely managed forty steps before he had to put her down gently - before she fell! They walked the rest of the way. They were still allowed to ring the church bell though. We all went into the church and N and I had a go too. So hopefully the rest of our lives will be lucky too :-)

There then followed more official photos before the entire party reboarded the boat and travelled back to the hotel for the Wedding Reception.

Sailing back to the hotel

We were meant to be back by by 8pm but it was closer to 9pm when we disembarked - watched by a big group of holiday-makers on the shore, and headed back to our hotel.

I found where I'm sitting!

The Wedding Reception was held in the hotel's Julijana Restaurnat. it was decorated beautifully and the table looked exquisite.

The bride and groom

Tasty Wedding Cake - delicous fruity sponge layers.

We had got our very talented niece Sarah to make two figures that looked like the bride and groom. We gave them to them when we got back to the hotel and they liked them so much they put them on the Wedding Cake. :-)

We then all sat down to a seven course meal that lasted until midnight. The starter was marinated crayfish, porcini panna cotta, balsamic ice cream on golden beet with sesame oil. It was all absolutely delicious! The ice cream was sweet yet balsamic! Yummy. Then we had clear tomato soup with truffle ravioli.  This was followed by duck breast in madeira sauce with sauteed spinach, salad and a glazed shallot. We then had a raspberry sorbet and some sparkling wine while we had the speeches. It was good to have a bit of a break from eating! The bride's mother spoke first, then Martin the groom. His brother did a great best Man's speech - full of anecdotes about their childhood together :-) After that the Maid of Honour had a go - followed by the bride's sister. It was all very informal and fun.

We then went onto the main course, venison fillet Wellington, horseradish mash, truffles, glazed vegetables with honey and thyme. Very rich and tasty. The dessert finished the meal in style - chocolate raspberry mousse on a bed of pineapple and pepper-marinated strawberries in a tiny brandy basket and granite acacia honey. Amazingly after all that we still managed to eat a piece of the wedding cake.

After so much food and a long and heat-exhaustinng day we all retired at midnight. We agreed to meet together the next day at noon to finish the wedding cake as it would have been impractical for anyone to take it home. That was the last time we were all together as we had to leave for the airport for the trip home at 2.30pm. It had been a great trip, wonderful holiday and spectacular wedding!

Thanks to Martin and Tama for inviting us :-) xx


  1. That was a wedding and a half, Berni! Never mind being a health writer, I reckon that you could turn to travel writing or being a wedding correspondent ;) How fantastic that you were well enough to go and enjoy all the fun.

    May the church bells bring you all luck!

    Caroline x

  2. Hi Caroline!
    It was a fun wedding! We had a great time :-) Feel totally refreshed and raring to go! I enjoyed being back at work this week - seeing so many of my regular customers. Still missing the poets though :-(
    I like the idea of being a travel correspondent - if I got paid to travel to exotic places and write!! Or maybe I should volunteer my services for the next royal wedding :-)