Day Three: The journey to Åland and the wedding of Malin and Anders

 

A yellow country church near the town of Grisslehamn, we saw on our drive to the ferry port.

A country home near the waterfront town of Grisslehamn.

A Charlie Brown Christmas tree along side a small country church.

A rusted old yellow house in Grisslehamn.

Nina loved these “barn-style”, yellow, country homes!

A lovely rustic red home on the water in Grisslehamn.

A view of the rocky shores in Grisslehamn.

The Åland ferry docking area surrounded by small local fishing boats.

The Åland ferry was huge, including one level of car parking and four levels of seating, restaurants, duty free shops, slot machines and more. The cafeteria served surprisingly good Swedish meatballs with mash potatoes, gravy and lingonberry sauce.

A view of Grisslehamn from the ferry as we sail toward the island of Åland.

A beautiful cliff-side hotel above the ferry docking area.

Views of the coast from the Åland ferry.

Views of the coast from the Åland ferry.

Views of the coast from the Åland ferry.

Views of the coast from the Åland ferry.

Views of the coast from the Åland ferry.

Views of the coast from the Åland ferry.

Views of the coast from the Åland ferry.

Views of the coast from the Åland ferry.

Views of the coast from the Åland ferry.

Views of the coast from the Åland ferry.

Views of the coast from the Åland ferry.

A cute little shack that Nina adored.
A view of the dock as the ferry heads for Åland.

Views of the coast from the Åland ferry.

Views of the coast from the Åland ferry.

Views of the coast from the Åland ferry.

Nina strikes a pose from the viewing deck of the Åland ferry.

Nina standing on the property of the Havsvidden Hotel on the island of Åland, where Malin and Anders had their wedding reception and all the guests stayed the night.

A large wooden moose observation tower at the Havsvidden Hotel.

Our dear friend and tour guide, Johannes, standing in front of the main entrance to the Havsvidden Hotel.

The lobby and bar of the Havsvidden Hotel.

A view of the Baltic Sea from the hotel ball room. Havsvidden means “the sea's width” in Swedish.

The bar at the Havsvidden Hotel, which we made good use of.

The tables laid out for the reception of Malin and Anders.

Some of the more than 80 wedding guests beginning to arrive.

Views of the Baltic Sea from the Havsvidden Hotel. The reception location was truly breathtaking!

Views of the Baltic Sea from the Havsvidden Hotel. The reception location was truly breathtaking!

Nina stopping for a fun photo a top the wooden moose.

Chris strikes a pose on the hotel property.

A beautiful, ornate, country home on the island of Åland.

Finström's Church on the island of Åland, was the site of Malin and Ander's wedding on Saturday, January 6, 2007 at 4 pm.

Another view of Finström's Church, parts of which date to the 13th century. Malin was born on the island of Åland.

The ancient Finström's Church is surrounded by a beautiful cemetary.

Chris on his way into the church.

A view of the front of the church where the bride and groom stood for the ceremony.

A beautiful statue of an angel in the center of the church.

Several miniature ships hung from the ceiling of the church!

This is a beautiful nativity scene.

A view of the back of the church were the bride and groom entered.

The bride and groom were preceded down the aisle by two young girls in native Swedish costumes playing violin. (Apparently, many Swedish couples do use flower girls and ring bearers). The violin music was exquisite.

The bride and groom were followed by two bride's maids (Karin and Erika, friends of the bride) and two grooms men (Martin and Mats, brothers of Anders).

The ceremony was in Swedish, of course.  However, the pastor said a few words in English for the many foreign wedding guests (he happened to be from Scotland).

Malin and Anders saying their vows (at least we're pretty sure that's what they're doing!?)

Ah... the first kiss as husband and wife (something that needs no translation!!)

The blushing couple (aren't they cute!?).

Johannes, a fellow exchange student to CU-Boulder with Malin and Anders, played the piano and sang “Your Song,” by Elton John for the bride and groom. It was beautiful.

The happy wedding party ready to walk down the aisle.

We managed to get a photo of the violinists in their beautiful costumes.

Chris and Nina stop for a quick photo inside the church.

After the ceremony, all of the guests gathered outside the main entrance to the church, to greet the happy couple as they exited the church on the way to the reception.

The guests at the front of the crowd held torches to light the way for Malin and Anders.

The crowd huddles together outside to await the new couple. It was freezing!!!

The bridesmaids, Karin and Erika, exit the church all smiles.

Finally, the moment everyone has been waiting for, the happy couple exits the church to cheers and applause.

Some one calls for a kiss and the radiant couple obliges.

As per tradition, each of the wedding guests waits their turn to approach the couple and give them their words of advice, love, congratulations and lots of hugs and kisses. However, Nina simply couldn't take the freezing cold temperatures and took shelter in the rental car.

Ah.... a motherly hug for the bride and groom.

Malin and Anders arrive at the Havsvidden Hotel for the reception and their official toastmaster, Helena, kicks off the party. Thank goodness, Swedish glögg (hot spiced wine) was served as soon as we arrived!!

Let the feast begin! The couple served sushi and beer, followed by reindeer, mashed potatoes and wine and a delicious cake of brownie crust with strawberry mousse, coffee and aperitifs. Nina was very brave and tried the sushi and reindeer, then promptly opted for the vegetarian option.

The Swedes really like their wedding toasts!! Roughly 15 people gave speeches (all but one in Swedish) for several hours. Several of Malin's college friends chose to sing an original song called “Tourettes,” in reference to Malin's rather “dirty” vocabulary!

The bridesmaids Karin and Erika give what we can only assume was a funny and embarrassing speech about the bride.

Karin and Johannes smile for a photo. It is Swedish tradition, that couples not sit together at wedding receptions. Therefore, all of the couples (except for those who are engaged and allowed to sit together) are separated and everyone sits male, female, male, female. At first Nina was terrified to be separated from Chris, her link to the Swedish language, but she managed to make lots of friends and have a great time!  Chris got to speak lots of Swedish and eat reindeer.

In the wedding program, Malin and Anders wrote mini biographies about each of their guests, in Swedish and English. Here's what they had to say about us....

Chris Little: Swede-loving, Jeep fanatic, with a special interest in Vikings and medieval swords and stuff. Was tutored in Swedish at Starbucks in Boulder by the bride during the newly-weds time in Colorado. Loves snow-shoeing and cooking. Married to Malin's American twin.

Nina Little: Malin's American twin who feels for animals, children and her dogs Jane and Otis. Mogul-lover from New Mexico, now a days living in Colorado with her husband Chris. Met the bridal couple during their year in the states and took them under her wings.

A particularly lovely Swedish wedding tradition calls for all the men to jump up from their chairs, run around the table and kiss the bride when ever the groom leaves the room. (And vice versa of course).

The “kissers” came at Malin from both sides!

Chris went around the table and kissed the bride twice!! While Nina got one smack on Anders while Malin left the table.

Malin attempts to shove a piece of wedding cake down Ander's throat!

A nice frosting covered smooch!

Ah... what a photo! That's a framer!

Nina gets a big, fat, kiss from the groom!

Don't the “twins” look cute?

Nina's fellow journalists Martin and Madeleine.

In between speeches, the toastmaster Helena, directed everyone to sing a variety of rowdy Swedish songs listed in the program. Here's one about throwing the mother-in-law in the river and throwing rocks at her until she sinks!!!!!!

 

SVÄRMOR (Mother In Law)

Den natt.

Då jag slängde svärmor i Volgasjön.

Jag skrek.

Kärringjävel be nu din sista bön.

Hon flöt.

Men jag kastade sten på'na tills hon sjönk.

 

Each of the male wedding guests had an envelope filled with confetti, streamers, Swedish flags and balloons taped to the bottom of his chair, which led to a huge mess!!

Malin's brother, Niklas, sings along.

Erika and Maria singing their hearts out!

Maria shows off her Swedish pride.

Malin and Anders sneak a kiss amongst confetti, streamers and balloons.

The table after a few rounds of singing and throwing streamers!

Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!!!

Malin and Anders take their first dance as husband and wife.

Nina, Erika and Philip get up close and personal! (Erika is a Swede and fellow teacher currently living in Hamburg with her boyfriend Philip).

Erika and Philip make an adorable couple!! Maybe they'll be next in line to the alter??

Malin and Maria jam out to 80s rock!

Nina and Maria take a silly photo!

The “twins” have a snuggle on the dance floor.

The bridesmaids Erika and Karin hit the dance floor.

Anders and Malin bust a move!

Erika and Philip.... they're so lovely!

Video footage from Anders' bachelor party where he dressed as Santa Claus and sang karaoke to 80s rap.

Anders shares a moment with his father.