It turns out that many Finns delay even a civil compact until later in a relationship. It is even later, often after children are in the mix, that they decide to re-formalize their bonds with a "church wedding." This makes sense to me. One of the sad aspects of American society is the holy alliance of two callow youths that nearly bankrupts their parents and then disintegrates six months later as the bloom of attraction fades to leave only the leaves of reality.
The marriage of our son took place in the Temppeliaukion kirkko or Rock Church in Helsinki. As the Rough Guide to Finland notes, "This (is) a serious Finnish construction." In 1969 the designers literally found a granite outcrop, blasted out a hole in it, and then roofed it over with a glass dome. The result is a jagged walled stone temple of calm.
During summer weekends the church is chock-a-block with weddings one after another. Reservations must be made far in advance. You appear to get about an hour before the sanctuary must be re-opened for a while to the tourists. Bingo, then closed again for the next wedding.
Our day began in the afternoon with the wedding party gathering in the sunshine on top of the Rock Church itself for pictures. Another wedding was proceeding inside.
When we arrived these were our first views of the bride and groom.
I can't wait until I see what it looked like from the front.
We walked around from the church entrance and in the back found a path to climb up ourselves. Shortly, our granddaughter arrived in the company of her special friend Kari.
And of course the mothers of the bride and groom looked on with approval.
Formal photos were taken of the attendants.
With pictures finished, we all climbed down from on high and re-gathered inside the Rock Church for the official ceremony.
There was some music.
Time to walk back down the aisle and
participate in the ritual greeting, which was done with bubbles instead of rice or bird seed. A nice twist as there is nothing to clean up.
Even though most of us were focused on the primary couple, the Japanese girl tourists waiting outside to enter the church were more captivated by our granddaughter.
The reception took place at a hall near the church.
Bride and groom had a small table to themselves.
The guests gathered at longer tables in front of them.
Dinner was served, the cake was cut and served, and music and dancing followed.
We left before midnight, but the younger folks partied on.
Cheers to them!