After being picked up at our hotel by two friends of Bruno’s, the groom, we headed to the location of the wedding ceremony and festivities on Bieler Lake, Switzerland. At approximately two o’clock the ceremony began outside on the back lawn of the Hotel J.J. Rousseau overlooking Bieler Lake underneath a huge weeping willow tree under the watchful eye of Buddha.
**One thing I have to mention here is that although this wedding ceremony was done primarily in German it had to be translated by Simona into English and Czech for all the guests to understand because Bruno and most of the guest were either Swiss or German; several guest such as Matt and I are English speaking; and Simona and her family are from the Czech Republic. Simona did a tremendous job at preparing a handout of the entire ceremony in English and Czech for those of us who didn’t speak German and the rest of the night she translated everything from German into English and then into Czech. She was absolutely incredible! **
The ceremony was overseen by a woman named Elizabeth and in her opening comments she stated that ‘Simona and Bruno have both been married and blessed with loving relationships. They are very grateful to now receive a second chance. They have learned a lot and they have realized how important it is to shoulder the responsibility for one’s own happiness’. I loved how this statement honored their past relationships while laying the ground for the new relationship with each other by stating that happiness was in their own hands. What an empowering and loving statement.
Elizabeth then read the Philosophy of Love by Brandon Bays which Simona and Bruno feel very connected to and asked her to share with everyone.
Philosophy of Love
Love freely! With an open heart and an open hand
You must treat love as if it is a delicate bird,
That comes to delight you by sitting in the palm of your hand.
You cannot close your fist,
For you will smother and kill it with too tight a grasp.
Love demands trust.
You must set your bird free to soar,
And if it doesn’t come back it was never yours.
But if the bird returns to you,
Than you are blessed by it for yet one more day –
For nothing belongs to us, nothing is owned by us.
Love is free to soar on the wings of freedom with no strings attached.
You can’t own love.
You can only bask in it, rest in it, be graced and blessed in it.
We’re in this love and this love is so huge it contains all of life.
Love with an open heart and an open hand without holding and neediness.
No ownership can abide in true love, for love cannot be won, earned, owned or required.
To love is to surrender completely to this moment.
Love simply is.
After that Simona and Bruno expressed to each other what they treasured and loved in each other. They expressed things like that fact that they loved and accepted each other unconditionally they way they were; that they respected and listened with an open heart; that they are always there when they need each other; that they have so much fun and make each other laugh; that they are so happy and positive most of the time; that they can be free when they are with each other; that they share dreams and goals for their future; and the one that got laughs was when Bruno stated that he was so grateful that Simona forgives him when he comes home in the evening having used up his 2000 daily words. J and many more things that were just so beautiful.
We then listened to the song by Deva Premal called ‘Until I was loved by you’ and asked to think of our loved ones and let them know how much we love and appreciate them.
When it came to the part that couples usually exchange vows to each other Simona and Bruno stated that they didn’t want to promise each other anything but instead they wished to express their deepest prayers and wishes for their journey together. Their wishes went like this:
I Wish To…
- Walk hand in hand with you without losing my own way.
- Accept you with all my heart without giving myself up.
- Bask with you in the ocean of love, without sinking into it.
- Radiate love and warmth without burning you.
- Be passionate fire without choking you.
- Be close to you without holding you too tight.
- Respect you and your needs without forgetting mine.
- Take self responsibility and learn to love my weaknesses without projecting them on you.
- Accept and love you as you are without wanting to change you.
- Appreciate and be grateful for your love without obligations.
- Listen and talk openly with you without judging you.
- Be honest and live in confidence with you without having to think about what I can say.
- Take time to spend unforgettable moments with you without giving up my family and friends.
- Give you a lot without expecting anything back.
- Hold you and wipe your tears without you feeling exposed.
- Cuddle tenderly and desire your body without making it a habit.
- Live magical moments with you without taking them for granted.
- Surprise you and make you laugh without you expecting it.
I really loved this exchange for many reasons the main one being that in life there really are no promises. Life is unpredictable and situations change and promising someone, anyone, something to remain the same for eternity is unrealistic because life is constantly changing. What you can to is promise to give someone respect, love, compassion, and freedom to be who they really are with you and in this way you are setting yourself up for a life with that person full of all those things and more. I thought this exchange was beautiful and definitely one to model should Matt and I take the next step in the future.
After expressing their deepest prayers and wishes the guests were instructed to make a circle around the Bride and Groom. The women circled the Bride and the men circled the Groom and in that circle we all went around and expressed what they meant to each of us. It was a really emotional circle (at least it was for the women though we all suspect the men just gave each other high fives and moved on J) and it was a really great gift to the Bride and Groom to feel all that love on their special day coming from everyone there.
Then the rings were passed around to all the guest to bless by expressing their wishes for the Bride and Groom and then Simona and Bruno exchanged rings and said ‘I Do!’ and the little flower girl showered the couple with flower petals.
And the Bride and Groom were wrapped with a flower garland to signify their union.
The guest were then invited to partake in Champagne and some Aperitifs while listening to some lovely music. After a bit Bruno gave us instructions to grab a helium filled heart shaped balloon in the hall and a piece of paper and write our deepest wishes for ourselves on the paper.
After a bit everyone had finished and was waiting for further instructions. The Groom then stated that we were going to all release the balloons together so that our intentions were given to the Universe. After a countdown from ten to one (in English too) we all released our intentions in to the breezy, Swiss air.
After more drinks, aperitifs and music we were led to a boat and had a lovely ride on Bieler Lake for about an hour. The rains decided to make an appearance by that time but we didn’t care because they had left the ceremony dry and we were all happy.
The rain only lasted a little while and then created a beautiful rainbow to top the whole ceremony off.
And Matt was a stud as usual…
Matt and I loved catching up with friends from Florida while enjoying the view from the boat…
After we returned to shore we were given presents from Bruno and Simona as we were getting off the boat. They were heart shaped Gratitude stones to remind us of all the gifts, love and friendship in our lives and to remind us of how grateful the Bride and Groom were for the loving support and magical moments they spend with us on their special day.
On the shore the Bride threw the bouquet and congratulated the lucky woman who caught it.
While the Groom tried desperately to figure out what just happened….
Nah…just kidding. It was a great photo and I had to use it. J Then the music, food, and dancing began…
And Simona’s friend, Pavel, from Czech Republic attempted to levitate a wine glass using only a string, a wine glass, and a lovely merlot…
And there were more photos with friends from Florida….
And photos of Matt and I….
And more dancing by the happy couple….
And then a few hours later another rainbow appeared outside over the lake as dusk approached. All the guests wanted to know who Simona and Bruno knew that they were able to have not one but two rainbows in one day on their Wedding Day on the lucky date of 08/08/08.
And then it was back to the dining hall for more food and deserts (and oh my God! Are Swiss deserts good!) and, of course, more dancing…
And then in the wee hours of the morning we all slowly headed back to our hotels and homes to dream about the perfect day we had just witnessed and the two beautiful people that we have the privilege of knowing.
It was a wonderful day full of fun, new friends, old friends, food, music, magic moments, love, gratitude, and laughter. What more could anyone want in a day?
Stay tuned for Day Three…