Friday, April 22, 2011

A Wedding!

Analeise and Brooke and I kicked off their spring break by attending a family wedding! My cousin Teijo Tiirika married Eerika Fisakkila at the Espoo Cathedral, a beautiful stone church dating back to the late 1400's. The acoustics were wonderful, which was great since the majority of the service was sung by the pastor, which our cousins tell us is unusual.

What were some of the differences between Teijo and Eerikka's wedding and those that I've attended in the US? There were more familiarities than similarities. There was a reading from the bible during the service. A friend sang a song. They exchanged rings. During the reception, we feasted and danced, many photos were taken and wished the couple well. These are the main differences that I noted:
  • Those in attendance at the ceremony seemed quite somber, with laughter and big smiles saved for greeting the newlyweds outside the church, after the ceremony.
  • The bride and groom were not pelted with bird seed or rice upon their exit from the church; their friends and family members instead formed two lines, with many of us holding sparklers, and they walked between us.
  • Gifts to the bride and groom were not wrapped. If they did come wrapped, the Maid of Honor would have unwrapped them and then placed them on the gift table. I asked a cousin about this, and she simply said that people know newlyweds don't have time to open a lot of gifts. It seemed very sensible, and many gifts, although unwrapped, did boast a pretty ribbon or bow.
  • The cake was not on display during the reception. It was kept cool in the refrigerator until just moments before serving. When I asked a Finnish cousin about this, she was disgusted to hear that cakes in the US are left out for hours before being served. A chef I know back home assured me that our cake recipes allow for our cakes to safely stay at room temperature. The cake at this wedding was delicious, by the way. It had a caramel-like coating and lots of real cream and was served with coffee.
Behind the cake, cups are set on the table with small dessert napkins pulled through their handles. This is a common way to present a dessert coffee cup, and you eat your cake with the same coffee spoon with which you stir your coffee.
  • The bride, Eerika was "kidnapped" during the reception by the groom, Teijo's friends. He had a choice of some potentially embarrassing tasks to complete in order to win her back. He chose to recite a poem and to sing a song, and his sister, Taina helped him.
Eerika being carried away by Teijo's friends.

Taina, with two of her daughters, Maria and Ilona, and Teijo.
  • Once Eerika was returned to the party, the same kidnappers stole the alcoholic punch, and Eerika had to do something to get it back. She played a song on the piano.
  • The reception included not only toasts by the Best Main and Maid of Honor, but also a very sweet toast by the bride's father and a slideshow narrated by Teijo and Eerika about their international travels together.
  • There was also a song by Eerika and her friends and a formal gift-giving to the Best Man and Maid of Honor, thanking them for all their help and friendship. There was also a time during the party, in the beginning, when everyone there was asked to stand up for various reasons (if you went to elementary school with the groom, if you went to university with the bride, if you are related, etc.). This was a fun way to involve everyone there but also let guests know how everyone was connected to Teijo and Eerika.

We ate wonderful food (homemade cheese, various salads, creamy and cheesy potatoes, beef and more).

Brooke was taught several dances by our cousin Terhi Välisalo, and it was fun to watch cousins Maikki and Maria dance together, too. What a great wedding!

Maria and Maikki dancing, with Eerika's dad nearby.

Bonus photos:

Seija and Terhi Välisalo before the wedding, with the Espoo Cathedral in the background.

Flower girls and sisters, Maria and Elli

Analeise and Brooke, about to greet the married couple!

Matti, Seija and Kalevi leaving the cathedral, on their way to the reception.

Arriving at the reception.

Sister of the groom, Taina, with daughter Ilona and Brooke and Analeise

Yum! These women stayed quite busy!


Tero, Topi and Elli during the reception

Eerika and Teijo, about to cut the cake. After they cut the first pieces, guests were invited to line up, and we cut our own pieces of cake. This seems very sensible, as we could take the portion size we wanted.

Seppo, Eerika, Elli, Maria, Teijo and Taina

Liisa, Elli, Eerika, Maria, Teijo and Veijo.
Liisa and Veijo are Teijo's parents.


Eerika, just about to dance with her dad.

Elsa, Riikka, Saara, Pasi and Silja Kuusijärvi

Silja with drawings she made during the reception. Teijo and Eerika very intelligently had a table full of games and art supplies for children to use during the party. Good idea!

Virpi and Marika, cousins of the groom

Juhani, Virpi and Hannes

Marika, Markko, Rebecca and Nicole Kuusijärvi

Analeise, Brooke and me. Believe it or not, Brooke was taller than me within two months after this photo was taken.

Analeise and Kate

Analeise and Terhi

Teijo's mom, Liisa, with his niece, Ilona.

Analeise and Brooke saying goodbye to Teijo as we left the reception.

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