Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A stop in the journey to Northern Iraq- Janelle and Lauren's wedding

I am on my way to my second stint with Christian Peacemaker Teams in Kurdish Northern Iraq but first I have had a totally lovely time in Netherlands and London. Our whole family (except for Paul who had to stay in Winnipeg to attend university) enjoyed 4 days in Schoorl on the Sea, where Janelle had been volunteering in a Mennonite guest house. The weather was lovely and we did all kinds of fun things together. Then Katrina and I flew to London where we touched base with many old friends from many walks of life. We enjoyed a tea time in the new home of the London Mennonite Trust.

Back to the Netherlands, this time to Zwolle, to have two days to make final arrangements for the wedding. Of course, the weather turned from summer-like to normal Dutch weather. So we dodged raindrops and downpours and chilly winds. But the photo session in the city of Utrecht (where Laurens studied for his masters of Philosophy) came about and I know that many unique and wonderful photos were taken. (They should be unveiled in about a months time).

The many sun showers gave birth to at least 7 rainbows (4 of them were double) on the day before and the day of the wedding.

At last 8 October dawned and busyness continued right down to the last minute. It became quite clear very soon that though the idea of a potluck is a foreign thing to Dutch people, they figured it out and the variety of fingerfoods waiting for the post ceremony celebration was incredible.

The silence of a Quaker meeting for marriage did not last long. Many people were moved to speak to Janelle and Laurens. It was very nice to have the wisdom from many friends instead of just one minister.

 I was not taking photos on the wedding day, but I have the permission from two people (Brandi Friesen and Helen Oliver) who did to post a few.
Vic spent the last moments making the finishing touches to his "father of the bride"speech.
Katrina in her lovely gown

In the Quaker tradition as wonderful certificate was created which included the vows in both languages. Janelle spoke hers in Dutch and Laurens in English. A second sheet was for everyone present to sign as witnesses of the commitment.

Laurens and Janelle Thiessen van Esch

The receiving line. In Dutch culture all members of the family get congratulated.

Janelle and Laurens went out into the market area to hand out roses to include the neighbourhood in the celebration

Katrina, holding the vase of roses
Finally, 3 photos of people in the market receiving roses.

So, now I am ending my time in Zwolle. Tomorrow I will go to Amsterdam and then fly to Istanbul and soon on to Sulimanyea. I am looking forward to new experiences and working with new team mates, including two of my fellow CPT trainees from July 2010 (actually, they were training with Laurens and Janelle as well- at the very beginning of this romance).
Stay tuned for more blog posts.


  1. thanks for posting the wedding pix. I'm happy to see that the gown and cape worked. the bride is lovely!

  2. Thanks for these first impressions at the internet from the wedding. We wish you a good time in Sulimanyea, and a safe trip back to Canada.

  3. Good to see the wedding photos, and to hear of this happy occasion for you all as a family. Blesings on you all