Estonian Wedding

Mark and Klaire

These pages are devoted to an account of a trip to Estonia in June 2002. This page is a brief summary of the trip; follow the links to find more detail on different aspects of the experience, plus photos.

Latest changes: I've added some of Diana's pictures to the confirmation and wedding pages, and put the rest in a separate file.

Why We Went

We went to Estonia to attend the wedding of Creina's cousin Mark Pritchett to Klaire Tättar. Mark is South African, Klaire Estonian, and they met while they were working on a strawberry farm in Ledbury, England. The wedding was planned for Saturday 8 June, 2002, and several dozen guests were invited from South Africa, the UK and elsewhere to join in the celebrations and take a coach tour round Estonia afterwards.

Where is Estonia?

Estonia

Estonia is the most northerly of the three Baltic republics which gained their independence from Russia in 1991. It is bordered on the east by Russia, on the south by Latvia and on the west and north by the Baltic Sea, a narrow strait of which separates it from Finland. Tallinn, the capital, in the north of the country, is roughly on the same latitude as Orkney. The other major cities are Tartu, site of a famous university, and Pärnu, the so-called summer capital.

The Itinerary

Tallinn

Creina and I flew to Tallinn on Wednesday 5 June, and spent three nights in a rented flat in the beautiful Old Town. On Thursday we went to the church at Pühavaimu to see Mark and Klaire confirmed into the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church as a preliminary to the marriage. On Friday evening, some of the guests formed a scratch team and took on the Estonian national team in a cricket match.

Leigo Farm

On Saturday, all the guests took a four-hour coach trip to Leigo Farm near Otepää in the south of the country. Mark and Klaire were married on an island in the lake, while the congregation stood on the shore. Sunday was spent recovering from the celebrations and exploring Leigo Farm and the surrounding area.

The Coach Tour

On Monday morning, we set off on the coach tour. The first stop was a sandstone gorge in the Ahja Valley, where we walked through pinewoods, admired the caves in the sandstone river banks and had lunch in the open air. Then we went on to the surreal sand caves of Piusa, close to the Russian border. We spent Monday night in idyllic surroundings in Karula National Park. Next morning we paid a quick visit to the nearby village of Lüllemäe, which was almost deserted, then went on to the castle at Sangaste. We reached Soomaa National Park for lunch, and explored its birch forest and wetland. We spent that night at Pärnu. On Wednesday morning we went to Haapsalu, where some people shopped and looked at the sights, while most watched the England-Nigeria football match in the nearest bar. Our last stop before the return to Tallinn was the Open Air Museum. Many people went home at this point, but Creina and I spent a couple more days in Tallinn.

Estonian Life and Culture

Language

Food

Wedding Customs

Saunas

Estonia Links

Estonian Institute - International promoters of Estonian culture

Visit Estonia - Estonian Tourist Board

Visitors:
Matthew Francis home page