The Marriage


When we'd got changed, all the guests assembled on a hill overlooking a lake. Logs were burning smokily in braziers all round us, to dispel the mosquitoes. Maids in purple smocks handed out orders of service, and little baskets of confetti for the ladies. The wedding was to take place on a small island close to the shore. Chairs were set up opposite this, and a gangplank linked the island to the mainland. Behind the island, terns circled the lake, diving for fish. As we watched, the bride and groom came into view in a horse-drawn carriage on the far side. They drove from left to right and disappeared behind the trees. A moment later, they reappeared, driving from right to left. (Questioned afterwards, they said they'd been too early and were killing time.)

The Island - Photo: Diana Pritchett

The priest waited on the island with the photographers, while the bride and groom, both dressed in white, processed together along the gangplank, followed by the bridesmaids (Klaire's sisters, Kristy and Katre) in lilac. The organ played on this side of the lake. The service was in Estonian and English, and was quite short. We sang two hymns, 'Amazing Grace' and one in Estonian where we English speakers had to guess the pronunciation of the words on the page as well as the notes. After the wedding, Mark carried Klaire back across the gangplank, and we all lined up to congratulate them.


Later, when the celebrations had started, we returned for one of the innumerable Estonian wedding customs. Klaire wrote her maiden name on a piece of paper, and Mark wrapped it round an arrow which he shot with a bow into the lake.

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