Meet the in-laws, part 1

I’ve long thought that weddings can get a bit weird sometimes, with SO much planning and thought going into what’s often touted as “the biggest day of your life”, when at the end of the day it’s really mostly about the party and the celebrations more than it ever seems to be about the actual marriage or being-wedded part of the day. In saying that, however, naturally we were all beyond excited earlier this year when our oldest boy popped the big question and she said yes. In no time at all champagne corks were popped, engagement parties were had, and the Google-ing began.

wait, you’re getting married where?!?!?

They decided to get married in Croatia, specifically in the beautiful old town of Zadar, which, if you’ve read my blogs for a while, you’ll know means a lot to us and is where my husbands family all come from. And with the brides paternal grandparents being from the same town and with their tickets already booked for this year, my own in-laws having relocated there earlier this year, and a multitude of aunts, uncles, and cousins in Croatia ready to join us, the stage was set for one hell of a party.

there’s only one cathedral

There was never any question of which church they wanted, it was only ever going to be the cathedral of Saint Anastasia in the centre of the old town, in the shadow of it’s imposing bell tower and behind the ancient and breathtaking beauty that is St Donat. The church we’ve loved and visited for decades, and the church I’ve always wished I’d had the balls to get married in myself. Emails were sent, grandparents were dispatched to visit with the priest, and the big date was set.

you want to have the reception where???

We looked at reception venues, both outdoor and indoor, we looked at restaurants and considered all options, but from day one the bride and groom had their hearts set on having the reception dinner and celebrations at home. Specifically, my in laws home. Aka, the home where we were all going to be staying: one three bedroom home in a small Dalmatian village where a grand total of sixteen people would sleep over the course of that one month. and all the caterers…

Google Croatia became my new best friend as I madly searched for caterers that weren’t located on the other side of the country while being on the other side of the world and dealing with a nine hour time difference. Cousins were asked for recommendations, hours and hours were spent online, and after sifting through the stupidly expensive, the stupidly unresponsive {hello, do you even check your emails EVER???}, and the downright dodgy looking, we found our dream team. And maybe I’ve just never known because I don’t use caterers here, but I had NO IDEA how much they covered. From the marquee, tables, chairs, and tableware to on-site preparation of all the food, alcohol as well as a mobile coolroom and speakers/mic for music and speeches, PLUS wait staff who were on the clock until THREE IN THE MORNING. I contributed my $100 bucks worth of fairy lights purchased on eBay, the florist worked her magic to bring the brides vision to life, with olive branch table runners, lemons, and candles galore, and the whole thing looked like something out of a fairytale. Not bad for a little old Dalmatian village.

all hands on deck

As the days ticked down and we hit the home stretch it was so nice to see how amenable the whole damn town was to helping us with the details. The cake shops didn’t even flinch when we walked in to order a wedding cake as well as twelve kilos of mixed sweets five days before the wedding, the florist was booked with only three days to spare, and one of my husbands cousins proved to be the most connected guy in town, and helped us organise cars for the bride and her family, a bloody coach bus to transport all of our family to church and back {aka, the party bus}, and most importantly: bags of ice to keep all the beer cold. And let’s not forget the Thursday night group effort required to get all the fairy lights strung up along the marquee, stone walls, and nestled in the fig and olive trees.

there’s not enough cold beer

Two days before the wedding we managed an early morning swim, and we all agreed that wedding planning Croatian style definitely beat wedding planning Sydney style, because there’s no way in hell any of us would have been that calm or relaxed two days out from a Sydney wedding. And to be honest the only stress came in having enough cold beer on hand, what with the heatwave temperatures combined with a full house of beer drinking men, and then on Friday night all the out of town cousins and aunts and uncles arrived for an impromptu last night party and all bets were off. Warm beer it was. Two full size fridges and one bar fridge were just not up to the task, possibly because the fridge door was being opened every five minutes.

Good thing then that I stuck to champagne.  😉

Stay tuned for part 2: the wedding!

*Photos of cakes and tables are mine, all other photos are by Dalibora Bijelic, the wedding photographer.

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