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Friday, July 29, 2011

Sweden: Skanör Part III

The big day had finally arrived. I woke up bright and early, feeling better than I did the morning before. I still felt a little cloudy. It seemed the weather was feeling the same way I was. 


Jennifer wanted to meet for breakfast at her hotel around 9am. I wanted to the chance to head out to the beach to snap some shots. The time was flying by and there really was no time left but then. So, I bundled up, grabbed the camera and headed on a twenty minute walk out to the beach. I spent an hour that morning walking around photographing beautiful Skanör. You will see the photos in my post Sweden: Skanör Part IV.  


Now, I would like to tell the wonderful and loving story of Jennifer and Mathias. And, what better way than letting them do it themselves...


From the Bride, Jennifer

I met Mathias for the first time at the International School of Brussels (IBS). Well, I didn’t actually meet him. I admired him from afar. He was “MR. FOOTBALL STAR” and I was a “SERIOUS DANCER”! Secretly, I longed to be a cheerleader and memorized all of their moves. I was just dying to have my very own set of red and white pom-poms (GO RAIDERS!!!) and get to wear that beyond amazing little red and white cheerleader skirt, BUT instead of going to cheerleader practice I left every day after school to study with Bejart’s dance company, missing my big chance to meet Mr. Football and have him admire my “oh so brilliant cheerleader moves.” 

I owe my re-connection with Mathias to my dear friend Alexis Skib. Alexis is 27, a colleague and one of my dearest friends. She got me to “get with the times” and join Facebook. Thanks to Alexis and Facebook, I was reunited with Mathias. After many months of communicating by email and telephone, Mathias asked me out on a dinner date. I of course accepted. He made a reservation at Buddakan in NYC and flew in from Stockholm to take me out on our official first date. (Girls, need I say more?!). 


He had me at “hello” in the arrival terminal of the Newark International Airport! We spent the most amazing Spring and Summer together. Mathias proposed to me in Montauk on July 9th, 2010, on the beach. I will never forget that day! It was a beautiful summer evening. It was sunny, but sprinkling a little. When we got down to the beach the light rain stopped. Mathias walked me over to a driftwood log wedged in the sand by the dunes, sat me down on the log, got down on both knees in the sand and asked me to be his wife. With the crashing waves behind us, and this gorgeous, wonderful man in front of me holding a ring in his hand ... I said yes!!!

From the Groom, Mathias 

I remember Jennifer from the ISB, as the pretty ballet dancer that I never really got a chance to talk to. Jennifer remembers me as a football player at the same school. 

As we started mailing each other I very quickly realized that Jennifer is something very special.  I definitely wanted to meet her in person... sooner rather than later.  I was thinking “this is going to be a long shot”, me being in Stockholm and Jennifer in New York. But if she remembers me running down the side lines, perhaps the biggest prize as a result of my football days could still be won. 

So, I asked Jennifer for a date.  I looked for good restaurants in New York and booked a table for two at Buddakan in Manhattan. I took the Friday morning flight to New York for our date. 

We had a wonderful dinner and evening in New York and we spent a fantastic early spring weekend in Long Island. I quickly realized that Jennifer is even more special than I could imagine.

When I came back to New York for the summer I had made up my mind that I always wanted to be with Jennifer and I didn’t want to drop the ball and not win the biggest prize ever. By the 9 of July I could no longer wait to ask if she wanted to marry me.

Many people have asked "Why get married in Sweden?" Now that you know the story, it makes sense. However, my answer is always the same, "Why not?" Plus, it was the perfect reason for me to take a fun vacation! And fun is totally an understatement! 


While I'm telling stories, how about I share with you a little about Skanör as well...


About Skanör, Sweden



Beautiful Skanör is located on a small peninsula in the very south-west of Sweden. From Skanör you can see Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, on the other side of Oresund (which is the water between Sweden and Denmark). 
Since 2000 there is a bridge between Copenhagen (Denmark) and Malmö (Sweden), which also can be seen from Skanör. The bridge is the longest rail and road bridge in Europe.
Skanör is closely linked to the twin town called Falsterbo. So, very often the towns are both mentioned at the same time: ‘Skanör and Falsterbo’. It is sometimes hard to tell the difference between Skanör and Falsterbo.
In Falsterbo they have two golf courses. Falsterbo Golf Club is one of the oldest golf clubs in Sweden. The other golf course was started, as they say, by the caddies from Falsterbo Golf Club. Both are sea courses. If you like water, this is the place to play.
In Falsterbo there is also a famous  bird station. This is because of the fact that migrating birds want to fly across land for as long as possible before crossing the water. Falsterbo is the last possible pit stop before crossing the Baltic Sea.  Each season the bird station in Falsterbo put bands on more than 25 000 migrating birds.
In the Middle Ages there were huge amounts of herring in the waters outside Skanör and Falsterbo. The herring generated immense incomes for the kingdom of Denmark. To protect Skanör and to be able to collect taxes, the Queen of Denmark built a castle in Skanör. The ruins of the castle are just behind the Church of Saint Olof. The moat and hill can still be seen. It is hard to believe but Skanör was one of the most significant  cities in Scandinavia at the time. The herring heydays ended in the 1500s and since then Skanör has become a quiet fishing village.
Skanör and Falsterbo belonged to Denmark until 1658 when Denmark handed over all of the territory of ‘Skåne’ to Sweden as a result of a peace treaty.
Today Skanör and Falsterbo are known as affluent and charming small towns with about 7,000 permanent residents.  In the summer the number of residents grows significantly. Skanör and Falsterbo are like a smaller, simpler and Swedish style version of the Hamptons in Long Island.
Skanör is at its absolute best and most beautiful during the month of July. This is when most visitors come to enjoy the beaches and everything else that Skanör has to offer. July 2011 is expected to be the most beautiful and enjoyable summer in Skanör since the Middle Ages.

History of Saint Olof Church

The spectacular St. Olof church was built in various stages during the Middle Ages. The original building is from the 1200s. During the 1300s the church was extended and the south bell tower was erected. In the 1400s the church received its high arches and Gothic windows.
Skanör’s church is dedicated to St. Olof. He was king of Norway between 1015 and 1028 before he was he was elevated to sainthood. He became Scandinavia’s first and most popular saint. St. Olof had an important role in spreading Christianity in Scandinavia. St. Olof is depicted on the altarpiece wearing full armor.

After a lovely breakfast int he sun room at Jennifer's Hotel, we finalized some last minute details, picked up the flowers and headed back to start the "Getting Ready" process. It was such a touching moment helping Jen and the wedding party get ready for this special day. I helped Jen with some final make up touches, curled the flower girls hair and even managed time to still take some photos of the beautiful bride and her amazing gown. 


Getting Ready










Once Jennifer received approval from her bridesmaids, we were out the door and down the street to the church, which was literally next door. I still managed to have the camera in hand. I wasn't ready to pass it on to our friend Kelly who took all of the shots in the church, since I had another, more important, job to do! Thank you Kelly for the beautiful shots.  


The Wedding

















After the ceremony, Jen and Mathias were off on their sunset horse and carriage ride through the town. The guests found their way across the street to the Town Hall for a champagne toast honoring the new bride and groom. 


History of the Town Hall

It was decided in 1772, by his Royal Majesty King Gustav III of Sweden, to throughout the country of Sweden, collect funds for a Town Hall in Skanör.

This decision was a result of enterprising Mayer of Skanör. his name was Leonard de la Rose. he had asked the king and parliament in Stockholm to support a new Town hall in Skanör because the alternative was to have town meetings in his own home. The mayor received 4,000 silver coins to build this Town Hall.

Stones from the old Skanör castle, behind the church, were to be used for the foundation. The rest of the building materials were brought in by boat to the harbor in Skanör.

The opening ceremony was held on 24 September 1777. At this time, the outer walls had a pink color, and the roof was made out of straw. The roof was replaced in 1819, but it is not known when the outside was painted yellow.

You will see several paintings of Gustav III in the Town Hall. It is after him that the famous Swedish style 'Gustavian' is named. Gustav III was shot and mortally wounded while attending a masquerade at the opera in Stockholm in 1792. 

















It was nice to have the camera back and I had the wonderful opportunity to take some photos of Jen and Mathias once all the guests had headed towards the next event of the evening, the reception. 


Husband & Wife










What a beautiful and amazing couple. I am so honored to have been a part of their big day and to capture this special time in their lives.

Until next time, the biggest party in Skanör, the wedding reception...