~cow bells & wedding bells~

August 24th, 2008

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We visited our friends Klaus and Sabine and their two sons in their vacation cabin for a night. It was heaven, and very much needed! We stayed near Chur, in the Medieval village of Parpan–a magical place that looks exactly like what everyone imagines when you say “I live in Switzerland!” Very Von Trapp.

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Parpan comes from the French partis-pain, meaning bread-deliverer. Love that.

Our train ride took us across the whole of Suisse, from our French border to their Italian one.
We rode far away from a studio apartment filled with the air of wedding plans–two parties on two coasts from another continent, to be exact. If it doesn’t make you crazy, up until 3am, not eating, it will at least make your focus that of a pin-point. Lil’ Edie moments are sure to follow…

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It means you will spend time–nearly involuntarily–on websites like the dreaded the knot, or (oh the horror) indie bride, or the truly okay offbeat bride, because these are the only concise repositories of venue rental advice on the whole of the internet.

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You will begin calling your party location a venue. From there, there is nowhere to go but down.

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Venue, menu, cake, rings, invites, guest lists, hotels, registries, musicians, decor, caterers, furniture rental, photographers, budget, officiant, ceremony, etiquette, and the sometimes seemingly inexplicable feelings people you love have about every single thing on that list–down to your frosting choice–these become the only thing, the very only thing.

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Plus whatever shall you wear?

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If you want things to be handmade and natural, not standard wedding white plastic, it will mean quite a bit of designing, commissioning, and DIY, even for an intimate non-wedding party. Anyway, non-wedding is really a semantical fiction: if you plan to wed–not elope–and anyone at all will be there, it’s A Wedding with all the joy, excitement, incredible generosity of spirit, and loaded meaning that entails for all involved.

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After a few days (okay, a week) trolling the internet you have your fill of so-called wedding porn–for example, while researching where to buy peacock feathers, you find yourself on a forum where women (always women) debate for pages the relative merits of feathers to say, decorative pumpkins. It can start to get you down.

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the second cream from the right does actually say “sh*t fly.” gotta love the Suisse.

At the beginning you might have scoffed at their contrived, kiss-for-the-camera engagement photos, but like many things in life that require a mile in the proverbial (gold, rhinestoned) moccasins, instead you feel for these gals and their heart-breaking hysteria because you have felt it too. Not without some self-irony, but still.

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And that’s when you know its time to go to Parpan.

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We hiked up a trail littered for miles with beautiful goat rib bones and pine cones,

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we discovered the intricacies (read: got butts kicked) of a German Monopoly-like game called Settlers of Catan,

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we ate meringue and a delish dish Sabine made from the local ladies cookbook, and five-year old cheese that looked (and smelled) like 100 year old egg.

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After walking all the way to the top, we road an incredible ski-lift down (no fear at all!),

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and heard a man play an ancient church organ.

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We met cows, lots and lots of cows. And horses who nuzzled, and goats who just stood on the dining room table like it ain’t no thing.

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After twenty-four hours we were posing for our own kinda engagement portraits, without even knowing it. (see next entry…)

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