Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Luxarazzi Experience: Remembering That Wedding Four Years Ago

Photo: Cour grand-ducale / Vic Fischbach
Oh my, how times flies...! Loads of you suggested that we revisit old events beneath that other post and I did ask for a new major event so why not have a look back at the biggest event in Luxarazzi history yet: The wedding of Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie four years ago yesterday and today. The wedding wasn't just our biggest event because it was the wedding of the heir to the throne but also because October 20, 2012 is still the busiest day we ever had on the blog - and it did make a lasting change to Luxarazzi. (Did you know that we introduced the Luxarazzi 101 series around that time to have a look back at other weddings and to introduce to you the wedding venues?)

Photo: Cour grand-ducale/Vic Fischbach
Over the last few days I have heard a number of stories how many of you became interested in the Grand Ducal Family through the wedding. As someone who has followed them a few years more, I can only say that that day in October four years ago considerably raised the international profile of the Grand Ducal Family - as well as ours. Through the wedding the number of people visiting our blog monthly has quadrupled with even more joining us for big events like other family gatherings or national days. 

In the days before the wedding, not only did Luxarazzi have far less readers, the Grand Ducal Family wasn't as internationally known. Outside of Luxembourgish media there was hardly anything to be found. Of course, they still aren't as famous as other royal families of Europe but that is also what attracts many people to keeping up with them, us included. These days, it's not like finding a unicorn when you see an article about them by the international and especially English-speaking media. The wedding actually also was the first time we were contacted by media to give our insight. I can tell you, it's a pretty surreal experience when BBC Radio asks whether you could do an interview with them. There was also some Luxembourgish and German media - it was pretty cool!

But how did we experience those two days four years ago? They were busy, really busy - maybe even stressful! I don't think we ever kept up with the number of posts we published during those two days and the days leading up to the wedding and sharing other bits and bobs afterwards. We tried to cover everything - from the details of that glorious Elie Saab dress, to the flowers and rings and make-up and music. Oh, and the tiara. And the cousins! The pre-wedding events, the wedding events, the post-wedding events, everything. Even the dinner menue. Frankly, we were really surprised how many details the famously secretive cour shared during those days. It probably wasn't just our biggest event, it was also their's.

Photo: Cour grand-ducale / Guy Wolff
I think it's quite needless to say due to all my gushing but to this day, the big wedding is still my favourite event in my time being a follower of the Grand Ducal Family. I enjoyed the low-keyness of the civil wedding. The fact that they walked from the palais the town hall, Guillaume and Stéphanie as well as other family members taking loads of time talking to all the people who lined the streets. It was the first real glimpse we got of the future Hereditary Grand Duchess. 

I also remember Nichole and me not being that much of a fan of Stéphanie during the religious wedding. She seemed very nervous and focused, not looking at her husband very much (or only when the camera wasn't on her). In retrospect, it's probably all too understandable considering everything that was going at the time with the loss of her mother. Not having one of the most important people in her life there, it was probably very hard to keep the composure. Luckily, it changed again once the couple left the church. You could even feel the joy of that day on our little screens.

Photo: Cour grand-ducale / Vic Fischbach
Of course, we also had loads of thoughts on the fashion of that day. We freaking loved the Elie Saab dress and shook our heads at some other creations that shall not be named. I also remember being pretty disappointed by the fact that this was probably the only time that we would see the extended family at a major gala event but that none of the cousins wore a tiara. They have more than enough for everyone and what's the point of having about 15 sparklers lying around in the vaults?! Speaking of the cousins, it's too bad most of them were pretty much so unknown even to the Luxembourgish media that there were hardly any pictures of them. Luckily for us, the wedding also raised their profile. One thing that did make up for lack of tiaras on their part was Princess Sibilla showing up in Queen Ena's Aquamarine Parure - what a way to end rumours of her family selling it!

The wedding of the Hereditary Grand Duke and Hereditary Grand Duchess was also the first time we came up with an exhaustive but not exhausting list of people who attended a major event. Four years on, it has become quite a regular thing for us after major events. But back then was the first time we waded through literally thousands of pictures of random strangers just to find a few familiar faces of the extended family, relatives and friends.

Photo: Cour grand-ducale / Guy Wolff
Funnily though, I seem to remember more bits and bobs of the wedding mass than the big thing. Princess Julie taking pictures with her phone. Those beautiful overhead shots of the fabulous train at the Cathédrale, the delightment they chose "Großer Gott wir loben dich" as the opening of the service - it may be the most popular of all German church songs but still also one of my personal favourites. The fact that Stéphanie wore the same diamond earrings her mother-in-law was apparently gifted by her own parents upon her wedding. One of the most touching moments was the minute or so the Count de Lannoy took to give his youngest daughter away. He was too frail to walk her down the aisle but they still took all the time they needed right in front of the altar for him to do so. Another thoughtful touch was that one of the intercession was read in Portuguese, the language of Luxembourg's largest immigrant group. Or that moment when Stéphanie apparently didn't know whether to sign with her maiden or her married name - and her new husband had no idea either (but thankfully the priest could help out)...

As you can imagine, I could go on and on. Like I said, it was my favourite event in seven years of Luxarazzi. Probably also due to the fact that we got to witness so much of it live and in high quality, something that is rare in grand ducal watching. Trust the woman who has stared at grainy, static livestreams of an empty cathedral for hours on end to catch a glimpse of the Grand Ducal Family at the closing of the Octave.

P.S. Also ead first hand accounts on being in Luxembourg for the wedding by Arjan we published two years ago here and here.

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