Time for another installment of things we made for the wedding. This time, hearts (or, as the Danes call them, hjerter).
The Danes love a good heart (as in a love heart, not an actual living pumping anatomical heart, though I’m sure they’re grateful for them too). At Christmas you will see many a red and white woven paper heart (matching the colours of the Danish flag the Dannebrog) hanging from your average Danish Christmas tree (along with, of course, a garland or four of Danish flags).
One of the many Danish wedding traditions is the creation of the Æresport/Gate of Honour, a garland of pine branches and flowers made by the main people involved in the wedding (but not the bride and groom) put up around the doorway of the lucky couple’s home. And of course, what better to put in the centre of the garland but a large red painted heart with the couple’s name and date of the wedding? This tradition is repeated when the couple celebrate their silver wedding, and which my sister and I had the pleasure of taking part in for our parents’ sølvbryllup/silver wedding in Denmark in 2005.
Sadly, Jeffrey and I didn’t have a Gate of Honour at our wedding (crikey, there was enough to do anyway!), but unbeknownst to us min Mor og Far (my Mum and Dad) had been busy making plenty of wooden painted Danish hearts – 50 to be precise. Two large ones – one for the entrance to the marquee and one for the gift/kransekage/guestbook area – and about 48 smaller ones for most of the guests to take away with them. My Dad cut the hearts out of MDF, my Mum painted them red and stenciled S J on the smaller ones, while my Dad added the finishing touch of the hand painted wedding date (and names on the larger hearts). Ribbon was added to the small hearts and Jeffrey was tasked with hanging one small heart off each chair back – a task that quite frustrated him I believe, especially when I had to pull him up on his hanging technique.
But what a lovely little Danish touch. And a really lovely addition from my parents who had already done so much to make our wedding day and the marquee so special.
Pat, my now brother-in-law, summed up the heart addition nicely when he said to Jeffrey:
“I’d give all my limbs to have a Dad that would do that for me”.