A Swedish Midsummer Wedding

Jared and Jeanette having fun with Swedish street signs, teehehe!

Leave it to my friends and me to giggle every time we see a street sign with the word “fart” in it. Some adolescent tendencies are just too fun to let go.

Silliness was aplenty on my trip to Sweden last month. When I wasn’t giggling at fart signs (FYI “utfart” means exit/way out – quite fitting if you ask me), I was being magically turned into a pig with no legs, or hopping like a frog around a flowery, phallic-looking maypole, or prancing fancifully through a flower meadow.

Silly moose-ing around with Jeanette’s farfar (grandpa)

Silly Princess Isabelle donning her flower basket tiara

Silly Jared, mean-muggin’ in his tree-cuttin’ threads

Silly me with Isabelle, pondering sticky leafy thingamabobs on our noses

Some things in life just can’t be explained. Take it from me, though, that all the silliness that made up my Sweden trip was indubitably fitting for the occasion.

That occasion being Jared and Jeanette’s wedding!

How gorgeous are they?

And likewise, how fantastically SILLY are they?

Jared has been a dear, dear friend of mine for the last 10 years, and I can honestly say there is no one more right for him than Jeanette. He really married his perfect girl!

So you can imagine what an honor it was to be his Best (WO)Man. Admittedly, I bombed my speech and was so nervous on stage, I actually forgot to TOAST the happy couple altogether, ug. Who does that?! I’m terribly embarrassed.

But I did get a consolation prize: I caught the bridal bouquet! Yay me!

‘Twas a beautiful and joyous celebration of Jared and Jeanette’s love.

Photo credit: #josefineeej

Photo credit: #jeanetteemmy

Their romance has been an international one, spanning three countries: they met in Santa Monica, USA, got engaged in Shanghai, China and tied the knot in the bride’s hometown of Kvarnbacken, Sweden! Here is a love story map I made for them:

(A post-wedding version of this would show their honeymoon in PARIS and their new home in DALLAS! And turns out my Chinese and Swedish translations were a bit off. Oops! I tried.)

As if their romance couldn’t be any more charming, Jared and Jeanette got married on Midsummer’s Eve, one of the most celebrated holidays in Sweden. The annual summer solstice tradition involves wearing flower garlands (“krans” in Swedish), eating pickled herring, singing silly songs and doing a series of whimsical dances around a maypole. Basically, more Swedish silliness, which was delightfully perfect!

Jane looking gorgeous in her midsummer krans

Photo credit: #brent.earles

Video stills courtesy of Tomas Hedström

If the maypole looks to you like it has a set of balls hanging from it, well…it might have something to do with the maypole being a symbol of fertility and procreation!

In addition to the wedding, I got to spend my time in Sweden as honorary member of both sides of the family, explore the region and enjoy other Swedish traditions. It was such a treat!

The bride’s village: Kvarnbacken | Population: 11 (yes, ELEVEN)

Kvarnbacken on a map
(the nearby town of Umeå would become the farthest north I’ve ever been in the world!)

Jeanette’s childhood home, where her mom Carina and sister Isabelle currently live

Isabelle welcomed me with a lovely drawing and even loaned me her princess bedroom for a couple nights. Thank you Isabelle! (Or shall I say, “TACK!”)

A warm välkommen (welcome)

Both the US flag and the Swedish flag flying proudly together

Fika: a Swedish tradition of gathering friends for coffee and sweets

Our fika hosts, mormor and Ivan (Jeanette’s grandparents)

Mormor and Ivan also make an amazing “sill” aka pickled herring. I’m OBSESSED!

A group of us enjoying sill with Kent, the bride’s father (on the left)

The bride and her farfar

Jared and his new sister-in-law at Grundsunda Church

Brent photographing Grundsunda (built in the 14th century!)

Grundsunda Hembygdsgård, the cultural center

Kent and Brent: A budding bromance between the bride’s and groom’s fathers (adorable!)

A friendly game of Kubb aka the throwing of wooden sticks at other wooden sticks

Isabelle showing me the special addition to mormor’s and Ivan’s barn

Psycho – I mean Sakja – our Husum housemate

The bride’s sisters at grandma’s playhouse

Picking flowers with Isabelle

A day in Umeå

Hearts all over Umeå!

The region’s largest town: Örnsköldsvik

A couple shots I took around Husum, which was my home for two weeks

The sun didn’t fully set the entire time I was there. Here’s the sky at 10:50pm:

Here’s the sky again at 3:37am. Crazy!

We did an awesome day hike in the High Coast at Skuleskogen National Park to Slottdalsskrevan, a mountain crevice formed during the ice age

Photo credit: #jeanetteemmy

Our last dinner together: Public Restaurant in Örnsköldsvik

Left to right: Ivan, Josefine, Brent, me, Kent, Jared, Isabelle, Carina, Jeanette, Mormor, Farfar, Jane

I miss them all already! Watching these two families become one was a really beautiful thing. And to be embraced as a part of this family made it extra special. So much LOVE!

To both families, a warm and heartfelt TACK. And since my silly self forgot to raise a toast at the wedding: SKÅL!

More wedding photos can be found on Instagram: #earleswedding.

Click here for Jared and Jeanette’s wedding video! Courtesy of Tomas Hedström (his first-ever wedding video, and he did a beautiful job). Also, you can see me catching the bouquet at the very end!

For more on the Swedish Midsummer tradition, check out this adorable video: Swedish Midsummer for Dummies.

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