Online dating: Happily ever after is just one click away

Online dating: Happily ever after is just one click away

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Getting married is so much easier on Facebook than in real life.

When I set up the profile on my Facebook page, one of the pieces of information requested was my relationship status. Since my boyfriend was also on Facebook, he needed to 'confirm' the relationship. So at first, my profile said 'in a relationship with Bas Linders (awaiting confirmation'”. I also received a message to confirm our relationship for his profile. My options were 'confirm relationship' and 'cancel relationship'. These things seem so simple on the internet.

In brick-and-mortar life, however, the decision to confirm your relationship involves more than the click of a mouse. First, we had to deal with all the paperwork at the Stadhuis (City Hall).

All weddings in the Netherlands are done by City Hall. Even if you intend to get married in a church, you still have to be married by City Hall for the union to be acknowledged by the Dutch government. This means there is a lot of competition for appointments at City Hall and it’s very expensive to have the ceremony on a Friday or Saturday. Since some of our guests would be travelling to the wedding, we decided to get married on a Monday morning and make a long weekend of the festivities. We planned the party for Sunday at our apartment. This meant that I had to shop for TWO wedding outfits, one for Sunday and one for Monday. Oh, the sacrifices we make for love….
Ceremony in the Stadhuis
A few weeks before the ceremony, the wedding official visited our apartment. Over tea and cookies, she asked us questions about our relationship and told us what would happen in the ceremony. Since there would be people at the ceremony who understood Dutch, but no English and people who understood English, but no Dutch, she would ask Bas to take his vows in Dutch and I would take my vows in English. I would respond with “I do”. Bas was warned to say, “Ja,” (yes) and not, “Ik wil,” which is not, “I will,” but, “I want to”. The official said that wanting to was not good enough, he needed to promise.

When the big weekend arrived, so did the relatives. Guests were flying in from the US and all over Europe. We spent much of the weekend translating from Dutch to English and English to Dutch. The party was an open house starting at 14:00. By mid-afternoon, our small apartment was wall-to-wall with people. The tiny balcony was packed with smokers. Someone dumped over one of the trays of catered food, so there was a scramble to get more food on the table. As the evening wore down, the crowd was reduced to family and just a few friends. Sleeping bags were unrolled and the living room floor hosted our wedding slumber party.

Kiss on the KornbrugOn Monday morning, we all got dressed for the ceremony. We all met at the Stadhuis, a beautiful building from the 17th century. When everyone was seated inside, the ceremony began. Unlike American weddings, in the Netherlands the bride and groom sit in chairs in front of the official. We only had to stand to take the vows. The official often addressed the guests and it felt like we were all in this together as a family.

As part of the ceremony, there was a story of an African god and goddess who embraced and created the world. The world they created is symbolized by a bi-color gourd, the green part on the bottom is the earth and the yellow part on the top is the sky. The official held one of these gourds and talked about how we were creating our own world together. She presented it to us and in all the photos after the ceremony, Bas is holding our world in his hand.

The day after the wedding, Bas changed his relationship status on Facebook. I received an email with this subject line, “Bas Linders said that you two are married…”. The message said, “Bas said on Facebook that you two are married. We need you to confirm that you are, in fact, married to Bas. To confirm this relationship request, follow the link below:…”


Lynelle Barrett / Expatica

Lynelle Barrett is an editor at Expatica and has, in fact, confirmed her relationship.

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