On Saturday I attended my first wedding in Sweden. I am hesitant to say Swedish Wedding as, despite the geographical location, there was probably very little about the wedding that was traditionally Swedish. The bride is Swedish but has Finnish heritage and she met her groom in San Francisco, an American of Taiwanese descent. The guests assembled from all over the globe, although I believe that I was the only representative of the UK. Luckily for me the service and after dinner speeches were all conducted in English: finally, a Swedish party that I could understand.
The wedding took place at Rockelstad castle, a breathtakingly picturesque estate on the shores of lake Båvan. Inspired by the Swedish national romanticism era the castle as it stands now was built sometime in the seventeenth century, although archeologists estimate that this prime location has been inhabited since the Iron Age and it was first mentioned in recorded history in the fourteenth century.
Beautiful and serene, the castle has been tainted with history of a more controversial nature as the location where Hermann Goering, German politician, leading member of the Nazi party and Hitler’s designated successor, first met and fell in love with his Swedish wife Carin Fock – a woman who later became known as the First Lady of the Nazi party. Whilst working for Svenska Lufttrafik he was enlisted by Swedish explorer Eric Von Rosen who needed a brave pilot to fly him back to his estate at Rockelstad during a severe snowstorm. When conditions took a turn for the worse Goering was forced to spend the night in the castle and it was love at first sight for him and the already married Carin. Rockelstad castle was perhaps where Goering became familiar with the swastika – an ancient viking symbol of good luck that Von Rosen had first seen on runestones whilst at school. Many of the castle’s furnishings carry the swastika emblem which are still clearly visible today. Coincidentally they have nothing to do with Goering, the castle’s most infamous guest.
The bride could not have chosen a more beautiful setting and the looming clouds from the morning even held off for the ceremony, making way for a stunning evening sunset. Guests were treated to an outdoor ceremony by the lakeside and a sumptuous buffet dinner followed by drinking and dancing until the evening hours – with a short break to launch candlelit lanterns up into the clear evening sky and over the lake. The castle has seven houses that can be rented out to wedding parties and other functions and so many of the guests were able to stay in the castle grounds, making full use of the estate’s sauna, bowling alley and kayaks.
It was a truly magical day which was an honour to attend.