Reichart Ramblings
The Thoughts & Travels of Shane & Amanda Reichart

The wedding

Oct 12, 2023 - Amanda Reichart

I slipped on my black dress hoping I hadn’t made a huge cultural mistake in my color choice. I reminded myself that it was the best I could find in such a short amount of time and that my research beforehand said it was perfectly acceptable to wear black to a European wedding. But still, I was headed to a wedding where I didn’t know anyone and certainly didn’t want to stand out for wearing the wrong thing.

Venue.jpgThankfully, my fears were soon set to rest as we made our way into the gorgeous cathedral and I began observing the other guests’ attire. I wasn’t sure what to expect at a Portuguese wedding, but I was very excited to find out!

The wedding was located at Basilica da Estrela in Lisbon. And what a setting for a wedding! It was beautiful. So beautiful in fact, that tourists were making their way in and out as the time for the wedding grew closer and closer. One tourist sat in our row as the wedding began until her friend noticeably signaled it was time for them to leave. With her hiking sandals and hiking pack she certainly stood out from the crowd!

The bride, Adriana, was beautiful! Her long veil and long-sleeve, lace-overlaid dress fit the space perfectly, but it was her smile and obvious joy that shone even brighter! The ceremony was a beautiful celebration of two lives coming together to serve Christ. From the music to the homily, it glorified our Savior, pointing to Him throughout. What a joy to witness two people coming together, both in love with each other and in love with God.

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The bride was Adriana, and the groom was Paulo. Adriana was lives in France and Paulo lives in Belgium. We later got to hear a bit of the back story of the difficulties of planning a wedding between three different countries with neither of them living in the country they were married in. We also got to hear of God’s provision to provide a way for them to be married in Basilica da Estrela when so many other places had refused to allow them to bring in their own pastor to be a part of the ceremony. The priest at Basilica da Estrela welcomed them and even told them he would practice English for six months in preparation of their special day. It was an answer to their prayers, and it was beautiful to watch it unfold.

Adriana and Paulo had graciously set up two charter buses for out-of-town guests to get from the wedding to the reception. We were very grateful as it was a long distance and our track record for getting around Portugal was dismal! I’m sure many others were grateful as well as there were people from Spain, France, Belgium, Sweden and many other countries in attendance! It was on our bus ride that the question arose from another guest about how we knew the couple. Shane quickly stated he had met the bride while traveling and it was left at that, but that was only a small portion of the story!

Reception.jpgThe cocktail hour was located at a vineyard and the space was perfectly staged with clusters of couches and chairs scattered throughout the space making it both cozy and romantic. There were tables of appetizers and hors d’oeuvre being brought around at regular intervals. Aside from being a bit breezy it was magical!

Cocktail hour led straight into the four-course meal. It began with a melon soup which was special to the couple as Paulo’s last name is Melancia which means “melon” and we learned in Portugal soup is served at most meals. The second course was fish and potatoes followed by the third course of duck and vegetables and finally the final dessert course. While planning to attending the wedding, we were surprised to see the time of the wedding was from 4 pm to 5 am! But as the time the charter bus was scheduled to take us back to our Airbnb neared, we better understood the timing. It was nearly midnight when the final course was served. Even with all that time passing I was beyond full! There was certainly no shortage of food! And then, after all that food, wedding cake was served! The couple celebrated with their first dance which was beautifully choreographed.

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It's natural to ask another guest if they’re friends of the bride or groom and how you met. But our story of how we know the couple is more than a little unusual. Shane met the bride at an online dating site about four years earlier and while traveling abroad met her, in person, in France in 2020. They talked on and off and became good friends but aside from video chats and a couple of in-person dates, their relationship didn’t go further than that. Near the beginning of 2022, Adriana told Shane she was starting a thirty-day prayer and fasting with some other women and was praying both for Shane’s spouse and for her own. It was around that same time that Shane and I met each other and Adriana met Paulo! So, while maybe the beginning of our friendship is uncommon, she is a dear sister in Christ and someone who sought God on our behalf! Shane and I are so grateful for her prayers and were so honored to have the chance to witness their marriage!

Champagne_toast.jpgIt was also an honor to meet so many of their friends! It was truly a wonderful group of people and made me feel connected again even though they were all complete strangers at the start! It was a balm to my homesick soul!

The next day we got to spend even more time with Adriana, Paulo, and their guests as they had set up a brunch and beach day! We again got to enjoy being with these wonderful people and even made plans to meet up with some on our upcoming trip to France!

Adriana and Paulo’s wedding was one of the highlights of Portugal! How incredible that God connected us all through many answered prayers. How precious to spend time with other believers celebrating and standing in awe of how good God is. How encouraging to see another couple starting their lives in worship of Christ and intentionally living out their days together serving Him!

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Congratulations Adriana and Paulo! We believe that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion!


(2) Comments:

Jill Stutsman - Oct 20, 2023 at 9:43am
This is stunning! The story. The warm hearted connections. And of course, the pictures! ❤️❤️❤️
Wendy Dexter - Oct 21, 2023 at 6:39pm
What a beautiful story and so well-written. The lovely pictures make me feel like I am there. I am looking forward to ready more of your adventures as you spread God's word!

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