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It’s a Nice Day for a Mud Wedding

Stig surprised us with an announcement over breakfast. He asked our team leader Jørn Hurum if he could borrow the team for half an hour. Everyone looked puzzled. “Well, I am going to get married today, in camp. And you are all invited.” (Read earlier posts to catch up.)

By Aubrey Jane Roberts and Victoria Engelschiøn Nash

Stig’s fiancée was going to visit the camp with a group of kept-in-the-dark friends from their local geology club. They had even smuggled in a justice of the peace. Wedding invitations were passed around with the morning coffee, and we had about 30 minutes to prepare. PhD student Bitten Bolvig Hansen created a bridal bouquet of duct-tape roses, bow ties, and bows for the girls. Even in the field, certain expectations need to be reached.

The happy couple had thought of nearly everything. We got them a bridal bouquet, but they had organized every other necessity. Especially ear plugs for the wedding night, as it had to be spent in the middle of our tented camp. (Photo by Victoria Engelschiøn Nash)
The happy couple had thought of nearly everything. We got them a bridal bouquet, but they had organized every other necessity. Especially ear plugs for the wedding night, as it had to be spent in the middle of our tented camp. (Photo by Victoria Engelschiøn Nash)

Only best-man Øyvind and guitar player Bjørn on the team, knew about the surprise. The field-wedding had been planned for months, with the help of the Spitsbergen Travel guides and the Longyearbyen bakery, Fruene. When the whole group arrived, Stig and his fiancée broke the secret to their friends. There were a few minutes of confusion, but after Stig and Lillian had changed into their wedding gear (our work suits), everyone took their places. It was very moving, having a wedding ceremony in these epic surroundings. The rain also stopped for a few minutes.

The happy couple, Stig and Lillian, with best men Øyvind and Glenn. (Photo by Victoria Engelschiøn Nash)
The happy couple, Stig and Lillian, with best men Øyvind and Glenn. (Photo by Victoria Engelschiøn Nash)

After the ceremony sparkling apple soda and the wedding cake (fresh cinnamon buns) were brought out, and we toasted the happy couple. The guys arranged a saluting squad, to properly salute the newlyweds. And the groom had already given the bride her wedding present a large shoulder tattoo of two plesiosaurs shaped as a heart, with the date written underneath.

Bartender Tommy, serving sparkling alcohol free apple cider. For safety reasons, the camp has a strict non-alcohol policy. However, the combination of bubbles and sugar still do the trick. (Photo by Victoria Engelschiøn Nash)
Bartender Tommy, serving sparkling alcohol free apple cider. For safety reasons, the camp has a strict non-alcohol policy. However, the combination of bubbles and sugar still do the trick. (Photo by Victoria Engelschiøn Nash)

The group was both moved and in a slight state of shock. However, afterwards it was business as usual with the whole group plus the newlyweds going back to our dig site to continue what we are really here for–the fossils. Although the newlyweds did get their own “tent suite” for the night, and best-man Øyvind had to find somewhere else to sleep.

The saluting squad is getting ready for some serious saluting. (Photo by Victoria Engelschiøn Nash)
The saluting squad is getting ready for some serious saluting. (Photo by Victoria Engelschiøn Nash)

Read All Posts by Aubrey Jane Roberts

Comments

  1. Beate Engelschiøn
    Norway
    August 11, 5:08 pm

    Well, it was a blast! I feel really lucky who both got to do this special ceremony, and visit your camp to se how you work.