Mr & Mrs Parle


After a week in Vienna and a few days of very welcome rest in Slovenia we’re back in London and struggling to remember what it’s like to not be planning a wedding. It’s been an exciting, fun, exhausting and manic couple of weeks, and I dare say it will take a little while longer for the new Mrs Parle and me to settle back to normality.

As Eileen said when she posted about choosing the destination, one of Vienna’s big advantages was how historically sunny and dry it has been in June. But if you’ve looked at the news in the last week you might be aware that right now there’s not much of central Europe that would reasonably be described as ‘dry’. Or, in some cases, ‘still there’. The residents of Prague are commuting by submarine. Switzerland is pondering what to do with a coastline.

It rained nearly constantly from the moment we arrived on the Tuesday before the wedding. For three days everyone we met took pains to assure us that rain on a wedding day — beside being the height of irony — is a good sign. “It rains luck,” they said. Unfortunately it also rains cold and wet, not to mention potentially underwhelming photos.

So we were understandably delighted when Saturday came around and brought with it the most preposterously beautiful weather we could have hoped for in, even our least restrained moments of optimism. It. Was. Gorgeous. Eileen still has the sunburn to prove it. And the photos? Well, they turned out just fine…

Big wheel

Besides the amazing weather, the rest of the day was similarly eager to please. All of the people involved — the celebrant and the interpreter, the driver who brought us and our photographer to the city’s best sights, the staff at the two venues, and most importantly our bridesmaids, groomsmen and readers — were just brilliant. Either our friends and family are incredible actors or everyone had a fantastic time. Our two goals for the day were to be married and to throw a great party. Achievement unlocked on both counts.


One of the best aspects of the day for me was seeing so many of our friends from different circles meeting each other for the first time. I especially enjoyed the river of “X is now friends with Y” posts in my Facebook stream over the following couple of days, and seeing photos from a dinner that a group of Londoners and Dubliners organised for themselves the day after. I’m now trying to think of excuses to bring some of the same people together again in the future. There’s definitely something to be said for having your favourite people all together in one place (something other than “single point of failure”).

They say there are only two times when all of your friends and family come together to celebrate you, and the second is your funeral, so it’s important to get the first one right. I think we did pretty well, and I’m grateful to all of the people who helped it happen.

After the wedding we spent a few days relaxing in Slovenia, but I think I’ll save that for another post. The John Lewis delivery man has just left, and it’s time to try out some new kitchenware.

Coffee in Vienna

Here starts a few blog posts about what to expect in Vienna for our dear wedding guests.

My favourite type of Viennese coffee is the Verkehrter, or in German German, Milchkaffee. What’s yours? Here’s a helpful guide to getting the kind of coffee you want when you go to one of those fancy Viennese coffee shops:

Viennese coffee explained on the menu at Kipferl in Angel

Viennese coffee explained on the menu at Kipferl in Angel

If you’re trying to decide which coffee shop to go to, whether Freud or Trotsky’s preferred drinking place floats your boat, Wikipedia will let you know who drank where.

When you enter a Viennese coffee shop, you’ll be expected to seat yourself unless you see a sign saying otherwise – there’s generally a non-smoking section and a smoking section, so look for ashtrays or lack of ashtrays on the tables to let you know what you’re signing up for. By the entrance there is usually a rack of newspapers and magazines attached to long wooden sticks – these are free for whomever wants them while they are at the coffee shop, and there are often ones in English as well so have a look and help yourself.

Via Bill McIntyre on Flickr

Via Bill McIntyre on Flickr

The waiters will be better dressed than James Bond, except for their aprons. Try to make eye contact with a waiter to order. To start the conversation, try “Grüß Gott” – it’s what Austrians say instead of “Guten Tag”. One way to order is to say “ich hätte gern” or “ich möchte” and then say whatever you want on the menu, with “und” to link it, and end with “bitte”. When they bring you coffee, it will usually be with a glass of water and on a silver tray, and you’ll want to say “Danke schön” or “danke sehr”. If you want cake, they may tell you on the menu what they have, but chances are you may need to go over to the big glass case of cakes, peruse and point. Once you’ve bought something at a coffee shop here, much like Starbucks in the US, you can stay as long as you like. At some of the busier shops you may get the evil eye from tourists like yourself who are queueing for a table, but you are entitled to stay there.

When you are ready to pay, you will need to hail the waiter. One way to ask for the bill is “ich möchte zahlen”, literally, ‘I would like to pay’. Tipping is an art – they will tell you, and sometimes show you, the amount you owe. What you then want to do is round up by approximately 10% in your head, hand them cash, and tell them how much cash to give you back. Example: I have just had an inexpensive dinner and the waiter tells me it will be €14,40. I hand him a €20 note and ask for €4 back. You’ll see he often has his wallet out already to facilitate change making. I would say “4 zurück, bitte” and he would say “danke schön” because that includes his tip, and then he would give me my change.ich_wuensche_dir_einen_schoenen_tag_13

They’ll often wish you a nice day, “ich wünsche Ihnen einen schönen Tag noch” to which you can say “gleichfalls, danke”, ‘same to you, thank you’. And of course, “Auf wiedersehen”, ‘until the next time we see each other.’

Auf wiedersehen! 😀

Is it that time already?

How are you all doing? How am I? Well it’s ten days to our wedding so…despite all the last-minute madness, I am just fine.

  • After having established that all Rory has to do to legally wed me is say “Ja” and bring his passport to prove his identity, we’re not worried about language being a barrier.
  • Everyone has their dresses and the dresses are being made to fit like gloves.
  • We have finished our dance lessons, which is really quite exciting.
  • We are halfway packed for the journey over next week.
  • Our first American guest is arriving in London tonight.

I have split my focus between planning the event itself and planning spending time with friends and family around the event – in London and in Vienna. We never get so many brilliant people in our lives together so can’t miss this opportunity to see everybody, and to enjoy people from different parts of our lives meeting each other. For example, the bridesmaids have never met each other and know of each other only over my essay-style emails. This will be fun.

Given that everyone is busy planning what to see and do in Vienna, I will follow up on this post with some ideas for you all. In the interim, do check out our friend Em’s blog posts about food and drink and sightseeing in Vienna from just last month – she has some great ideas.

Three months to go!

By splash-of-equine

By splash-of-equine

We are getting there.

I’m making one last trip out to Vienna for a couple days this month to make sure the last few things are in order (and to add to restaurant and coffee shop suggestions too!).

My wedding dress is in the post. Rory’s suit consultation is booked.

The hen and stag dos are in the works.

By Pascal Reusch

By Pascal Reusch

The Irish government is ponderously going through Rory’s documentation (I say ponderous given that they lost his first birth certificate, neglected to state on their website where to present/send the forms to get the right documents, and neglected to mention how long it would take to process them – over a month). When they eventually give it back, then it goes to the translator and then the city government civil servant in Vienna who can give us official permission to marry.

Next month we’re picking up our bespoke wedding rings from Greystones. I highly recommend the Danish-Irish Amoc Jewellers if you’re looking for stylish jewellery with clean lines and unique settings – not only did they make beautiful rings for Rory’s aunt and her daughter, but also my engagement ring.



We are so looking forward to having a big party with all our favourite people to celebrate us making our commitment to each other official. There will be laughter, sunshine (we hope!), and most importantly, lots and lots of wine.

Musical wedding speech

My musical tastes are stuck in the distant past, and my musical knowledge atrophied some time in the nineties, so I’m not particularly aware of McFly as a band. But this video from Tom Fletcher was bouncing around Twitter all day today, and having finally taken the time to watch it I just had to share.

Don’t expect any musical speeches at our wedding, at least from me, but the bar has been properly raised here.


We have a spreadsheet with ideas for the running order for the wedding. A few of the events (procession, ring exchange, etc.) will have music, so they have notes next to them reading ‘Song 1’, ‘Song 2’, etc. Eileen has helpfully included the disclaimer, “(not Blur)” beside where it says ‘Song 2’.


We’ve been talking about our dream honeymoon for a while now, and we’d really like to go to New Zealand this time next year. This is due to the adventure sports, wine, scenery and the fact we find Kiwis tend to be quite likeable people, but mainly for the hobbits.


Matamata, near the Hobbiton set, via ed 37 ~~ on Flickr

Half way

When Eileen pointed out that it’s nine months to the wedding from today I realised that we’ve also been engaged for very nearly nine months. So I did a bit of arithmetic to find out when we’ll hit the half-way point.

Counting the day I proposed, and not counting the wedding day itself, our engagement will last 539 days. The 270th day of that period, the exact midpoint, will be this Tuesday September 4th. Which just happens to be Eileen’s 30th birthday!

Whoah! We’re half way the-ere! Whoa-oh! Livin’ on a prayer!