In February of 2020, we pulled off something pretty spectacular.
We made a fairly last minute change to our wedding plans. We were to have a big summer wedding, complete with all the fancy wedding stuff, but in the final few months we realised that the wedding we had organised wasn’t us in the slightest, and involved trying to please far too many people without focussing on the people who mattered. Us. So we cut our losses and went back to the drawing board.
A-ha! Stockholm! A place we had visited twice and fell in love each time. A place we’d hoped we would one day live. So, the research began, but we had to move quickly. Jess was incredible, booking a slot at city hall, finding out what documents were required, translating all of said documents, printing them and sending them off, all with time to spare! Our new wedding was booked, for the day exactly 10 years since we met. The flights were booked, the parents were coming, it was going to be amazing. Great! We had sorted it… we thought…
5 weeks before we were due to marry, I hadn’t heard from the Swedish Tax Agency to confirm that everything was okay, so I decided to call them. This was the first of several long, expensive international phone calls! They told us that, because we were not Swedish citizens, some of the forms we had sent were not applicable to us, and we needed the UK version. The document we needed was a ‘notice of marriage’, and for those who don’t know, takes exactly 4 weeks to be produced in the UK. Once we had this document, we had to present it to the Swedish Tax Agency with our ID for them to finally issue us with the Swedish equivalent, and the City Hall had to receive these Swedish documents before they could confirm our booking!
Well, I was working away at the time, but I frantically called around our local registry office, our wedding venue and the Swedish Tax Agency to see if there is any way I could make this work.
But everything had to go exactly to plan.
I got an appointment with our registrar exactly 4 weeks before our outbound flight was due from Manchester Airport, a 2.5 hour drive from where we live. I had to come home early from working away in order to make this appointment. This would mean that we would have to pick the documents up 4 weeks later, as soon as the office opened, race to the airport to make our afternoon flight. But we managed to get our UK documents, so we just needed everything in Sweden to go according to plan.
I spoke with the Swedish Tax Agency and explained our situation, and they confirmed that they would be able to issue us with the certificates that we needed on the same day that we arrive. We were arriving on the Thursday night and were due to marry on the Saturday. The Tax Agency opened at 10am on the Friday.
I also managed to make an arrangement with the City Hall, and they were happy as long as they received the documents before they closed, the day before our wedding was due to take place. Perfect, I thought, until I realised that they closed at noon on Fridays.
So the main part that needed to go right, only had a two hour window to go right, including travel between the two places. We had a hire car, so this wasn’t such an issue.
But we arrived at the Swedish Tax Agency and we were met with puzzled looks and “sorry, we can’t do that”. Fortunately, I had kept all records of conversations in preparation for this, but we were losing hope. Our window was closing, fast. I had a case worker who I had been speaking to who confirmed it was all possible, and I was frantically trying to call her. More expensive calls! Her direct number wouldn’t work, so I called her office and asked for her, to be told that she was on sick leave. At this point, it was 11am. We had 1 hour remaining to hand over our documents, or our wedding the next day would not be taking place.
And then I got a call.
“Hi, this is Matilda from the Swedish Tax Agency. I am working on your case in the absence of my colleague. Could you pass me over to the clerk who is dealing with your request please?”.
So of course, I obliged. They had some conversations in Swedish that me and Jess could not understand. We had no idea whether the conversation was positive or negative and we just had to wait. And then it happened, our clerk brought over our certificates. We had done it, we just needed to get them to the City Hall, with 30 minutes to spare!
We got to the hire car and noticed a parking ticket, which we promptly ignored in our haste, and raced to the City Hall during Friday lunchtime city traffic, probably breaking several traffic laws en-route. And we made it to this large over-arching building, that had many different doors for many different purposes. I now had 5 minutes to run around the whole building looking for the correct place to drop it off. And I made it. We breathed a huge sigh of relief.
The next day, we got married as planned, and had an amazing day and trip. Jess looked beautiful, the venue was incredible, and the photos we have to keep are phenomenal. It was just perfect.
Matilda the case worker really saved the day. “What a nice name”, we thought. And the name laid dormant in our minds.