Saturday, August 11, 2012

the big day: eine deutsche Hochzeit

On Saturday at 2:00 pm we went to the church for the wedding ceremony. It was a Catholic ceremony, so many of the texts and the format of the service were rather familiar. The bride's family is very musical, so there were great pieces, and the bride's sister even planned a surprise song for the end of the service. It was really beautiful, and I would say at the church it was very similar to American weddings, except they don't do the bridesmaids/groomsmen thing. They just each have one witness (Trauzeuge). The groom chose to wear a suit and not even a tie (which I guess was pretty radical...). Everyone greeted/congratulated the couple, and we had a glass of Sekt. Then they drove off in an old Mercedes decorated with flowers and we all walked to the reception at a nearby hotel, next to a park overlooking the city. First we all sat down and had Kaffee und Kuchen around 4:00 pm (I'm loving German weddings already...). At this point they already cut the wedding cake (Hochzeitstorte) and people had that with the other cakes - many other different kinds of traditional homemade cakes. I sampled a few...too many. I also think many of the children had a sugar rush. :)
After Kaffee und Kuchen people walked out in the rose garden nearby, and took some pictures. They also took a huge group photo of everyone there. (we don't do this - right?) And this is also when the bride threw her bouquet into the group of single women. (No garter equivalent in Germany for the men). Then people had some punch...and then dinner was served: first two appetizer courses at the tables (melon with black forest ham, and then Maultaschen) and then a large buffet with three different kinds of meat, fish, potatoes, vegetables, and of course Spaetzle...The food never ended, or the wine and beer either. It was all so much and so generous. The father of the bride gave a toast, and the bride's sisters sang, and then after dinner there was a little "program" with a quiz game about the couple (I guess there are often games involving the guests, but they didn't want that), and puppet show (which was hilarious). I think the dance started a lot later than it would have in the States (maybe around ten or midnight?). They had dessert at some point as well...and the couple did a dance together, and later a friend of the groom's who is a reggae DJ played. It turned into a great party that quieted down at 3:00 when they made us turn off the music, and then at 4:00 after one last drink. What a party!

 Another interesting German tradition: they also give money as gifts (no such thing as a wedding registry at Target here...), but they "deliver" the money in super creative ways. The mother of the bride told us there are even whole books about it in Germany, how to do "money origami." Funny, huh? So they fold it into little birds, or flowers, and then wrap the "present"  in plastic cellophane. Someone gave them a little house made out of plaster, that they would have to break open for the money. Another a little "beach house" that was decorated with a money-bird, a money polo shirt, money chairs...Stuff like that. :) Really funny!
look for the money hidden in the gifts above

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