Monday, June 18, 2018

Weddings in Germany

I am in Germany because my niece found a lovely young man to marry. She came to Germany to work for a company translating German into American English. Along the way, she met him, got to know him before they decided to get married.

I arrived in Germany just in time to check into a hotel before heading off to a family dinner. The family dinner was actually in place of the “rehearsal dinner”because that is not done in Germany. The groom took time to explain the reason behind it, the next morning while waiting to head off.

In Germany, the only way to be considered legally wed is to have a civil ceremony. Ministers in this country have not been granted this ability. Couples are usually married by a government official before they undergo the religious ceremony later in the day, the next week, or even a year or two down the line.

Since many family members came over from the states, the couple arranged to have both the civil and religious ceremonies on the same day.  Their local town has a historical building and grounds they open one Saturday a month for weddings in addition to the usual Monday to Friday during working hours.

So the couple took advantage of it and by 9:30 we were off to the civil ceremony.  Once the couple in front of us were finished the official came out to let us know expectations before taking us into the room. The bride and groom arranged for someone to translate everything said into English because most of the bride’s family spoke little to no German.

The official spoke about marriage having its ups and downs, of being a journey, etc.  She asked a couple of questions before acknowledging they were now legally married.  The groom had to initial a box giving the bride to take his last name.  We all laughed when the translation of that part came up.

When it was done, we headed out to get pictures of the couple, the families, etc while the next couple headed in for their turn. Outside, our group had to avoid the “bride and her ‘babes’’ bachelorette party, and a third group doing something there.  When the photographer finished taking photos, it was back to the house for a light lunch, a bit of down time, before walking over to the local Catholic Church for the wedding.

My mouth dropped.  Most of the Catholic Churches I have been in were no where as ornate as this one.  The religious service began at 3 pm.  The service was mostly conducted in German with some English in it.  The priest did a great job of translating the important sections into English.  Before long, this was over and everyone stepped out for more photos.

The photographer managed to communicate exactly what he wanted done with little to no English. He made us laugh a lot.  When we returned to the house, dinner was ready to go and we partied till well after 9 pm.

The groom said, that cousins used to ‘kidnap’ the bride so the groom had to find here but they decided not to include this custom because much of the bride’s family being American would not understand the custom.  One of the guests read a tribute using as many slang words for money as possible while giving them green paper for ‘green’ or play dough for ‘dough’. At the end of this speech, they were given a small box of sand to dig through for coins to start their married life with.

It was different but lots of fun. Tomorrow, I hope to share a few pictures of the two places.  Let me know what you think. I would love to hear.

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