It’s was a late summer day in August, love was in the air and we were invited to a Saturday afternoon wedding and baptism. One of my darling boyfriends old roommates were getting married to his lovely wife and at the same time they wanted to baptize their little 16 months old daughter, so for the wonderful occasion we took the trip to Essen, a city close to Dusseldorf in Germany, to be a part of their day.
We had been talking about this weeding for months, wondering what it would be like and if it would be anything like a typical church wedding at all, because from the invitation and from what they happy couple had been telling us, we did not know what to expect! We were told that there was no dress code at all, it was going to be very low key and untraditional wedding, but looking back, my impression is that wedding traditions are hard to get away from, but you can give them a little twist.
The wedding ceremony was held at the St. Immakulate Church in Essen, Germany, a church that looked nothing like a church from the out side. When we arrived we both though we were standing outside an apartment building, but after taking a second look, we could see bell tower hiding some big pine trees. When entering the actual church part of the complex, we were surprised to see that the couple had decided to have their ceremony facing the long side of the church and not facing the altar like a church is normally used. They had also opted to not have an altar, but instead decided to set up a scene in the middle of the church with lights and a white grand piano, and then have the guest seated in a half circle in front of them. That was definitively not very traditional.
As the couple walked up the isle together, the church was instantly filled with that wedding feeling, she wore a beautiful white gown and had a bouquet made with flowerers in all the colors of the rainbow. But it once again got an untraditional feel as the priest, a lady dressed in all black, started the ceremony off with a few point of general information. First she informed the congregation that everyone were welcomed to something to drink (a bar with water and juices that were set up by the church entrance) and this at any tine during the service. Then the older kids got candy and the young kids were shown that just being where we were sitting was a big play area set up for them, which was great, because there were a lot of children at all ages attending this wedding.
The ceremony was wonderful, it was light and playfully written and full of personal stories about the couple, and most of all were we all left with the feeling that the priest really knew the couple she was marrying. We sang songs both in German and in English, we laughed and we heard the children play behind us, and most amazing of all was the moment after the little girl was baptized and the priest wanted us all to applaud! Applauding is something you don’t hear very often in a typical European church, I grew up learning that in church you have to be very quiet, but it was these moments which loosened the atmosphere and made that little crying girl smile from ear to ear. To top all the other moments the priest asked the happy couple to kiss after they said their “I do’s”, which is also something we are not very used to seeing or hearing in a European church. Normally the first kiss is seen on the stairs outside the church and not in front of a cheering congregation, but this way the “I do’s” became more than just a “yes” and it felt a lot more romantic. It was all together beautiful!
After the ceremony we were welcomed with sparkling wine in the church’s large entryway and the tables were decorated with wild flowers you can find in the area at this time of year, which I think made a very sweet touch and does save you a lot of money on flowers.
After we all had congratulated the happy couple outside the church, we headed back in for coffee and cake. The happy couple cut their super tasty fresh strawberry cake, and then went on to made sure to cut pieces for everyone else too! Once again, such a cute moment!:)
A little later in day we all gathered again at “das Unperfekthaus“, which translates into “the unperfect house”, a 5 story building housing a restaurant, 3 floors of different studios housing artist of all kinds, and on the top, a wonderful dining hall with a roof top terrace. All the studios were open for us to take a look at the different artist work, and we got to see everything from paintings, to clothing and jewelry, as well as hear different bands rehearse. It was a great way start to the second part of the celebration and definitively not your typical wedding reception location.
The dining hall was decorated more traditionally with white linens, red and gold colored glitter and hearts, big felt heart, paper lanterns and when you looked up, you saw this great big skylight window, which on this days showed a very blue skye. It all looked very nice, however to decorate your table with loose glitter is not always the best idea. We just ended up having glitter everywhere and while eating, you really had to make sure not to sprinkle the glitter in your food.
The guest were asked to come up with entertainment for the wedding or other great ideas to make the day special, and one couple brought this clothing line full of postcards. At first we though they were just fun decorations, but then the couple explained that they wanted the happy couple to keep remembering their wonderful day and have little memories of it spread through out the next year by receiving post cards from all their guest. So what they had done were to get a hold of enough cards for each guest to have one, every card had a stamp and the happy couples address on it, plus a date saying when to send it. So every guest now had a card where they could write a short message and a date for when to send it! I found this to be such a great idea, what a wonderful way to keep celebrating your big day a little every week during your first year of marriage.
After a wonderful buffet dinner we all event outside on the rooftop to enjoy the great summer evening and a band playing African Drums. The band was great, the children were dancing and running around, and the adults got to sit back and enjoy a beer. I think we all needed to just sit back and enjoy the moment for a second, before the downstairs dining all was turned into a dance floor and the real party started.
As a cute little keep sake from the wedding we all got to take home these little jars of coffee and tee, a great way to remember the day and enjoy another moment of it.
Looking back, I would say that this wedding was just as much a traditional wedding as any other. There was little things and touches that made if different, but it was not at all as different as what we thought it would be. I think weddings are just traditional days and no matter how hard you try, in the end it’s the traditions that will make it feel like a special day for you and your family.
Wishing all the best of luck and happiness to Sara and David!