Sunday, August 27, 2017

Weddings in Germany

Weddings anywhere are special.
In Germany, they tend to be rather extended events and Anne and Steve have planned a three day extravaganza.
The itinerary reads:
  • Friday - Letsch - the getting to know everyone
  • Saturday - Wedding Ceremony and Celebration
  • Sunday - Frühstück - German Breakfast - the Aftermath

We are ensconced in the Hotel Stadt Lobberich where the Friday night party happened.  The wedding and the breakfast are about a 10 minute drive away at Lüthemühle - a guest house come horse farm.

Anne and Steve have kindly prepared information booklets for their guests and this comes in very handy when deciding what to do to have a look around this morning. Firstly, we head to a small cafe around the corner for brunch - Anne tells us that Lobberich has a real breakfast culture and that many cafes serve it until 11 am. I ordered the Mittleres Frühstück (Medium breakfast) while Michael ordered the Gourmetfrühstück (Gourmet breakfast). Michael's was definitely enough for two people - Michael and Michael of course, and he still had room to polish the balance of mine off. They were huge. I enjoyed his Prosecco, he enjoyed half of my breakfast!
We walked it all off afterwards. I bought a coin purse and transferred my coins from a little gift bag, finally, strolled through town taking a few pics. Michael called by one of the local supermarkets for more water for the car. We drank all we had yesterday in the crawl!

Lobberich is the largest small town in the Nettetal region (population just under 14,000), but still boasts some local points of worthy note:

  • the beautiful late Victorian Katholic Pfaffkirche St Sebastian
  • A former Burg (castle) that dates back to 1700 and now houses a Michelin Starred Restaurant
  • gigantic sequoia trees in the local parks and a nearby Sequoia Farm where they are cultivated and researched
  • An active horse community
  • some stunning examples of local architecture sitting very comfortably within a new community

We get ready for the wedding in a sticky heat that sees Michael put on his shirt, take his shirt off, dry off, talc up and put his shirt back on. Anne and Steve have stipulated that their wedding is a no tie event, so thankfully, he can dispense with that. Still, he is very warm and his shirt is already quite damp.
I contemplate whether I will tempt fate with makeup, and decide that I will at least start out wearing some. I have a new outfit so it is worth the effort. 

Last night we had met and spent some time with two of Anne and Steve's neighbours from St Ives just outside Cambridge. Lou and Rich and Kim and Keith are lovely and we enjoyed a few drinks and a good number of laughs with them. As we leave to drive over to the wedding venue, Lou, Rich and Keith are waiting for a taxi that doesn't eventuate, so we all squeeze into the Ford Focus (actually it really wasn't all that bad). Kim had gone over earlier to help put the finishing touches to the venue setup and to help Anne get ready.

There is also a contingent of young Australians that Anne and Steve met while working in Griffith who are now England based - so the Aussies were pretty well represented! One heads home soon while Lochie and Karen have only recently arrived and are moving to Edinburgh soon.

The venue is lovely. It is primarily a horse stud I think and they have developed a restaurant and guest house as well. We are welcomed with the first of many drinks and walk around the restaurant to identify where we are sitting. Wow, with the neighbours right in front of the wedding table. We are privileged!

The wedding celebrant welcomes all in German and very good English - when we asked Steve how long the service would last, he had replied about an hour.  Of course it was, because everything needed to be said twice!  The 120 guests were seated under two very substantial marquees waiting for Anne's arrival. Now, she is a super organised planner sort of person and was fretting that she was going to be late. Took a but of convincing, we are told, to accept that it is the 'normal' thing for the Bride to be a few minutes late!

The outdoor area for the wedding celebration is adjacent to the stables and some of these beautiful horses were ready to take part as well - the venue actually offered Anne the opportunity to arrive on horseback (nope, not in a carriage - on the back of the horse!) which she declined - smart woman!

Anne arrives on the arm of her father Michel sans any attendants, the combined German/English service happens and finally Steve and Anne are husband and wife.
They go off to have photos taken and the guests move to the courtyard for more drinks and chats.

When they return, we all adjourn to the Restaurant inside for the wedding feast. And yes, that is exactly what it was. We started with Devils on Horseback, divine little egg tarts, olives and bread with tomato relish and mayonnaise.

This was followed by a buffet dinner that included all sorts of barbequed meats plus fish, rice, salads and the ever present chips!

The head table consisted of Anne and Steve and their parents and Anne's brother Johannes and his partner Tanya.

There are the speeches with Steve doing a great delivery in English and German and as a surprise to Steve, Anne's dad replied in German and English - pretty amazing as he doesn't speak English. He received a deserved standing ovation. The largest contingent at the wedding is Steve's very extended, very close English family, so the effort made by all to include both German and English was appreciated by all there.

Eventually, the first married dance took place with the two of them practicing for months we were told.
We took our leave as boogeying was getting on.
We have another sizeable drive tomorrow to Inga and Markus place in Hamburg - predictably a 4.5 hour trip.

But first we head over for the 'Aftermath' breakfast, taking Lou and Rich with us. we hope to hit the road by noon.

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