And so, without further ado, I give you Herr My-Bother-in-Law and Frau My-Sister:
(If you are just joining us, I should say that the reason this wedding is in Germany is that my BIL is from Germany. He and my sister met in and live/work in England.)
German weddings, as is many countries, require a civil service to take place before the church wedding, in order to be legally recognized. Here is the signing of all the official government paperwork, which was done in a special civil service room at the reception site:
Although the civil service generally precedes the church wedding by at least a day, and often even by weeks or even months, my Sis and BIL made special arrangements to hold both on the same day, due to the number of guests coming in from other countries, including France, the UK, Scotland, and of course the US. Here we are, shortly after the civil ceremony, heading to the remote abbey where the wedding mass was held. (Yes, it was as chilly at it looks. And as beautiful, too!)
Here is a shot inside the abbey. You might notice there is no bridal party, just the bride and groom. German wedding couples have no bridesmaids or groomsmen. However, I was fortunate enough to be a "Trauzeuge," or witness. That position allowed me the honor of signing a fair number of forms, as well as front row seats at the civil ceremony and mass. We did inject a small degree of American tradition by color-coordinating my scarf with the groom's tie and flower girls' sashes, but that was as far as it went. How different from the extremes of a typical wedding in the US! Oh, and you might notice that my sister is wearing a jacket with her gown... there is no heating system in a remote, centuries-old German abbey, and it was only about 40 degrees indoors and out. Youch!
A glimpse of the reception. The wedding dinner included an impressive buffet of regional and national specialties, wines and cheeses. We have found, surprisingly, that German food surpasses all expectation, with the wedding feast being the pinnacle. We are surprised that we have preferred German food to French cuisine. I know, a shocker!
(Admittedly this is not the best photo of German food, but I did want to include a shot with the gorgeous background of the low mountains of the Region of the Eifel, as you see out the window.)
Another favorite moment was the first dance, which was a Viennese Waltz. My BIL had been a competitive ballroom dancer in the past, so their first dance was beautiful to observe. Unfortunately, I don't have a pic of that yet today. Also worth mentioning was my father's toast, which he worked on diligently for weeks to present in German. Some of us with lesser German skills are still waiting for release of the official translation, but it appeared to be very well received by the host nationals.
And now, packing to head back to France, this time the Alsace region.