Mittwoch, 30. September 2009

On the way..

So I haven't written in a while, and this is because I haven't had much to write about, wedding wise at least! Ever since deciding on our photographer and officiant there hasn't been much "big" stuff to take care of, and plus we have been focusing on enjoying oktoberfest :)

But there are some pretty purple letters with silver writing flying over the ocean at this moment and pretty soon I'll be able to blog about them and their surprise contents... until then... ta ta!

Mittwoch, 23. September 2009

Yet another crazy German tradition..

Here's yet another crazy German tradition. This is from a wedding I attended and I'm sure there are many variations on this theme. Basically, at German weddings,
the friends of the Bride and Groom plan (secretly) all manner of surprises for the couple such as a "wedding newspaper" (I'll cover that one in another post), various games, Guestbook Frame Photos, a quiz, etc.

This one made me laugh SO hard and people had SO much fun that I would love it if my friends recreated this one for the wedding (hint hint). I think that a lot of Americans would have trouble with this as it's a bit messy, a bit "not so classy", and in general, I don't know a lot of American Brides who would be comfortable not knowing exactly what is going to go on at their reception. But I think it says something about German wedding planning, for although the Deutsche are renown for being thorough in their planning, they do leave some things up to spontaneity! In my experience, the attitude is more "provide good food, good music, and plenty of drink, and we'll see what develops!"

So the friends grabbed the groom. He had to stand behind a sheet that was rigged up behind a table, and stick his head and arms through separate holes. He got a baseball cap put on
his head, and his arms served as his feet and they even got little shoes. The sheet had a body drawn on it, sheet had clothing attached to it and his bride had to come up behind him and stick her arms through the sheet ? they were his arms! It looked so funny just like that that I was already nearly in tears. Then, they had to "reinact" a day in the life of being married. A friend stood behind them with a guitar and strummed a rhythm while a story was told about his day (he got up, brushed his teeth, shaved, ate breakfast, washed his face etc etc..). For each event, the bride got something put into her hands ? "shaving cream and a razor" (whipped cream and a piece of blunt plastic), water for him to drink, etc, and she had to perform the task described. Of course, she could not see anything, so he ended up getting pretty messy! It was so funny and, of course, at the end the groom simply toweled off his face and he looked good as new! (we would, of course, never do this to a bride!!)

So there you have it! another completely "unique" German tradition. What do you think? Would you do it?

Freitag, 18. September 2009

New Layout

so..what do you think? It still has some bugs - help me to figure them out! Since I'm not an HTML wiz, I am using this template (inspired by my second longest friend and neighbor's blog pgha). My "Diplomat" logo is gone... but I wasn't that attached as it is. Thoughts? suggestions?

Actually, I switched back. Something about it just annoyed me... give me a few days to fix up the formatting.. let me know if you have trouble with anything!

Donnerstag, 17. September 2009

Office Love

I just sent this to Mr. Schnitzel by mms:

awwww (drippy sappy love music)

Photographer choice #1

So I met with Andrea Basile, a potential photographer, on Tuesday. I have to say we almost completely dismissed him because his price quote was SO low and his website was not particularly professional. But I left him on my excel table and when Mr. Schnitzel and I sat down to discuss photographers we looked at everyone's sample photos without looking at the prices and we actually liked his the best! So we scheduled a meeting and actually, his work is fantastic. Andrea is Italian and started out as a stock photo photographer, but after meeting his German wife on a photography trip to Argentina, the two of them decided to get married and moved to Germany! She begged him to find a job that didn't send him all over the world, so he got into the world of wedding photography.

Andrea's photos have a natural touch with professional flair, and he is just such a friendly, down to earth guy that I was tempted to say yes on the spot! But, for the sake of comparison, we are meeting with our second choice photographer next week. If we are happy with either of them, we will make a decision then.

I particularly like this wedding that he shot: he says he took these photos of the couple as they were walking from the church to the reception site, with all their guests. The photos are portraits, but they are so natural because they are walking and enjoying ? and of course the rustic look of the Italian streets doesn't hurt!What do you think?

Mittwoch, 16. September 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

Can you tell I'm in the midst of wedding planning? (this is what I brought to the office today)

The font is unchanged thought from

Dienstag, 15. September 2009

Love is in the air...

Since I am still waiting to meet with a potential photographer this afternoon, I will regale you with yet another neat German wedding tradition: the helium balloon/postcard send-off.

This is a fun, photogenic, and touching action that extends the excitement of the wedding for weeks to follow. The concept is simple:

1) Each wedding guest/couple gets a postcard which is already addressed to the happy couple and stamped. There is also a note/sticker on the postcard that says "if you find me, please toss me in a mailbox". You can also include a space for senders to note their location before they toss it in, so you can find out where the balloons made it to!

2) Guests fill out the postcards by either writing happy wedding wishes or by "promising" the pair something special in the future, like a game night, a dinner invite, something like that.

3) Postcards are hole-punched and affixed to helium balloons (heart-shaped ones look especially nice)

4) All wedding guests release balloons at once. Picture opportunities abound.

5) The newlyweds enjoy receiving lovely wishes in the mail from their guests over the next weeks.

Now I know this isn't strictly environmentally friendly. I wouldn't recommend doing it if you're on the beach, since fish and other marine life can choke and die from popped balloons. But it is a lovely, beautiful event and the two weddings where I experienced it, the couple received over half the postcards back! Some of them had made it a hundred kilometers or so! Amazing, eh?

Montag, 14. September 2009

Photographer meeting

I am meeting with another option for a photographer tomorrow: Andrea Basile, who is actually Italian (neat!) and whose photos we really like. I seem to be attracted to vendors who maybe don't have the most polished web presence but seem to be really talented at what they do. Maybe it's that "help the underdog" syndrome in me. We also picked Oliver partially because his website wasn't as "froo froo" as the others.

Andrea seems to have a very good quality camera and a nice photographic eye. I am excited to see a larger selection of his wedding photography tomorrow when we get together.

On another note, Wednesday is my birthday! (hooray, last non-married birthday!) and then Oktoberfest begins on Saturday! so I may be a little less bloggy in the upcoming weeks. Our plan is to have our friends who are visiting for Oktoberfest take some Engagement shots of Mr. Schnitzel and I at Oktoberfest in our Bavarian outfits ? if we like these enough, they will become Save the Date material, which we hope to print and send by the end of Oktober. For our Edelweiß-Bavarian wedding, it should be perfect!

Freitag, 11. September 2009

Musical thoughts

So I have been thinking a lot about music lately. It's been making me really excited, especially because I am a person who LOVES to be in a great atmosphere with lovely music. But really, don't we all? Luckily, Mr Schnitzel and I have very similar musical taste, so I think we should be able to agree on some wonderful songs that will complement our wedding. We have already decided that we will have a band for our reception, a cover band with an alpine vibe. Our venue gave us a list of about 20 bands that people book for weddings often, so it shouldn't be too hard to find something!

But recently, I have been thinking about the ceremony music, because it's something that I've never really thought about. I just started to click my way through online wedding classics, and then crept out of the box and into some of my favorite non wedding songs about love. I came up with a huge list of music we both adore! We still have no idea about which songs for the processional, recession etc, but then again, we do have 10 months to go! I did get this little thought in my head that I would adore it if my dad would play for at least a portion of the ceremony.

My dad is actually a law professor, but in his spare time he is part of a fabulous bluegrass band called Midlife Crisis. He plays the upright Bass and the guitar. I think I wouldn't make him schlep his Bass all the way across the ocean, but he just so happens to have a guitar hiding out in Vienna (long story – he plays songs for lawyers there every year for a moot court competition – for more details go here) or for a video, here. So I thought – wouldn't it be great if he played some tunes for us on his guitar at the ceremony? He has tentatively said yes – and then I started daydreaming about having my uncle (who I am not sure will make it. But if he does..) play with him on his fiddle. And then I recalled that my brother also plays the guitar! At any rate, I do hope there will be some family guitar music going on. I fell asleep so often to the strumming of my dad's guitar downstairs…

Asking the Bridal Party

Just a quick note (sorry for the total lack of photos lately! They will be coming soon, as soon as I can reveal them)? I am working on finishing my Bridesmaid and MOH letters! After meeting with Oliver, we decided on the bridal party and I set to work. Let's just say they involve a beautiful piece of stationary from one of Munich's many amazing stationary shops, as well as some handwritten loveliness (well, as lovely as my handwriting gets). As soon as they are out and in the hands of their happy recipients, I will post here (I want to surprise them!)

I asked Mr. Schnizel how he would be asking his Best Man/ Groomsmen and he said "I'll ask them over a beer". Well, I guess that is the male equivalent of purple stationary with silver writing?

Mittwoch, 9. September 2009

Look what we won!

Our prize from the contest has arrived! Look!

(i think it's ok to reveal our names for this one...)

Dienstag, 8. September 2009

The joys of blogging

I think one of the things that I really like about the wedding blogosphere is the fact that, well, none of us are professionals! Well, I guess some of us are by chance already wedding planners who happen to be planning their own wedding, but those are few and far between. Mostly, we are doing this for the first (and hopefully only!) time ? which makes us all amateurs. The other wonderful thing about weddings these days is that they really can be all you want them to be. Gone are the days where you had to choose from three styles of invitations from your local stationary shop, or where you absolutely had to adhere to every tradition (did you know that rehearsal dinners used to be the occasion where the families would get to know each other for the first time, because engagements were only weeks long!?). So really, I get to blog about planning this amazing party to celebrate love and partnership, include my friends and family, and be part of a blogging community that is blissfully devoid of professionals! Wow!

Another great thing about this blogging thing is that you I get to share all my planning thoughts with you, out there, without anyone interruption! Does anyone else know the feeling of having a great idea bubbling up all day only to tell someone and have it shot down? Of course, you can shoot me down if you want, but you haven't, yet, and it's really nice :)

So I am going to share a slightly personal detail: when I walk around, thinking about wedding stuff (which I guess is all the time, which I never thought would be the case, but it turns out that I am one of those girls, after all) I keep getting all teary. Which is probably not a good sign for my resistance to tears rating for the day of. I am already getting all weepy picturing potential vows, scenes of dancing with my dad toasts from the family? and the whole thing is still 10 months away! Maybe I'm just getting it out of my system? I hope so.

I am also so completely and totally in love with Mr. Schnitzel (that's another reason I love blogging ? I can call him that!). It's so exciting to come home and spend the evening with him. We continuously exclaim, happily, to each other "hey ? we're getting married" or "this is our very first engagement (pizza/train ride/glass of wine/rented movie)?. Cheezy sugar coated JOY.


thanks for putting up with me, out there!

Montag, 7. September 2009

Meeting with Oliver

So! Some actual, concrete steps are happening. This weekend, we met with Oliver, our Officiant for the ceremony. He drove all the way from Nurnberg to our apartment on Sunday afternoon, and even though Mr. Schnitzel complained about this "silly stranger" barging into his lazy Sunday afternoon, I think he really ended up appreciating it.

We talked about lots of things: what we envision, what elements are traditionally included, possibilities for bi-lingual (or tri-lingual) elements, rituals, music, vows: the whole shebang. It was interesting, because I think Mr. Schnitzel was thinking "why do we need to meet with this guy at all? I mean? we have 10 months till the wedding, and really, what's in a ceremony? But after the meeting he was bubbling to me about all the decisions we have to make and all the possibilities and he also had some GREAT ideas. So there's a lesson to the ladies out there desperately trying to get the men involved: bring them to the meetings!

We have so many ideas now, and I am so happy that it seems like we are going to be able to realize our goal of having an American-style ceremony with other German and Polish elements. We also thought of some things to check out: location of the outdoor ceremony, available space in the indoor location, speakers, music? I am hoping that my dad will agree to play something during the ceremony on his guitar.

We want to do the welcome in all three languages, the vows in English and German, and include lots of bilingual material in the program. The speech will be translated at least into English. We also want to do as much as possible that speaks WITHOUT words ? beautiful music, special ritual, nice setting. We want to face our friends and family, and have our brides and groomsmen standing with us. If there's anything I've learned from years living abroad, it's that eye contact and facial expressions can tell so much, without words.

So basically: we're excited! Any suggestions from our there in the blogosphere? We are most especially looking for ritual ideas and ways to make our Multilanguage group feel included without giving everyone headsets and translating like in the UN. They should all be present, in the moment, even if they don't understand the words. Big task, I know.

Freitag, 4. September 2009

DIY Guestbook gilded frames, Part II – German wedding ideas

So this is part II of my collection of German wedding ideas, and this is one I love and have seen at a bunch of weddings here.

1) Take an antique frame (perhaps from a garage sale or your own attic) with lots of curlicues and embellishments - and remove the backing, leaving only the frame.

2) Spray-paint it gold (or silver, or whatever color you wish).

3) Then, take a picture of each guest/group of guests in the frame, having them write their entry in the guest book and later glue the picture to the page.

I have found that giving people any sort of prop makes them less stiff when it comes to photo taking – something about the object breaking the tension, and serving as a nice distraction. The gold (or silver!) frame provides a nice distraction while looking elegant the whole time.

As a nice extra touch, send copies of the pictures to each guest with their thank you note – we have both of ours hanging in our living room, we love them!

In these photos, we just used the background of the reception room. It would be possible, of course, to hang a sheet or some other solid backdrop, to make the frame "pop". This would also be a possible activity with a polaroid camera. In general, it was a lot of fun to do and it allowed the guests to get to know each other too as they were waiting for their photo. Some even formed new groups to get their photo taken later! A cheap alternative to the photobooth idea...

Donnerstag, 3. September 2009

German Wedding Activity – Paint your own portrait

As part of my planning process, I am doing what probably every bride or groom to be does – thinking about aspects of weddings past attended that I especially liked! For me, this also means integrating various American and German wedding traditions. Most of my readers know about American traditions, so I am going to highlight a few neat ideas that the Germans have, that I haven't yet seen racing through the blog-o-sphere. The first one is the idea of a Communal Painting.
I saw this at a friend's wedding, and I thought it was the perfect way to get guests involved and to have something lovely to take home at the end of the night. The idea is to take a blank canvas, sketch a drawing of you as a couple in a light pencil, set out brushes and paints, and let the guests complete the picture! I'll tell you, the result is really stunning! It's probably a good idea to have someone who can draw well to sketch the picture of you, and it is also advisable for that person to sort of "supervise" the painting and add touch-ups every now and then. But then again, as long as you aren't too concerned with getting a "professional" result, let people cut loose! Here's a quick step-by-step how-to.

1) Purchase a blank canvas of a reasonable size (this one was about 36 x 48in)

2)Using a photo as a guide, sketch the two of you onto the canvas. It is best here to only include the faces, and make sure to outline hair, eyes, glasses, etc.

3) Set up the canvas in a corner of your reception hall with a sign reading "Wedding Portrait – help us create a painting of the wedding couple!"

4) Set up brushes, paints, water and paper towels

5) Let your guests paint! If you wish, ask a more artistically-minded friend to man the table and help people or "touch up" mistakes – although this is not necessary

6) Hang the finished product up in your new married home, and cherish the memories of that night and your guests forever!

Let me know if you try this, I'd love to see pictures of other creations!

Dienstag, 1. September 2009

Festivities approaching

Hi all, a bit of a stall in the postings due to busyness in general. And, I'm gearing up for two other big parties: my own birthday and Oktoberfest! I will be celebrating my own in a Biergarten with friends at a table with its own beer tap! Should be amusing? In any case, I will try to limit my own beer consumption, because I will be rising and shining nice and early to head off to the opening day of Oktoberfest. There will be plenty of time to shake off the (potential) hangover, given that the tents open their doors at 9 and we won't be served beer until after Christian Ude, the Mayor of Munich, taps the first beer keg in the opening ceremony at 12 noon. But we plan on bringing cards and games (maybe even books) to keep ourselves entertained. And when the beer does come, it will be certainly welcome.

On the wedding planning front, I have mostly been thinking and brewing (haha) over several aspects. It looks like the civil ceremony will be taking place in the morning on Friday, giving us time to do a nice low key lunch with immediate family and friends before heading back to the hotel to hang out and relax (HA! Relax on the day before my wedding? we'll see). I am a bit torn because we will only be inviting our immediate family and the bridal party to the civil service because the room is so small, but I would really like to welcome everyone else who made the long trip to town with some sort of gathering. I was thinking about just having an informal gathering in the evening at some point ? either at the hotel or elsewhere. But then again, I suppose our guests will be happy to fend for themselves in beautiful Alpine wonderland?. Maybe a "welcome back from being legally married" toast, or something, followed by a fun mini golf game, if the weather cooperates? We'll see.. does anyone (including the guests) have any ideas about that? Preferences? I guess there's time to think about it.

We are meeting with Oliver, our officiant, for the first time on Saturday, and I can't wait to see what he's like and what ideas he has! We scouted out potential sites at the Sommerau on Sunday, and it looks like we might be able to hold the ceremony down by the pond if the weather cooperates. If not, they have a lovely ceremony room with a beautiful mural of the town.

On sunday, we bombarded the Sommerau with questions ranging from chair covers to cakes and flowers, and we were very satisfied with a) how reasonably priced everything seems to be and b) how flexible they are. I think we are going to do things how we like, and maybe even throw in a few extras! We also checked out the room again and we loved it, even though it was still being cleaned from the wedding the previous night. The owner invited us to come back on a friday night when everything is set up so we can see it in all its glory, and I can't wait! I might even gather some ideas from other weddings?. Can I go every friday night? :)
We also visited the "mud baths" that are part of the hotel property and watched some people bathing in the black mud and then rinsing off in the adjacent swimming pond. Looked like lots of fun :) And we checked out a hotel room, which are lovely, a mix of wooden old-timeness and nice, cleanly renovated-ness. Did I mention that the hotel is also COVERED in solar panels?? For those who know me, you will understand my excitement at this fact. Well, on we go!