Montag, 30. November 2009


I took my own little thanksgiving hiatus here on Wedding Diplomat, but I'm back! I was in Berlin with my MOH and her crew, hosting the most amazing thanksgiving party ever. You can tell our in depth study of wedding and deco blogs has paid off. Dinner for 21!

the table, all set for 21

the hostesses!

eating, in action
On the drive back to Munich, Mr. Schnitzel and I discussed various options for changing up our apartment. I have been reading (and loving!) the book Apartment Therapy , which basically details how the home is such a central part of health and well being. Since there is so much going on in our lives right now (wedding planning, preparing for operations, masters thesis writing..) it is very important that our home become a sanctuary.

We have some great ideas, and we're starting on the Eight Week cure detailed in the book today. I thought I would give you some updates and photos of our progress, since (in my book) nesting and making a home for ourselves has so much to do with starting our married life together.

And, there should be some wedding planning related tips coming out of the whole thing. For example, we are planning on turning a section of our large bedroom into a work area, which includes thesis writing, (wedding) website programming and all other wedding related planning tasks!

Wish me luck! What did you do to get your "pad" ready for your married life?

Donnerstag, 26. November 2009

Fighting the crowds

This morning, I did something very German. I waited outside Aldi for it to open and then stormed in and bought things before they sold out. Like a little substitute for lack of Black Friday madness here...

You see, Aldi, which you may be familiar with from the US as being a big discount grocer, originated in Germany. The Albrecht brothers founded it (Aldi is short for Albrecht Discounter), had a big fight and split up their chain, and now there is an Aldi Süd (south) and an Aldi Nord (north) in Germany. Anyways, NOW Aldi sells groceries at cheap prices and random inexpensive products. Twice a week they receive new product shipments, which are published in a little newspaper handout, and the more attractive items sell out almost immediately.

This week they were offering two items that I was interested in: ice skates for Mr. Schnitzel (so that we can skate on even more frozen alpine lakes) AND printable photo paper for our homemade wedding photobooth!

When I arrived, there was a modest crowd.

look at the blobby lack of a line (typical German...)

After about five minutes of waiting, the crowd had swelled to gigantic proportions, and when the doors opened, I was practically carried inside by the masses. I made a beeline for the skates and frantically searched for the correct size - it was really hard, with all the arms and legs snaking over my shoulders, grasping. I finally found it and wiggled out of the chaos. Then I grabbed three packs of photopaper (€4.50 for 150 sheets!) and headed for the cash register. Here are my treasures on the conveyer belt:

reflecting the fluorescent Aldi lighting...

We will be setting up a photo booth using David Cline's photobooth software and my engagement laptop, so we knew we would be needing this paper! I'm happy to have one thing crossed off the list, and to have gotten it so inexpensively.

Did you get up at ungodly hours to buy anything wedding related?

Dienstag, 24. November 2009

I've got Mail

Today was a long day. But there is nothing better than a long day and then coming home to MAIL. Today I was extra lucky. I got TWO pieces of mail. The first was very exciting for me, which perhaps only other wedding planners will understand:

this blurry picture is due to the fact that it is late and that paper is reflective - i had to turn off the flash!

A............... CORNER ROUNDER PUNCH!

I know, collective sigh of relief. Because these babies are HARD to find in Germany. I ordered mine over amazon. Thank goodness. Behold the amazing rounded corner junk mail.

I rounded almost everything in the house. Mr. Schnitzel had to keep me away from the books...

The SECOND thing that I got in the mail was this:

Our flower mädl answered our letter! And look how amazing her card is! Look at the picture she drew of us getting married and her as a flower girl!   It looks exactly like ours!!!  So, one big YES from her... I can't wait to dress her up in her Dirndl...

How did YOU ask your Flower Girl?

Shabbying it up

I really like the shabby chic look - mixed up vintage pieces, pretty wildflowers, antiquey-looking signs... Since my venue will be providing all linens and plates, silverware, etc, I am looking for easy and inexpensive ways to "shabby" the place up. Last weekend at the Kempten Flea Market, I had inspiration!

the Kempten Flea Market in full swing

I decided to collect blue and green glass bottles and bowls of different sizes and shapes. Later they can be filled with flowers and placed on the bar or the dessert table. We'll see how many I can collect!

So far, this is what I found (in one day of searching)

I vowed not to spend more than 2 Euro apiece: MAYBE 3 if I really like it.

Pretty, right?

We were thinking about other ways to incorporate vintage items into the wedding and I came up with these:

Vintage Edelweiss postcards! A symbol of our wedding. (and possibly a song to be played at the ceremony). Not sure how we will use these yet - any ideas?

How did you add your own personal touch to your reception venue?

Flower "Mädl"

Our flower "Mädl" (girl) will be my cousin's daughter. She is going to be five for our wedding, and she earns, like any good flower girl, an extra special dress!

But not just any dress for this Bavarian the hills-are-alive wedding. A Dirndl! Here are some possibilities that I stumbled upon in my internet browsing. None really fit the color scheme yet - we are looking for sapphire blue and bright green - but just to get an idea...

look at this cutie. I like the blues...

doesn't she remind you of little Gretel?

this is the closest we came to our color scheme... pretty prints

 I like the contrasting prints

so cute! this is my favorite (the one on the little girl)

So, what do you think? Did you incorporate any traditional ethnic costumes into your wedding?

Another cheezy couple story

Close your eyes if you hate this kind of stuff...

Mr. Schnitzel and I have this new running joke. We propose to each other. Over and over. Over drinks, over dinner, over grocery shopping. It's funny, and kind of romantic, and I have to say, my heart still flutters a bit every time I hear those words. (I say yes, every time!).

Another thing he does is look at me all bright eyed and go "we're getting married" like he just remembered. SO CUTE. This makes me really happy.

I guess I can say getting engaged didn't change us as a couple ? not at all really, but maybe that was because we've known that we want to spend the future together for quite a while now. But it sure is fun to pop the question, over and over and over :)

us right after the proposal (the "original" one)

What embarrassingly cutesy stuff did you and your fiancé do? Did being engaged "change" your relationship?

Sonntag, 22. November 2009

Bavarian Roundup - Etsy

I love Etsy, just like any other bride. I thought it would be fun to do a roundup of items on Etsy that would add to a "bavarian" wedding - or just for people looking to bring a little alpine feeling into their lives. Enjoy my picks!

Donnerstag, 19. November 2009

Honeymoon planning

We have finally started to look at honeymoon destinations. I walked into a travel agency on my way to the train station last weekend and announced that we were looking for beach, sun and relaxation in July. The agent gave me a big stack of catalogs and listed the following "in season" suggestions:

- The Maldives
- The Seychelles
- Mauritius
- Bali

We had been thinking Caribbean, but I was getting a little iffy about the possibility of hurricanes - July counts as "borderline". The last thing we want is to have our trip cancelled by a sudden storm, or worse - get trapped there during such a dangerous natural event.

I like the idea of such an exotic destination. I've never been to any of these places, and flipping through the catalogs, they looked pretty impressive. The Maldives seemed to offer the most, as Mr. Schnitzel puts it "little pointy straw houses" (bungalows) which is something that we really want. The Seychelles offer an abundance of natural wildlife like giant tortoises and black parrots! In Mauritius, we could go on an African safari and see all kinds of majestic beasts like elephants and lions. I haven't researched much about Bali yet.

Here are some pictures of our potential destinations.

What do you think? They all look like paradise to me... Have you been to any of these places? How did you go about choosing your honeymoon destination?

Mittwoch, 18. November 2009

German Traditions- a Bavarian "farmer's" wedding

I wrote about the meeting with our venue director last weekend and mentioned how funny and animated Michael was. He told us all kinds of stories about other weddings they've hosted: Hungarian ones, Russian ones, "modern" ones, and of course, the traditional Bavarian "open" weddings.

As Michael explained, traditionally, when one farmer's son marries another farmer's daughter from the same region, there are no fancy invitations. In fact, all the happy couple needs to do is tack up a poster in the town square. These kind of weddings are "open" - anyone and everyone is invited, there are no formal invitations. Generally, the ceremony takes place at the town church - which, in Bavaria, is almost always catholic. Then, the whole wedding group parades through town with music and celebration, until reaching the party location.

Michael has hosted many such weddings. He described them as being "a lot of fun" - all guests don traditional outfits and the festivities start with coffee and cake. That's right, cake BEFORE dinner.

The festivities then continue with the traditional speeches and dancing, and at some point during the evening, the bride is "stolen" by her friends, who take her to a neighboring bar. When the groom and best man notice (which we hope they do rather quickly!) they have to go find her, and when they do, the groom must pay the bill for the drinks they consumed at the bar. Sometimes, he must also perform "tasks" like naming the ten reasons that he loves her, or kneeling in front of her, etc... 

Here are some pictures from various Bavarian weddings for your enjoyment. Source

the traditional Bavarian band

a couple in traditional dress

traditional Bavarian wedding soup - we will probably have this too (yum yum)

this is a video of the beginning of a "Brautstehlen" (bride stealing) - you can see how she is accompanied by a Bavarian band and is being lead away. The job of the groom is to find her and reclaim her.

We are still deciding which traditions (american/polish/german/bavarian) we want to incorperate, but in the mean time we are "investigating" what different traditions are out there - what regional and cultural traditions did you incorperate into your wedding?

Dienstag, 17. November 2009

Dance dance dance

We want the music for our reception to be fun. We want people to dance! The music should be:

- live
- stuff people know (oldies, dance hits)
- fun
- nice sounding

Our venue has a great stage for a band, so we certainly want to use it! We combed the internet for regional bands but didn't like most of them - they seemed too cheezy wedding singer style. We did find this band: The Josy Miller Band. They do lots of covers and seem fun without being too tacky. We liked their voices AND the keyboarder is apparently an English teacher, so he can do our moderation in German and English!

Here's a video of Josy Miller performing at a party - keep in mind that this is more of a party atmosphere and of course the wedding would be a bit more elegant.

The plan is to have them until around midnight, and then switch to an Ipod mix. We may or may not have them play dinner music.

What do you think? How did you choose your reception music? How did you get everyone to dance?

Sonntag, 15. November 2009

Meeting with Landhaus Sommerau

Yay! That's what I have to say about that!!

We drove up to the Sommerau after a delicious "lunch" or "dinner" or whatever one calls those decadent delicious feasts that take place at the Schnitzel family - we had (haha) Schnitzel with mushrooms and some rolled up schnitzel stuffed with cheese, green beans and croquettes and wine. Perfect for me, because weirdly enough, I was kind of nervous. Why?! I don't know! This whole venue thing has been so perfect all along that I was worried someone was going to come along and pop my big bubble of venue happiness.

But this didn't happen. In fact, my venue happiness bubble grew even bigger. So big that my pounding wedding planning heart actually gave me a headache. Am I allowed to call in sick with "wedding excitement" 8 months out?

We got to the Sommerau and all was quiet. It was 4pm and starting to get dark already (bavarian winter...) but I was awed again by the gosh freakin' beauty of the place! It's just so perfect! Cozy and casual but special and Bavarian at the same time. We asked at the counter for Herr Kramm and were informed that he was running late - perfect! Just in time to scope out the rooms, for the zillionth time, and take pics for mama. We checked out the "rain room" for the ceremony first, which we had been told holds only 50 people - a problem with our 80+ guest list. The room itself is gorgeous (forgot to take pics of that, gosh darn it!) with a mural of Buchenberg on the "altar" area and pretty white chairs. We stood there calculating that we are SURE that 80 people would fit in there....

Then we made our way to our reception hall (around the corner). Here are the pics I snapped while walking around:

this is the balcony that runs around the inside of the room

view from the balcony - aren't the lanterns pretty? and the mural?
bouquet toss from the balcony woohoo!!!

the stage - where our awesome band will rock

this is a view of the chairs. They are RED but this can be changed....

 this is the room from the outside. so beautiful!!! it was a bit dark already...
And then Herr Kramm came and we ordered drinks - on the house! We talked through the details of the wedding, from the ceremony to the prosecco hour to the dinner and dancing. Here are some of the exciting developments that came out of our conversation:

sparklers welcoming the cake at our friend's wedding
  • the ceremony will (probably) take place down by the pretty pond - he has to ask the town council for permission (we would be the first people ever!!) Alternatively, we can use the pretty room if it's raining - they can indeed fit 75-80 people in it (50 was with tables)
  • After the ceremony, there will be a "Sektempfang"outside on the terrace (with alp view!) which is pretty traditional German - prosecco, juices for mixing with the prosecco (or plain, for the non drinkers), and some small appetizers. This is where we're thinking of having the Alphornbläser coming...
  • Then the "Saal" will be opened and people can slowly enter the reception hall and be seated. Wine will be served (which we will choose in a wine tasting) and water
  • We discussed food options. We originally wanted a sit down menu, but he suggested doing the appetizer and soup as a sit down and the main course and dessert as buffet. We were sold! We want to do "elegant Bavarian" for the food, and this way, people can sample all kinds of food BUT they will go by table table so the comfy conversation won't be ruined. 
  • After dinner, dancing will begin. Then there will be a big presentation when the cake is brought in (with sparklers, yay!) and in addition to the cake we will have a bavarian dessert buffet, with Kaiserschmarrn, fruit, bavarian creme and a cheese plate, etc... 
  • Next to the dessert bar, we will set up a bar which will feature our Signature cocktail and beer and wine and some standing tables to encourage mingling. In this corner we will also "air" our slideshow (being constructed by my mom) featuring cute old pics of everyone on a projection screen. 
  • The ENTIRE hotel is reserved for us! We get the bridal suite for FREE. That's right, for free. The other rooms cost 39 Euros/person/night INCLUDING breakfast. Wow. That's for all guests. That's what I call a deal!
  • We pay no rent for the rooms, just for food and drink etc.. he's putting together an offer for us..
So... as you can tell I am very excited. It's going to be an amazing day...

Samstag, 14. November 2009

A stroll to the flower shop

One of the big advantages of getting married in a small town is the close proximity of everything. I ate an amazing Saturday morning breakfast with family Schnitzel and packed up my laptop, threw on a scarf, and walked around the corner to the "Blumenecke" (flower corner).

The owner, Silvia Wegmann, was in the back with an apron on, cutting flowers. Introduced myself and explained that I am marrying her neighbor's son, and that we will need, of course, some wedding flowers! She was more than helpful and looked excited at the prospect. I showed her our inspiration and she said it was all very doable. I am optimistic!

Now I have a bit of history to share that relates to our color scheme of blue and green. The region of the Alps where we will be married is called "Allgäu", and it is often referred to (mostly in tourist ads) as "the green Allgäu" because there are so many cows and, therefore, so many green meadows and rolling hills.

As this sign explains, the Allgäu used to be called the "blue Allgäu". The reason for the name was the intense linen ("Leinen" in German)  production, which required huge amounts of flax ("Flachs") to be planted. This is what the flax blossom looks like:

Until the end of the 19th century, the Allgäu was covered not with green meadows but with blue flax blossoms, hence the name! I love this story and I think it suits our wedding colors just perfectly! Let's see if the Blumenecke can find us some flax blossoms to have at the wedding!

Dream Wedding

I'm sure many of you know the temptation to keep everything "realistic" in your wedding planning. But sometimes, it's fun to go outside the bounds of common sense and just imagine how you would do it if you could do it all. I took a walk on this lovely warm November day through Buchenberg and let my fanstasy run wild. This is what I came up with:

Ceremony on top of the Buchenberg, here: facing the Alps, perfect sunny weather with a light breeze... we hire some guys to carry chairs up to the top of the hill and set them all up. Mr. and Mrs. Schnitzel go up earlier to take photos and get a first glipse.

Then we hide behind the little chapel up there while the guests arrive. The guests will be brought be horse and carriage. Music played on the guitar by my father. After the ceremony, the guests will hike back down the hill.

...and will then be taken back to the hotel my horse and carriage with us riding on the front.

At the hotel - prosecco for all, and then a surprise visit from the Blashornspieler Buchenberg.

so.... the dangerous part of this kind of unhemmed dreaming is that I started to think that some of this might be doable. Maybe we can do the ceremony on top of the Buchenberg? why not? Maybe we can hire a few horse and carriages for an hour or two to shuttle our guests. So I started to email around... to be continued...

Freitag, 13. November 2009

Venue update

Mr Schniztel and I are heading off to the wonderful world of Allgäu this weekend, where we will be meeting with our Venue director at the Sommerau. I can't wait to tell you how it goes, and show off the pictures I plan on snapping of the inside.

this is a view of the Sommerau from the outside (look at the sundial!)

and these are Dani and Michael Kramm, who run the place

I have to say, I am also a bit apprehensive. The last time I was there, I asked if they offer chair covers... the chairs a bit ugly. Wood with red velour upholstery.... they looked at me like I was asking them to knock out the ceiling or repaint the room. They were nice about it, and told me I could probably rent them elsewhere, but they looked shocked. I don't think anyone has ever asked that before. I can't wait to see the look on their face when I tell them I have a color scheme (they don't do that in Germany...)

This little anecdote serves to demonstrate that most weddings hosted at my venue are very traditional low maintenance German weddings. Now I don't consider myself high maintenance, but I do have a few suggestions (and requirements)... and am interested to see their reactions (they'll be thinking "crazy american!" the whole time).

Among the list of questions to get answered are the following things:

1) Possibilities for the ceremony. Where can we do it? Can we do it outside by the pretty pond? What if it's raining? Where can we find seating for all 85 of my guests if only 50 fit in the ceremony room? Will you bring the chairs out for me? Will there be naked sunbathers right next to my ceremony if we do it by the pond? (note: these are all problems that I wouldn't have in the US. See, this place has never hosted a "free marriage" ceremony, usually everyone just gets married in the church and comes there for the party afterwards. And the naked sunbathers? A very distinct possibility if I get the weather I am looking for..)

pond where we'd like to do the ceremony-- I think I spy naked sunbathers already...

2) Possibilities for the room. How many tables/what size/shape? How can we use the amazing gallery balcony? Can we leave the doors open if the weather is nice? Where can we do our slideshow? Can we set up a "bar corner" with standing tables and our signature cocktails for after dinner? Where can we set up our dessert buffet? Can we string lanterns up across the balcony? Where can we rent linens?

this is the hall (see the beautiful gallery balcony?) the photo quality is really poor (that's why I have to take my own!) but you can see the ugly chairs. In general, most of the weddings hosted here were tacky (in my opinion). But the space is amazing and can be transformed, and the surroundings can't be beat!

3) Possibilities for the food and drink. Can we look at sample menus? Can we do a tasting? Can we do a wine tasting? What can you offer for the prosecco toast? Can we have some small appetizers for that?

4) Questions about the hotel. How many rooms can we block off? Can our guests have a discount? What types of activities do you organize in the area? Can we use the Kegelbahn?

this is what the hotel rooms look like - clean and fresh, with a balcony.. somewhat "70s Alpine look" but I think that adds to the feel of the whole thing :)

Right. So I have a lot of questions! I am hoping to at least get a fraction of them answered and reassure myself that it's ok that we don't have a signed contract (this is apparently a small town German thing).

How did your first "real" meeting with your venue go? Did you bombard them with questions? Did they look at you like you were crazy?

(wish me luck!)

Mittwoch, 11. November 2009

The Invites

So now that our Save the Dates are ordered and on their way across the ocean, we are on to our next big stationary task - the invites! There are so many amazing things out there, so it's really hard finding the perfect one! Here are some of our ideas:

Something light and flowery, like this Invite KaBloom (with blue flowers, of course) by Merit Hanson Weddings

something bold and colorful, like this (in blue and green, of course) - from papeterie

something watercolorey and light, like this one from wedding paper divas

Brilliant Blooms Signature White Wedding Invitations
or something even bolder.... like this gem from wedding paper divas

There's such a world of invitations out there. How did you go about choosing the perfect one?

Dienstag, 10. November 2009

Blue Green Palette - Inspiration Board

So I am having so much fun with my engagement laptop and I went ahead and created my own palette for our wedding - just some inspiration, all from Flickr. I can really recommend using flickr to put together palettes because it really takes you "out" of the wedding world to give you a whole new set of inspiration. I had a lot of fun with this because it was so easy to find beautiful pictures of blue and green that match what we're planning - after all, the Allgäu is just full of blue skies and green meadows, such a vibrant conversation!

looky looky

For you Mac users out there, I am using Pages to create these inspiration boards - so easy and so fun.

sources (clockwise from top left):[ s o l o ]chri.spinIngrid in OZ, nbklx17Martjusha, expressions floral