Montag, 29. März 2010

The hills are alive with our italian

We had a really nice meeting with our photographer last week - I wanted Mr. Schnitzel to definitely meet him and discuss some finer points of timing, etc. I had forgotten, though, what a nice guy he is! Fun all around…

We had a cappuccino at a local bakery while I fired off questions (well, I say "fired off" because it appeared I was the only one WITH questions. Mr. S just wanted to know "how many pictures do you take on average")

Mostly, we talked about doing portrait shots before the ceremony. I definitely don't want to miss any portion of our celebration (my dad can certainly vouch for this stubborn component of my personality - I was the one who wanted to sit in the stadium alone in the rain to watch the game my team was losing 47-0 until the end - rascal). So, clearly, we will have to do these shots before. Which I am totally fine with - more wedding fun!

The plan is to get dressed and pretty (the photog will of course document this process, too. In fact, I can't wait to see my ladies getting their hair done by the german-speaking-only hairdresser. YAY) and meet up with the boys (oohs and ahhhs all around) to drive to the "Buchenberg".

You see, the town is called "Buchenberg" but so is the big giant hill in the middle of it. I dare venture that the town is, in fact, named after said hill! "Berg" means, in German, "mountain" or "hill" or other raised mound of earth. This is a pretty big hill - I hope I can climb it without getting my dress all dusty and dirty. But, as my MOH pointed out, I will have 5 ladies AND and man of honor to lift my dress!

The boys will be there too, of course, which should be nice since the ladies and the guys may not have much time to hang out (or even meet) beforehand. We will then frolic and do "the hills are alive" with an amazing (hopefully CRYSTAL CLEAR) mountain backdrop. YAY.  So my dreams of the ceremony up there aren't coming true, but at least we will have the idyllic photos to prove it.

Donnerstag, 25. März 2010

10 differences between German and American Weddings

10 differences (according to me!) between German and American weddings

Keep in mind that I am not judging and that I am only basing this on experience :) Just a few observations I have made...

1) Decorations

Planned completely, including deco in the bathroom and homemade toothpicks for cocktails all in our color scheme

Let the venue do the usual

2) Food

Meet with various caterers, taste menus, chat chat chat

Let the venue do the usual - we'll take a look at the menu

3) Drinks

Signature cocktails, wine with dinner, perhaps a champagne toast

Coffee following the ceremony, unlimited wine and beer with and after dinner (of course!) and then many round of schnapps, as well as prosecco served with the cake (late)

4) Timeline

Ceremony followed by cocktail hour and then reception with meal and dancing until 11pm

Ceremony in the late morning followed by prosecco toast, followed by coffee and cake, a little break and then appetizer, an hour later the soup, and then the main course (it is already 11pm), followed by lots of dancing, dessert table opens at 1, band stops around 1:30, dancing and drinking continues to 5am

5) Invitations

Save the dates followed by formal invitations package including response card and/or other details like custom map or detail card

Informal invitation handed to your at next meet up – usually with a line printed on it like “guess what – we’re finally tying the knot! (and you thought it would never happen, didn't you...?)” no formal RSVP

6) Registry

Zillions of registries, zillions of options – everything from Target to Bloomingdales - you pick three (probably target, C&B and Bloomingdales)

Well.. you can still make an appointment like in the “olden days” at the local department store – they will set up a sample table in the back of the store for your guests to come look at… But really, everyone just gives you cash folded origami-style into various scenes (at the beach, house, children’s room…)

7) Planning

Every minute is planned, including arrival of guests, greeters, speeches, activities – the planning process is a long and exhausting but ultimately rewarding one.

The venue is set, the time is set – let the party begin! Our friends will surprise us with various games and gags – I may have to remove my shoes and use them to answer quiz questions, or I may even be kidnapped – who knows! My own wedding is a surprise.

8) Ceremony

However you want it to be, but usually with bridesmaids and groomsmen in fancy matching outfits, heartfelt vows while facing the audience, creative music and a happy flower petaled exit, lots of tears

Actually, you get married on the day before – in the eyes of the law anyways. The church ceremony is really just for show, that is… if you are even a member. If you aren’t, you’ll have to find a “wedding speaker” to throw you an alternative wedding ceremony that doesn’t involve okaying how your name is spelled on the marriage certificate and signing on the dotted line. Oh, and it's just the two of you and your MOH and Best Man... and you have your back to the "audience"...

9) Rings

Diamond engagement ring, for sure, worn on the left hand – and then whatever the couple picks out as wedding bands, also worn on the left hand

No engagement ring OR engagement rings for both man and woman – worn on right hand, just like the wedding bands (usually if the pair buys engagement bands, they just use those as their wedding bands)

10) Partying

The actual wedding reception is a joyous time, but everyone (tries) to behave like adults

The reception is a party! There will be rounds of schnapps and funny dancing galore – it goes until at least 4am

Freitag, 19. März 2010

speaking of dancing shoes...

oh, yes, our dancing lesson was GREAT! I keep having these disgustingly lovey-dovey moments (in my head) where I think "omg he is the perfect man". We were having so much fun at our lesson that he suggested we sign up for the silver course too. WHAT?  And the dance studio is so awesomely early 90s and it has a bar so that during our breaks we can have a cocktail. AWESOME. Also, we got to dance the foxtrot to a pepped up version of "country roads" (the germans just love that song...). All in all, we learned the basics of the waltz, the foxtrot and the chacha. FUN!

We can hardly wait till next week's lesson. I felt like this:

Annnnyyyways... I am looking at some shoe options, and am liking these a lot:

what do you think of my potential dancing shoes?!

Montag, 15. März 2010

Putting on our dancing shoes

Tonight, Mr. Schnitzel and I are taking our first dancing lesson. That’s right, friends of mine, laugh it up. You all know how well I can dance ;-) (I can see my former across-the-street-neighbor smirking and my college roommates conjuring up visions of me attempting to join them in certain coordinated group dances…)

But, actually, one many reasons that I knew Mr. Schnitzel was the one (aww) is that, well, I LOVE to dance with him! It doesn’t matter how many times I step on his feet, it’s FUN, and really, he doesn’t seem to care.

So we signed up for this course knowing full well that we aren’t about to turn into a super fancy dancing couple – we just want to have even MORE fun dancing! That, and German tradition dictates that our first dance will be a Waltz and, er… I can fudge a lot of things, but fake waltzing in front of 80 people might not be such a piece of cake.
So I woke up this morning, thinking “er.. what do I WEAR to a dance course?! A ball gown? A leotard? What SHOES? So.. I put on my sportiest shoes (hiking shoes…) and my comfiest jeans (A&E)… and.. well… pretty soon we’ll be having one of these moments..

right? right?

Advice midstream...

Well, 4 months to go! Here's my personal, complimentary commercial free advice for wedding planning based on what I've learned so far. ENJOY!

1) Wear your wedding goggles
So, you’re engaged? Put on your wedding googles! Brainstorm as you walk around, shop, eat, play. I am not talking about being obsessively crazy, I mean, look for inspiration everywhere! Really like that drink at the local bar? Recreate it for your signature cocktail! Cute song on the radio? Write down the lyrics and google it when you get home to add to your cocktail hour playlist. Love that window display? Photograph it and use it for décor inspiration. The possibilities are endless.

2) Start a collection

This is a fun way to channel your wedding planning energy without overbuying too early in the game (i.e. before you know your venue/guestcount etc..) Pick some aspect of your wedding that you can “collect” for – I am collecting blue and green vases and bottles – what about collecting vintage postcards, or pink baskets, or cool vintage frames? It makes every shopping trip seem like a treasure hunt :)

3) Order matters!

It DOES matter if you finalize your catering order before you have your final guest count! You can’t print your programs until you decide on the order of your ceremony! Some things simply have to be done before others! I am personally not much of a plan maker, so if you’re not prone to writing long range plans, just write a list of all the things that need to be done, and go through it thinking of what task has to be done BEFORE each task. Then order everything up and you have your game plan!

4) Make appointments, even if you aren’t prepared

Need to meet with your venue but you haven’t even thought about décor? Your officiant wants to talk about the ceremony but you still haven’t printed the list of possible texts he gave you three months ago. SO WHAT! Just make the appointment anyways, you’ll find that the time pressure will force you to take care of those items, even if it’s the day before (or even the morning of!) the meeting. And going into those meetings less than perfectly prepared isn’t always a bad thing – it leaves you much more open minded!

5) Finalize it, and let it go

Some aspects of your wedding could be discussed forever. The menu could always be tweaked, the invitations could use this and that, the DJ list needs a few more songs, you could keep looking for bands… but SOMETIMES you have to just say enough is enough. Decide, be happy with your decision, and move on! No regrets.

6) Make it you!

Don’t be afraid to show your personalities! After all, this is about YOU! That means, do your first dance to Hakuna Matata, toss a bouquet of dandelions, serve fancy hamburgers at your reception, have a Wall-E and Eva cake topper. Your Aunt Sally may find it weird, but she certainly won’t forget it! And more often than not, people are charmed by originality. Even if they think “I wouldn’t do this at my wedding”, they are still enjoying it at yours!

7) Google docs is a lifesaver

Google docs has been our lifesaver – we have our budget, our guest list, our song list, our vows… you name it… all saved as joint documents there. That means that we can both edit them whenever or access them from any computer. LIFESAVER.

8) Keep your parents busy

Your parents most likely want to be involved in planning your wedding – but if you’re like me, you don’t need their advice on every detail. So? Give them something to plan! The rehearsal dinner, the monogrammed golfballs, the wedding dress trip, the favors – you name it, just pick something that you can let go and let them plan on their own! they’ll love it and so will you.

9) Blog about it!

Blogging about your wedding is not only a good way to get family and friends (or even strangers) excited about your wedding, it’s a great way to document your planning process for memory’s sake! My grandmother kept a detailed diary of every detail of my mom’s wedding planning – and I have the same type of record thanks to this blog! Afterwards, use a service like blurb to print your memories in paper form!

10) Mantra: No matter what happens, you’ll handle it!

Repeat after me: no matter what happens, you’ll handle it! That means, even if your Uncle gets drunk and loud, or you mess up your vows, or your flowers wilt, or something is forgotten – you will handle it, because you are going to let nothing, NOTHING ruin your day! It’s that simple. SMILE and HAVE FUN!

Freitag, 12. März 2010

76 trombones or... 4 blue shirted men?

da da da!!! We have a BAND!!!! That’s right folks, after much haggling and disappointment, we have finally booked a band. And we have NO idea what they sound like. Yup. Well to make a long story short, it went something like this:

• we found a band. We liked them well enough, and got tired of looking. So we said yes!

• They called to tell us that they could only play with 3 people and not 4. So no guitarist. BOOO. so we cancelled

• we proceeded to look for other bands. They were ALL booked out.

• Finally, we found a band, and went to see them play! They were great, and funny, but only a duo. And we had cancelled our other band because they only had 3! But we considered taking them…

• We found another band who was recommended to us by our venue – and made an appointment to go see them on April 4th (yes, that is Easter sunday)

• our “backup” band called and told us we had to tell them TODAY if we were going to need them, because they have another request

• So…. we picked mystery band!! Here they are, in all their blue-shirted glory:

They are the “Granadas” and we are really excited. 4 people! Also, they can play the accordion and the baritone horn, to give us a nice Bavarian feel.

I also like to think that they look a little like Alpine Beatles…right? right?

We will be going to see their performance on Easter sunday and we hope we like them!!! What do you think?!

Freitag, 5. März 2010


woohoo *happydance*

my dress is...


Mittwoch, 3. März 2010

The dress...

is on its way!! i have an official fed ex tracking number and am closely monitoring its progress from Boston to Pittsburgh. It will undertake its second leg of its journey in two weeks, to head off to Vienna with my dad and meet me there! Oh boy, it's going to be hard to resist showing it to Mr. Schnitzel but I am SO excited to try it on again, this time in MY size!!!

PS: i can't tell you what dress I picked, because Mr. Schnitzel reads this blog, in fact, he is reading it over my shoulder right now and laughing at me.

Montag, 1. März 2010

High Profile Meetings

I have been waiting to do this post for a while, simply because we had a bunch of meetings with various VIPS (Officiant, Venue, Bands) and I wanted to be able to tell the WHOLE story. So here it comes!


It was high time to meet with our officiant. We had actually been trying to plan a meeting since December, but things kept popping up. So finally we just made an appointment for last weekend. The morning of the meeting, Mr. Schnitzel and I sat Sunday-cozy on the couch and I hauled out all the papers that we had been given at our first officiant meeting, along with the song list I had been compiling since then. We literally hadn’t looked at any of this stuff yet (OOPS) but I was confident that we would sift through it. So we went through the ceremony schedule, dotted down our questions, and listened to lots and lots of music.

(ok, this is what really happened. I read the ceremony schedule and he paid attention for the first 15 minutes. Then he turned on the TV. I started to play potential music selections and babble on about when we could play this and that and wouldn’t it be romantic if we played this blah blah and starting getting the “uhhuh” and “mmhmm”. Fairly soon, I found myself alone with my laptop. Well, not REALLY alone, but Mr. Schnitzel had completely arrived in TV land and wasn’t coming back anytime soon. So I started to whine and he refocused and declared that we were NOT prepared for the meeting. I assured him that it would be worth it anyways, and he sulked. This really wasn’t a fight, just a bit of grumpiness on his part)

Right, so fast forward to Oliver’s arrival. He is a really nice man. Also a really LARGE man. He will loom importance in front of all our guests, let me tell you. Anyways, we invited him in and served coffee, etc. Our house was spic and span due to the rapid cleaning we had done 30 minutes before he arrived. Mr. Schnitzel actually suggested hiding the beer crates on the balcony, and I laughed. “cmon! he’s not even religious: he’s a philosopher! philosphers like beer!!!”. so we talked about the ceremony, the music, the processional, the speeches, the readings… etc etc. We talked about a LOT. Here’s some of what we decided:
we hope our ceremony will look something like this

• The processional will be “traditional American” – now my job is to figure out what that means. We’re thinking: parents are brought in first, cept for my dad. Then, Best man and Groom enter front. Bridesmaids and Groomsmen in pairs down the aisle, VIPS last (MOHs). Flower girl prances in scattering petals. Then, cue bridey music, my dad walks me up the aisle. We meet at the front and turn to face everyone (this is a BIG thing for me – I want to FACE everyone!!! none of this german backs to you nonsense).

• Bridesmaids and Groomsmen will be standing around us, btw.

• Then, the welcome speech will begin (by Oliver), with parts in all three languages (polish, german, English) He will tell our story (there will be a translation in the program).

• Next, readings in Polish, German and English by friends and family. A total of 3 (one for each language) with interludes of guitar music by my dad (and with a little luck, fiddle music by my uncle!)

• Then comes the biggie! The speech, which we must “inspire” by choosing a quote that we like about love or marriage etc… This will also be translated in our program

• then come the vows. We will be saying them in BOTH languages (engl. and germany), alternating sentences. First a nice dedication statement, self written, to each other. then exchange of rings (rings will be carried by MOH & Best Man).

• Next comes the “symbolic” part.. some sort of ceremony (sand/tree/candle… we have to decide)

• TADA!! Married! Happy music, proceed back down the aisle with happy fanfare and something being tossed, shake a thousand hands and hug and be happy, walk up the hill to the prosecco toast!

to be continued with: meeting # 2, THE VENUE (duh duh duh)

The "Prancing Weeks"

Well, we’ve been pretty busy lately, hence the lack of blog posts, but here’s a big one:


That’s right. As I have pointed out so some friends, the German word for Honeymoon is “flitterwochen” which means, literally “the prancing weeks”. Well well, we knew we had to find just the right destination to fulfil this rather large charge!

Our biggest criteria were:

• beach

• warm

• relaxing

In addition, we were hoping for:

• some activities available (snorkling/nature/small town)

• easy flight (as direct as possible)

• within our Budget of 4000€

So we trotted off to the travel agency with this information and got basically a big sad face: “oh, we’re sorry, July is a bad time to go everywhere.”

Really, that’s what they told us! Professionals trained to sell vacations told us that we couldn’t go on one. WHAT? so we pressed. OK, they said, if we wanted a bit less than perfect weather, we could look into going to the Seychelles, Mauritius or the Maldives, or also possibly Bali. Ok, we said, we can do something with this. Islands, sun, little bungalows. FUN! So we took home an armload of catalogues.
And then… those catalogues sat on our coffee table. We told all our friends that we were thinking of going to the Seychelles, but that was basically based on this lovely photo of a giant tortoise. Who doesn’t love tortoises?
In reality, we were being really lazy. So finally I made Mr. Schniztel an ultimatum: let’s just walk into a different travel agency and play dumb. Ok, he was game, so they did it. And what did they say?! July is a BAD time to go to the Seychelles. The only place we could even consider was Bali. Ok, we said, show us what you’ve got! So we started looking at places in Bali… chuching. 7000€, and that was WITHOUT food or drinks. uhoh… sinking feeling.

We mentioned that that was about twice our budget and they looked at us strangely. Ok, they said… then would you consider staying in Europe? How about Greece? OK, we said, show us Greece! So they did… and the price was certainly right…. 3500€, but still before any food or drinks… And I mean.. I dunno, we were both thinking.. we can go to Greece ANYTIME. Of course this is not true, but… it felt that way. We wanted something really special.

And then the travel agent’s eyes lit up. Well, would we consider going to the Caribbean?! WHAT… we glanced at eachother… but we thought… well that other mean travel agent told us… that it was too late in the season!

No no, she said, I mean… rain could hit us, but then again, it could hit us anywhere. Just as likely in Bali, she said. Ok, show us! we said, both envisioning margaritas and turquoise waters. (you see: our ORIGINAL idea was the Caribbean… but we were talked out of it earlier in the game. We were both grinning)

First she looked at Mexico, but then suggested the Dominican Republic. Ah yes, that sounded GOOD to us. So she showed us an ALL INCLUSIVE resort for 14 days for only 3,500€!!! Including flight, transfer, drinks, food, activities… everything! SOLD.

Well, I was, anyways. Mr. Schnitzel, the notorious sceptic, had to go home and comb the internet for bad reviews. But we were pleasantly surprised to find almost only glowing reviews.

So we headed back and booked for 14 days in the Dominican Republic, two weeks FULL of prancing :) And now, the following sites await us:

And more...

Needless to say, we're just a LIIIIIIIIIITTTTLEEE excited. Check it all out here: