Freitag, 30. April 2010

Breaking the language barrier

In writing our ceremony, Mr. Schnitzel and I have been working on getting the whole thing to be meaningful to us without being overly wordy. Why? Why not overly wordy? I mean, isn’t the ceremony about the words you speak, the promises you make?

Yes, yes and yes. But here’s the thing – we do not share a common native language. We speak German with each other, and that works wonderfully. But, of course, although my German has much improved over the years, it isn’t perfect. I can’t always express what I want to say as well as I maybe could have in English.

How does this affect our relationship communication? Really? not at all. At least not in my opinion. Well, actually, I take that back. I actually think this IMPROVES our communication. Because we do not dwell on the nitty gritty wording. We laugh at my language errors, and I sigh with frustration when we can’t find the right German translation for an English word that I am thinking of.

As you may have noticed, I really like to write. I also love to read. Mr. Schnitzel doesn’t do either of these things – it sounds so silly but at some point in college I actually told someone that I refuse to date anyone who doesn’t read books regularly. Gosh, that sounds so egotistical and silly. Of course we are both intelligent people interested in all kinds of things, but that’s only a part of who we are.

Our relationship is not based on intellectual banter. Sure we have interesting debates about everything from politics to religion (gosh, if you know me, you know that I love to debate) but that is by no means the basis of our relationship. We communicate in our daily gestures, our smiles and routines and hugs and handholding. And this crosses not only language barriers, but cultures.

So for our ceremony, we will say some meaningful words. I will be reciting my vows in English, and he in German. But for us, it’s not really about that. It’s going to be about that moment, and looking into each other’s eyes and into the faces of our dearest friends and family and feeling married, and embracing that. Nothing we write, no matter how eloquent, will replace that.

Donnerstag, 29. April 2010

Taming the control freak

As my regular readers well know, I fluctuate between being totally enamoured with Germany’s relaxed nature of wedding planning and being totally head exploding frustrated. But the fact remains: our wedding is taking place here and all of our vendors have this same mentality.

This isn’t really a bad thing – it basically means:

• no contracts (that’s right people, the only contracts we have are with our photographer and our officiant)

• no down payments (only with the above mentioned two) (not even on our venue!!)

• a whole lot of “we’ll discuss that the day before” or “let us put something together for you”
For example, our dessert buffet is going to be a…surprise! Well, we did demand Kaiserschmarrn, but other than that, I trust our venue to put together a lovely spread.

Our prosecco toast is going to be another “surprise” – we will be having “prosecco, juices, various appetizers and TBD punches”.

Our band is being the most difficult to pin down – they told us we can discuss our dance options THE NIGHT BEFORE. This freaked me out, quite a bit, so I harassed them until they finally caved and suggested a few waltzes that they usually play. But they won’t give more. So our music: SURPRISE!!

I mean, this is actually all kind of nice, from a relaxed person’s standpoint. And from a price standpoint: we are paying flat fees for all of this, so as long as the variety is nice then we don’t have to agonize over spending an extra XX€ to have a particular juice selection, etc. But it is a bit stressful for someone who would like to have the whole thing a bit spelled out.

My solutions?

• focus on the things I can control, like DIYing my decorations, choosing our outfits, writing our ceremony music, making an awesome IPOD playlist for our prosecco toast and hiring our friend to be our DJ after 12:00am just to make sure that we get to hear our favourite songs.

• laugh about it – it’s Germany! They already thing I am nutso for wanting blue flowers on our cake and DIYing 75 chair covers – that’s ok! I think that we are lucky in that our German guests are not expecting “normal” because they know there will be a lot of America style touches going on, and the American guests are expecting a German-style wedding. So a bunch of guests with no solid expectations equals (hopefully!) happy (and intrigued) guests!

• enjoy the element of surprise – I guess it’s kind of nice that I don’t know EXACTLY what will happen on my wedding day. This is almost always the case in most German weddings, since often friends and family plan various elements of the wedding (games, guest book etc) to pop up as suprises along the way. I am embracing this lovely element of the day and taking lots of DEEP breaths.
Mostly, I am remembering that in the end, the day is about the DAY and not about all those details – it’s going to be a lot of fun :)

Montag, 26. April 2010

Oy Oy Oy

Actually, this isn’t a frustrated post, as the title would tend to suggest – it’s a happy yummy sugary one!

This is the post about us ordering our cake!! Why “Oy Oy Oy”? Well.. that just so happens to be the name of the town where we purchased said cake!

The location of our wedding is in Mr. Schnitzel’s “hometown” (where he grew up after moving from Poland) and it is quite a small town, in the middle of the Alps:

Oy is even smaller. And even higher. And even Alp-ey-er.

Despite its smallness and highness (but perhaps because of its Alp-ey-ness) Oy boasts one of the finest most delicious pastry shops in the entire Allgäu region (this is a personal assessment but I think the Busloads of over-60 tourists that offload there every day for their 3pm coffee and cake break would also support this theory). Additionally, they have their own Coffee Roastery.

Two weeks ago on one of our many planning trips, we drove up (literally) to Oy to give this cake a try. OH (B)OY!


We were sold. So we went back this past weekend to officially order the cake (we actually had wanted to do this before, but they were too busy with the busloads of tourists).

We decided on a “German-style” cake stand (they don’t really do typical American tiered cakes…):

to hold our FOUR DIFFERENT TYPES OF CAKE. Yes, I know there are a lot of capital letters in this post. But really, I think FOUR DIFFERENT TYPES OF CAKE warrants shouting letters, right?

Here are our layers, starting from the bottom tier:
• “Florentiner” – Buttercream with cherry marbeled throughout

• “Kaffecreme” – Coffee cream cake

• “Rum Truffel” – ‘nuff said

• Hazelnut – this is really nutty maple-ey delicious

Then we moved on to deco. As you know, our colors are blue and green. The Germans think this is really strange. They laugh at us, a lot. Sometimes they even taunt us. (they are used to sparkly red with roses, I guess..).

so when we showed this inspiration photo,

the lady helping us looked up and said “that?”

*then she turned around and called her husband, obviously the chief pastry chef, out to look*
*he squinted his eyes to look at our laptop (probably another reason they thought we were crazy) and said*:

“well.. if that’s what you REALLY WANT then I guess we could do it”

That, folks, is the brutal honesty of the German folk. We nodded vigorous yeses and they consented. Living in Germany sometimes just requires a thick skin and faith in your own decisions. At this point, they asked us if we had a cake topper, or if we needed one.

Hm…err… well yes we have a cake topper

*Mr. Schnitzel and I looked at each other with panicked eyes. OMG we can’t tell them that our cake topper is WallE and Eve, two Pixar robots. They will throw us out of their shop*

“We have one. We will bring it ourselves”

PHEW ok, that was settled. We asked about delivery and they said they could “drive the cake down” and then we asked about paying, and she said “oh, just bring the money when you bring back the cake stand (we agreed to do that).

How much, we asked? Well… hard to say exactly… Could we have a ballpark figure? ok…
*paper and pen calculations*

“85 Euros plus decorations”

*WHAT?! keep a straight face. (We have 375 Euros budgeted for the cake)*
“how much for decorations?”

*waiting for it*
“oh… 20 or 30 euros"


“and delivery?”

*here it comes…*

“mmm…. 5 euros, maybe, for the gas…”

Whoa. Ok, I take back all my complaints ever about Germany not having a wedding industry trying to sell me things. They literally are just charging us for the cake. No “wedding” fee, no delivery fee… insane. This is the best thing EVER. I’ll even take their insults about our cake decoration choices, any day. Guests: get excited because now we can use that budget for something else delicious (or imbibeable) for the reception!!
Deeelliiisshhhusss cake anyone?

Freitag, 23. April 2010

The Devil Wears..

Funny how sometimes the seemingly simplest things end up being the most difficult wedding pursuits. Take my shoes for example: I knew that I wanted a simple pair of strappy sandals, with a bit of a heel.

Apparently, however, this shoe season decided to be the season of mile high stiletto heels OR simple flat ones – NO MIDSIZE HEELS!!

I really looked everywhere, going into shoe store after shoe store in search of the right pair. But to no avail.

Alas, I decided to go into a secondhand store one day, and voilà! There they were – the perfect pair of pretty shiny gold … PRADA sandals. I was a bit nonplussed – I don’t wear Prada… I make fun of people who do. But, they were perfect, so I bought them, and I am actually quite pleased with my purchase. Here they are, in all of their devilish glory:

DIY adventures

So inevitably, after reading so many lovely blog posts of amazing DIY projects and amassing a long list of to-dos, I hit the 3-month mark, gulped, looked at my list and decided that I need to start DOING!

I calculated that if I average one project a week until the wedding, I would manage to complete 12 entire projects – and probably more, considering that I will certainly do lots of little projects that last week before the festivities.

So I decided to choose projects that I could do now, without the benefit of an exact guest count or seating arrangements, etc.

My first project was DIY Cocktail Stirrers. Yes, this is a totally weird thing to start with, but as I said, I wanted to do SOMETHING and this seemed very doable. I went out and purchased what I needed (which, in Germany, is not always an easy task – but I managed) and got started.

These were VERY easy and I think they look delightful. All I did was cut bits of ribbon, hot glue them to the stirrers and cut the ends into a flag shape with scissors or pinking shears. Finished. I made 80, thinking approximately one for each guests. Looky looky!

My second project was the table numbers – I figured I will probably have approximately 8 tables, and I found these wonderful plastic frames at Ikea for 99cents that stand up on a little round foot and are two-sided. The man at the cash register thought I was CRAZY for buying 24. Yes, 24. The first eight are the numbers themselves – I love how simple these were and how great (I think) they look.

All I did was cut rectangles of pretty napkins/wrapping paper/cloth and then printed a big number (font size 300) in the lovely (free!) font “A Yummy Apology” and slipped them between the two plastic sheets into the frames. Tada! The great part about these is that they are light, easy to read, simple, and the little feet can be unscrewed for easy compact transport. SCORE.

I know, you’re wondering “what is she doing with the other 16?” Well, I saw this amazing idea on a blog a while back – I can’t remember anymore which one – to use photographs with the table numbers of us at that age. For example, table 3 would have photos of each of us at age 3. COOL! So the other two frames at each table will contain photos of us at those various ages. I still have to do this part, but it will get done this week for sure.

Here is what the numbers look like so far:

My third DIY project was my wishing tree. I followed these instructions from Wedding Chicks, only I couldn’t find a Manzanita Branch here. Actually, I didn’t look that hard, I just want to (ever lovely) Viktualeanmarkt  and bought some curly branches – these ones were called “Korkenzieheräste” – corkscrew branches!!! (which I now know after wikipediaeing it are called "Chinese Willow Branches")

I followed the instructions to the letter, including sticking the branches in foam (MESSY!)

stuffing paper around the foam
Then, I mixed the plaster

and poured it in. Actually, it wasn’t really enough, but I let it harden anyways and decided that it was ok.

I then added some easter grass (hehe) and some straw like stuff.

TADA! Wishing tree.

Now all I need to do are the little wish cards. We are thinking of setting this out during our prosecco toast after the ceremony when people are feeling (hopefully) inspired.

What do you think of my projects?!

Freitag, 16. April 2010

Keeping all the tops spinning

Ok, I am not the first person to mention this, and I think I scoffed a little reading other posts about this, but I now throw up my hands and say “it’s true!” – hitting the 3 month mark is SCARY!

I was so utterly calm up until now, and it’s not like I have whipped myself into a panic, but I sort of started to realize that this wedding is..well… SOON! It’s starting to get warmer outside, and it will (very hopefully) stay that way until the wedding! No more winter between us and the wedding, no more big holidays, really nothing except for planning planning planning!

so when I get a little panicked, I make lots of lists. My college roommates can attest to that one – I always had long lists of tasks scrawled on my arms and hands. Now my lists have (thankfully) migrated to my (amazing) planner pad. But of course, lists alone won’t get the job done, and after catching my breath at all of the zillions of things I still had planned to do, I decided that the best course was simply: ACTION!

I have been zipping through my to-do list like nobody’s business, and have a new goal of finishing one DIY project every week. Hence the title of this post – I feel like I am trying to keep a zillion tops spinning at once! Every time I do something, I move on to the next, and then next… and by the time I reach the last task, 3 or 4 of the first ones have stopped spinning and need to be restarted!! ahh!!

Here is a little summary of all the stuff I (we) have been working on for the last few weeks:

• sorting through photos for slideshow

• Buying undergarments for dress

• DIYing cocktail stirrers

• making appointment to get dress altered

• purchasing decorations

• hunting for out of town bag supplies

• buying bridesmaid gifts (shh)

• making travel arrangements for relatives to travel to Prague and Vienna

• tasting cake and picking a bakery

• brainstorming a pattern for chair covers, purchasing chair cover fabric

• ordering supplies for 50+ tissue poms

• corresponding back and forth on our tri-lingual invitations

• making appointment to finalize our registry

• hunting for (and finding!) shoes

And more. Phew. I am not complaining – this is lots of fun! But those are sure a lot of tops to keep spinning… :)