One Russian-Italian Wedding (I)

The main reason for my trip back home was not spending time with my family in the countryside. It also was not seeing my friends back in Heidelberg. Although I gladly did both.

The main reason for this trip was a wedding from my two close friends. After seven wicked years of being together they finally decided to tie the knot and became engaged last September. And no, they are not one of those couples who are engaged for five years straight. They are one of those couples who know fairly well what they want. So they planned on having their ceremony pretty timely and the date was set for April 7, 2012. Therefore, I decided to combine a few purposeful visits and other necessities in one and to book my flight back to Deutschland in spring of this year.

An interesting fact about this wedding is that SHE is originally from Russia, although whereabouts I do not know. She claims it is five hours from Moscow and not worth knowing the name of the town. HE is fully Italian, with both of his parents having immigrated to Germany in the late 70ies. He was born in Germany but grew up bilingual and still has a big Italian family in the center of Bella Italia. This mix of Russian and Italian being wed in Germany definitely made for a quite unusual ceremony – not all too common for us folks, either.

After our bachelorette party (see more here) and some other preparations the week before the Big Day, my friends and I excitedly packed our utensils together and made our way to the official wedding ceremony held in a small town in the middle of the Eifel.

In Germany, you have two different types of weddings: One is held at the civil registry’s office. The other is held at a church. Couples can choose to either do both or only one. The one at the registrar’s office is required in this country, so it is of utmost importance to have this one done first. Sometimes, lovers choose to first go with the official one and then go with the church wedding two months later. Other times, spouses-to-be follow up on these two dates fairly fast, such as only a few days or weeks apart.

In my friends’ case, they decided to go with the official ceremony first and have not yet planned when they want to be wed in a church. I assume that fiscal reasons have played a big role in their decision-making – she is a student and he is the only breadwinner of the family. For whatever reasons – they were planning on a rather small and intimate party on their big day. Their close friends and family were the only ones invited. All in all, the group still composed a merry 60 people – so not as small as they had originally intended.

Everyone met in front of the civil registry at 10:30AM on Easter Saturday (you know, the Saturday before Easter Sunday but after Good Friday). The couple was invited in first, as they still had to discuss certain details with the registrar. Questions such as who keeps whose name and who hands over the rings are probably usual for this type of occasion. Then we were invited to join the couple in the room it was all scheduled to take place. Since they only had a mere 40 seats, some people stayed outside and watched the ceremony unfold. I had a good view, as I was supposed to take some good shots, and was therefore located right behind the registrar. She had already jokingly told me that as long as I do not sit on her lap she does not care what I do and how I shoot. I promised that would not be of necessity and was able to keep my promise throughout the following half hour.

The groom’s best man is usually the person to hand over the rings. But in this case, the registrar invited a small 8-year-old girl to do the honors (for whatever reason I do not know, maybe she wanted to include everyone in the room). So the girl sat next to the groom and held the rings while the standard questions where being asked. After accepting each other as husband and wife, they both kissed. Then the little girl handed them the rings and they both put them on each other’s hands. Then, the newly-weds were invited up front where they had to sign a sheet together with their best man and maid of honor. This sheet symbolizes the day they both were married and it is handed to a couple together with a leather portfolio. Other witnesses and guests traditionally sign the sheet, which the couple gets to keep as a record.

Lots of hugging and kissing happened hereafter. The bride and groom were congratulated by each guest individually, starting with their family and ending with their friends.

[For more pictures on the Wedding, go to A Picture Every Day: A Wedding – The Official Pictures]

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