"Will you marry me?" - Once this question has been answered with "yes", the bride and groom have a lot of organizational work to do. Our guide will help you to keep track of the wedding jungle and gives you useful tips about weddings. We wish you an unforgettable day and lots of fun while getting married!
Wedding planner or DIY wedding?
The wish of many wedding couples is to enjoy a happy and relaxed wedding day. But on the way to this goal many stumbling blocks may occur, which a wedding planner can remove - after all, a wedding planner is a wedding professional. He has an excellent network of cooperation partners at his disposal and can be an important help for the bridal couple from the choice of location and menu design to the search for the right DJ.
The wedding planner works in the background and keeps the bridal couple's back free so that they can concentrate on themselves and, of course, on their guests. Although this sounds tempting, it should be remembered that the commitment of a wedding planner generally accounts for about 10 to 20 percent of the total wedding budget. On the other hand, he can often negotiate discounts due to his good contacts to service providers. A more cost-effective option is to engage the wedding professional only for individual areas and in any case to agree on a fixed price. In a preliminary consultation, all questions can be discussed.
Registry office and church?
First of all, the question arises as to whether the wedding should remain a civil wedding or whether the civil wedding should be followed by a church wedding? Some bridal couples also opt for a "free ceremony" with a non-denominational speaker. First of all, the date should be determined - depending on whether the civil or church wedding takes place on the same day. Often there are several days, weeks or even months between the wedding ceremony in the registry office and the wedding ceremony in the church. So there are two dates that need to be considered.
Save the desired date: Registration for marriage at the registry office
When choosing a date, some couples immediately have a certain desired date in mind, for example the day they got to know each other or Valentine's Day. However, when choosing the desired date, you should consider the current holiday periods and possible public holidays. Fridays, Saturdays or round dates are popular and therefore booked out quickly. Therefore - as so often - timely planning is important.
In 2013, August was the most popular wedding month with 51.337 marriages.
Marriage banns - that's a thing of the past
For reasons of data protection, banns have been a thing of the past since July 1, 1998 and is now called registration for marriage. This registration for the marriage at the registry office - of the place of residence of the bride or groom - can take place at the earliest six months before the wedding ceremony and remains valid also only six months. Even if the registration for the marriage is necessary at a certain registry office, one can freely choose the desired place for the wedding ceremony. Many registry offices offer wedding ceremonies on board of a ship, in a castle, on a lighthouse or other special places. Just ask.
Witnesses are no longer an obligation, but still a beautiful tradition
Necessary documents for the civil wedding ceremony
In case that both partners are German citizens and of age, have not been married yet and do not have underaged children, the following documents must be brought along:
- Proof of identity (valid identity card or passport)
- Registration or residence certificate issued by the registration authority. Available at the registry office of the main residence
- Certified copy of the birth record from the registry office of the place of birth
Required documents for the church wedding ceremony
Many couples also want the church blessing for their marriage. If the bride and groom have different denominations, there are some things to consider. A couple can be married in both a Protestant and a Catholic church - provided that one of the partners belongs to one of the two denominations. It is also possible to have an ecumenical wedding performed by an evangelical and a catholic minister.
The formalities can vary from parish to parish, so it is advisable to have a briefing at the parish office. For example, a dimissoriale may be required. This is the parish priest's permission if you want to get married in another parish.
The following documents are required:
- Proof of identity (valid identity card or passport)
- Baptism certificate with single certificate (not older than six months)
- Marriage certificate from the registry office or registration for marriage
- Confirmation certificate of the evangelical partner
- Confirmation certificate of the catholic partner
The choice of the surname: Name right
A common surname expresses the solidarity of both spouses. However, a common surname is no longer absolutely necessary since the name law was changed a good 20 years ago. The partners can also continue to use their birth names in the marriage. A double name is also possible, but only for one of the two partners. The declaration of a uniform marriage or family name can already be made at the registry office when registering for marriage. If both partners wish to retain their original surnames, the uniform surname must be established at the latest after the birth of the first child.
About 80 % choose the surname of the man, whereas only about 5 % choose the surname of the woman.
The guest list
Some bridal couples dream of a big party with all their friends, relatives and acquaintances. Others, on the other hand, prefer a small celebration with the closest family and circle of friends. The size of the wedding ceremony depends primarily on the budget. It is best to start with those people who should definitely take part in the wedding. Furthermore, one should honestly ask oneself: with whom do we spend time throughout the year, who is close to us? Of course, you don't want to discriminate against anybody and a certain tact is required. But it's best to listen to your inner voice: Who would you invite out of sheer commitment and who do you really care about spending a particularly important day with?
The party location
One of the most important questions in wedding planning is: How many guests should we celebrate with? At best, the question is answered in advance, when writing the guest list and invitations, but it is gaining importance once again when searching for a suitable party location. Whether it be an elegant castle wedding, an outdoor party, a stylish restaurant, a barn or a country inn - the location should first and foremost please the bridal couple. But of course the guests should feel comfortable as well. Therefore, several points have to be taken into account:
- Beautiful restaurants are often booked out early. Timely planning (about 9-12 months in advance) is therefore important.
- Are the rooms suitable for the size of the wedding party and also easily accessible for wheelchair users, prams and elderly people?
- Is there a play corner for children and retreat facilities if a guest wishes to take a break?
- Is the distance between the wedding ceremony location and the party location relatively close?
- Are there enough parking spaces available?
- Are there any overnight accommodations on site or nearby?
- Is external catering possible?
- It is best to arrange at least one appointment for a rehearsal dinner.
- Obtain precise information on the total costs (space rental, decoration, food and drinks, service, cleaning, etc.).
Invitations: from the Save-the-Date to the Thank-You Card
If you are certain about the wedding date, the guest list and the location, the invitations can be sent. But what if the party location has not yet been determined? In this case, it makes sense to send Save-The-Date cards. These cards contain as information only that a couple intends to get married and the date when the wedding should take place. The advantage of this is that guests can plan ahead and include this date to their calendar. If the wedding date is during the holiday season, a save-the-date card is a particularly important measure to minimize the risk of cancellations. The cards can be sent about 10 months in advance. You can then take your time to design the actual invitations and send them out about 3 to 5 months before the party. So you're on the safe side. For the design of invitations, table cards, menu cards and thank-you cards, you ideally hire a relative or friend who is a graphic designer. But you can find many online portals with design ideas and inexpensive printing houses as well.
Thank-you cards are usually sent about six weeks after the wedding.
Information that an invitation card should contain
- The reason for the invitation
- The names of the couple
- The date, time, place and address of the wedding ceremony
- The time and place including the address of the celebration
- If necessary, a description or sketch of how to get there
- Possibly proposals for overnight accommodation
- Contact details (address, phone number, e-mail) of the bride and groom for possible queries
- Desired date for the reply of the guests
- If necessary, references to gift requests
What's for dinner and where are we sitting?
Seating arrangements & table shapes
At such a special celebration like a wedding, every guest should get a proper seat. The planning of the seating arrangements, i.e. which persons sit together at a table, and the forms in which the tables are arranged, can, however, prove to be relatively complicated. First of all, both depend on the length of the guest list and the size of the respective room. The tables can be T, U or E shaped. The T-shape is ideal for smaller wedding parties. The table of the bridal couple and the table with the guests together form the letter "T" - hence the term "T-shape". Round tables or long tables are also beautiful. Mixed forms are also possible - for example, the bridal couple sits at a table at the head of the room, while the guests are grouped around the bridal couple according to their degree of kinship and relationship at tables.
The E-shape is a variation of the U-shape. In this arrangement, the bride and groom's table is supplemented by three further tables, whereas in the U-shape only two tables are placed at both ends. In both forms, it should be ensured that guests sitting with their backs to each other have sufficient legroom and space to stand up. If there are no disturbing table legs in the way, this also contributes to the guests sitting comfortably.
Place of honour for the bride and groom
In the past, the seating arrangements at a wedding followed relatively rigid rules, but these have now been relaxed. However, certain traditions are still mostly cultivated today. The central focus of the seating arrangement is the bridal couple. The bride traditionally sits on the groom's right side and the bride's mother on the groom's left side. The groom's father sits next to the bride. Their partners sit next to the bride's mother and the bridegroom's father. If the table is large enough, grandparents, witnesses and siblings can also sit at it.
Tips for seating arrangements
- Thanks to place cards and an overview in the entrance area the guests find their place without any problems
- In principle, the family has priority over friends: the closer the degree of kinship or the relationship of a guest to the bride or groom is, the closer he or she sits to the bridal couple
- Put together guests who already know each other or who have similar interests, so that stimulating conversations can develop.
- Trust in the fact that after the meal - with the beginning of the music - the society mixes by itself and changes places anyways
What is there to eat and in what form? Especially at weddings with many guests it is almost impossible to meet everyone's taste. Nevertheless, one naturally strives to satisfy every guest. A special offer for allergy sufferers and vegetarians should be a matter of course. Also the wishes of the small guests should be considered. Children are often not very enthusiastic about exotic and noble delicacies and prefer schnitzel and fries or pasta with tomato sauce instead.
Menu vs. buffet - pro and contra
Whether it's Asian, Mediterranean or bourgeois cuisine, it's ultimately up to each bridal couple to decide for themselves. Also for the presentation of the food each bridal couple probably has its own ideas. Multi-course menu or rich buffet? Here is a comparison of some advantages and disadvantages:
- Especially festive setting
- With every course the anticipation and tension increases
- Guests are served comfortably at their seats
- Serving the food at a perfect temperature
- Better time planning of the meal
- Specified meals and quantities
- Increased personnel expenditure
- Often a little more expensive
- Variety of dishes
- Each guest can choose freely and determine time and portion size themselves
- Promotes the communication of the guests not only at the table
- Warm dishes get cold sometimes
- Restlessness in the room due to self-service
- There may be longer queues and waiting times.
Mixed forms of menu and buffet
As a compromise, the bridal couple can also opt for a mix of menu and buffet. For example, starters, snacks and main courses can be served to the table and the dessert can be served in the form of a buffet. Another option is to serve the starters in the form of a buffet.
Selection of drinks
The matching drinks round off a successful festive menu. It is advisable to put together a smaller selection of wines in advance. From this selection, the guests can then decide individually which wine they would like to drink with the individual dishes. The basic rule is still: "white wine with white meat and fish, red wine with red meat". Of course, mineral water, lemonade, beer and juices should also be included in the drinks. By the way, it is advisable to check with the restaurant or catering service in advance which drinks are included in the agreed flat rate. This is the only way to keep track of the costs. If you have bought the drinks yourself from the retailer on commission, you can return the originally sealed remaining quantity of drinks.
The champagne reception
Directly after the wedding ceremony, a toast is usually raised to the bridal couple with sparkling wine. If you plan the reception directly after the registry office or the church, this has the advantage that the guests do not have to be thirsty and hungry on the way to the party location. In addition to sparkling wine and sparkling wine with orange juice, Hugo (sparkling wine with elderberry syrup) or Kir Royal (currant liqueur with white wine or champagne) can also be offered - of course also non-alcoholic drinks. Finger food can be served as a small treat, which can easily be eaten out of the hand since the reception takes place while standing. For older guests, some seats should be offered. Playing facilities for the little ones will certainly also be well received.
The wedding cake
Another culinary highlight is the wedding cake, the cut of which is one of the most beautiful wedding customs. The wedding cake is not an everyday cake. The cake is often multi-layered and richly decorated - with marzipan, for example, which is said to promise happiness and love because of its almond content. Fruity and chocolaty flavours are particularly popular. The decoration of the cake is also a matter of taste: fruits of the season are just as effective as real flowers or roses made of icing sugar. Whether it's a classic bridal couple or things that symbolize the hobbies of the bride and groom - there are numerous options.
Cutting and feeding
The wedding cake is of course being cut by the bridal couple. The bride and groom cut the bottom layer of the cake together. The one whose hand is on top is supposed to have the upper hand in marriage as well. The bride and groom eat the first piece together by feeding each other what is supposed to symbolize the mutual care of the future spouses.
Do not consume the top layer of the cake immediately
The top layer of the wedding cake should not be eaten immediately, but should be frozen. It is supposed to bring good luck to eat a part of it on the first wedding day and another part on the baptism of the first child.
When is the right time to cut the wedding cake?
Depending on the course of the wedding, the wedding cake can be cut at different times. If there is to be coffee and cake in the afternoon, it is a good idea to cut the wedding cake as well. The opening of the dessert buffet in the evening is also a nice opportunity. If the weather plays along and the reception takes place in the open air, then it is also very nice to cut the cake immediately after the wedding ceremony at the champagne reception. At midnight there is another opportunity, as the starting signal or the crowning finale of the midnight buffet.
A dream in white: the wedding dress
White is the first choice for the colour of wedding dresses. However, this was not always the case. Especially brides of the middle and lower classes could not afford special clothing and wore their best dress at their wedding until the 20th century, predominantly their Sunday dress or Sunday costume. As can be seen on wedding photographs from that time, the dress was often high-necked and black or in the colours of the respective regional costume. White, the colour of purity and innocence, only slowly became the preferred colour for wedding dresses at the beginning of the 19th century. The model for this were aristocratic and royal houses. One of the most famous wedding dresses to this day is the dress of the Empress of Austria: Sissi. Many girls and women still dream of such a dream in white with a long train, in which she said yes to the proposal of Emperor Franz Joseph I in 1854.
54 % of all brides in Germany are getting married in a white wedding dress
However, white is not white because there are numerous colour gradations - for example off-white, ivory, wool white or cream. In addition, there are the different cuts and styles of the dresses, some of which emphasize female shapes particularly beautifully.
Wedding dresses: The trendy cuts for different body types
The apple type
The rounded hips and the overall somewhat fuller silhouette of apple-shaped body forms are flattered by wedding dresses with a high waist in Empire style, which stretch optically. Also A-line wedding dresses with flowing skirts flatter this figure. The wedding dress should be made of a light type of fabric. Chiffon or Organza are suitable for this. An emphasis on the waist should be avoided - as should heavy fabrics such as brocade. Instead, the focus should be on a V- or heart-shaped neckline.
The inverted triangle
This body type has slightly wider shoulders than hips. Neckholder dresses and asymmetrical cut-outs are recommended. The shoulder should not necessarily be covered in order not to make it appear wider. Shoulder-free dresses are therefore a suitable choice. The flattering effect is provided by box, Empire and Duchesse dresses as well as by bridal fashion in the A-line.
The pear type
The pear type, in which narrow shoulders merge into curvy hips, is the counterpart to the inverted triangle. A styling tip for this body type is to emphasize the upper part and draw attention to it. Therefore, strapless wedding dresses are just as suitable as asymmetrical ones, i.e. those with only one strap. Neck holders, collars as well as Carmen and submarine cutouts also draw attention to the advantages of the pear type. A skirt in A-line makes the waist look narrower and ensures good proportions.
The hourglass figure
Women with this body type can basically wear any wedding dress because they are blessed with lovely shoulders and a narrow waist. Their figurative advantages, however, are beautifully highlighted with wedding dresses in mermaid or baby doll style. In addition, the waist can be emphasized with a ribbon, a sash or a decorative belt. Shoulder-free dresses, V-neck dresses and round or heart-shaped necklines are also an excellent choice.
Wedding customs: "something old, something new …"
But the outfit of a bride is only completed with those accessories, which originally go back to an English custom: "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a lucky six-pence in your shoe". Translated, the quote reads: "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a lucky penny in the shoe. "Something old", which for example can be represented by a piece of family jewellery, stands for the life of the bride before her marriage. With the foundation of a family, a new phase of life begins: "something new" symbolizes, for example, the new wedding dress. Happiness is supposed to bring "something borrowed." If the bride borrows the handbag of a happily married girlfriend, for example, this happiness should pass to the future spouses. Finally, the bride needs "something blue" as a sign of loyalty, a blue garter is often worn. The lucky penny falls generously under the table today - it would probably also be too uncomfortable in the shoe.
The rings - 5 basic tips for buying a wedding ring
The wedding rings accompany a couple for life at best. The ring swap is one of the most emotional moments during a wedding, because the rings are visible symbols of the love and affection of the bride and groom. The purchase of the important rings should therefore be well planned and thought through. Requirements and selection criteria with regard to the wedding rings are among other things the design, the wearing comfort and not least the price. The following tips are intended to make buying a wedding ring easier.
- Timely planning. About half a year before the purchase one should get an overview of the current offer and discuss his ideas and wishes with the partner.
- Delivery times to be considered. Also special wishes for the engraving need time.
- Use the test fitting service. The wearing comfort and correct size of the rings should be tested accordingly.
- Reduce the joy of fashionable experimentation. Surely the design of the rings is first and foremost a personal question of taste that only the bridal couple can answer. But even after several decades, purist elegance is probably still acceptable.
- Don't save on the wrong end. Long-term investments like the wedding rings have their price.
By the way, in Germany you wear the wedding ring on your right hand.
Erasable memories: Photography and filming
A shooting with a professional photographer is a standard feature of many weddings today. Of course one would not like to do without beautiful photographs as memory of this big day. The photographer is often engaged due to good experiences. Perhaps the bride and groom have made these experiences personally or rely on the word-of-mouth propaganda of friends or relatives. But an Internet search for regional photo professionals can also be worthwhile.
Unique pictures of a unique festival
For a successful shooting the photographer and the bridal couple should be sympathetic. So if you don't already know each other, a date to get to know each other is very helpful. The time schedule can also be clarified - depending on whether the photographer is only to take certain photos or whether the entire day is to be accompanied photographically by the photographer. As is so often the case, this is also a question of cost. It is therefore advisable to obtain and compare several offers.
Avoid time wasters
Once the right photographer has been found, details can be discussed - for example, moments that should definitely be photographed: the moment when the couple sees themselves as bride and groom for the first time, the exchange of rings, the congratulations of the guests after the wedding ceremony or the opening dance. With excited anticipation, many bridal couples await the portrait shots that will be taken during the individual shoot with the photographer. To ensure that the voltage does not become a tension, sufficient time should be allowed for: at least 1 to 2 hours. Avoidable time wasters can be detected in advance. For example, it is better not to have to travel too long to get to the photo location. The time for the wedding shooting is also of great importance and depends on individual factors. Ideally, guests are not left to their own devices, but entertained or busy themselves: with a guided tour of the castle, a champagne reception or coffee and cake.
The videographer or wedding filmmaker
In addition to photos, films are also a great way to recall the most beautiful moments of your wedding again and again. Therefore, a videographer can also be commissioned to record these special moments with his camera. The search for a good wedding filmmaker can also lead to success via the Internet or the exchange of experiences with friends and relatives. Demo versions on the filmmaker's homepage, in which he proves his skills, can also serve as a decision-making aid. Of course, films have one decisive advantage over photos: the sound. Speeches, wedding games, the cutting of the wedding cake - everything can be filmed and recorded for eternity. It is advantageous if these highlights are added to the main movie as a separate clip. Then the viewer can select later in the menu which passages of the celebration he would like to see in full length. The final result is an approximately one-hour report of the wedding, which is edited and reworked afterwards, if the filmmaker is present for approximately 10 hours. A very individual souvenir.
The bridal bouquet - popular bouquet shapes for yes girls
It is not only in front of the wedding altar or during the romantic opening dance that the bride and groom are in the centre of attention and is therefore an important accessory - the bridal bouquet. His choice should therefore also be given appropriate attention. The bouquet should match the wedding dress and underline the type of the wearer. Whether in a waterfall look or as a colourful flower ball made of gerbera, roses or hydrangeas - the design possibilities are huge.
The sceptre shape
The flower stems of this bridal bouquet are particularly long and can be decorated with ribbons, sparkling gemstones or pearls. Another characteristic of this bouquet is the spherical or round head.
Tip: fits puristic and straight wedding dresses
The Biedermeier form
A bouquet in the classic Biedermeier style is small, dome-shaped and therefore fits particularly well in the hand. The stem is wrapped with fabric tape or crepe and the bridal bouquet is thus additionally beautified.
Tip: fits all styles of wedding dresses
The waterfall shape
Bridal bouquets with this shape enchant with their elegance and grace. Outflowing bouquets can be bound from almost all types of flowers. They owe their design and name to their fascinating role model, the waterfall.
Tip: is particularly suitable for large brides and dresses with long drags
The bouquet of arms
All the bridal bouquets are romantic. But the filigree arm bouquet looks particularly romantic, because it consists of a few selected flowers. Unlike other bouquets, it is not carried in the hand, but held loosely in the arm, hence the name "bouquet of arms.
Tip: as an accessory to simple dresses, you remain true to your style with this restrained bouquet shape
Who's gonna catch the bouquet?
One of the highlights of a wedding celebration is the tradition of throwing bridal bouquets. All unmarried women gather near the bride. The bride stands with her back to the crowd and throws the bouquet - without looking. The woman who catches the bouquet is the next bride. But because a bridal bouquet is actually too good to fall victim to the bridal bouquet throwing, some brides use a trick: they have a substitute bouquet made. They then use this "twin" as a throwing object and keep the actual bouquet as a memento.
The music: live band or DJ?
The mood of a wedding celebration depends essentially on the musical entertainment. Therefore it is important to think about a DJ or a live band in advance. Are the wedding date and the celebration location fixed? Then you should search as soon as possible, because good entertainers have a relatively full schedule. When it comes to choosing a DJ or a band, there are three things that are decisive: the question of personal taste, the budget and the size of the location. But what exactly speaks for or against a live band or a DJ?
- Songs are originalgetreu
- is generally cheaper
- enables an authentic mix of different music styles
- needs less space for its equipment
- may require fewer breaks
- no special eye-catcher for the guests
- real musicians can arouse more emotions than a CD
- he live experience of a band can create a more rousing atmosphere.
- can also provide goose bumps moments in the church with live singing
Disadvantages Live Band
- may not be able to fulfil every musical wish because she has a certain repertoire
No matter if live band or DJ - important is a varied music selection. Every age group should be addressed, so that every guest has musical and dancing fun and gets his money's worth.
The opening dance
For dance lovers it may be the reason for sleepless nights, but the opening dance is and remains a very romantic custom and a fixed part of the programme of many weddings. Many dance schools offer courses for wedding couples - to become safer certainly a good idea. In addition to the individual taste, the type of dance is also decisive for the wedding song. Is there possibly a personal introduction song? Whether it's a classic waltz or a hip-hop song, only the respective couple can decide.
A small selection of wedding songs:
- Bruno MarsMarry You
- Elton JohnCan You Feel The Love Tonight
- Diana Ross & Lionel RichieEndless Love
- Sonny & CherI Got You Babe
- Aretha FranklinI Say A Little Prayer
- AdeleOne And Only
- ElvisLove Me Tender
- The TemptationsMy Girl
- One Moment In TimeWhitney Houston
- Alanis MorissetteThank You
- Mario JordanWelch ein Tag
Where do you want to go? Dream destinations for your honeymoon
Stroll hand in hand for miles along the white sandy beach, enjoy togetherness and relax. The honeymoon is supposed to be the crowning conclusion of a wedding and is therefore associated with many longings and desires. But where is the journey to go?
Popular honeymoon destinations include the Seychelles or Maldives, Bali or Mauritius. But even a city trip to Paris has its charm. So first of all the type of trip has to be clarified. Newlyweds with a passion for sports might be interested in an active holiday with diving offers. Several destinations can be explored on a cruise during shore excursions. Between the shore excursions you can indulge in the wellness offers on board.
Further suggestions for the planning of your honeymoon
Depending on the destination, jet lag may have to be considered due to time change and possible rainy seasons. It is therefore important to obtain information about the weather of the desired destination and period. Not only the wallet is happy about special honeymoon offers from certain tour operators. Such specials are especially designed to meet the needs of newly married couples. So that nothing stands in the way of an unforgettable honeymoon.
- Main picture above (couple, man and woman): iStock.com/Halfpoint
- Illustrations: freepik.com
- Banner with link to the wedding ring guide: iStock.com/Halfpoint