My first social event here in Canada was the wedding of Ingo’s friend’s twin sister at the beginning of May in St. Catherines. I was very nervous to meet some of Ingo`s friends for the first time, and had no idea what was awaiting me.
I had already heard that the size of the stone on the engagement ring is a make-or-break deal. It symbolizes the man`s love for his bride to be. I should have figured that the wedding itself would also be bigger than your regular German wedding. However, I had no idea how much staging went into the event. I had never known that there usually is a rehearsal ceremony and a rehearsal dinner the day before the wedding.
When we entered the lavishly decorated church, I I could hardly believe my eyes. Waiting on both sides of the altar were a long row of bridesmaids and groomsmen, and all of them in matching outfits. There were ushers who guided us to the right side of the church, depending on whether we were part of the bride`s or groom`s circle. Everything was very formal.
In Germany, you have to get married during a civil ceremony at the local registry office to make the marriage legal. If the couple wishes to celebrate a religious wedding, they will have a second ceremony at church, usually the next day but sometimes even months later.
The whole process seems to be a lot less opulent. It starts with the engagement rings. Instead of buying an expensive diamond ring for your fiance, the same rings are worn for both the engagement and the wedding. They are just switched from the left hand to the right hand during the wedding ceremony.
Since July 1998 no witnesses are required for the civil service, but up to two can be named. The catholic church still requires two witnesses, but for a protestant ceremony witnesses are optional. Most brides pick a maid of honour and grooms a best man.
After the church service, there was a break of a couple of hours when the newlyweds and their parties their official wedding photos. When we finally arrived at the hotel, the members of the wedding party were all lined up and we congratulated everyone of them one after the other.
In Germany, everyone will make their way to the bride and groom but the rest of the bridal party will be greeted in a less formal way when you mingle.
Another weird concept was the cash bar during the reception. It certainly made sense to me after I found out how expensive alcohol is here in Canada, but something like this would be unthinkable in Germany. The same way, no host would ever consider suggesting a potluck. Every good German host would consider this as an insult to her capabilities of servicing her guests.
After seeing this elaborately staged event, I decided that a wedding would not be in my immediate future. Little did I know...
Just days after the wedding, we left for our trip to Vancouver. Ingo always wanted to move to Vancouver. Therefore, we decided to take the time to drive from Mississauga to get the know a little bit about the Canadian landscape and culture.
If you want to relive the amazing adventure that was in front of us, please return to my blog next week.