Herzlichen Glückwunsch und Weihnachtsgrüße!

Sarah Ritchie Real Stories, Your Ceremony

Bride's Tree Ornament Set, Signals Catalog

Bride’s Tree Ornament Set, Signals Catalog

In the heart of Christmas season I was fortunate to officiate the German-inspired wedding of Jean and Jim.  This lovely couple had a particularly sweet story, having first met 30+ years ago in a theatre group at St. Matthias Roman Catholic Church in Ridgewood, Queens (which still offers a weekly mass in German).  Having found love “the second time around” three decades later, our bride and groom hosted an incredibly moving wedding—not a dry eye in the house!  And, not since Kata & Jeremy’s wedding during the Steuben Parade have I felt so in touch with my German roots.

Steeped in German tradition, the celebration was held at the Oktoberfest Manor in Forest Hills.  All around were nods to the Fatherland.  German food and decorations were found in every nook of the venue.  The husband wife team Bud and Linda Gramer provided traditional and contemporary music, and a number of the guests and restaurant staff donned apparel straight from Deutschland. The ceremony included a bi-lingual reading of a Goethe poem, and I even brought the German flag for photo ops after the ceremony.   And, I even lobbied the bride and groom to partake in the German custom of sawing a log during the reception….alas, they resisted.

It was only after the wedding that I learned of another German wedding tradition, perfect for the holiday season.  To ensure the happiness of newlyweds, couples often receive 12 traditional ornaments for the Tannenbaum.  The ornaments and their representations are as follows:  Rose (affection); Fish (Christ’s blessing); Angel (God’s guidance); Fruit Basket (generosity); Flower Basket (good wishes); Santa Claus (goodwill); Heart (true love); Bird (joy); House (protection); Rabbit (hope); Pinecone (fruitfulness); and Teapot (hospitality).  Gift sets are available, including this one featured in Signals catalog.

Enjoy photographs from the very happy wedding provided by the delightful photographer Kathy Valentine: