Sunday, October 23, 2005

Chapel of Love (in Caputh)

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending Christina and Niels wedding in Caputh, a village outside of Potsdam, which is a town outside Berlin. Caputh is filled with cobblestone streets, picturesque houses and small local restaurants. The town's claim to fame is Einstein's summer house (think Jolli Lodge), which he used until right before he left for Princeton. Caputh is also known for the Caputh Castle. Christina and Niels got married in the church on the property and the reception was in another building overlooking Lake Templin.

The service was a good mix of Christina and Niels and German, American and Catholic (which really throughs a good Presbyterian for a loop) traditions. The pews were decorated with boxwood wreaths hung with orange ribbons. The alter (and Christina's bouquet) was decorated with a gorgeous mix of flowers and berries in fall tones. The happy couple walked down the aisle together (this may have been because they were married in a civil service in Denmark last year.) Christina is German and Niels is American so the service was conducted by a priest that spoke a bit of both. Family members read Bible passages, though there were not numerous bridesmaids and groomsmen as you would see at an American wedding. I thought one of most special touches to the service was that the priest asked Niels (and he responded) in German whether he would "love, honor and obey Christina..." The priest then spoke to Christina (and she answered) in English to the same. I am sure that was very meaningful to the respective families.

It was pouring rain after the service, so everyone walked briskly to the Cavalier House for the champagne reception (German tradition.) The bride and groom had a receiving line and everyone could enjoy a glass of bubbly and chat. To my pleasant surprise, Katheryne, a colleague from Washington, was at the wedding. It was wonderful to catch up with her (and maybe gossip a bit about work!) Since neither one of us knew anyone else at the wedding, it was also nice to have a buddy for the evening.

Dinner began at 6 (a bit early because of the rain.) After pumpkin soup for the first course, Christina's father gave a wonderful toast, which included a priceless description of his first impression of Niels: "Christina's boyfriend the viking." A wonderful buffet dinner followed. Afterwards, there was cake and dancing. The groom's cake (southern US tradition,) was red velvet and decorated with Elvis to reflect Niels' southern roots and love of "The King." The wedding cake, was decorated with flowers that matched Christina's bouquet. Dancing seemed to be more of an American thing. Christina's relatives seemed intrigued by the loud Americans dancing to Greece songs, but did not really participate:-)

I caught a train from Potsdam back to Berlin at 1am, but the party was still going strong. Soup had just been served so people could keep on celebrating. There will probably be sleepy people at brunch this morning! What a special evening!


At 1:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 12:21 PM, Anonymous Teresa Springer said...

I have been teasing Niels since high school that he would have made a good Viking (by looks, definitely not by nature) but how interesting that Christina's dad got the same impression!
Thanks for the preview!


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