Franzi & Basti

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This is my first blog about a real wedding and I almost don’t know where to begin! Having arrived in Germany earlier this year, I was a bit daunted. Daunted by how I was supposed to reach out to brides in a totally new environment and in a language unknown to me… Then I was contacted by the amazing videography team at Herz-Kino (link here – ) and they were very keen to work with me. Before I knew it, I had two wedding bookings working alongside them and we instantly clicked! Franzi & Basti’s big day was the first of these weddings and it was truly a day to remember.

Now, being a small-town South African girl, I had no idea of how your typical German wedding day unfolds and I went in with only my gear and an unquenchable enthusiasm for what I do. Our time together was very busy and filled with travelling between venues, but I was tireless in my pursuit of telling a story worthy of the love and beauty that I witnessed on this momentous day. This was a wedding where (modern) Convention met Tradition and merged seamlessly to reflect an event where moments of fun, passion as well as fitting moments of solemnity were present and it couldn’t be more perfect.

The formalities kicked off with the Standesamtliche Trauung (the legal marriage ceremony presided over by a local officiant) with family and close friends in Colditz, after which everyone met up at the groom’s family home in Schönbach for some relaxed chatter over snacks and drinks. There is an old mill on the family property and I fell in love – I just knew we had to take some photos in there and the results were magic, pure and simple. After a quick change by the bride, we proceeded to the village church where the religious ceremony took place (in Germany this is called Die Kirche-Hochzeit) and I was SHOOK by the magnificent architecture of the church that bespoke eras gone by and thousands of couples joined by marriage in the presence of God and their loved ones. It was great fun to observe the German wedding tradition of Roping; where a ribbon is placed across the bride & groom’s exit from the church and the groom must pay the toll with money or with the promise of a party. I think Basti delivered on all counts, because he paid the toll with many a tossed coin and from there we all departed to what would be one hell of a reception party!

Franzi & Basti’s rustic barn reception venue in Thierbaum was set off perfectly by garlands of bunting, refreshing drinks and blossoming flowers and greenery. The brautpaar arrived in a pristine Lanz Bulldog tractor amidst wild cheering from their guests, after which some more wedding traditions were observed which included the old Bavarian tradition of baumstamm sägen (log sawing). This is a fun custom where a log is set out on a sawhorse after the church ceremony and the bride and groom then proceed to saw through the log together – this symbolises how they will work together to overcome obstacles in the future and although it was lightheartedly done, the beautiful symbolism behind the tradition has really stayed with me.

A hearty reception followed which included Kaffee und Kuchen (coffee and cake), family photos, food and drink and getting down on the dancefloor. A special performance was given by Basti’s fellow firefighters (Basti is a volunteer firefighter, how cool is that!) and of course we stole away the bridal couple for what turned out to be some of my favourite bridal portraits to date.

Although the wedding day in its entirety was a stunning success, to me there was one element which specifically stands out in my memory. Franzi and Basti paid such tender and thoughtful respect to their families – especially to those who are no longer with them (miniature portraits lovingly incorporated into the bouquet, flowers placed on a family grave, photos of family members hung in a gently-blowing tree) and I will admit to shedding a tear of my own when I witnessed how they had incorporated these loving details into their day.

I always feel very fragile the day after shooting a wedding, and this one was no different. I usually awake to an aching body and throbbing feet and inevitably question my life choices. But then I think back on the previous day and the story I had witnessed, and I know in that moment that I would do it all again, a hundred times over…

Franzi and Basti, your wedding day was a highlight of my photographic career and I thank you for sharing your story with me.

Greta

View the full shoot on my portfolio

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