Today’s wedding is IMMENSE.
Frauke and Joerg had a french inspired city chic wedding slap bang in the middle of Hamburg.
They chose my personal favourite wedding car in the world – a classic Citroen DS (no french inspired wedding is complete without one!) And to celebrate the bride swigged a bottle of Champagne in the back on a whistle stop tour of the city. This is my kind of wedding.
As well as too many elegant and pretty details to mention here, we have some simply stunning photography for you to feast your eyes on today. Ann-Kathrin Koch splits her time between England and Germany shooting weddings. You may well remember her work from our stunning winter inspiration shoot A Vintage Winters Tale.
Also, check out the chap who I affectionately refer to as ÜBER GROOM! That is one serious W-day get up, the guy means business.
Anyway, as is tradition I will hand you over to the bride. Just promise me one thing, promise me you will read the whole thing. EVERY. SINGLE. WORD.
It really is, in equal measure, a perfectly brilliant, funny, romantic and interesting story…
I Had To Say Yes
Since the day I met Joerg I knew that he was the one I wanted to marry. I kept this thought to myself, however – until the day he proposed to me.
We went on a holiday that was supposed to be a romantic winter holiday, but wasn’t. It was 12 degrees outside, it was pouring with rain, we couldn’t even see the mountains of the Italian alps, and all the other guests at the romantic spa resort were 65 years and older. Thankfully Joerg didn’t give up on his goal and proposed to me in his rather small and tight hotel bathrobe right before dinner time.
I was just getting dressed and he decided to ask the question at the exact moment I had my head stuck in my jumper. Nevertheless it was oh-so-romantic and the ring he gave me didn’t leave any doubt. I had to say yes!
From that moment on it was all about how the wedding should be. Pretty complicated if you work so much that you don’t have the time to discuss any details together, and especially if you are one of those people who never had a clear vision on how to get married.
We were sure that we didn’t want any kitsch or too much wedding cliché and that the wedding should be about us. Joerg is in his mid-forties and you don’t want to see him side by side with white doves or pink balloons. The style we wanted was a mixture between “down to earth” and city chic.
We decided to get help from a wedding planner, thinking she would do most of the ‘work’ for us, which isn’t really true because you have to make all decisions anyway and describe exactly what you want. But she came up with a great proposal regarding the location for the party. She asked us how we’d like Café Paris in the centre of Hamburg. Turns out that yes, it was perfect.
Café Paris is one of the locations we like most in Hamburg. It is charming and cool, state of the art and classy, it serves great food, it is beautifully decorated so we didn’t have to re-do anything and the original art-deco wall tiles and ceiling are so special and romantic that candles and flowers would be enough to add when it came to decorations.
A Family Event
We knew pretty soon that we wanted to have a civil ceremony on a Friday afternoon in the town hall down the street from our house. Afterwards we held a little reception in our flat because we wanted it to be up, close and personal. Our families hadn’t met before and we wanted them to get to know each other in a cosy and home style situation. It should be a family event, our family event. We ordered food from a café around the corner, cleaned up our place and Bille (my maid of honour) and I decorated it with white garlands, confetti, feathers, candles and flowers.
Just The Two Of Us
After our guest had left we finished the last bottle of wine at the Altonaer Balkon, a 5 minute walk from our home, and enjoyed the great view across the harbour at night. This was when we realised we were husband and wife, just the two of us.
As much as Friday was all about family, best friends, our home and cosiness, Saturday was all about the big party.
Not A Princess
There is no other activity that I enjoyed as much as picking a dress. I am really into fashion and love shopping but choosing a wedding dress beats it all. I could do it over and over again.
After looking into some bridal gown stores with my maid of honour and my mother it turned out that I wasn’t at all the kind of woman who wanted to be a princess for one day. I did not want to be somebody else but myself. But I still wanted to wear a white dress. So after trying many, many dresses that did not feel right, I started looking for dresses of designers that I liked. Lucky me! White dresses were the thing to wear last year. Inspiration was all over the place. I picked the ones I liked most and went to Hello Couture, a store in Hamburg where you can choose from basic raw models and design the details yourself.
Just What I Wanted
I simply asked them if they wanted to design a dress together with me and I am glad they agreed. Many sessions and meetings, always accompanied by Sibylle, my maid of honour and style advisor, and not to forget Anja, my Make-Up artist, followed.
We talked about length, width, decoration, shoes and accessories for many hours. The dress changed from session to session. I was nervous until the final fitting. In the end it turned out to be completely ‘my’ dress. It fitted, it was me, it was not a princess dress nor was I one-of-many-brides. It was just what I wanted.
The next step was to find the accessories that turn a dress into an outfit. We got married in October, this started the jacket question. Being not quite rich enough for a white rabbit fur coat I looked through second hand stores and finally found a fake one in my size.
The veil that we chose additionally made the outfit very special. I felt as innocent as I wanted to feel.
When Joerg and I looked for mood pictures of how our wedding should look like at the beginning of the planning phase we screened a lot of celebrity and movie weddings. And the one we liked most was the Italian wedding in Godfather. I have to admit the veil gave me this Italian Godfather feel, which doesn’t refer to my life but was a good fit for the wedding day.
Maybe it’s the thought that we would kill for each other that made it so romantic…
I tried about 7 pairs of shoes which I ordered from the internet thinking they were right, but after seeing them with the dress they just weren’t right any more. I looked and looked and I almost lost my nerves. I had a nice but very old pair of rose high heels, which I would have worn if I hadn’t found any others. In which case the old proverb would have been fitting: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue… But lucky me I found the perfect pair of Michael Kors shoes at a store where I never usually go and – they were on sale!
My hair was not as long as I wanted it to be. I couldn’t do anything to make it grow faster. But Anja Bissinger, who is one of the best movie make-up artists in Germany, agreed to do my hair and make-up and said she would take care of it.
She did a perfect job. She was all over the girly bride chat. Besides the fact that I worked with her before on movies and adore her work, she just knew what was right for me. So she gave me some extensions that were produced just for me and looked like my natural hair. On top she styled the veil so beautifully that we decided later to leave it on for the whole party.
When one of my friends said that I looked like I was out of a Vogue spread, it was the best compliment I could ever get.
We decided to use the decorations, flowers and candles from home for the reception and party the next day. They were all white seasonal flowers. I wanted them to look undressed and not staged. My sister made origami cranes and swans for me and we integrated them into the flowers. Bella Flora, one of my favourite flower shops in Hamburg did the flowers as I knew they would fit my style with whatever they did.
I knew Joerg was going to wear a classic black suit because he told me. He isn’t the kind of man who would dress up and go for a fancy grooms suit just because he saw it in a magazine. Thank god, another reason to love him more! I like men to be men and that’s what he was.
In his Tom Ford Suit he looked classic and cool. He wore the Paul Smith cufflinks I gave him for his birthday a few years ago and a new pair of John Lobb shoes. His Givenchy tie matched my dress just perfectly. It was great to watch him days before practicing to bind the tie, but on the big day he let his godson help him. He also let his best man tie his shoes to make sure that the slip knot was the correct way round.
We decided to do a portrait shoot with Ann-Kathrin Koch right before the party. This was the moment when Joerg saw my dress for the first time. Accompanied by my maid of honour Bille and best man Thomas and Fedor, his son, we did a wonderful photo shoot around the famous Fishmarket at the Elbe with views across the harbour.
As a surprise Joerg organized a champagne coloured Citroen DS from 1971 that picked us up.
It was the best golden October light we could have wished for. We talked a lot about the classic wedding shoots that we saw before and knew we didn’t want to end up kissing under a tree in the park. Having Ann-Kathrin Koch photograph us when we first saw each other in our outfits was a good idea to catch real emotions in the pictures without posing. The location and light added a great feel to the pictures as well.
More Than Worth It
One of the most astonishing moments to us was when we first saw the pictures. We didn’t realise that it all fitted so well together. We decided to go for Ann-Kathrin Koch as our wedding photographer because we knew her from work and we saw her wedding photos on her web site. But the results – 500 pictures in the end – were more than we expected. This was more than worth it.
Ann-Kathrin is so great and fun to work with. She is a person you want to share special moments with and more. Thank you Ann-Kathrin, for making this day everlasting with your photography.
A Grand Entrance
Joerg, with his background as a movie producer, said we needed to have choreography for the moment we appeared on scene, as we didn’t have a ceremony that included all the guests before. So our best man Thomas Krygier, who is a movie director, told me precisely how to enter the room, where to look, what pace I needed and at what moment to look at Joerg to make the dramaturgy perfect.
Joerg was at the venue early to greet the guests and keep the audience waiting to increase the tension while Bille and I had the pleasure of driving around Hamburg in the Citroen DS. We were cruising through the harbour and the historic Speicherstadt at sunset time, swigging Champagne as Gerhard, our friend who drove us, had the pleasure of listening to “girls talk before the wedding party”.
When we got there it was very special. Everyone was standing at the windows waiting for us.
I entered the room like I was told and first looked around, realising and enjoying the moment, then slowly turned around to my husband and looked into his eyes. He took off my veil and looked at me. We made our guests cry, moan, laugh and applause and then: we kissed. It was the sweetest and most official kiss in my life.
The jazz band from Berlin – formed by friend Marcus Hueholt, who was able to get Henrik Walsdorff, a saxophonist, and Johannes Fink, a contrabass player to play with him for the evening – was playing the famous Hochzeitsmarsch followed by Take Five and it was exactly what I wished for. They kept on playing until round about midnight and almost made the DJ redundant. They were really great and I am thankful for this wedding surprise which my husband organised for me.
I also want to say that the food at Café Paris was extremely good, on time and the service was professional and charming. They made us feel very special this evening. To us there is no better place in Hamburg City to celebrate a wedding. It was outstanding and just perfect.
Later on we opened the dance floor with a song by The Rolling Stones: Sweethearts Together. The Rolling Stones were always Joerg’s favourite band and I found it was a good choice to dance something other than a waltz. So we went for a Rumba.
The song is slightly cheesy but after our dance lesson the teacher agreed that a Rumba was just right for Joerg and his dancing skills. And there we were: happy, already a bit drunk, not co-ordinated at all but beautiful to watch. Right afterwards the party began to rock and DJ Lesley Farfisa did a great job. There was no one who did not like the music. We rocked the café until early morning and fell to bed happy, drunk, and … married.
The End Is Near
The favours we gave to our guests were great fun for me. I wanted something other than almonds, which are common in Germany as a gift. I searched the internet for many hours to find a little gift and after Joerg stated that he liked that in Mexico people celebrate death with the same joy as everything else, I managed to find little colourful skulls to give away.
It might be a bit odd but we thought the end is always near, so let’s integrate it with some irony.
Do It Your Way
Follow your feelings and don’t follow the rules just because you have to. People like it when you do it your way.
Rituals are good if you take them not too seriously. They can give your wedding structure which the guests may expect but think deeply about what you want to spend your money on.
If champagne is more important to you than a wedding cake, go for it.
Choose From Your Heart
It all comes together at one point and once you know that something is right, the rest will follow and fit anyway.
Try to find as much help for the big day as you can get. As the couple you shouldn’t have to worry about anything and no logistical problem should find its way to your ear. Let other people be responsible, be it friends or people you hire. Go for the venue that will fulfil your wishes and not for the one that makes you follow their demands.
Choose the maid of honour and best man from your heart. Be sure they are the ones who wish the best for you and feel good about your marriage. Don’t pick them because you owe them.
Dress Hello Couture
Shoes Michael Kors
Suit Tom Ford
Hair and Make-up Anja Bissinger
Photography Ann-Kathrin Koch
Entertainment Marcus Hueholt
Some great advice there at the end about choosing your best man and maid of honour, which is very apt so closely after Charlottes post on bridesmaids.
So, what is the verdict then? I think it is fitting that this wedding has more than a few connections to the movie industry – Those shots by Ann look like movie stills, and the hair, make-up and fashion are all Hollywood worthy.
I love that nod to the Godfather too.