I woke up around 6am (with alarm) and got ready to go to Valda's to get my hair done.  I got myself some yummy muesli with yogurt and sat down in the living room to eat, only to see the clock and note that I needed to leave in only a few minutes.   I gulped a few more mouthfuls as I put my breakfast in the fridge and ran around getting Faith in her carseat and my coat on.  Somehow I miscalculated the time, and I even had to rush to take the next tram.  With the diaper bag on my back, Faith in her carseat over one arm, and the garment bag in the other hand, I walked quickly to the tram stop that I had never been to before. I got to the intersection and could not see the tracks.  Thankfully, I saw the electric lines above and with only a little more confusion, stepped to the correct platform just a minute or two before the arrival of the tram.  I caught my breath during the ride and got off at Neubad.  This is a five-way intersection, and I knew that the entrance to Valda's apartment was across the street to the left of the grocery store.  So I headed that direction and did not find the entrance. In fact, the whole storefront looked wrong.  I looked around the intersection and found that the other grocery store is one street over, and then following my directions from that store, I successfully entered Valda's apartment.

Stephanie was ready for me and started twisting up my hair.  Elaine or Valda (sorry I can't remember who, boy it was early!), thoughtful hostess, bought us some yummy food from a bakery and I had a couple of clementines as well.

Soon it was time for Steph to go to her hair appointment and Aubrey took over the twisting of the hair.  She finished that and curled the ends of the twists, but needed to go to the church to do errands for Janet and so the rest of my hair remained uncurled.

I got dressed and tried to help out the other ladies, and then when they were ready, Danielle and Sarah took turns finishing my curls.  Faith blessedly slept in her carseat during most of this time.

We were wondering where Janet was.  "Aren't we supposed to be going to the church at 10?" Time ticks on.  My ride to the church was with Diana. Diana was also supposed to be bringing Janet from the hairdresser's. Finally, at just about 10, they come rushing in the door.  The hairdresser took too long.  We grab Janet's dress, veil, etc. and all our necessary items and pile out the door. Steph and Valda (who are late because they had to wait for the hairdresser who took too long on Janet) stay behind to get themselves ready. We rush across the street to the cars, pile in and rush to the church.

There is a car in the way of the side entrance through which we are supposed to enter, but we squeeze through.  Jonathan is there and ready in his suit, with a flower in the lapel. I hand Faith to Jon and the ring pillow to Jonathan.  Jon comes back in to get the pillow to Stephan so he can put the rings on.  Richard drives back to get Steph and Valda. 

All this time, bridesmaids are frantically getting dressed, Janet is giving orders that are ignored ("Tell Stephan we're not ready!" "You need to put the slip in the dress before I step into it!") All of a sudden we hear the organ playing the processional hymn.  Wait!  We're not ready.  It takes three of us to get the slip in the dress. Janet is dressed. Steph is not here.  What is this we hear?  The second hymn playing on the organ, congregation singing.

Well, we'd better go anyway.  Janet and Dad go out the side entrance.  The bridesmaids minus Steph file in the back and the processional music starts again.  We walk up the aisle to our places and sing another verse. The bride and her father are not coming, so Aubrey peeks out the door and asks if they need help.  Yes!  They couldn't open the door!  So Aubrey opens the door for them and here comes the beautiful, radiant and slightly flustered (but it didn't show) bride.

From there things flowed smoothly, if a bit fast.  We only sang two verses of the second hymn, since the congregation had already sung all four earlier. Steph gracefully and subtly entered at the side and slipped into place during one hymn.  Valda
arrived just in time to do the English scripture reading. Janet said her vows in German, Stephan in English. Jonathan did his part well and the rings aarrived safely on the intended fingers.  Jon had asked me the night before if it was weird to me for my sister to be getting married.  It didn't feel so strange then, but the moment Stephan put the ring on Janet's finger, I felt a wave of Whoa, this is real!

After the service we recessed down the aisle and back around the sides to a back chapel where we had a group congregational picture.  Then the whole congregation recessed behind the bride and groom for a grand processional through the streets to the reception. However, the Matron of Honor and the Ring Bearer had to go to the bathroom.  After I finished, I went to the back room to collect stuff with a couple of other bridesmaids and/or helpers. We were ready to go, but couldn't find Jonathan.  Jon ran up ahead to see if he followed the procession, but finally he showed up at the church.  It turns out he had used the women's bathroom, which Jon did not check.

By the time we got out the doors of the church, the procession was long gone. It was a good thing there were a bunch of people with us who had also missed the procession but knew where we were going.  However, we took the most direct route (in front of the hospital emergency room entrance which is why the official processional couldn't go that way) and just as we got up to the hotel doors, we met Janet and Stephan and the rest of the procession coming the other way.

Inside, the bridal party went upstairs so we could be introduced and walk along a balcony where everyone could see us and clap and take pictures.

Downstairs were appetizers, fruit, cookies, and drinks.  The music started up pretty quickly and we started dancing.  There were many more people there than had been at the rehearsal, so it was not very coordinated. For the fancy dance, the teacher had those who had rehearsed be the leaders, which was rather a disaster.  But everyone had fun anyway. Jonathan and Isabella especially were twirling around and having a grand time.

Noah fell asleep sitting against the wall and the minister's son gave him his coat as a pillow.  He slept pretty much the whole reception.

Mom's powerpoint was running on a projector in the side room.

They cut the cake and then had a "groom's cake" that was a wheel of cheese that they also cut for fun.

Then we all lined up outside the door with bubbles to blow at Janet and Stephan as they walked through.  We gathered up our stuff again to go to the second reception.  Diana took me and Faith.  Richard was taking Jon and the boys, and they stayed back to help take down decorations.

The parking pay machine ate Diana's money and didn't give her any change. Aubrey rode with us and was navigator.  The directions to the castle were hard - Diana got way lost the first time she went.  Even with a navigator this second time, it was tricky.  But we made it.  Faith was crying in the car, and I thought she as hungry.  Diana offered for me to stay there and nurse her in the car.  I declined thinking athat there would be a nicer place in the castle, but Diana was right.  Jon and Richard also missed a turn while following the given directions, so switched over to the GPS and eventually got there, though the directions insisted that we drive up a goat track that specifically said no vehicles.  We found our own way, and the navigator kept repeating (in 100 meters, turn around) until we were within 200 meters of our destination when it changed its mind and said, "You have arrived".

We had to squeeze by Janet and Stephan getting their pictures taken on the stairs, and then the bottom room of the castle was cold and crowded. Faith screamed and screamed and would not be comforted. She didn't want to nurse and would not settle down.  Finally Jon came with the diaper bag and we changed her out of her green velvet dress (was the lace on the collar bothering her?) but she still wasn't very happy.  Dad's idea was that she was hot, and I think that he was right.  I had been so cold in that room that I was trying to keep her bundled up.  But when it was time to take pictures out in the cold, she was as happy as a clam.

The rest of us were freezing, though. Jonathan got upset at the anticipation of the cold, but he borrowed someone's hat and did fine for the pictures.  Janet had to be out the longest, standing on frozen rocks with thin open-toed shoes.  Dad put her coat over her shoulders between shots.  He also had to tell us to relax and not give frozen smiles.

Then we all went up and up the spiral staircases to the dining room. As I walked up the steep staircase, I noticed signs reading "Rauchen Verboten."  I asked the lady coming up just behind me if that meant "careful on the stairs" and she laughed good-naturedly and said, "No, it means smoking forbidden!"

The kids had the window seats with the beautiful view of the city lights below.  There was a big ceramic tile heat diffuser (with a fire in the back of it) that heated up the room very well.

Janet thoughtfully had us seated with our families instead of up at a head table.  We were at a table with the Wilsons (Jonathan, Sarah - bridesmaid, and their little Lily, 2 months) and the Birts (Simon and Vivienne with Isabella at the window table with the boys.)  There were others at the far end of the table but I didn't talk to them much and I forget their names.

As matron of honor, it was my job to present a toast. I had suddenly realized the day before that I needed to prepare one and I started thinking it out in my head as we were going to bed, but I fell asleep before finishing.  I finished thinking through it sitting there at the dinner table, and I got nervous just sitting there waiting for the toast.  But it went pretty well and several people said it was good. I had a split second thought that I should ask if it should be translated, but I was already standing up ready to go, so I just went ahead.  This did make my speech the only part of the evening that was spoken in only one language.

Dinner was veal, vegetables and potato croquettes, which were pretty much just like long tater tots (I, silly American, wanted ketchup but made do with the veal gravy.)  The vegetarian option was tasty but unidentifiable, possibly potato but likely another root vegetable made into a pancake and fried.  Jonathan liked the veal very much but Noah did not.  I don't remember having veal before.  One thing Jon found humorous was that LeiWei asked for ketchup at one of the dinners we had with them - everyone always says how ketchup is American, but he put ketchup on vegetables or something that I wouldn't have done.

The dessert spread was fabulous, my favorites being the raspberry sorbet and the chocolate mousse.

There was an upper turret room at the top of many many stairs.  It had windows all around with beautiful views.  There were all sorts of costumes up there and a camera with which to take pictures of ourselves all dressed up.  Jonathan and Isabella made about 20 trips up and down and had a blast playing around the castle.

There was a video compilation of Stephan's bachelor party which was based on the 80's and 90's video games that he used to play.  The guys had Stephan act out in "real life" some of the scenes from the games, including playing a kazoo for a bus driver, digging for treasure, and trying to sell his Indiana Jones jacket to a random person on the street.

One of Stephan's cousins made a slide show of pictures from when they were little. Cornelia made a "Who wants to be a Millionaire" type quiz for Janet.  Danielle and Sarah described Janet as Joyful, Academic, Noteworthy, Efficient, and Thoughtful.

There was a narrated (in German and English) Romeo and Juliett play where the actors didn't know their parts until it had been narrated.  Jon was half of a bench and Jonathan was a bird.

At the end of the evening, we made another line for the bride and groom to walk through, but this time we had sparklers.  There were luminaries along the pathway as well.

Diana took Faith and me home, Richard took Jon and the boys, and we arrived at just about the same time.

It was a very full, fun, joyful, exhausting day.  Congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs. Stücklin!  May God bless your marriage richly as you follow Him together.

Posted by Heather Daley on January 17, 2009, 7:57 am | Read 5577 times
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Nice whirlwind account. I must give credit where credit is due, and say it was probably Elaine who brought you breakfast, but I know it was Elaine who arranged a ride for Steph and Valda after we left them stranded, and it was certainly Elaine who opened the door for Dad and me. We could have opened the door, but how could we know when it was time to come in? I had thought we arranged for someone to open the door at the right time, but it fell through the cracks. Elaine saved the day by being there and observant and willing to step in with what needed to be done!

Posted by IrishOboe on January 19, 2009, 3:24 am

Am I the only one who thought the meat was beef and not veal? I haven't had veal in years and years, but I don't remember it either looking or tasting like that. I did think it was some of the tenderest and beef I've ever had, though, and quite delicious!

Too bad if it was veal...I don't want to like veal...kinda like not eating Nestle's chocolate chips, I suppose.

Posted by SursumCorda on January 19, 2009, 7:22 am

I hadn't realized Nestle picked the chocolate off the tree at a young age. Shame on them. :)

Posted by jondaley on January 20, 2009, 8:48 am
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