I do, I do, I do, I do, I do, I dooooo…

A couple of weeks ago, I ended up talking about weddings with one of my groups.

Me: Which hand do you wear your ring on in Germany? 

Students: The right. Unlike the rest of the world. 

Me: Yeah, pretty much. Oh, you don’t wear your engagement ring on the same finger? 

Students: Germans don’t do engagement rings. 

Me: What?! But how does that work? He gets down on one knee, proposes and gives you, erm, nothing? 

Students: Pretty much. 

Me: But that’s just… I don’t know… it’s just…

Students: Engagement rings are expensive.

Good old German practicality strikes again.

A little later, we were doing a listening exercise.

A: Patrick and I are getting married! 

B: Wow, that’s fantastic news! Congratulations! 

Me: So, let’s see the ring!

Me: There is no ring. I’m marrying a German…

Students: Sigh.

Anyway, there is a point to all of this, and no, it’s not that a German has proposed to me (but hopefully some day – hint, hint…). I’ve been invited to my first German wedding!

I imagine I will wear something like this. It is Berlin.
I imagine I will wear something like this. It is Berlin, after all.

When I lived in Latvia, if someone came out with “I wanted to ask you something”, it usually ended up with me working for no money, or a promised beer that never materialised. In Germany, however, this was followed up by, “I’m getting hitched in Berlin next year. Want to come?”

I do, I do, I do, I do, I do, I doooooo!

The invitation was all the more surprising as I don’t even know the bride that well. In fact, we only got to know each other after she started reading my blog and got in touch to ask if I wanted to meet up some time. We did, got along like a house on fire and have been friends ever since, although mostly on Facebook as she lives in London. (She’s marrying an English man which means that if my German starts to fail at the wedding, I’ll have his side of the family to talk to. Totally gewinning.)

The day itself sounds amazing – first of all, the wedding is not going to be in a church so there’s no risk of me being hounded by a priest for back taxes. There’s going to be a two-hour boat trip to Potsdam and, best of all, a 7-hour free bar…

I now see the point in not spending stupid amounts of money on an engagement ring.

Bridehilde: And you MUST write a blog post about it.

Me: Absolutely! 

Bridehilde: You can black out my face though. 

Me: Umm, that might look a bit creepy…

My best friend kindly let me butcher one of her beautiful wedding photos to prove my point.
My best friend kindly let me butcher one of her beautiful wedding photos to prove my point.

We might need to rethink the photography angle. But after a 7-hour free bar, there might not be much of an issue anyway.

Roll on June!

82 thoughts on “I do, I do, I do, I do, I do, I dooooo…”

  1. Russians dont do engagement rings either, although that’s becoming more of a thing lately.
    I want to go to a German wedding… for the groomsmen :)))))


  2. Perhaps it’s the German in my blood (paternal grandmother came from Germany to the US when she was 16) that made me scoff when my future husband said he wanted to buy me an emerald for a wedding ring. When he told me about how much it would cost, I was like, “What?! We could spend that $$ on a honeymoon!” So he didn’t and we did (go camping for our honeymoon). Twenty-five years later, I got the emerald ring he always wanted to give me. Good things come to those who wait … 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A little off this topic, but here´s my recent experience with German bureaucracy.

    I bought a little bag of seeds (200 g nigella seeds for cooking, 5 bloody euros) on German eBay a couple of days ago. Just now, I got an e-mail directly from the seller, telling me that he’d sent me the seeds along with about 300 words of other text I didn’t care about.

    The message had 5 (five!) documents in the attachment: an 11-page General Terms, a return form, a return form instruction guide, a contact information list with a bunch of references to the law and the other documents, and a legally-required country-of-origin and ingredient certificate.

    And, obviously, there was catchy language like this:

    Der Gesetzgeber stellt in Anlage 2 zu Artikel 246a § 1 Absatz 2 Satz 1 Nummer 1 und § 2 Absatz 2 Nummer 2 EGBGB das folgende Muster-Widerrufsformular zur Verfügung: Muster-Widerrufsformular

    Sure, now I can’t wait to get those seeds — just to be able to try and return them! Such bureaucratic excess must not go to waste!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So….while I was totally on the bandwagon of no ring – in place of a race car – I did get one. I got both actually, and I’m actually kind of happy I did (because the bastard kept the car, so I kept the ring!), and maybe it’s an American thing, but I do love shiny diamonds. The Spanish wear their rings on the right, too, but I will take diamonds for both hands 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah, but you’re worse than TV Linda. NOW you tease me with this 7 hour free bar wedding ‘trailer’, and we only get to read all and possibly see some in what – June? That’s like ages away. Dang it. At least get some good spoilers for the occasion, so I can curb my impatience.
    Anyway, will be interesting to see how German wedding will go.
    P.S. engagement rings – who does ’em? I kind of thought that diamond (or any other kind of expensive) engagement rings were another Hollywood trick, and that in real life only rich people might do that. Seems I was wrong and it is a real thing.


      1. seems it is an option after all. In LT almost no one does rings for engagement, or if they do, it’s usually some simple silver ring or something like that if any at all. Somehow the wedding ring on the right (like right) hand is way more important than engagement ring


        1. Yeah, to me, it’s just something to flash at people – kind of pointless. But then, nobody has asked me yet so maybe I’ll feel differently if that ever happens – doubt it though 😉


  6. The latest trend here in NYC is to have a little photo booth at the reception. Groups jam into the teeny booth wearing crazy accessories — wigs, feather boas, giant glasses, sombreros — and the flash goes off 3 or 4 times in a row. It’s nutty, especially after hours of open bar. 🙂 Do you think the Germans will go for it?


    1. I think the Germans would love it! There are photo booths all over Berlin so people just hop and and hop out with photos from their nights out – nice idea, and even better for weddings! Step up from the disposable camera in the middle of the table 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. 7 hour bar plus boat trip sounds like a dangerous combination! As to engagement rings, who needs ’em. I’m interested to learn that it’s not a German custom. Hope to hear more about “how Germans do it” 🙂


  8. Oh, a 7 hr bar sounds amazing. I am sure it will be one to remember [or not, with the booze going to nothing.]

    In Taiwan, they give out engagement cookies in fancy boxes to the bride’s side which cost an arm and a leg. We skipped that tradition, but I did get my diamond.


  9. As a close friend of the bride, do you get to/have to wear a special outfit of some kind? If not, consider starting the party with something classy and then transitioning to that beer fairy outfit we identified after the four hour mark.


    1. Yeah, I think the main thing people remember is the party! Make sure everyone has a good time and you’re halfway there – do you remember the table decorations or stuff like that from any wedding you were ever at?!


      1. Haha! Too true! My partner has some crazy notion that if ever we were to do the formal paper thingy, all we would do is throw a great big show – invite all our friends who feel like performing to do a little number with excessive food and drink for one humdinger of an entertaining party. Oh and I might broadly hint to some friends who own wine estates or are master whisky distillers that ‘gifts’ in kind would be ever so gratefully consumed. 🙂 Utterly shameless!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Can’t wait to read about your wedding /drinking adventures and the cultural twists! And so excited to hear about the book you are in on! Bravo for writing for charity! glad to have time to read again. (Eventually I will get back to writing.)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Ohhhhh, I’m already looking forward to hear your take on a wedding German-style. One question though, is the boat trip before or after the 7-hour open bar? You may want to accessorize your outfit with floaties either way.
    And re: engagements… most of the “engagement stories” I’ve heard about from friends/students were fairly uneventful. Not so much getting down on the knees or grand gestures so much as, “soooo, it’s been 13 years, shall we call the Standesamt and have this shit certified?” Romance!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha! I love that! I must ask some of my students how it happened 🙂 And an Amt I haven’t experienced yet… Not sure of the order of events yet, but liking the floaty idea… I think I could accessorise them to work 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Please do and report back! I’d love to know if the Berliners are more romantic than the Franconians. Personally, I’d like to see a happy medium between the absurd, over-the-top proposals that seem to be required in the States, and the totally banal conversations I’ve heard about here.


      1. It doesn’t happen here in Canada either. The most common practice is to give out two free drink tickets to each guest and if they want more, they pay.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah, we normally get one toast drink and wine with the meal, but you have to pay for everything else. Fair enough I guess. Weddings are stupidly expensive as it is! 😉 Not something I’m interested in ever doing!


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