I rarely write on my blog about what actually happens at weddings I photograph – I prefer to think more about things from a more emotional perspective because that’s in my mind where the real value of a wedding is. But I think Beate and Edwin’s wedding which Kristen and I photographed in Prague earlier this year cannot simply be limited to emotions – there’s just so much more that can’t necessarily be picked up from the images. There is symbolism in everything and Beate and Edwin, being such a unique and wonderful pair of people, need to have their story explained a little better.
So try and figure this out – a German girl moves to New Zealand, falls in love with a Kiwi boy who then both, a few years later, come to Australia to elope and then move to Berlin before getting married again with their friends in Prague. International quirks aside, if you had a moment to get to know Beate and Edwin, none of this would be surprising in the slightest – they’re not the kind of people who do things the boring and safe way. For example, they first contacted me early January 2014, 22 days before their elopement was to happen in Melbourne. They were planning on getting married, selling their house and then moving to Germany a little later. It turns out when I met them on the morning of their Melbourne ceremony that they’d already sold their house and were living in a bed and breakfast until May. Oh, and Beate was 6 months pregnant with their first child and neither of them minded asking two random ladies who were sitting in the park to act as their legal witnesses for the marriage ceremony. As you can see, they dance to the beat of their own drum.
Just around 7 months later, Kristen and I, along with Beate and Edwin’s nearest and dearest family and friends stood on the historic Charles Bridge in the middle of Prague, their favourite city in Europe, sharing this amazing experience. Beate and Edwin’s 3 month old daughter, the beautiful Scarlett Aroha was there with us and even her name has symbolism. Scarlett because Beate loves the colour red (if you can’t already tell) and Aroha the Maori word for “love” which also happens to be an anagram of O’Hara (of Scarlet O’Hara) from Gone with The Wind, one of Beate’s favourite books. Everything is connected and it’s obvious that Beate and Edwin are sentimental people.
But aside from the symbolism, this was still just a good ole’ fun wedding with a few different things that I must admit I’ve never seen before at a wedding.
1) Firstly, I’ve never before seen a couple do their first dance in the middle of the street to some buskers
2) The accordion player at the venue of Beate and Reception, U Fleků (the oldest brewery in Prague having been built in 1499) played pretty much every song in the world. He played German and Czech folk songs and even a rendition of Waltzing Matilda for the visiting Aussies. I’m going to demand more accordion sing alongs at the future weddings, it’s a heap of fun!
3) Later in the evening, you may notice photo with a giant pile of shot glasses filled with a green spirit. Apparently these drinks make up part of an elaborate German drinking game where the wedding party and parents are to sit in specific seats arranged to look like a horse drawn carriage. The leader of the game then nominates specific (and at times similar sounding) words to each person and reads out a story containing these words. Each time a given person’s word comes up in the story, they must stand up promptly, otherwise be forced to drink a shot. To be honest, most of the people playing the game were non-German and the foreign words (which, as I said, somewhat sounded the same) coupled with increasing levels of drunkenness, the game ended with much laughter and good times. I guess that stereotype about Germans and alcohol does have a little truth to it.
4) Musical chairs, need I say any more
But at the end of the day, Beate and Edwin reminded me yet again what a beautiful wedding sounds, feels and tastes like. Their unique way at looking at the world meant that we, as their friends and family, experienced a unique day of our very own.