Following the excitement of our Australian nuptials, followed by our return to Austria and my parents’ visit, it was time for the long-awaited Austrian wedding party. Weddings in Austria are generally full of tradition and involve a huge party along with various random things you may not have heard of. Here’s the low-down on what we did for ours!
It’s quite common to have two events in Austria because a legal marriage takes place in the city office. Therefore some people opt to do this on one day, followed by a church ceremony and celebration on another. Note that the church ceremony is just that – a ceremony – because in Austria you can’t legally marry in a church. I can’t even tell you the number of times I had to tell people that no, we weren’t going to have a church ceremony in Austria.
Which took some of the pressure off the organisational side of things, though it was still quite stressful for Thomas, who had to deal with all of it – not only is he the one fluent in German, but I’d also had enough of planning weddings at this point, thank you very much! Basically we just skipped the city hall part, the church part, and went straight to the party.
We decided to get some additional photos done in Austria. Although we were essentially doubling up a little (same dress etc.), I’m glad we did it. Not only did it give me a reason to get my hair and makeup done again, we also included our families in the shoot and got some great pics with them, something that we didn’t do much of at the Aussie wedding. And our photographer was wearing Lederhosen, which was by far the most exciting part for me, though they were also highly professional and the photos came out perfectly.
Upon arrival (that we very untraditionally named as “come between 4:30 and 5:30” guests were treated with prosecco and finger food. It was actually a great way for people to arrive, especially for me, because it allowed me to meet them individually, and try and learn their names (I got up to about 7 and then gave up). This also meant that the main socialising had been done before dinner. Bonus!
Dinner was a sit-down affair, with soup, salmon or pork as a main, a salad buffet and mini desserts afterwards. Thomas started with a short speech and then we showed a short video of the wedding in Australia – and in case you’re wondering – it really was short! About 7 minutes total covering the entire day and night.
The Viennese Waltz (hating it, but smiling so you can’t tell)
The band started up about 7:30 and then once everyone had finished dinner we got up for the traditional Viennese Waltz. Thomas and I are terrible at this, even though we’ve done dancing lessons, but we went with it. We knew it was useless asking the band to play a different first dance, because in Austria tradition is tradition, and they will play a Viennese Waltz whether you want it or not.
The proper dancing
Everyone in Austria dances properly at a wedding, and at all events really. I mean like partner-ballroom-style – even the young ones know how to do it. It’s like being transported back in time. Free dancing happens, but that’s later. Personally, while I find partner dancing fun for a little bit, it’s not long before I’m ready for a chat – my favourite part is, of course, the cheesy dancing.
The random game
This was another thing the band just ‘did’ of their own accord. At this point I had absolutely no idea what was going on. We were sat in chairs back-to-back and each had a shoe of the other person. We were then asked a series of questions (I had a translator) and we had to hold up the shoe of the person who was the answer. Of course they were relationship/humorous/sexual-based questions. I was pretty happy my parents didn’t understand what was going on at this point!
The random dances
Throughout the night there were also various pre-choreographed dances (think like Macarena, the Birdy Dance etc.) except these were unknown to all the Australians. We just danced along, joined the conga line, got flung around the dance floor at times and really just imitated what everyone else was doing.
At some point in the night I was ‘stolen’. This is a tradition at Austrian weddings where the best man and all the men ‘steal’ the bride, take her to another room, dance on the table with her, play drinking games and basically get her drunk. The groom is at the same time doing this in another room with the girls, but they also often undress him. I was lucky enough to be allocated a ‘drinking buddy’ who was on call for when I had to scull glasses of prosecco. I only had to drink what I wanted, then I passed it onto him to drink the rest. Very helpful in not getting me completely wasted! Which was good, because I basically spent the last part of it being whirled around and around polka-style while I tried not to fall over or throw up!
The midnight snack
Weddings here can go on all night, so it’s common to have some kind of midnight snack. We had chilli con carne with crusty brown bread which was perfect! Gave us all the extra burst of energy we needed!
As I’ve said, weddings in Austria commonly go quite late. The place you’re having it will simply stay open until you’re done. For us, the stragglers left around 3am which was plenty late for me, though by the time we packed away the pressies and walked home it was closer to 4.
It’s normal to receive money for a wedding in Austria. Though people tend to do special, creative things in order to give it to you. It will be folded into fans and hung by wire in a flower pot; one guy had gotten my parents to bring Aussie sand, and had rolled the notes up and hidden them in there; we got a board in the shape of Austria, with a kangaroo on it trailing euros… it’s an extra thoughtful way to receive money.
The next day
We had a small BBQ the next day, mostly for the Aussies that had travelled to be there. It was warm and we spent an afternoon in the pool, eating, swimming, relaxing and sleeping at times.
Ah, another perfect day. But thank goodness it’s over!