It’s not everyday that you fly over 400 miles for the pre-wedding party of your best friend but long distance friendship sometimes takes a little more effort…
I’d just come home from work on New Year’s Eve, about to get ready for a party when I noticed an envelope on my bed. I knew immediately who it was from, her writing is unmistakable (and her address is always written on the back) and rushed to open it. I thought it was an invitation to her upcoming wedding and the dress on the front of the card also aided my suspicions but the point of the card was even more exciting. I read it slowly, taking in every word and smiling at the well wishes to my family (“greetings” as she always says). I reached the bottom of the first side and there was the question in silver swirly writing; “will you be one of my bridesmaids?”. I read it a couple more times before running down the stairs ecstatically to tell my family. An invite to the wedding was one thing considering I’m in a different country but asking me to be such a special part to the occasion was something else. I was thrilled. It was probably the best start to a new year I’d ever had.Since January I’ve been to visit her twice. First for the very important and extremely fun task of finding a wedding dress. It was like real life Say Yes to the Dress! Her sister Inga and her best friend Pia had made little gift bags for all the bridesmaids, six of us in total, each with snacks and tissues, and flash cards for rating each dress – theirs were in German, mine were in English and they were all adorable. There were individual little milk bottles filled with champagne and beautiful pink edible flowers resting at the bottom, decorated with a mint green ribbon round the top – they were so sweet I kept mine to display in my bedroom. The wedding dress store was about two and a half hours away so the car journey was more of a car picnic party – German pastries, sausage bites, sweets, and of course champagne were circulated round the car as we all chatted away and sang to Justin Bieber. I have to say, if you’ve never been wedding dress shopping before its 100% as much fun as it sounds. I loved it. The bride tried on a few dresses and she looked stunning in all of them but when she put on ‘the one’ we all knew it. There were hugs and tears and it was a really special moment – one I’m really glad I was a part of.
The second time I visited was more recently for a pre-wedding tradition called Polterabend which directly translates as “noisy night”. We definitely don’t have this idea in Britain and its a little odd if you’ve never heard of it but the mentality behind it is very heartwarming. Basically, the couple throw a party for all their friends and family – people coming to the wedding, people that can’t (or couldn’t be invited due to numbers) and there’s food and music and games and then there’s the traditional aspect. To show their well wishes, friends and family of the couple smash china- plates, mugs, vases (even a toilet was thrown!) and the couple then has to sweep the mess up, proving that they can work together. The noise of the smashing objects is also to ward off evil spirits from the engaged pair. Like I said, we definitely don’t have an equivalent and it was crazy to witness but also really cool to be a part of such a valued tradition. At the party there was also a huuuge buffet, a kind of “bring and share” system – I helped to make more Currywurst, because you can never have enough; it’s delicious. There were all kinds of pasta salads, noodles, bread rolls, cakes, desserts, cupcakes – even a candy floss machine or ‘Zuckerwatte’. There were gazebos and fairy lights and one of those mobile do it yourself bars with beer. So much beer.
Don’t let anyone tell you that Germans don’t know how to party because I’ve partied the hardest when I’ve been there. This party started at 7pm and we didn’t get to bed until 6.30am. It was a lot to take in since I was the only person who wasn’t German but everyone’s English was incredibly impressive (and their English accents reciting Harry Potter were the cutest) and they’re also incredibly kind and understanding. It was the day Brexit had been announced and everyone was asking what I thought of it and how I felt and what was happening back home and they all agreed how sad and scary it was and they nearly all jokingly offered for me to stay with them, although considering what’s happening I might have to hold them to it. Also, don’t let anyone tell you that Germans are hard, non humorous people because they’re not. They’re some of the most loving, most appreciative and most funny people and my best friends family are my family and vice versa.
My next trip over is in September for her hen party and the wedding taking place the week after and I’m so excited! It’s always lovely to be reunited with her and it’ll be great to celebrate ‘German style’ again with the other bridesmaids too, and of course share in the wonderment of her big day. I know I’ve said it a thousand times before but thank you for making me part of your special day, it really does mean the world.