Here's how we celebrated our wedding at home during the pandemic in Germany.
With Germany still in a strict lockdown our possibilities to celebrate our civil wedding were pretty slim - but nothing was going to stop us from commemorating our marriage. I am a firm believer that as long as you have good people, food, and drinks flowing, you have the ingredients for a good party; the rest is just fluff (not that I don't appreciate fluff, as you will see).
Food & Drink
Our original plan was to have a lunch with some of our family and friends at the Schliersee Ratskeller following the ceremony. Leading up to our wedding day, Germany announced restaurants would remain closed, so we looked at alternatives, which were limited to ordering, catering, or cooking. Cooking for yourself on your wedding day is definitely unconventional, but Markus and I love cooking and felt it was the only way to have everything exactly how we wanted. Cooking was also very manageable, since the restrictions also limited gatherings to meeting one other household. We also decided we could elevate the meal with some special details to make it feel less like a typical dinner at home.
On celebratory occasions, we tend toward steaks since we don't get to eat them every day, so it was an easy decision to make steaks our main course. We have searched Munich up and down for good steaks, but found ordering U.S. Black Angus steaks online from Don Carne to be our best bet for quality meat. Due to the pandemic and Valentine's day, our usual filets were already sold out so we opted for ribeyes. We then built a three course menu around the ribeyes, including wine pairings for each course. After planning up a dreamy menu, I designed printed them at Die Kartenmacherei (although I might look around for a different printer next time because I don't like how they stamped them with their website).
We pulled off cooking three courses with no stress and full enjoyment. Here's a breakdown, for my interested foodies:
Aperitif. We could not start without a champagne toast, for which we selected Markus's favorite bubbles: Jacquesson Cuvee 743 Extra Brut Champagne.
Starter. For the starter, we picked up some frozen Canadian lobster meat at Frische Paradies München. I then primarily followed this recipe, while stealing some of the tips from Serious Eats like straining the soup to achieve that silky Michelin Star texture. It was a perfect make-ahead meal, so we could just warm, toss in cream and lobster and serve. We also picked up fresh baguette on the way home from the wedding. The lobster bisque was paired with a choice of rieslings, Robert Weil Riesling Kabinett and Maximin Grünhaus Alte Reben.
Main Course. We took the ribeyes out of the fridge to let get to room temp and generously seasoned them with Weber Chicago Steak Seasoning. This stuff is crack and I also love using it on veggies, like the roasted broccoli we served alongside to give this meal some green. I also took my mom's recommendation of potatoes romanoff for our glutenous side dish. We had pre-baked the potatoes and shredded the cheese the day before, making it pretty quick to finalize the day of. Here we switched over to red wine, the 2017 Braida Bricco dell'Ucceleone. We visited the Braida winery on our engagement trip in August 2020.
Dessert. What would our wedding be without a wedding cake? We severely underestimated the Valentine's Day Cake demand - which is apparently a real thing 🤦♀ - so we almost did not have a cake, but the women at Wir Machen Cupcakes were able to pull through for us despite the last minute demand and they did an excellent job exactly fulfilling our dreams of a mini half-naked wedding cake. We also went to Tölzer Kasladen at the Viktualienmarkt to get a collection of cheeses, which we served with Ramos Pinto Tawny Adriano Port Reserva.
I can understand someone reading this may be wondering, who could possibly eat and drink this much? While we had some leftovers, we actually drug out the meal across about five hours, so we actually managed to enjoy each course.
I might have said the rest is fluff - and it is - but if you have to celebrate your marriage in a 59 square meter apartment from the 1960s, then you should definitely treat yourself to some fluff. With shops closed, we were limited to the Internet to throw together some last minute decorations. And as e-retail has for us the entire pandemic, it pulled through again. For example getting balloons online ok fine no surprise, but did you know you can buy helium tanks on Amazon too?
Etsy has so many wonderful, personalized decor options which I highly recommend using instead of Amazon like I did, but the eleventh hour planning made it difficult to shop small. To make it festive, I found this full set of just married balloons for €11 on Amazon and a small helium tank to get them afloat.
For the table we used our standard dinnerware, but purchased some love napkins for the occasion. Atop the napkins, we laid the menus in homemade cork menu card holders from our extensive collection of wine trophies. Alongside the menus, we ordered matching name cards. We also couldn't resist some new champagne coupes to match our glassware after watching too much "Peaky Blinders" at the start of the year.
For our cake topper we found these handmade love birds from BellaUndBo. They aren't meant as cake toppers, but they worked perfectly and have since shifted to tchotchkes for our living room shef.
Finally we had a table centerpiece made to match the flowers in my wedding bouquet by Markus Pommer und Markus Wiesner. My Markus regularly buys me flowers from their flower shop, which is around the corner from our home, so we couldn't imagine ordering our wedding flowers from anyone else. The flower options are a bit limited in February, but they did an incredible job fulfilling my wishes.
It was simple, and surely not what we would have planned if Germany were open, but we loved our intimate little celebration. Leading up to this day, I had only ever been to a big wedding bashes, so it was hard to imagine how this low key alternative would look and feel. Fortunately my belief was affirmed: we had good people, food and drinks and thus we had a good party. Most importantly, we are married! We felt so much love from near and far, flooded with flowers, cards, and messages.
Just writing this post, I got to relive the day. It may never be published in Vogue, but it does not matter. I can't put into words how tremendous it feels to celebrate your marriage. I am so excited to attend the next wedding, because I think it will feel different, finally knowing how it feels to be in the couple's shoes. It really is the pure bliss 💓