Friends of Phils from work were geting married, and after arranging sleep-overs for both of the boys (this took some effort, as Alexander's arrangements were thrown into chaos when swine flu struck his potential host. A good thing some other friends were on hand to have him over!), Nicole and Phil headed into Gerndamermarkt, for 12:00 noon ceremony.
The wedding was held in Französischer Dom, in Gendarmenmarkt. After meeting in the foyer at the base of the Belltower, we then climbed a couple of hundred stairs up to the level of the bells, where the ceremony took place.
We were up where the circular windows are.
It was lovely - Maren looked beautiful, Gavin was beaming and the service was in such an interesting (and unexpected) place. Gavin put his ring on his left hand (Anglo tradition) and Maren on her right (German tradition).
A Cello played, and the resonant notes echoed up the belltower.
We descended halfway and had champagne and laugenbretzels (bread pretzels) at the first reception. We were also able to walk around the viewing balcony, getting a brilliant view over Berlin.
The 'party' was not until 6pm, so Nicole and I cruised the Christmas markets, bought some lunch, then found a cafe for a nice cuppa.
We then headed up to a wool shop that Nicole had been looking for, and then wandered down to Hackeschen Höfe.
It was great just to spend some time together, mooching around, looking in shop windows and chatting. We stopped for another coffee, and had to end up buying a couple of cheap Rossmann umbrellas as the skies opened up, just as night fell (about 4:30pm).
We reached the restaurant, and promptly set about meeting lots of intersting and wonderful people. We were lucky to be sat at a fantastic table, with Dominic, Colin, Brad and Chris. The food was outstanding, and with such an interesting group of people we shared lots of great stories and laughs.
With speeches in German and English (well, Northern Irish...), a lovely bridal waltz and the groom playing a few songs on the guitar, the party really got going. We drank a few whiskeys with Gavin and his brothers, we eventually headed home at about 2am.
We had a great time, the spirit and atmosphere was wonderful, and we wish the newlyweds happiness always.