“We are on our holidays so until Monday the 31st of August, we will be sharing some of our favourite posts from the archives!”

Today we are thrilled to share the edgy destination wedding of Jennie and Cezar. Jennie is British while Cezar is Syrian and they planned their wedding in Berlin from Dubai. Keeping up? I haven’t yet been to Berlin but I have friends and family who have been and they simply rave about this city. I’m told it’s a must visit, especially around Christmas time so maybe Mike and I will get there when we return from our travels next year. Germany isn’t a country we get too many submissions from either, which is a pity because it’s a really cool country and has beautiful cities, venues and countryside but for some reason, not many real destination weddings come through from there. So, you can imagine how happy I was to receive this beauty from Chris Spira Photography – it’s a little gem. Jennie and Cezar’s city slick wedding in Berlin is simply awesome!

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OK Jennie… We want to know everything. Spill the beans please….

“Cezar and I met in Dubai through mutual friends, Sarah & Drue, and Sarah noticed that Cezar and I seemed to like each other so she started inviting us both out at the same time, almost on a weekly basis, until Cezar asked me out on a date of our own. We got engaged in At.mosphere at the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. He got down on one knee and proposed in the bar in front of everyone! Of course I said yes!”

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So, why did you decide to have a destination wedding?

“Our family are based all over the world, mainly Canada, Syria, and the UK, and we live in Dubai, so we decided to choose somewhere in the middle.”

Was it difficult to decide a location?

“No, Berlin is a unique city with so many magical and quirky places to discover, and we thought it made a great choice for a wedding venue. We liked the idea that our guests are able to combine our wedding with other things to do and see, a sort of short city break. I have two amazing German friends from London who moved back to Berlin when I moved to Dubai. They kindly agreed to be my bridesmaids and helped me organise the venues and entertainment in Berlin.” 

“We planned a welcome dinner and hired out a local restaurant, Jager und Sammler, for the night before the wedding, so that guests could have some great food and wine, and get to know each other. When coming to a city you have never visited, one of the things you need to do is find somewhere to eat, so this way the first evening our guests could simply relax. Some people only stayed for the weekend, others stayed a whole week to explore the city.”

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It can’t all have been plain sailing? Did you have to jump any hurdles? 

Surprisingly very few. The Germans are so efficient that we didn’t even have to use a planner! They reply to your emails, send you the correct information, and really just organise things in the right way. And all the people I worked with (the hotel, ceremony venue, florist, photographer and makeup artist) had great creativity and aesthetic judgement, it wasn’t too hard to get the look and the style we were after, which was really, naturally, “Berlin”.

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You mentioned above that the style you were after was really “Berlin”. Can you explain this to us a bit more?

“We wanted to show Berlin in all its glory, from the bohemian chic of the Spiegelsaal, to the upmarket and classically renovated Hotel de Rome. We like the fact that Berlin is so cosmopolitan, that anything goes, that it visibly combines history with the contemporary, that every part of Berlin is special and has a story to tell. We felt this was like us, we come from different parts of the world, with a different history and story to tell, and yet we found each other and we fit together.”

So did you incorporate any local German traditions into your wedding day?

“We had heard of a German tradition of luft balloons, we gave each guest a helium balloon and a postcard addressed to us in Dubai, and we asked them to write their wishes and promises for us on the postcards before we released them in to the sky. We hope people will find them wherever the balloons land, and put them in the post box for us.”

I LOVE this idea… I feel a German Wedding Traditions post coming on…

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Finally what was…

The best decision you made?

Hiring our photographer, Chris Spira and assistant, Nick. They cleverly and sensitively captured through the lens the wedding that we had envisioned it to be.

Your most memorable moment?

The manic, crazy, hilarious dancing when the band Fanfara Kalashnikov started playing!

Biggest regret?

That it wasn’t long enough, that we didn’t get chance to talk to each of our friends and family for as long as we would have liked, but all weddings seem to be like that I think.

Lastly Jennie, have you any advice that might help other couples planning their wedding abroad? 

Choose a hair & makeup artist early, don’t leave it as the last priority, they get booked up very quickly. We were very lucky to find Anna who was wonderful.

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What a wedding party this was! Love city weddings like this one.. there is something about them that I haven’t yet got enough of. Before we leave you with a beautiful piece of script that Jennie and Cezar shared with their guests on their Order of Service, Amy and I would like to thank Chris Spira Photography and the FAB couple for sharing this possibly perfect city break wedding with us. This won’t be the last time you see Chris on FAB but if you can’t wait… check out her website here.

On the back of their Order of Service card, Jennie and Cezar shared this story with their guests as they felt it helped to describe why they fell in love with Berlin, and how the Spiegelsaal location was the perfect location for their wedding. It’s really beautiful so if you have time read on…

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You will notice a lack of churches in East Berlin. This is partly due to the fact that it was run by the Communist party from 1945 to 1990 and that the Communist’s explicit hostility to religion meant that it was largely stamped out during this time.

In addition, only civil unions as opposed to religious marriage ceremonies can hold legal validity in German law. This led the “Standesämter” to grant licenses to other historical and civic buildings for the purpose of marriage ceremonies. Such a licence is held by the Spiegelsaal at Clärchens Ballhaus, a place which Jennie and Cezar thought would suit their Humanist Wedding Vows, taking place here today.

The architecture of Clärchens Ballhaus, and the Mirror Hall was designed during the Gründerzeit (Wilhelminian era) at the end of the 19th century.

Until the 1940’s, Clärchens Ballhaus had two halls: while the crowds swayed along to the popular ballads of the time in the great ballroom on the ground floor, the dignified ladies and gentlemen of the Spandauer Vorstadt would dance in the mirrored ballroom upstairs. There was also a bowling alley in the cellar.

After a long history, and standing derelict for many years, the Spiegelsaal (Mirror Hall) re-opened to the public in 2005, the first time since WWII. Having left the interior almost untouched, the mirrored ballroom now bears the traces of war and the passing of time. The large, partially blind mirrors and the once splendid stucco now with some missing parts, as the result of a bomb falling on the roof.

The bygone splendour and celebratory atmosphere of the mirrors and the stucco, the gallantry of the reliefs and the shadowy loggia represents to us a visible history of fun, laughter and celebration which are all revived when we gather here today to celebrate Cezar and Jennie’s marriage in the magical Spiegelsaal.

Photography; Chris Spira | Ceremony Venue; Spiegelsaal, Clarchens Ballhaus | Reception Venue; Hotel de Rome | Florist; Marsano | Stationary / Invitations; Handmade by Bride and Groom | Wedding Dress; Maggie Sottero | Hair + Make Up Stylist; Anna Neugebauer from Jacks Beauty Department | Wedding Band; Fanfara Kalashnikov | Comedienne; Lou Sanders

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