Last weekend, Lina and I left an unusually warm Uppsala and boarded a plane to Berlin. We were headed to a little village out in the German countryside for the wedding of two of our very dear friends! Now, I’ve only visited Berlin, so this was going to be a fabulous opportunity for me to get to explore + see a bit more of the country. Plus, with the celebration of a wedding, Lina and I were looking forward to meeting new people and getting to know a bit more about the German culture.
We were super excited, but we had no idea just how wonderful the weekend would be. The weather was perfect, the people we met surrounded us with incredible hospitality, we ate good food, drank lots of wine and beer, celebrated, laughed, cried, had adventures, drove super fast on the autobahn, soaked in the breathtaking German nature, and came home with more friends + contacts. Plus… most importantly, we got to witness + be a part of our friends’ simple, magical, fantastic wedding weekend.
As usual, I took tons of photos and I think I’ll just share them all right here, right now. Are you ready?! Let’s go!
After arriving at 9:30 pm, we picked up our rental car and started our 3-4 hour drive from Berlin to the tiny little village of Stempeda. An acquaintance, who was also from Sweden + a friend of the bride’s, flew with us and we pitched in to rent the car together, splitting the cost + the driving times. Though she pushed through the entire way that night. We had no problems, chatted + laughed the entire way, and arrived about 2 am… greeted by a smiling + excited bride-to-be!
Our friend (we were now bone fide friends after a 4 hour road trip through Germany in the middle of the night!) stayed at the bride’s home and Lina + I were taken to our place to sleep. You guys, this was amazing. We walked about 2 minutes from the bride’s house, around a big house with an even bigger backyard (though we couldn’t see too much in the dark), went through a gate and came upon a cute little guest cottage (in said backyard) with magical fairy lights. It was soooo perfect.
Our host, Karo, a lovely photographer + person, is a friend of the bride’s and she had left us notes, water, snacks, fresh flowers, and a cozy made-up bed in this one room cottage. We settled in, walked to the main house and up to a loft area to brush our teeth, then we crawled under the covers and slept like rocks.
When we woke, it was my love’s birthday!!! Yep. She now shares her birthday with our friends’ wedding. Hehe. But, back to waking up… the reason that we woke up was because there was a rooster crowing right outside our open windows. It was sooooo cozy. And by now, we were both dying to see what it really looked like where we were. We knew we were in the middle of nowhere. And we both had high expectations for magic + gorgeousness on the other side of these curtains. And I must say, it was totally worth the wait…
Just on the other side of the main house behind our little cottage is the main street in the village. You could literally stand right in the middle and see pretty much every home in the village. It took 1-2 minutes to walk everywhere in every single direction. The house where we were. The church. The bride’s house. Grandma’s house. I freaking loved it. It was truly an idyllic fairytale setting.
Before the wedding, we were invited to the bride’s home for a lovely breakfast/brunch. I mean, seriously. It’s her day. The family had so much to do to prepare, and yet, everyone was so concerned with making sure that Lina and I had enough coffee, bread, and anything else we might possible need. It was just so sweet and adorable, and we were absolutely blown away.
And, of course even the church was magical. Tiny + old, it was built in the 1300s (if I remember correctly) and it just oozed atmosphere, sacredness, and history. What a place to see! And, on top of that, Lina and I both had the honor to be a part of the ceremony. I read some verses of scripture on love and Lina sang. Sooooo incredible to get to share in this day with our friends.
The most interesting German tradition that we saw was the sawing of the piece of wood by the bridal couple. After the ceremony, the bride + groom must saw through a piece of wood together… symbolizing the beginning of their partnership and ability to work together throughout life. How cute + wonderful is that?!
Then, it was time to party! Lina and I hitched a ride with “Uncle Alex”, his wife, and another lady to the reception location, which was a gorgeous hotel literally in the middle of the woods. The reception was so much fun. It lasted about 7-8 hours for us, I think. There was lots of drinking (open bar… helloooo) and conversation for the first few hours, and we got to meet so many new people who just accepted us and invited us right into their groups. So many fun, fabulous people!
Then, we had a buffet dinner with delicious meats, vegetables and potatoes, dessert, more wine and champagne, and more dessert. Soon after that, it was time for the dancing to start. I danced like a crazy person. Gaaaahh. So much fun. The cake came at about 11 pm or so. And then there was more dancing + drinking! We finally ordered a cab home and arrived back to our little guest cottage at about 2 am – again. Hehe.
The morning after, we drove our car to the hotel again to meet up with everyone for a long, lazy brunch. And then, sadly, it was time for me, Lina, and our friend who traveled with us, to head out. We had to find our way back to Berlin, return the car to the rental company and make our flight. The ride back was gorgeous, and we followed a route that took us through country roads + highways. I did some of the highway driving, which means that I got to top out at 105mph on the autobahn. Amaaaaazing!
After a bit of a hassle and negotiating at the car rental place, we found our way to our gate and boarded our flight home. Little tip: Berlin Tegel airport is pure crap. Just FYI. We were delayed a bit, but descending into Sweden, the only thing I could think of was how unbelievably grateful I was for this magical whirlwind weekend. What a joy it was to celebrate love and, on top of that, have a chance to travel + explore + experience new people and places.
Needless to say, Lina and I will head back to Stempeda, Germany someday. Because it’s just that beautiful there – the nature and the people. Plus, Berliners that we met at the wedding, we’ll be in touch the next time we are in Berlin!
And now, all I can think is: Blessed. Blessed. Blessed. I give thanks for the opportunities I have, and I share them with all of you mostly as a way to remain mindful + aware of the beauty that is in this world. Plus, it’s fun to spread the magic and give credit to little unknown places in the world. So, whenever you can, and even if it happens to be closely to your home, get out and explore. Adventure + beauty can be found literally everywhere!
Thanks so much for reading + following along, everyone. Much love to you all! xoxo. liz.