Fifth Time Around Vow Renewal at a Secret Location in Berlin

Grant Fotografie

June 28, 2017

Mina and Nathan didn’t want their wedding day to be the ‘one big day of their lives’, so instead decided to celebrate their wedding day every single year! This year was their fifth vow renewal (!) and it was the right amount of crazy and weird, laid back and a little industrial.

“We have lived together in many beautiful different places around the world,” began Mina, “but there is something particularly special about Berlin and it’s vibes. It’s a place where it’s seems everybody can choose for themselves how to live. It is an absolutely mixed city, culturally and architecturally, and is a place of contrast and individual perspective. Ugly can be beautiful, chaotic and messy can be perfectly organised, rude can be friendly. All of this was an inspiration to us for our wedding renewal and the reason why we wanted it to be in Berlin.”

They decided to have a ‘freie Rednerin’ celebrant (meaning ‘free speaker’) who performed a ‘freie Trauung’ (‘free ceremony’) for them; an alternative to a typical church wedding in Germany. “The ceremony was free in every aspect of it. It was rather short and we didn’t discuss the structures of the speech earlier. We were intrigued to know what our celebrant would say about our love and what advice she would give us. It turned out perfectly; when we were listening to her we spontaneously put our hands on each other hearts, instead of just holding them. We wanted to be as close as possible and it was incredible to feel each others hearts beat faster while committing to each other as husband and wife once again. The beautiful live music, the fire of the candles, the dimmed light and just the right amount of guests made it feel so intimate and unique. It was also the first time for us to exchange rings. We had always avoided it before, but it felt right this time.”

The day didn’t run completely smoothly – at one point Mina’s wedding dress caught on fire! “After the ceremony everybody was having fun and having a few drinks, while our photographer Viktoria and I were busy doing some pictures in the freestanding bathtub full of flowers and glitter! We were so caught up in it that neither of us noticed that my dress had caught fire on one of the surrounding candles! Luckily some of our guests been watching us and brought our attention to it. Another reason not to spend a whole load of money on a wedding dress!”

“My dress was a do-it-yourself-piece made with team work by our decorator, Ksusha, and our wedding celebrant, Margarita. We’d been so busy planning the day that I actually forgot about my outfit! I guess I was less fussy about it because it was my fifth wedding ceremony! Luckily Margarita used to be a tailor in a wedding dress store. Literally two days before our renewal we went to a flea market in the search of my dress. I really wanted something which would be ‘bridal’, but less boring and would fit within our concept. Luckily we found a top and some beautiful material and the girls made the rest. I borrowed the leather high heels from a girlfriend and I’d had the big black belt for ages already. It was a spontaneous wedding outfit but I couldn’t be happier with it.”

“Our favourite part of the wedding was that we could totally be ourselves in the presence of our dear friends in a funky, non-stuck-up venue. And of course the fun style-shooting in the bathtub! I want to look at these pictures when I’m old and wonder what the hell we were actually doing.”

The couple were lucky to know lots of great people to help them plan their renewal. “The great thing about knowing the vendors you work with, is not only that you can trust them and talk about your wedding far after business hours, it’s that the actual wedding day becomes absolutely easy-going. We had an intimate celebration, where our vendors were also our guests. That was a great experience for everyone. No rules, no boundaries, everybody was there to celebrate our love with us. We never imagined ourselves planning a wedding in a fancy location, tasting wine and talking for hours to unknown vendors. Sitting comfortably on a couch with a nice German beer in our hands, laughing, imagining and dreaming together with great people, who really understand you and your love story, that’s what wedding planning should be like.”

“Our advice for future brides and grooms is: 1. to make your own wedding rituals, because it’s YOUR wedding. The guests are there to celebrate with you, and not for you to impress. And 2. don’t burn your dress on the candles!”