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A Unique Wedding Gift Idea

If you’re looking for a unique wedding gift idea, German-toasting-glasses.com offers a nice selection of crystal and pewter products specially crafted for wedding gifts.  Some of the items you’ll find are special toasting glasses in wedding themes, particularly the Nuernberg bridal cup.  Browse our collection of these unique German bridal cups and when you find the perfect wedding gift let us personalize it with commemorative free custom engraving, then ship it to you gift wrapped and ready to use.

German Wedding Cup
German Wedding Cup

Our wedding cups are one of our most unique wedding gift ideas. Originating in the southern part of Germany in Nuernberg, the age old tradition of drinking from this special cup is becoming more and more popular in the United States and makes an unforgettable wedding gift which can be custom engraved.

We offer these wedding cups in several designs to choose from. Each wedding cup comes with a legendary brochure in an old Germanic style font that explains the story behind the wedding cup tradition. Originally brought to life in 1450, these wedding cups especially make a unique wedding gift idea for any Renaissance enthusiast or for anyone with a German background, but are suitable for anyone.

The wedding cup is designed so that the bride and groom can toast their wedding simultaneously from the same cup.  They come in your choice of solid hand-crafted pewter or in a pewter and crystal glass combination.  These wedding cups are designed in the shape of a maiden with a large skirt that serves as the cup for the groom.  The maiden holds a smaller cup over her head which is designed for the bride to drink from.  This smaller cup swivels, so that the bride and groom can drink at the same time.

What makes these wedding cups even more unique, is the story behind them and how the bridal cup came to be.  The story is a romantic one and about a king that would not allow his daughter to marry a goldsmith unless the goldsmith could accomplish what the king though was an impossible task.  The story of the Nuernberg bridal cup is included with every bridal cup.  Many people like to read this story to their guests before the bride and groom perform the toast.

As an added bonus, the German wedding cup can also be used every year after on the couple’s anniversary for that special wedding celebration toast.

Whether you are of German heritage, a Renaissance enthusiast, or just simply looking for a unique wedding gift idea, the Nuernberg bridal cup makes a great choice.  All of our bridal cups are made in Germany with the quality craftsmanship and careful attention to detail that Germany is known for.  View our German bridal cups here.

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How to Get Married in Germany

How to Get Married in Germany

It can be difficult for non-German citizens to get married in Germany. It’s not like getting married in Vegas – you can’t get married quickly in Germany.

The best way to go about getting married in Germany is to have a professional wedding agency arrange it for you. Wedding agencies are aware of all the requirements and can take a load of added stress off of you. After all, you have enough to do, right?

To help you with this, we have listed some easy to follow guidelines below:

There will be local requirements depending on where in Germany you are getting married. You will want to check with the American and German embassies for this information. They usually have packets you can get that detail the requirements.

You will need official documents. Make sure you have your passports with you at the ceremony. You will also need a certified copy of your birth certificate (with the stamp) that shows your mother and father’s names. If you have been divorced before, make sure you also have those legal documents as well as any annulment decrees. If you are widowed, you will have to bring the original death certificate or a certified copy of your deceased spouse.

You will need what is called a “Ledigkeitbescheinigung” (translated means single certificate). This is a certificate that states there are no impediments to the marriage as both bride and groom are single.

The cost of getting married in Germany depends on your financial status. The more you earn, the more you pay so you may want to bring copies of bank statements.

In Germany, you can’t just get married in a church and be legally married like you can in the United States. The way it is done is you have to get married by a registrar (Standesamt in German) at the Mayor’s house (Rathaus in German) first. Once the marriage is legal, then you may have the ceremony in a church. It is important here that you check with the registry office in the area you will be getting married at to see what their required documents are. They can vary from area to area and some have rules such as needed a six week notice before the ceremony is performed.

If you will be having a church ceremony after the official wedding, you will need baptism certificates and a Certificate of Dismission which allows you to get married outside of your county if you are Catholic.

For all the documents you will be bringing with you, you will need to have what is called an “Apostille”. This is basically a legal translation of all your documents into the German language. This will be needed because most documents are only recognized in the country they were issued in. An Apostille is provided by the Deputy Secretary of State and you will need to contact the Deputy for the state the document was issued from. It takes time to get this, so plan out well ahead of time.

You may be required to show a medical certificate that shows blood test results, but this is usually only mandatory if the state you reside in also has this rule.

If you are a minor (under 18) you should have a notarized copy of permission from your parents.

For same sex marriages, this is allowed in Germany. In Germany, gay couples have pretty much the same rights as heterosexual couples do.  Cousin marriages are also allowed in Germany.

There are a lot of requirements and things to think about if you want to get married in Germany. Please also keep in mind that laws and rules do change, so it is best advised that you check closely into all the current requirements first. Germany is a beautiful place to get married at and although it may take a lot of work, in the end it will be well worth it!

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Popular Places to Get Married in Germany

Popular Places to Get Married in Germany

In Germany, the weddings are done differently than the way they are done here in the USA. In Germany, you must first get legally married at the local registration office called Standesamt. The church wedding and reception will usually follow anytime after the civil ceremony was performed and is usually considered the actual date of marriage.

Germany has strict regulations for non German citizens to get married in their country. Because of this it can sometimes be very difficult to make arrangements for getting married in Germany. For more information on the requirements, you can visit “Getting Married in Germany – Things You Need to Know”.

Some of the most popular places to get married in Germany are:

Salzburg
Located on the Austrian-German border, Salzburg is one of the most beautiful places in not just Germany, but all of Europe as well. If you visit the “old town” part of Salzburg, you will be in awe of the internationally renowned baroque architecture. Salzburg has an attractive setting and very scenic alpine background. This is the place where Mozart was born and where several parts of the movie “The Sound of Music” was filmed.

Munich
Munich is the capital of Bavaria and is located in the SE corner of Germany. The famous Neuschwanstein Castle and where King Ludwig lived is only about a 1-1/2 hour drive from here. You cannot get married at this castle, but you can use it as a breathtaking backdrop to your wedding ceremony or take a tour.

Directly below the castle is the town of Hohenschwangau where you can take an old time horse and carriage ride right up to the castle where you will be taken through the forest and be able to view the mountains and lakes that surround the area.

Landshut
Landshut is a little medieval town just East of Munich, and if you are looking for a real medieval setting, this would be the place for you. Castle Trausnitz, which was built in 1204 is on top of a hill which overlooks the small town. The castle itself, has an authentic medieval look to it with it’s high towers, fortifications and chapel. Since Landshut is so close to Munich, this makes a great destination for those that are also interested in visiting Munich.

Allgäu Alps
This area is extremely breathtaking and noted for its beautiful landscapes. It is a popular place for vacations and well known in Germany for its farm produce, especially “herdsman cheese”. The Alpine regions in this area are great for skiing. There are two main rivers that flow through here, the Lech and Iller. If you are looking for more of a private stay for your wedding, this would be your best bet with the several cabins available right in the mountains.

Rhein River Cruise
The Rhein River Valley is an incredibly romantic adventure if you should decide to tie the knot on a cruise. The river passes through many hillsides and small towns where you will see cobblestone streets and vendors selling fruit. There are several restaurants along the way serving authentic cuisine. There are all sorts of places to stay along the way including Castle Liebenstein. Castle Liebenstein is near one of the boat landings for the Rhein River Cruise, so it would be a great choice. Another great place to stay is at the Hotel Im Rheintal which is also very close to the boat landings. From this hotel there are hiking trails that lead into the mountains. Prices for either of these places is reasonable.

 

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Pewter Identification Marks

Pewter Identification Marks

Pewter identification marks started centuries ago, when pewter pieces were branded or etched into the finished products to show that it was a quality product. The mark usually consisted of the mark of the city combined with the maker’s mark.

As time went on, the pewter makers started to use their own symbols and identification marks. It was at this point the guilds stepped in and brought forth rules and regulations for the stamps. Alloy regulations were put into place because the amount of tin in the product made a difference in the quality. Certain quality marks were put into effect for good, better and best.

Two of these known high quality marks are the crown with the rose and the ore angel Michael holding a sword in one hand and a balance in the other which dates back to the 18th century.

Pewter manufacturers today still use these old marks along with their company’s marks. The angel mark has never been controlled or regulated so you will find many pewter manufacturers today that continue to use this traditional stamp regardless of whether or not their product is really a “high quality” product. Some of these products that bear the angel mark may only have a thin plating of pewter or very low tin content and are usually referred to as decorative or ornamental type pewter.

To combat this, in 1973, the pewter guild came out with their hand-made seal as a representation of high quality pewter. Some manufacturers today do not even use a quality stamp other than their own company logo or seal.

So, although policies and rules have been tried to be put forth, they are not always followed when it comes to identifying the quality of the pewter. The best advice we can give you is to ask what the pewter content is and make sure you are buying from a reputable company. The FDA requires that the tin content be at least 92% in order to be qualified as “food safe” and you will find some companies go even beyond this point with up to 97% pewter. Even though the pewter content may be where it should be, who makes the products is also extremely important as we all know that quality can vary between different companies.

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German Wedding Traditions

German Wedding Traditions

Most citizens in the United States are aware of the traditions related to marriage in the U.S. June is the favorite month for a wedding. “Something borrowed, something blue”, the “groom’s party” for the parents and wedding party, a “dowry (perhaps)”, it is “unlucky to see the bride in her wedding dress before the ceremony”, the father of the bride making that long trip down the aisle with his daughter, and for the guys, the “stag party”!

But in Germany the preferred month for marriage is May. The traditions related to marriage in Germany are many and vary by region. Also, some of the younger generations may not practice the following wedding traditions any longer.

Eheringe (Wedding rings)
During the engagement period both the bride and groom wear a ring on their left hand. After the wedding they wear the wedding ring on their right hand. Usually the rings are gold with no diamonds.

Bräutkleid (Bride’s attire)
In Germany, as in the U.S, the bride wears “white”. But in Germany brides wear either very short trains or usually none at all attached to their wedding dress. If veils are worn they are of fingertip length and typically never worn over the face as in the U.S. Often in place of veils a flowery headband with ribbons is worn. Other accessories included may be a Diadem (Tiara), a little draw string purse and gloves. The custom is for the bride to dress at her home or her parent’s home and then drive to the ceremony.

Bräutigams Kleidung (Groom’s attire)
The groom usually wears a black suit or a smoking jacket (dinner jacket)

Die Standesamtliche Trauung (The Wedding)
Before a church wedding the bride and groom will have been married in the Standesamt (Registry Office) by a registrar which is most often in the Rathaus (town hall). A witness is needed for the bride and also for the groom.

Die Kirche-Hochzeit (The Church Wedding)
Together, the bride and groom will enter the church and walk down the aisle. Because it is not legal to have only a church ceremony, the couple will have already been legally married by a Standesbeamte. Unlike in the U.S. it is not customary for there to be bridesmaids, groomsmen or flower girls.

Andere Deutsche Traditionen (Other German traditions)
Brides often carry salt and bread as an omen for good harvests and the groom carries grain for wealth and good fortune.

Before the wedding the bride’s possessions are transported to her new home. These may include linens she has collected, a cradle into which a doll has been secretly placed, and for the wedding of a farm girl, her parents second-best cow.

Hochzeitslader
This Bavarian tradition has an official inviter clad in fancy clothes decorated with ribbons and flowers going door to door extending a personal rhyming invitation to the invited guests. Guests accept by pinning one of the ribbons to the Hochzeitslader hat and by offering a drink or two at each stop. Should the invited guests be numerous and the Hochzeitslader be of the nature to accept the offered drinks he may need a day or two to complete his duties!

Junggesellenabschied (Bachelor Party)
Some weeks before the wedding the groom and his male friends go to a Kneipe (pub) to drink and have fun for his last time as a single man.

Polterabend (Wedding Eve)
At a party on the evening before the wedding plates and dishes are smashed to scare off evil spirits. Only china can be used. Anything else would bring bad luck. The bride and groom have to clean up everything. This is to indicate that they can work together.

Hochzeit-Schuhe (Wedding shoes)
Another tradition is for the bride to collect pennies for years to pay for her wedding shoes in which to insure that the marriage “gets off” on the right foot. The bride’s mother would place some dill and salt in her daughter’s right shoe.

Baumstamm Sägen (Log sawing)
Another old Bavarian tradition occurs right after the church ceremony. When the couple exits the Church there is a log on a sawhorse and the couple has to cut the log in half! This is to symbolize the first tough tasks of their future they can accomplish together.

Fichtenzweige (Fir boughs)
As the couple walks to the wedding car, fir boughs are laid along the path to pave their first newlywed steps with fresh greenery to symbolize hope, luck and fertility.

Reis Werfen (Rice throwing)
In this tradition it is said that the amount of rice that stays in the bride’s hair is the number of children the couple will have.

Hochzeitssuppe (Wedding soup)
The Hochzeitssuppe is made from beef, dumplings and vegetables and the guests eat if from a large bowl.

Eine Weisse Band (A white ribbon)
As the guests leave the church the bride gives a white ribbon to each driver of a car in the procession to tie to the radio antenna of the car. This procession then drives through the town honking their horns. Other drivers on the route honk their horns in return to wish the newlyweds good luck in their marriage.

Hochzeitstanz (Wedding dance)
The first dance is danced by the bride and groom and is traditionally a waltz. The next dance is only for the bride with her father and groom with his mother, while the bride’s mother dances with the groom’s father.

Brautbecher (Bridal cup)
A customary toast at the reception in the southern part of Germany is done with a special brautbecher (bridal cup). The pewter or crystal cup is in a form of a maiden holding above her head a small cup. Both ends of the cup (the bride’s skirt and the top cup) are filled with champagne or wine and the bride and groom drink their first toast from this cup together at the same time signifying their union as one. This age old tradition stems from centuries ago in the small town of Nuernberg. You can read how this interesting German wedding tradition began here.

**A fun toast with this cup is called “Who Rules the Nest?”. Before the toast, it is announced that whomever finishes first will rule the nest – obviously the woman, who drinks from the smaller cup wins!

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General Toasting Tips

General Toasting Tips

  • Take some time to prepare yourself for the toast.
  • Keep it simple. It’s best to just be yourself and talk as you would any other time. For a wedding an easy way to start off is by thanking the bride and groom for allowing everyone to be a part of their special day. A simple closing would be something like: to the bride and groom (raises glass) may they always be as happy as they are today.
  • Speak to “everyone” and not just a small group of people. Try to look at the entrire group of people.
  • Speak loud enough so everyone can hear you.
  • If you are nervous about giving a toast, practicing your toast over and over will give you more confidence. If it helps, try practicing in front of a friend or a mirror.
  • Jokes can be great as long as they are not inside jokes. Don’t tell jokes that only a few people will understand.
  • Talk about something appropriate. Talking about how you have lost your girl chasing buddy isn’t funny – especially to family members. Remember, this is not about you, it’s about the bride and groom. Your toast could be on video for many many years.
  • Use proper toasting etiquette. Sip instead of guzzling. If your toasting glasses are expensive crystal, clink gently.
  • Try to stay sober. It can get a little difficult if you are tipsy not to mention that you may be an embarrasment.
  • When you are finished, let everyone know that you are. Raise your glass and close your toast with something like, join me in congratulating the bride and groom, etc., or you can end it with the meaning of the word “to toast” in their heritage. For example, if it is a German wedding, you would say “Prost” as you raise your glass.
  • In the end, if you know you just won’t feel comfortable giving a toast, then don’t be afraid to decline. Let the bride and groom know ahead of time so they won’t be expecting you to do something you are not ready to do.
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Proper Toasting Etiquette

Proper Toasting Etiquette

Parties and Events
Here are a few pointers on the correct way to toast:

  • The host of the party or event should always be the first one to start the toast. This person should also be the one to make sure that everyone’s glass is full before the toast is performed. For a wedding toast, it is still very traditional for the best man to perform the toast. Many people tend to think that the disc jockey or band is responsible for the toast, but this has never been true.
  • When you give a toast, you should be standing. Make short, simple and sincere comments.
  • If there is a large group of people, it is not mandatory to clink your glasses when the toast is made. Instead, just raise your glass and take a sip. If it is a small group of people, you should always look the person in the eyes when you clink their glass. As you clink your glasses you can say something like “Cheers, Prost (German), Skoal”, or whatever your nationality is.
  • After the toast, the recipient, if there is one, SHOULD NOT DRINK (this would be like patting yourself on your own back if you do). Instead, he or she should stand and respond with thanks or by offering another toast. During the toast, if the recipient is already sitting, there is no need to stand unless the recipient would like to return the toast.
  • Although traditional, alcohol is not necessary to perform the toast. Sparkling fruit juice, punch or even pop may be used. It is your choice.
  • It is not considered customary to applaud toasts.

Who Performs the Toast?
The host of the party or event should always be the first to offer a toast.  At weddings, the best man should initiate the first toast.

Traditional Toasting Order for Weddings

  • The best man traditionally should perform the first toast.
  • Next, the maid of honor toasts the groom.
  • The father of the bride toasts the wedding couple.

After these initial toasts, the groom’s parents can also toast the wedding couple and the bride and groom may toast their parents and the guests.

Although this is still considered the proper order of wedding toasts, it is not necessarily always followed this way today. You wouldn’t want your best man making a toast if it is going to make him so nervous that he cannot even speak or decides to get drunk first in order to take the edge off!

Formal Business Toasting Etiquette
When performing a toast for a special business occasion, the toast should be separated into the following order:

  • Stand and start with referring to what the occasion or celebration is for.
  • Acknowledge and briefly summarize the accomplishments of the recipient.
  • Express goodwill for the entire group.

When closing , hold up your glass and ask that the entire group stands to drink with you a toast to the recipient.

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Why Do We Clink Glasses

Why Do We Clink Glasses?

Where did the idea of clinking the glasses come from? Although there is no real proof or evidence that we are aware of, there are a few theories…

  • Hundreds of years ago in Greece when it was common to poison your enemy, a toast was seen as a gesture of good faith. The host would pour the wine into a decanter and then drink from it to prove it was safe. Once the host had proved that the wine was safe, then everyone felt comfortable enough to drink it as well. The clinking of glasses during this time could have been a sneeky way for wine to be passed back and forth between glasses to prove it was safe.
  • There were many cultures that believed that clinking glasses would drive away evil spirits. It was these evil spirits were many times the ones blamed for drunkenness.
  • It was considered a welcome sound for weddings and birthdays.

The Italian toast “cin cin” sounds like the sound of glasses touching.
Up until the 16th century, toasts were usually only made to “good health”. Today it is to salute a special day, marriage, promotion at work and many other special occasions.

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Types of Toasting

Types of Toasting

The Group Toast
Drinking to people used to be and still is in many ways the same today as it was done many years ago in Greece. Out of respect, the person performing the toast should stand up, and everybody stands up too. If the person being toasted to is important enough, everybody else must also raise their glasses. If wearing a hat, men should always remove them. While the toast is spoken it is very important to look the person you are toasting to in the eyes. To end the toast, a silent bow or a simple little nod of the head will do. Everyone then sips the wine.

Taking small sips for the toast is the modern and correct way of doing it. A long time ago, you were expected to drink everything in the cup and most often it would be a rather large cup that would be passed around and shared. Today we have our own glasses which we use instead of sharing just one cup.

The Two Person Toast
Toasting is also very popular between two people. In ancient Greek times, this was called “proposes” or “the drink before”. The person who initiated the toast sips first and then hands the cup or bowl to the person being honored. If it was a special occasion such as a wedding, the cup itself would usually be a permanent gift to the receiver. For example, a bowl full of wine might be given from a father-in-law to the son-in-law. The cup or bowl would become the symbol of the bride (given away as we still call it) by her father. The two men and two families have now become one through the shared wine.

Today, the two person toast is done with each person having their own glass.  One or both people usually announce what they are toasting to and then clink the glasses for good luck.

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The History of Toasting

The History of Toasting

Toasting is the strongest and most formal in Germany, Scandinavia and Eastern European countries.

In France, Italy and Spain the toast is even given German names. In Spain and Italy, to toast is called brindar and came from the German phrase “Ich bring dir” which means “I bring it to you”.

In France you will hear them say “trinquer” which comes from the German word “trinken” and means “to drink”.

And just in case you are wondering where the English phrase “toast” comes from, it comes from the practice of floating a piece of burnt toast on top of the wine of the loving cup. The reason for this was that the toast took away some of the acidity of the wine. Years ago wine wasn’t as good as it is today, so this floating piece of burnt toast worked well to tone down the sharpness of the wine. It was an ancient custom that was popular during the roman and Greek times dating as far back as the 6th Century B.C. After the bowl was passed around and shared by all the people, the host would be the last one to drink what was left and this included eating the wine saturated piece of toast. This was always done in honor of the guests.

There are lots of ways that toasts were done in ancient history, but the main point was that it was an offering from man to his Deity (God). Throughout history, man has always expressed his highest honors to the Deity in the form of a drink and the offering of toasts.

How the Toast Started
Many years ago, in Greece, the people would perform what was called a libation. A libation (an alcoholic drink which is offered as a religious ritual) was considered a prayer and a sharing of wine with the gods. They would stand up and while holding a cup full of wine in one hand, look up into the sky, and pray with both arms and cup raised, then drink the wine. Of course, they realized the gods didn’t really share the wine, but they knew their gift was accepted and a connection with the gods were made.