Thursday, March 03, 2005

Zee Paperwork

So, I went down to the local "Hochzeitbüro" aka, the Wedding Office. It's in a building just behind the central building in Munich that is used for getting your resident's permit, registering where you live, changing your name, applying for work visas, registering any extra toes, etc etc. Okay, not the extra toes, but if you have paperwork to be done in Munich, this is likely the place you have to go to get it done.

The Wedding Office building is slightly nicer than the building I'm normally in. The front building has a bit of a smoky, grimy atmosphere to it. The back building is nicer and there's a reason for this. They hold the actual wedding ceremonies here. But it's not that nice, it's still very much an office building. I saw a few people mingling around the front who were obviously part of a wedding, right clothes, several bouquets of red roses. They were standing near a kiosk where you can buy softdrinks and chocolate bars. Now, I'm no old-fashioned romantic, but that didn't really strike me as how I wanted my guests to entertain themselves before or after the ceremony. But I digress.

The reason I went down there was to see what was necessary for an Australian and a Canadian to wed in Germany. I'll give you one guess as to whether it's lots of paperwork or just a little..... thinking hard?.... Good guess! I have smart readers; it's not just a little. Here's a list of what we need:

- A birth certificate, not older than 6 months and translated into German by an official translator.
- A current passport (okay, this is not a difficulty, I admit)
- Proof of residency in Munich
- Proof of job status, including the original certificates for any degrees held.
- A piece of paper (paper A) that says we don't need another piece of paper (paper B). Paper B would be a signed statement or certificate, I don't know which, saying that we were free to marry.
- G need to provide proof of his single status, a certificate being issued less than 6 months ago. Don't ask me for details on what this is, I forget right now.
- G possibly needs a "Ehebedenklichkeitsbescheinigung". Yes, that is one word. No, I don't know what it means, other than it talks about marriage (ehe) and a certificate (bescheinigung). It's in brackets, so it's possible he doesn't need that.
- Happy news, we don't need an intrepreter for the ceremony. See, learning German has finally paid off.
- G needs an Apostille to sign for all the documents from Australia, and I need "legalisation" for my documents from Canada. Apparently it's not enough that you have the official documents and certificates, someone even more official has to stamp and say they are official.
- I need to fill out an affidavit saying I'm not related to G by blood or by marriage.

So, after we get all that done, we can register to marry. Phew!

Of course, for nearly all these papers, there's going to be some sort of charge. And don't forget the translations either. I'm starting to wonder if a quick trip to Las Vegas wouldn't be cheaper. Well, maybe not really, but a little. I think I might check out how difficult it is in Austria, since it's just a hop away. If it's significantly easier, it might be worth a shot.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Magazine Review: Hochzeitsplaner

Finally the promised review of the first German magazine I bought. Here's the cover:

The first impression is pretty good. I like the fact that the table of contents is right at the very start of the magazine. It's in German, which is fine because I do read German, but I have treated it more as a picture gallery than read the articles. Most of the "articles" are just advertising different wedding services like dresses, make-up or jewelry. One interesting thing is that it's the first magazine that I've come across that had specific articles and clothing examples targeted for the groom. At least 6 separate articles which actually equals only around 10 pages or so, but that's 5% of the magazine and I haven't seen anything in other magazines. Of course, some of the outfits are truly atrocious and I can't imagine any man wearing them anywhere, never mind to his wedding. I mean, would you marry someone wearing this?
No, I thought not.

But not everything is so strange looking, there are lots of nice dresses, some flower ideas, some hairstyling ideas, some ideas for sayings and prayers for the ceremony. Plus an actual wedding planner, with a checklist of things to do at a certain number of months.

And, as a nice comparison, many of the ads do show the price of the dress advertised or at least the model number! This was my main complaint with In Style magazine. Glad to see the Germans are more pratical in this regard.

The thing I probably appreciate the most is that it is Germany-based, so the suppliers they list are far more likely to be useful to me/us than any of the the North American or British magazines.

The thing I liked the least was the fact that although the issue is billed as their winter/spring issue for 2005, all the bridal fairs they list fell within January or the early part of February. Doesn't do you much good if you go to buy the magazine now, does it? And you can't tell me they didn't know these things before they went to press. However, I will accept it if someone tells me that there aren't any bridal fairs in Germany in spring 2005. Until that happens though, I'll be a bit miffed.