Welcome to an amazing Austria Destination Wedding Celebration. I recently spoke with Tanya Zaufi, author of All Over the Map: Two Lovers, Six Continents and a Date with Destiny. Tanya’s book is a true love story. And one I was so excited to share with all our wonderful engaged and wedding couples.  Future Destination wedding brides have been “on hold” now with wedding plans due to Covid19. In other words, what better time to share an excerpt from this fast-paced, whirlwind and very uplifting love story. And with two weddings and a temporary Austria Destination Wedding  Celebration which includes a”bride kidnapping. ” You’ll definitely want to read more!

Bride and groom embrace at Austria destination wedding
Tanya and Josef share an embrace on their Austrian Wedding day

It was love at first sight!

I was working on a cruise ship in the Caribbean when I had my ‘Love at First Sight’ moment.

However, I lived in Canada and my love, Josef, lived in Austria. As a result, this led us to have a love affair spanning eight years. And many continents!  Josef eventually moved to Canada where we excitedly got engaged. Being from two different countries, we decided to plan two weddings. In addition, include both of our families.  One in Canada and another in Austria three weeks later. The only ones who would have to travel between the two countries would be us!

What girl gets to get married twice to the same person!

Our Canadian wedding was a lovely and intimate occasion. Our ceremony was held at a Heritage Church. And the reception was at a venue with a beautiful lake view.

Austria destination wedding here we come

For our Austrian wedding, Josef’s parents planned and organized all the details. Since we were so far away. Josef and I did not have to plan a thing. In other words, all we had to do was show up!

On the day of our Austria Destination Wedding,  we arrived outside of our house to greet everyone.  We were greeted with loud applause and photo flashbulbs.  And one hug after the next. All around me was a flurry of Austrian and German chatter. I didn’t care that I could speak only a few words here and there. The energy around me was warm and embracing. There was no language barrier, not really. Above all, I felt part of everything. Josef, as always, took care of me through it all.

Fairy tale horse-drawn carriage

In addition, Josef’s parents presented us with lovely bridal bouquets. And the groomsmen received lapel flowers. And after this, a beautiful horse-drawn carriage pulled up. I was completely taken by surprise. How ornate and European! Most importantly, the region’s traditional Noriker horses pulled our beautifully decorated carriage to our awaiting ceremony.

In Austria, couples get married at City Hall first to make it legal. Therefore, we walked up to City Hall’s spiral staircase.  And all the wedding guests were waiting for us in the grand ballroom. We recited our vows in both German and English. And then exchanged shiny new rings during the ceremony. In other words, if we had two weddings, we ought to have two rings! That was Josef’s idea.

And the Austria wedding band played on

Once we were married (again), we shared a sweet kiss. And then joined the family receiving line to accept everyone’s congratulations. When we left as a married couple, everyone waiting outside. Similarly,  formed an aisle for us to walk through. As we exited the front doors, we were greeted by a traditional three-piece Austrian band. As a result, an accordion, a stand-up bass, and a guitar player who serenaded us. It was such a lovely taste of Austrian wedding tradition.

Austrian Band playing music with bride and groom
And the Austrian band played on!

We walked through the aisle to the band’s music while everyone threw rice at us. And we beamed with happiness. Josef’s parents had prepared a champagne toast for us.  We enjoyed it right on the cobblestone street in front of City Hall!

Unique Austria Wedding Treat

We had our first dance as a twice-married couple by the front door of City Hall. In addition,  our band played on.  After that, we mingled and drank champagne with everyone. Soon we were given another traditional Austrian treat: the Kornspitz guys. In other words, people dressed up in large breadstick costumes. They came along with a delightful basket of freshly baked goods.

Austrian Pretzel man posing with bride and groom
Tanya and Josef pose with Kornspitz guy

Our horse-drawn carriage took us to the town’s majestic twelfth-century castle. We posed for photographs inside and outside of the castle. Talk about feeling like an Austria Destination Wedding Celebration princess!. Austria destination wedding princess! Forget my moniker as Miss Canada.  Which Josef’s Austrian friends liked to call me. Now I was Miss Austria! My favourite photos were taken in front of the arched rustic wooden entrance. In addition,  by a winding rock staircase inside.  And upstairs with the richly coloured brick in the background.

Bride and groom pose for Austria wedding picture
Tanya and Josef pose with a beautiful flower bouquet

It was like something out of a fairy tale.

Of course, that’s what this double trans-Atlantic Austria Destination Wedding celebration truly was. After our photo shoot, our carriage took us to our reception. And as we rode through town, people came out to cheer. We were waved at all the way through Josef’s neighbourhood.  After that, to the outskirts of town.  Similarly, into the hills where our reception was held.

Bride and groom with horse drawn carriage in Austria
Tanya and Josef with a beautiful horse-drawn carriage

When we arrived at our reception, everyone was waiting for us.  Along with our personal Austrian band. They instantly started playing a song. And we started to dance right there in the parking lot as soon as we stepped out of the carriage. In the middle of our dance, Josef’s friend Philip broke in.  And I danced with him, while Josef danced with Philip’s wife.

Traditional Austria Wedding “Stealing of the bride”

The next thing I knew, Philip was dancing me toward a car that most of the men from the wedding were piling into. They were all laughing hysterically as they pulled me, the bride, into the car with them. Amid all this laughter, we started to drive away from our reception.

“What’s going on? Where are we going?” I inquired before realizing that almost no one there spoke any English.

We drove for a bit longer.  And as we headed back toward town, I asked again, “What are we doing? Just going for a drive?” I was confused. Additionally,  had no idea of what could possibly be going on.

Soon we pulled into a hotel restaurant. We all piled out, literally hysterical with laughter. I was still asking, “What’s going on? Where is Josef? Above all, is he meeting us here?”

They went in and I followed.  Because these were the only people I knew. We all sat at a large outdoor table.  And they then ordered champagne and a charcuterie board.

Not to mention “Stealing of the groom”

We toasted with champagne. And then Philip, the one who had danced me away to the car, told me more about the Austrian tradition called Brautraub, or “Steal the Bride.” It’s a very old tradition that is seen as both entertaining. And has symbolic meaning, as the bride is leaving her family home and starting a whole new life with her husband. The same thing is done with the groom. The bride goes to an unknown location with all the men to celebrate.  While the groom does the same with all the women. It’s up to the maid of honour to find the bride.  And the best man to find the groom. They have no idea where the bride and groom are. And must go looking for them at any restaurant or pub along the way.

I didn’t know what to say. This was the most peculiar and hilarious thing I had ever heard. However,  I decided to roll with it. We had schnapps, champagne, and half litres of beer. Everyone was in celebratory mode.

We laughed and joined in the festivities 

Finally, after about two hours, my maid of honour found us. She had travelled with Josef’s mom and our musicians.  Going from one restaurant pub to the next until they came upon us. When they finally arrived, they stayed for a drink.  The band played, and I had several dances with some of the gentlemen who had “stolen” me. And even a couple of patrons at the pub. The lady who owned the restaurant knew Josef and his family. And was delighted that they had chosen her restaurant to “steal” his Canadian bride to. She joined our fun.

I piled back into the car with all the men again, laughing all the way back to our reception. My Austrian dialect was much improved after a couple of drinks.

When we got back, I spotted Josef, who had just returned from being “stolen” himself. They had driven him to a bar not far from where we were. Where he had enjoyed some drinks, danced, and had a good time, too. Then his best man, father, and a few others found them and brought them back.

They’re playing our wedding song!

At long last, we walked into our reception as our band was playing and had our “official” first dance together.

“They’re playing our song,” I announced.

“Sorry about the kidnapping,” Josef said. “It didn’t even cross my mind that they would actually do it.”

“Honestly, it is something I will never forget,” I declared, unable to wipe the grin off my face.

Josef pulled me closer to his body.  And as we swayed to the music, he caressed my back, gave me a warm, wet kiss, and whispered, “I love you.”

After an exquisite dinner accompanied by speeches, the evening was topped off with a fireworks display just for us. My in-laws had thought of every detail.

At the end of the evening, Josef leaned close to me and kissed me tenderly.

“You are my everything,” he said softly. “You have no idea how this feels to have you in Austria as my bride. I could not have had a better dream.”

And neither could I have! Now that’s a true Austria Destination Wedding Celebration.

Black and white bride and groom Austria wedding photo
Josef and Tanya pose for a wedding photograph

I hope you enjoyed this delightful excerpt from Tanya Zaufi’s book. Along with their incredible journey, Tanya and Josef persevered to complete their one-of-a-kind Austria Destination Wedding fairytale story.  Today we celebrate Tanya’s book release!  You can purchase the paperback and Ebook here through Amazon All Over the Map: Two Lovers, Six Continents and a Date with Destiny.

Europe weddings are truly one of a kind celebrations and we would love to assist with yours. Our UK team of specialists through My Wedding Away would be happy to provide information on Austria weddings. Additionally Spain, Italy, Greece and Cyprus.  For Mexico and the Caribbean, we are here to assist!

Liz Moore

Destination Wedding Specialist

 

 

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