- Title: GERMANY: Dozens of Chinese couples say "I do" at fairytale German castle
- Date: 6th June 2011
- Summary: BRIDE TAKING PHOTOGRAPH BRIDES POSING ON GRASS IN FRONT OF NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE VARIOUS OF BRIDES DANCING TO TRADITIONAL BAVARIAN MUSIC
- Embargoed: 21st June 2011 13:00
- Location: Germany, Germany
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Business,Quirky,Light / Amusing / Unusual / Quirky,Travel / Tourism
- Reuters ID: LVA4WHM30VDW0OLTS4VPHA3NWJYV
- Story Text: Nestled in the heart of the Bavarian Alps, Neuschwanstein is the ultimate fairytale castle. But on Friday (June 3) it became the backdrop for dreams of dozens of Chinese couples, as they said "I do" at a mass wedding ceremony.
The young couples travelled to Europe from China, where they were recently married officially at home, and decided to participate in the mass wedding as part of their European travels.
In the courtyard of a nearby monastery, St Mang, in the town of Fuessen, the couples, clad in traditional white dresses and black suits, swore to spend the rest of their lives together.
Ahead of the ceremony, each bridegroom got down on his knees and presented his "future wife" with a wedding bouquet, before going inside the church to take their vows. Waiting for them inside were look-a-likes of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, the man who commissioned the castle and who was known as the fairytale king, and Sissi, Elisabeth of Bavaria, who was born in the nearby city of Munich in the 19th century and was Empress of Austria. The two actors welcomed the couples and then sang for them.
All the couples taking part said it was an experience they would never forget.
"We feel great. It is so romantic and we are very happy. I think we will remember this moment our whole lives," said Si kai and his wife Ziang.
"We didn't want a traditional ceremony like in China. We wanted to do something different. That is while we chose Germany for the ceremony. We are enjoying our sweet honeymoon and a very fun trip. That is why we are here," said another happy couple Cha Li-O and Chau Dang.
All of this is part of a package offered by the "Royal Wedding Service", run by Peter and Rita Steiger from the Bavarian town of Fuessen. For the past 14 years, they have been offering the service, which started off aimed at Japanese couples. Year by year it became more international with couples from all over the world signing up. This is the fourth time that a group of Chinese couples have taken part in the mass wedding.
All in all the company tries to make the wedding as traditionally Bavarian as possible. The ceremony is held in the historic wedding room in Fuessen, couples are able to pose with wedding cars and coaches in front of the fairytale castle Neuschwanstein and they are also treated to some traditional Bavarian music while the celebrations heat up.
But once the last photo has been taken and the last couple has kissed, their adventure is still not over. The group are to travel on to the Czech capital Prague for sightseeing before heading for home.
Neuschwanstein castle was the home of King Ludwig II of Bavaria, a shy king who had the elaborate castle built as a place for him to withdraw from public life. It was constructed in the late 19th century and was finally opened to the public after Ludwig's death in 1886.
According to the castle's official website, some 1.3 million people visit Neuschwanstein every year, which is built deep in the Bavarian Alps on an impressive rockface. It is reported to have been the inspiration for Walt Disney's fairytale castle.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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