Civil wedding, Sayn-Bendorf, 7 June 2003
Verena and I arrived at Sayn halfway the morning when the weather was still nice, but soon it would be very, very hot with blue sky and burning sun. Verena parked the car at the parking place near the Butterfly Garden of Sayn and we soon found out that the Schloss (castle) where the wedding was going to take place was nearby on the other side of the castle park where the Butterfly Garden is situated.
After a while the same Bunte journalist we had met in Kronberg im Taunus in May passed us and soon joined us outside the Schloss. Also an elder German royalty watcher, Ingrid, soon joined us with her husband. From about 10:30 we saw some close family members walking to the Schloss coming from the park, and just before 11:00 also bride and groom arrived by car.
Before Verena was told on the telephone that the event would be totally private and that after the civil wedding bride and groom would pose at the terrace for a short while. But the terrace turned out to be a public place as there was a restaurant/café inside at the first floor. So while bride, groom and family went up to the second floor for the wedding, we climbed up the stairs to the terrace, had a seat and a talk. The windows of the Schloss were open due to the hot weather, so around 11:30 we heard a loud applause on the second floor. Bride and groom were married!
A short reception was held inside and on the small terrace on the second floor. But then it was time for the official photosession on ‘our’ terrace. Bride and groom, as well as parents came down. And unbelievable we weren’t even sent away and were able to make photos on the terrace too. First they went to the front of the terrace to make it possible for the two (local) photographers in the park to make some photographs. But then we turned around and for some five to ten minutes we could make each photo we wanted. When everybody went upstairs again to continue the reception we were totally satisfied.
About 350 guests were invited for the reception at Schloss Sayn from 12:30 to 16:00. First on the terrace, later downstairs where we helped directing guests up to the reception, we observed the guests and tried to recognise some royals. Although we didn’t really succeed very well, we enjoyed it. Most of the guests must have been friends and locals. Still on the terrace the Fürst and Fürstin zu Oettingen-Oettingen und Oettingen-Wallerstein passed us, but we discovered it too late to make a nice photo. The journalist and photographer from the German magazine Bunte told us later that also Fürst Carl and Fürstin Isabella zu Wied, Fürstin Dowager Sophie Charlotte zu Wied and son Wolff-Heinrich had been there.
Walking back to the other side of the park in front of the Schloss, where we had parked the car, we saw the groom’s sister Sofia and her nephew Johannes walking to a house on the other side of the park, while not much later also Count Vittorio Mazzetti d’Albertis, widower of Princess Filippa, went that way. As we already heard that Fürst Alexander didn’t reside at the Schloss, we soon found out that the nice villa they went to is his official residence.
Later while Verena stayed under a tree in the park, I paid a visit to the museum in the Schloss, that has a Fürstinnenzimmer (Princesses’ Room) full of paintings, portraits and papers about the Sayn- Wittgenstein-Sayn family. In the hall I discovered a beautiful rememberance corner of Princess Filippa (1980-2001), the tragically perished sister of the groom.
After a short visit to the shop of the Butterfly Garden of Sayn – we thought it was really too hot already outside to enter a subtropical garden – we went home. But the party in Sayn hadn’t ended yet. At 20:00 an informal party took place at the Burg Sayn – the old castle right above the new castle where the wedding and reception were held.
- Fürst Alexander and Fürstin Gabriela zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn
- Fürstin Marianne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn
- Prince Louis zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn
- Princess Sofia zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn
- Prince Peter zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn
- Princess Alexandra zu Oettingen-Wallerstein née Princess zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn
- Prince Johannes zu Oettingen-Wallerstein
- Princess Helena zu Oettingen-Wallerstein
- Count Vittorio Mazzetti d’Albertis
- Isabella von Ribbentrop
- Fürstin Tatiana von Metternich-Winneburg
- Fürst and Fürstin zu Oettingen-Wallerstein
- Dowager Fürstin Sophie Charlotte zu Wied
- Fürst Carl and Fürstin Isabella zu Wied
- Prince Wolff-Heinrich zu Wied