Sunday, June 1, 2014

Time to for a Wedding...

Front Porch of the Koepsell House
By now, many of you are now aware that Karl and I after …ummm…let us just say several years, have decided to officially tie the knot...and most of you will not be surprised that we are getting married at Old World Wisconsin. The date we have set is September 6, 2014. An 1878-80 style Pomeranian-American wedding will be held in the German area of Old World Wisconsin in Eagle, Wisconsin.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with Old World Wisconsin, OWW is a living history museum owned by the State of Wisconsin, and run by the WI State Historical Society. In short, OWW traces the architecture and socio-economic conditions of some the ethnic groups who made up the landscape of rural 19th century Wisconsin.  It is not uncommon for living history museums to have weddings as special events – albeit often these weddings are mock weddings. This event will not be a mock wedding. It is, indeed, our official wedding to be held in public as a special event. Weddings in Pomerania were most commonly community-style events.  This tradition would often continue in the rural areas of Wisconsin populated by Pomeranian immigrants. We wish to continued this tradition. Our guests will be made up of both public and private guests, and welcomed with opened arms.

The Koepsell House set in 1880 at Old World Wisconsin

Karl and I have had many people ask why we have chosen a Pomeranian-American wedding since neither of us are Pomeranian…at least as far as we know.  The answer is not a simple one and not one made lightly. It is a many layered answer. The initial reason traces back to a simple conversation that we had back in the early 2000s. I do not remember the topic of conversation nor where at Old World Wisconsin I was working that particular day. What I do remember is a topic about some of the buildings at Old World. Karl made a side comment that he “always thought the front porch of Koepsell {house} would be a perfect place for a wedding. “Hmmm…” I thought to myself and filed away that piece of information for possible future use”. I also thought to myself, “That is a gorgeous building”.

When we had finally established that we would like to get married at OWW, it was not immediately thought of as a public wedding. We thank Dawn St. George, our former director, for letting us believe that it was possible to have a wedding at OWW, and there were many incarnations of which all would have been wonderful.  As for the public aspect, turns out we were both thinking it, but unsure of how to broach the subject with one another. One day a couple years ago, must have been the right day because we mentioned to each other at the same time. It would be fun, meaningful and hopefully, a successful special event for OWW. It was then that we circled back to that conversation all those years ago regarding the perfection of the Koepsell House’s front porch.  Additionally, OWW had never held a Pomeranian-American wedding mock or otherwise. It was an easy and our first choice.
As for the likely reality neither of us is of Pomeranian descent is not important. We are indeed very proud of our Polish, Slovak, German, Alsatian, Lithuanian and Danish roots, and nothing can lessen that pride. That said, in working for over 2 decades at Old World Wisconsin, we have adopted the represented ethnic groups at OWW as our own. For in truth, these ethnic groups have been part of us for the vast majority of our adult lives - whether we speak of Norwegian, Finnish, Yankee, Irish, or in this case, Pomeranian. We have incorporated many their food ways, traditions and history as our own and the fact remains, as lifelong Wisconsinites they are our own as they are every Wisconsinite’s.  It is the spirit of these ethnic groups that have laid the groundwork and shaped our modern State of Wisconsin.

Knowing that ultimately this would be OWW’s decision, we did spend time talking about all the possibilities and buildings as wedding sites. Any of them would have worked; all of them would have been beautiful, but the Koepsell House’s front porch with the Pomeranian influences would remain first choice.  The beautiful Koepsell Farm made up of several Pomeranian influenced buildings including 3 fachwerk (half-timber) structures will be our backdrop.  Over the course of the next few weeks, I will pick different aspects of the wedding to highlight in this setting...and promise to try to keep them brief.




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