Our Zivilstand: Making This “Thing” Legal!

As a child, I honestly never dreamt that I would marry at the courthouse. So when I woke up on the morning of our Zivilstand and started preparing for the day, I wasn’t sure quite how to feel. I didn’t feel like a bride, but I was happy and excited to be taking this big step with Mr. Funnel Cake.

Quarter past ten, we met my parents at their hotel nearby and hopped on the tram down to the Verwaltungszentrum Werd (Municipal Centre Werd) in Zürich to meet Mr. Funnel Cake’s parents and brother. (By the way, I apologise now for the non-pro quality photos. We had Mr. FC’s father using Mr. FC’s SLR camera and it was on a high ISO setting, so most of the pictures are really low quality!)


Inside we got the paperwork ready for Mama Funnel Cake to be my witness and for Mr. Funnel Cake’s brother to be his witness. Mama Funnel Cake and I needed to show our passports as proof of identification while the Swiss boys just needed their ID cards.

While waiting for our 15 minute slot to come, we took some family photos in the waiting room.


The awkward “Brautpaar”. Or maybe I’m just the awkward one. I think Mr. FC looks pretty dashing.


Our families meet for the second time.


Mama and Papa Funnel Cake and me. (Notice the glasses not doing anything for my looks.)


Mama and Papa Funnel Cake and Mr. Funnel Cake and me.


My parents, me and Mr. Funnel Cake, his mother and brother. (Photo taken by Mr. FC’s father)

Then it was time to file into the ceremony room I showed you earlier.


(Image via Stadt Zürich

Generally speaking, the rooms here are usually set up with a three-sided table: One side for the officiant, one side for the couple marrying and one side for the two required witnesses. Beyond the table there is usually some sparse seating in the room for close family, but not anything to accommodate a big group.


We sat down and the officiant explained the process. Everything would be said in English and then in High German so that both of our mothers could understand everything. (That’s not free either, it cost $120 extra for the extra language.)

Before we began, the officiant began with a cheesy poem titled “Affection.”


It was the most awkward poem ever. When she said the “I like you” part, the officiant would gaze directly at us, in English to me and in German to Mr. Funnel Cake, as if she really liked us. It made me so uncomfortable, I wanted to respond, “But I like him”¦not you”¦” and then we had to hold ourselves from laughing about it. It was so funny that for months afterward I couldn’t tell Mr. Funnel Cake “I like you” without bursting into giggles, which is sad because I often tell him that in addition to “I love you.”

After the poem we got down to business. The officiant asked us if we wanted to get married; we said “yes.” Mr. Funnel Cake was a little eager, so he said “yes” to the English part, and then “Ja” to the German part as well.


We were asked if we wanted to exchange rings, which we declined as we had not bought any yet.


Mr. FC leaned in to say “I love you.”


Next we needed to sign the marriage certificate. Wait, this means I have to sign my new name?!? Hadn’t practised that much yet, folks.


Then it was Mr. Funnel Cake’s turn.


Then time for our witnesses, FC’s brother and Mama Funnel Cake.


….and fifteen minutes later, that was it. We were married?!

It didn’t seem like anything happened, but Mr. Funnel Cake’s mother was crying and my parents were beaming.






We all filed out of the pavilion to take pictures in front of the building before we headed to lunch!

Our Zivilstand:

*Photos personal unless noted.


Mrs. Funnel Cake

Zürich, Switzerland/Columbus, Ohio
Wedding Date:
October 2011
A Miniature Blue Dress


  1. Member
    weddingstars2012 479 posts, Helper bee @ 2:53 pm


  2. funnelcake Member
    funnelcake 1171 posts, Bumble bee @ 4:05 pm

    @Mrs. Hyena: it literally ruined it for months! I was almost sad I couldn’t stop laughing when I was trying to be romantic later on. 😛

    @Miss Candy Apple: Yeah, “I can taste you” in front of my mother. How inappropriate!

    @KitKatNYC: @KCheer: hahaha, I think we’d die of embarrassment if this shows up at our wedding! (Hope I’m not testing Murphy’s law with this post…)

  3. Member
    shannag 62 posts, Worker bee @ 5:35 pm

    Yeah, I think I’m going to be telling my husband “I like you jolly” for a while now. I think it will really add to the romance….

    I think that your glasses are adorable and you look great in them!

  4. Member
    Coffeecake 347 posts, Helper bee @ 9:02 pm

    @shannag: The jolly part is totally my favorite. So Santa-ish.

  5. Member
    discgirl 220 posts, Helper bee @ 4:05 pm

    Two things — I love your glasses and that poem is so funny!

  6. Member
    Swiss Miss to Bee 1004 posts, Bumble bee @ 10:42 am

    Smart thing doing this here before the Stateside affair! We got married 10-10-10 in VA, and JUST last week CH “recognized” our marriage or whatever. Such an ordeal! (I haven’t been back to the Bee in a long time and I was really surprised to find another CH’er here!)

  7. teacup Member
    teacup 631 posts, Busy bee @ 10:48 pm

    I love learning about marriage in another culture…though I’m wondering how you kept your cool during the poem? Too much – lol :) You guys look so great, btw!

  8. Guest Icon Guest
    Lauren, Guest @ 2:05 pm

    I have been reading through your posts because I am in a sort of similar position with my fiance right now and its so helpful to know that others have gone through something similar. We are both US citizens but we are moving to Geneva for my work in a few months. We have been engaged for a few months and hadn’t really even started to do much wedding planning when this opportunity came up, but now we need to get legally married quickly in order to make my fiance’s residency and work permit process easier. It has been a really stressful experience so far, but I’m hoping that this will all be worth it in the end! Would love to chat offline to hear about your experiences with work/residency permits in Switzerland if you don’t mind!

  9. Member
    Expelliarmus15 88 posts, Worker bee @ 2:00 pm

    we only got married in the courthouse so far, but our mothers weren’t there and it was only in german, but our religious wedding will be in brazil, where i am from and i will need to find a priest that speaks german and portuguese! or two different priests, i don’t know which is best.. so his mother and my husband most importantly can understand the ceremony! lol

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