Written by Laura Bell. Photography by Gavin Howarth.
Caitlin Crouch met Jan-Hendrik Hein eight years ago during her study abroad semester in London. Caitlin, a Bermudian, was introduced by her roommate to Jan-Hendrik, from Nienburg, Germany, within a few days of their arrival.
“It used to be a tradition of my friends and I to attend the ‘start of term parties’ for those that study abroad for a semester,” said Jan-Hendrik. “As luck would have it, a friend of mine took a liking to our still good friend Alyssa. He quickly suggested a double date with her roommate, who happened to be Caitlin. So we met in their dorm room for the first time, with the rest being history, as they say.”
“After a few days we both knew there was something special between us,” added Caitlin. “And as my time in London was dwindling down at the end of the semester, I knew I was prepared to do anything to make our relationship work long-distance. There was no way I was going to let it end. We ended up doing a two-year long-distance relationship with a six-hour time difference before I moved back to London after university. But it was completely worth it – here we are eight years later!”
In September of 2015, for their six-year anniversary, Jan-Hendrik surprised Caitlin with a long weekend away, which was one part of an elaborate proposal adventure. In fact, the groom had six gifts, one for each of their years together, to give his bride-to-be: six long stemmed roses, a photo album of their years together, boarding passes to Naples, Italy, a couple’s massage and dinner at Il Riccio in Capri, where he presented her with his final gift—an engagement ring!
“I’m so grateful that he’s given me such a special story to tell,” said Caitlin. “We’d usually go to the restaurant of our first date for previous anniversaries. But in the lead-up to us travelling, he told me that I would be receiving six gifts for the six years we’d been together—so I was hopeful that something was up!”
“I knew the proposal was (almost) as important as the ring itself,” added the groom. “So after asking my father in-law, Thad, for permission on our trip to Bermuda in the summer of ‘15, it was time to get creative. I have never been so nervous as I was that evening on the little private beach near the restaurant. But so was Caitlin—she said yes before I even got to finish my prepared “speech” with the all-important question at the end!”
Over the next year and a half, the couple planned their ideal “Germudian” wedding—a blending of their two cultures and traditions with an overall theme of “elegant chic”.
The bride chose to get ready at High Tidings Cottage adjacent to the wedding lawn at Coral Beach, where the reception was being held later that evening. “It was hard not to take a peek out of the window to see how the tent and décor was taking shape!” said Caitlin. “We had lunch catered, and I had all the bridesmaids, my mother and my future mother-in-law over to get our hair and makeup done and showered them with a few thank you gifts. They also did a great job keeping me distracted from the wedding day nerves!”
The groom and his party got ready at Marionfield, “a lovely property on Harbour Road, Warwick,” which was conveniently next to their ceremony being held at Christ Church. “Don’t be fooled by the tutorial videos on YouTube,” laughed Jan-Hendrik, “tying a bow tie is a lot harder than it looks, especially when you are somewhat nervous. Luckily, one of my groomsmen, Nic, stepped up to the task and saved the day before I had to change into my spare shirt before even leaving the house.”
The bride wore a white lace Enzoani dress with rose-gold Jimmy Choo shoes, and her bridesmaids wore rose gold and pale pink sequined dresses from Watters. The groom wore a custom-made tuxedo by English Bespoke Tailors, while his groomsmen wore tuxes from the English Sports Shop. Each carried a unique family heirloom. “I had a very rare six-pence taped to the bottom of one of my shoes, as the saying goes!” said Caitlin. “It was given to me by my grandmother, who, by a twist of fate, received it as a gift from German movie star Curd Jürgens and his wife, who got married at the guest house property she was managing years ago in the Bahamas.”
“I wore cufflinks from my late grandfather, which contained a pearl in a mother of pearl, very fitting for a Germudian wedding,” added Jan-Hendrik.
The bride’s bouquet was created by floral designer Suzan Sickling and featured white peonies, assorted David Austen white garden roses and artemesia. The stems were wrapped in double-faced satin ribbon with pearl pins. “I chose the arrangement as it really tied in with the elegant chic theme,” said the bride.
Holding the ceremony at Christ Church in Warwick was an easy decision for Caitlin, whose family connections to the church date back several generations. “This church was where my parents got married, and my brother and I were christened,” she said. “Also, my great-grandmother headed straight there to marry my great-grandfather after coming off of a boat from the Azores to start their new life together. This place is significantly special to all of us.”
The traditional ceremony contained two readings, one in English and the other in German, which gave their 148 guests the first taste of their ‘Germudian’-themed wedding.
The couple left the church by horse and carriage bedecked with “Our Day” and “Unser Tag” pennants on the back. “Those 20 minutes were so special because it was the only time that we got to be with each other alone,” said Caitlin about the ride to their ceremony at Coral Beach. “We couldn’t stop smiling and we made a conscious effort to really enjoy and live in that moment. It was amazing to have it to ourselves.”
At the reception, the blending of the two cultures was evident throughout the elegant décor. “We both feel strongly connected to our very own heritage, yet embrace that of the other,” said Jan-Hendrik. “So it was only natural for us to combine elements from both, which was expressed in the maybe less obvious, but very important detailing of the German Beer in our very own ‘Bier Garten’” outside the wedding tent, the German white asparagus and Bermudian Rockfish canapés, and the ‘Polterabend’ – the German custom of smashing of plates or anything china the night before the wedding. We had asked our rehearsal dinner guests to smash china,which Caitlin and I had to sweep up together. This challenge can tell a lot about the relationship and how the two work together.”
The couple also chose another old German wedding custom, the cutting of a log, which represents the first obstacle the new couple must overcome in their marriage. “Similarly to the cleaning up of smashed plates, we had to work together as a team,” explained the groom. “What made this challenge even more special was the fact that the log we sawed through was a branch from the cedar tree that Caitlin’s parents planted after they got married, a detail that again combined the two cultures in a very unique yet beautiful way.”
The daughter of interior designer Patti Crouch of By Design Ltd., Caitlin was thrilled to have her reception decorated by her mother’s business partner, “the incredibly talented” Jill Henneberger, along with their wedding planner, Nikki Begg, and Michael Mello. Following the elegant chic theme, they hung beautiful linens in ivory and duck egg blue throughout, with sparkling chandeliers adding a touch of glam. To add a modern feel, they incorporated pops of metallic rose gold and a white damask pattern on the dance floor and the panels behind the head table. “And to top it off, we had our bespoke ‘JC’ backlit monogram at the head table,” said Caitlin. “It was beautiful!”
“The absolutely stunning venue that my mother-in-law, Patti, Caitlin, our wedding planner, Nikki, and Michael Mello put together will always stay with me,” added the groom.
The night was capped off with Caitlin’s cousin, Ben Rego, as the perfect MC for the night. “He was cracking jokes and had all of our guests engaged the whole time,” said Caitlin. “He (almost) stole the show!” There were also some memorable speeches. “My best man’s speech was unbelievable,” said Jan-Hendrik. “With a perfect blend of thankfulness to both our parents, loving words for my wife and some banter about my past and present, his speech was one of my favourite moments of the day!” And thanks to DJ Danger Don, guests danced long into the night.
Before heading back home to London, the couple went back to Capri for three and a half days on a mini-moon. “It was a fabulous place to relax and reflect on all the celebrations and to return as husband and wife!”
- Maid of Honour: Kristina Maffit
- Bridesmaids: Fiona Brydon, Risa Hunter Frith, Georgia Rego & Marina von Lucke
- Flower Girl: Hinson Young
- Best Man: Sam Kange
- Groomsmen: Thomas Öhlschläger,
- Julian Adamson, Daniel Crouch & Nic Huschke
- Officiant: Rev. Alastair Bennett
- Wedding Planner: Nikki Begg, Bermuda Bride
- Ceremony Location: Christ Church, Warwick
- Reception Location: Wedding Lawn, Coral Beach & Tennis Club
- Décor: Patti Crouch & Michael Mello
- Rentals: Donna Lindo / Select Sites
- Flowers: Suzan Sickling
- Cakes: Coral Beach Club
- Caterer: Coral Beach Club/Bavarian Brews
- Invitations: Jacqueline Seifert, Designer (London)
- Band: Toni Bari Trio (Ronnie Lopes, Tony Bari & Stan Gilbert)
- Other entertainment: DJ Danger Don
- Bridal Hair: Tangles Hair Salon
- Bridal Makeup: Christopher Vee Makeup
- Transportation: Terceira Stables
- Videography: Conor Murphy, Murphy Editing (Canada)
- Favours: French Macarons, Coral Beach Club