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August 2018

A high BENCHmark for brides and grooms – an assignment that pulled out all the stops

A tulle veil, tears, and a ‘Bahnhofstrasse bench’ - Part 1

How does a bench make it from Bahnhofstrasse to Zurich’s Church of St. Theresia? This is the touching tale of two people who fell in love, became engaged and finally got married – all on the same bench

Wednesday, 18 August 2010. After work, Dennis W. is strolling along the Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich, looking forward to making it home after a less-than-amazing day at work. Among other things, his mobile phone had given up the ghost, and he had had to buy a new device. Lost in thought, he plods onwards towards home. Suddenly, he sees a familiar face sitting on a nearby bench. He heads over to the bench and greets the acquaintance and her colleague, Steffi, who makes an immediate impression on Dennis. Shortly after, the acquaintance asks Dennis if he would like to sit down and join them. “Shift over so I can sit in the middle,” he replies. Somewhat nonplussed but nevertheless amused, Steffi also makes space for Dennis to sit down. During their conversation, Dennis pulls out his mobile phone and asks Natasha for her number, and of course, also asks Steffi for hers. Time flies, and before you know it, it’s evening.

Stefanie and Dennis write to each other and meet a few times before becoming a couple in the autumn of 2010. When they are in town, they always head to the bench where they first met.

On 26 March 2016, Dennis lures his girlfriend to Bahnhofstrasse, and of course, to their bench. He takes her hand. “YES”, says Steffi. When she first saw him heading towards the bench six years ago, she thought, “I’ll marry this man one day” and lo, it came to be! The young couple are overjoyed and ponder the date of the wedding. They decide on 18 August 2018. A Saturday – exactly eight years after they first met.

As to a fitting wedding present, Dennis thinks that “a car would be lame”. After some deliberation, he has a brilliant idea! “Of course, the Bahnhofstrasse bench!” Enthusiastically, he revisits the bench and discovers a plaque bearing the insignia of BURRI. He anticipates a series of arduous discussions before he can bring his plan to fruition, but everything goes extremely smoothly. “The lady at the other end of the line was so touched by my story, and wanted to help.”

Dennis is hoping to purchase not just the precise model of bench, but the actual bench from the Bahnhofstrasse, and so BURRI asks him for assistance with the replacement. For Dennis, it’s an exciting opportunity. “It gave even more heart to the whole thing.”

Dennis gives some though to where he can present the bench to Steffi. The wedding party is set to take place on the summit of the Uetliberg mountain in the Swiss plateau, and bringing it there would be rather cumbersome. “I met her on the bench, got engaged to her on the same bench. How about we get married there too?” And that's just the way it was.

So that Stefanie would not become wise to the plan, there are only decorated wooden chairs in the church for the rehearsal. However, the bench is set to make a special appearance for the main event. It is fitted with a white cover so that Stefanie can concentrate fully on her own entrance. Well-planned, Dennis! When Steffi is finally standing in front of the altar, Dennis pulls the cover off the bench. She is deeply moved. In just a few words, Dennis summarises what the bench means to them both: “This bench is the why we are both standing here today.”

In love, engaged, married – all on the same bench.

Best wishes to you both!