Once again, I will begin with the same wedding photograph that was highlighted in yesterday’s post. This time, I will focus on the two young men that are seated on each side of the bride and groom.
The caption to the photo says that these two men were John Dreyer (on the left) and John Brueckner (on the right). The caption also refers to these two men as being the “wedding inviters” for this marriage. It calls them “hochzeit bitten”. I’ll get back to that tradition later. Before I do that, let me tell you about these two men named John.
John Dreyer was the son of Heinrich and Emma (Hesse) Dreyer. He was born on April 12, 1886, so when the above photo was taken in 1905, he would have been 19 years old. There is a bit of a mystery here because our records say that Heinrich and Emma were not married until 1892. Emma had previously been married to Emmanuel Eggers. If John was her son, then he would have had the surname Eggers. There was actually a John Eggers that was the son of Emma and Emmanuel who was born in 1887. Maybe someone (perhaps Fred or Cal Eggers) can answer this mystery. John’s grandmother was a Lohmann, so he was likely related to the bride in the above photo. There was also a Hesse married to a Brueckner, so there may have been a connection on the groom’s side.
Five years after this 1905 wedding photo was taken, John Dreyer married Maria (Hecht) Boehme. Maria had previously been married to Gustav Boehme. John and Maria were married at the church in Point Rest, Missouri on August 28, 1910.
John Brueckner was a younger brother of the groom in the photo. He was born on May 27, 1883 and baptized at Salem Lutheran Church in Farrar. On April 18, 1909, John married Ella Fritsche. Here is their wedding photo.
Now I will return to the subject of the wedding inviters. I consulted my German friend, Lutz Backmann, who provided me with some information about this tradition. I also found another term related to this was hochheitsleder. I found this paragraph that gave a little description.
If you look closely at the 1905 wedding photo, both of these wedding inviters have a hat on their knee. The hats look like they have flowers on them. I am guessing that the American version of this tradition also involved special hats. It also sounds like this tradition may have involved the consumption of alcohol, which would not be surprising when discussing Perry County weddings.
I also cannot help but think about a Bible story that involved wedding inviters. It is the Parable of the Wedding Feast told by Jesus in Matthew 22.
I wonder if I might be asked someday to be a hochzeitslader. Can I volunteer?