Profile | 1000s of Expats Have Said “I do” in Front of Officiant Franziska Waldmann

Head of the Standesamt Landstraße, the woman who has overseen countless international weddings never tires of love stories

Franziska Waldmann, Head of the Standesamt Wien Landstraße

Couples who get married here have come to celebrate their love  – this overwhelming feeling that they have for each other.

In the 15 years Franziska Waldmann, 35, has worked as a magistrate, she has never seen a bride and groom get cold feet, a fact that she’s very happy about and proud to report. Her practical side realizes that it simply makes sense logistically. “If they show up, then they’ve already said ‘yes’,” she pointed out.

She is also quick to debunk a lot of other myths and clichés regarding weddings. In a civil ceremony, there is a point where those present are asked if anyone objects to the marriage. “That only happens in the movies,” she said. The ring and traditional kiss are also not required by law.

But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t always a part of the proceedings. And it also doesn’t mean that Waldmann doesn’t understand why the couples are actually standing there in front of her. And even after all these years, she feels moved every time.

“They want to communicate this feeling to their loved ones present and the ring and kiss still act as very important symbols for almost every couple.”

So for Waldmann, celebration is part of the day-to-day routine. Her office is located right next to the official chamber, and three weddings came and went within the course of our 45-minute interview, complete with cheers and applause. But even though she has married 1000s of couples over the years, she never tires of it.

“You can’t imagine how different each and every love story is,” she said.  She meets for a consultation with couples who have “dream weddings” in special locations, to review the paperwork and discuss the details of the ceremony. “I especially enjoy the point when the couple recall the moment of the proposal, when they think back to the beginning of their relationship.” She has a wonderful smile.

But being a Standesbeamter requires a certain balance. There are birth and death registries, as well, which require contact with a whole range of emotionally charged people.

“Nobody comes here without good reason. In the end, this is a job, and you shouldn’t take too much home with you”

Married 10 years herself, Waldmann does however enjoy working on the occasional wedding speech at home, just for the pleasure of recalling some similar, special moments of her own.

Janima Nam
Janima Nam is a freelance journalist, translator, and editor living in Vienna. She has a BFA in film from New York University and a Masters degree (MA) from the London Consortium in Interdisciplinary Studies.

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