If you ever happen to find yourself invited to a German party, remember to turn up at least half an hour before the time on the invite.
It doesn’t matter what kind of event it is. Birthday, Barbecue, Leaving do.
In the last couple of weeks, I have been late to 3 different “occasions” despite actually being on time or early according to the invite.
Exhibit A – a prime example of what not to do (as demonstrated by yours truly):
A colleague’s leaving do: Invite said 12:30, I duely arrived at 12:29. Okay, I was cutting it fine, but I figured it was being held in a large hall so I could sneak in at the back if necessary and noone would notice. I though it was odd that there were people coming down the main stairs as I was going up, but I ignored them and carried on. When I reached the top, it became apparent that it was all over. The speeches were spoken, the colleague had been handed his certificates and bouquet and everyone was already halfway through their champagne.
Exhibit B – how to do it properly (German style):
A birthday party: DB wanted to give the birthday guest his present without everyone else looking, so he demanded we go early. I said he was crazy, but it was mostly his invite, so I tagged along on his terms. Leaving on his terms meant arriving over half an hour before the invite said we were invited. That turned out to be the opportune moment because we’d barely got through the “hellos and thankyous” before the next couple arrived – ca. 25 minutes early. The next guest weren’t far behind, and the last couple (who arrived one or 2 minutes “late”) practically had to fight for seats…
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.