Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on November 26, 2011
The Real von Trapp Wedding ~ On November 27th, 1929, Captain Georg Ritter von Trapp and Maria Augusta Kutschera were wed in the church of Nonnberg Abbey with all seven children present.
In our childhood memories we can probably all recall the nuns singing “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?” as Maria strode down the aisle wearing her elegant silk wedding dress in”The Sound of Music“. It is perhaps one of the most recognized and well-loved scenes in motion picture history, and continues to delight audiences around the world.
But in typical Hollywood style, the screen version of the von Trapp wedding was altered from the original event, especially since no bride would want such a negative song sung about her on her wedding day! While the movie depicts the von Trapps’ wedding occuring just before the Anschluss (“In the last golden days of the thirties”), Georg and Maria were really married ten years before the film portrayed. During the time between their wedding and when the events told in “The Sound of Music” occurred, Maria gave birth to two children and became pregnant with a third. By the time the “Sound of Music” story begins, the von Trapps had actually lost most of their wealth when the Austrian bank failed.
But back to their wedding! I must admit that Maria’s von Trapp’s wedding dress was not even remotely as beautiful as the on-screen Sound of Music wedding dress. Nevertheless, Maria wore a wreath of flowers in her hair as portrayed in the film, with a somewhat-shorter veil which was very similar to the movie version (The film veil was reportedly fourteen feet long and took half a day for “Maria” to learn to walk with.)
While the “Sound of Music” production team chose beautiful Mondsee Cathedral for the wedding location, Georg and Maria were really wed in Nonnberg Abbey itself. Maria vividly recalled the joyful day, “Ten days before the wedding I entered the convent to prepare for marriage, which is a great sacrament indeed. When the day arrived I greeted it with joy. The postulates whom I had shared a room with months before helped me dress in my bridal veil, and for the last time the gate of Nonnberg closed behind me. Through swimming eyes I saw a packed church, and oh! here were the children coming to lead me down the aisle. Loudly and solemnly we promised to take each other ‘for better or worse’.”
After their marriage Captain von Trapp and Maria settled into family life in the twenty-two room Von Trapp Villa, where they welcomed two daughters in the upcoming years.
The next von Trapp family wedding to be celebrated took place in America. By this time the von Trapps had moved to the United States, and their oldest son Rupert (more or less replaced by “Liesl” in the Broadway musical), had become engaged to an American girl who also came from a family of seven children. Due to unfortunate circumstances, neither of the von Trapp parents were in attendance at this wedding – Georg had recently passed away, and Maria was hospitalized with an illness. After their marriage in 1947, Henriette went on to give birth to six children of their own. Rupert worked as a medical doctor in Rhode Island until his retirement in the 1990s.
Only one year after Rupert von Trapp’s wedding, Werner von Trapp (known as “Kurt” to Sound of Music fans) took an Austrian bride who had been a life-long friend of his sister Martina (“Gretl”). His new wife, Erika Klambauer, moved from Salzburg to Vermont to accomodate the von Trapps’ concert tours in which Werner played a vital role. When at last the Trapp Family Singers retired to private life, Werner farmed in the Waitsfield, Vermont area where he and Erika raised six children.
That same year, in 1948, Joanna von Trapp made history as the first von Trapp daughter to marry, as well as the only one to elope. Her stepmother (Maria) was concerned that the loss of Joanna’s voice would hinder the family’s singing group and thus positively forbid her twenty-seven year old daughter to marry at all. But since her fiancee’ was a long-time family friend and an Army buddy of her brothers, Joanna decided to marry Ernst Winter and move to Vienna where she was able to have a family of her own. Due to the unfortunate circumstances surrounding her marriage, we have no wedding photographs at all that remain. However, all sources seem to say that Ernst and Joanna had a wonderful life together, and thorougly enjoyed family living with their seven children who they raised in Austria.
In 1949, Martina von Trapp (the youngest of the original seven Trapp children) was married to the Canadian Jean Dupire on the Von Trapp property in Stowe, Vermont. It is curious to note that just one year after Joanna’s marriage Martina was allowed to marry and therefore leave the singing group, but I think that there may be an explanation for Maria’s apparent change of heart. Firstly, Joanna had wished to move to Austria where her then-future husband was located, which would have taken away any hope of her career with the Trapp Family Singers. Secondly, Maria had instantly developed a liking for Jean, and in her biography had written, “These were just the type of boys I had always wanted my girls to marry!”
At any rate, Martina and Ernst had a happy marriage which came to a devastating end when she passed away during the birth of their first child. The baby girl also passed away at the time of the delivery and was named “Notburga” before being laid to rest with her mother.
The next von Trapp child to marry was Eleanore, the charming, vivacious daughter of Georg and Maria who was the only von Trapp girl to marry an American, and the first of Maria’s children to marry. Eleanore was a radiant bride, and she and her husband Hugh Campbell settled down only minutes from the family property in Stowe, Vermont. Like her other married siblings, Eleanore was fond of large families and gave birth to seven daughters!
The last von Trapp child to marry was Johannes von Trapp in 1969. He was the youngest of the Captain and Maria’s offspring, and after his marriage he continued to live on the Trapp property where he eventually took over the family hotel business. Johannes and his wife Lynn Peterson had met when she came to work at the Trapp Family Lodge. Today they have two children, both of whom are married and live within walking distance of their home.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this study of the von Trapp Family weddings, and would highly recommend a visit to the Trapp Family Lodge for any fan of the Sound of Music story.