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German '70s band inspires 'Kraftwerk' wedding in Seminole Heights

SEMINOLE HEIGHTS — On the first floor of Ella's Americana Folk Café, customers filled the tables and booths, grabbed the last stools at the bar and ate under trees strung with lights on the patio.

It looked like any other Wednesday at the Seminole Heights restaurant.

Upstairs, a Tampa couple was about to pledge their love to one another, surrounded by guests dressed in red button up shirts and black ties.

Trading in a traditional white dress and tuxedo, the bride and groom matched their guests, but took it one step further, donning slick, short black, product filled hair and red lipstick.

Jan. 4 wasn't like any other Wednesday at the popular eatery.

It was dedicated to one quirky couple and their love of a '70s German electronic band.

It was a Kraftwerk-themed wedding kind of Wednesday.

"It's important that we chose Wednesday to get married," David Kraftwerk, 49, groom, said. "Ella's has Wax Wednesdays where DJs come and play vinyl and that's what Jennifer and I have been doing."

This Wax Wednesday, the DJ who stood behind the booth was there to introduce the couple.

DJ, Q-Burn's Abstract Message played an electronic version of Here Comes the Bride vibrated through the speakers, filling the restaurant, as the bride, Jennifer Kraftwerk, 43, walked up the stairs to join David behind Kraftwerk decorated podiums and a red backdrop.

Recreating the album cover of the group's The Man Machine album, the duo stood still, arms locked to their sides with stiff fingers fully extended vertically.

David held the pose with ease, while Jennifer couldn't help but break into a giggle along with the guests.

It was because of a dare David executed at the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles that the couple dedicated their big day to Kraftwerk.

"Six months ago, having recently moved back to Tampa from Austin, Texas, my fiancée and I had to get Florida driver's licenses," Kraftwerk said. "I challenged her to make her DMV visit awesome and she did, going as a platinum-haired '50s starlet. The gauntlet thrown down, I went as Kraftwerk then spent the rest of the day in that character doing very mundane things while she took photos.

"I scanned and Photoshopped my name on the license to read Kraftwerk, blurred out the details that might lead to identity theft and posted all of it on Flickr. Right around the time I'd forgotten posting those photos, Dangerous Minds ran the story "Florida Man Changes Name To Kraftwerk" and I awoke that morning to my Facebook and social media accounts blowing up."

That was how David got his 15 minutes of meme fame.

"Seeing Kraftwerk put gas in the car and doing mundane things, you'll never see that, which made it even funnier," said Jennifer, a WIFI engineer. "They (the band) never did interviews or met people."

David's obsession with Kraftwerk started when he heard the song Autobahn at the age of 11.

"It polarized me as a child," David said. "I grew up for the most part in Winter Haven, this sleepy town surrounded by orange groves and I was the nerd with piles of science fiction.

"My friends listened to Merle Haggard or Kiss and Van Halen and none of those things spoke to me. Then I heard Kraftwerk."

Though David says he received a lot of eye rolls when he announced a Kraftwerk wedding, friends of the bride and groom all agreed this style wedding was representative of the couple who originally met 25 years ago in Orlando.

"She was wearing The Smith's shirt with Morrissey on it. She stuck a safety pin through his nose and I thought it was the funniest thing I'd ever seen," David said. "Now I've learned she has opinions about vacuum tubes and turntables. It's awesome."

They remained friends but romantically reconnected three years ago. Now, the musically connected couple spends their time just being happy, as reflected by the DMV dare, the Kraftwerk wedding and legally changing their last name to Kraftwerk.

"They've always done their own thing, no matter what other people think," said Sam Clements, friend of the bride for 10 years.

The guests watched as Keith Ulrey, owner of Seminole Heights Microgroove store, officiated the night.

"They were frequent visitors of my record store and found out from a friend of Ella's that I was ordained and came in and asked me if I would officiate," Ulrey said.

The end of Wax Wednesday was drawing near as Ulrey pronounced the newly-named couple as The Man Machine and the Woman Machine.

Contact Arielle Waldman at awaldman@tampabay.com.

German '70s band inspires 'Kraftwerk' wedding in Seminole Heights 01/06/17 [Last modified: Monday, January 9, 2017 11:52am]
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