Okay, but just so I'm 100% clear - having a minister or justice of the peace say some words/perform a ceremony would be "die Hochzeit" and the time spent together afterward (what with buying a house, having children, growing old together, etc) would be "die Ehe"?
Und danke. :)
Yes, the ceremony and the party afterward is "die Hochzeit". You could even split that in two:
the ceremony: die Trauung
the party: die Hochzeitsfeier
But you can just put them together and say "die Hochzeit".
The time spent together from ceremony to death (or divorce) is "die Ehe".
Und: gern geschehen. :-)