Would you like to know, what are the most famous or bizarre German wedding traditions? You have found the right place:
1) Cutting a log
As one of the most common German marriage traditions, this gesture serves as the first obstacle that a bridal couple must face during their married lives together. Most husbands and wives cut the log with a large saw that has two handles. They’ll typically choose an old dry piece of wood so it’s easier to cut and won’t take up too much time during their traditional German wedding reception.
This is a traditional 10-foot-long cake that is carried into the reception by a dozen or so wedding guests. During this ritual, the guests who are carrying the cake may pretend that it is too big to enter the room. Sometimes they will have planned a little skit where they dance around with the cake while drinking beer until finally, they succeed in getting the very large cake in the room!
3) Polter night
The customs associated with Polter night (Polterabend) probably stem from pre-Christian times. The day before the wedding, stoneware, and porcelain — never glassware — is violently smashed by friends and family in order to chase away evil spirits. The shards are traditionally swept up by the betrothed. In North Germany, Polter night ends with the burning of the groom's trousers or the bride's bra at midnight, to symbolize the end of bachelorhood. The ashes are buried next to a bottle of schnapps, which is to be dug out for a communal round of drinking a year later.
4) Hiding a penny
One of the simplest German wedding traditions involves hiding a penny in bridal shoes, known as the “Brautschuh,” on the day of her marriage ceremony. This practice is thought to bring prosperity to her future union. Some brides choose to tape the penny to the outside of their wedding shoes to avoid the uncomfortable feeling of having a coin against their heels.
5) Drinking from the bridal chalice
According to a German legend that dates back to the 15th century, a goldsmith crafted a bridal chalice as a way to prove his love to a nobleman’s daughter. This pewter drinkware allows two people to sip together without spilling a drop, becoming a popular unity tradition among German brides and grooms.
6) Sleeping apart
It is said to bring bad luck if the betrothed sleeps in the same bed the night before the wedding: one of them traditionally stays with their parents.
7) Decorating with cornflower
When making the final decision for the floral arrangements of your German wedding celebration, consider including the country’s national flower. Also known as the bachelor’s button, cornflowers gained popularity before German unification and became favorites of Prussian royalty. These beautiful flowers are now known for their blue-violet colors and have become stunning decorations during countless German weddings.
8) Serving local food
When creating the menu for your wedding reception, or “Hochzeitsempfang” in the German language, don’t forget to include local dishes. According to German wedding traditions, these meals tend to be sit-down dinners instead of buffets. Keep this in mind before finalizing any of your food choices. For example, the first course for a traditional German wedding is known as “Hochzeitssuppe.” This soup is usually cooked with chicken broth and meat, egg custard garnish, asparagus tips, small meatballs, and thin glass noodles.
9) Bachelorette party
In Germany, though, friends take the bridal couple out separately to the city center or travel to a party city to misbehave. Some groups will dress up with matching outfits, and the person getting married will have a funnier outfit. The point of the night is to get drunk and for the person who will get married to perform funny, ridiculous, and challenging tasks throughout the night.
10) Wedding candle
Traditionally, the wedding candle is either a gift from the bride’s godmother or mother. Lightning the candle forms part of the church ceremony, where the couple lights it up together. The couple keeps the candle and lights it on special occasions, for example, for their first wedding anniversary or after a fight as a sign of reconciliation.
11) Honking cars
After leaving the ceremony, the guests receive a white ribbon to put on their cars to recognize them as part of the wedding group. During the drive to the party location, the guests will be honking until they arrive to announce to everyone on the streets that there is a recently married couple.
12) Bridal kidnapping
Some of the groom’s friends ‘kidnap’ the bride on the wedding day. They take the bride to a pub. When the groom realizes that the bride is missing, he must go out to find her. Once the groom finds the bride, he needs to perform a funny task and sometimes even pay the bill at the bar to get the bride back.
13) Wedding pranks
One of the most popular German wedding traditions is for friends to play a lot of pranks on the bridal couple during their wedding day. The pranks range from hiding the house key to setting an obstacle course in the couple’s house and bedroom. The jokes depend on the creativity of the bridal couple’s friends.
14) Wedding cake with marzipan
It used to be important for wedding cakes to have marzipan in them. Some still hold this tradition, as they believe almonds bring luck in love.
15) Carrying the bride over the threshold
This tradition is also popular in Germany and all around the world. Traditionally, the bride is not supposed to touch the threshold of her new home. So the groom needs to carry her over it.
16) Wedding dress
Following a practice that became popular in the late 19th century, many German brides today opt for a white dress and veil. German grooms typically go for a formal wedding suit in a neutral color, accessorized with a tie, cufflinks, and handkerchief matching the bride's dress. It is absolutely forbidden for the partner to see the wedding dress before the ceremony, as it is said to bring misfortune.
17) Veil dance
Traditionally, the bride is supposed to wear her white bridal veil until midnight, followed by the so-called bridal veil dance. The veil or similar cloth is held up by the female guests above the dancing bridal pair. During the dance, the women try to tear off a piece of fabric. According to the legend, whoever tears off the largest piece will be the next bride.
18) Invitations and eggs
Couples will often go door-to-door to invite all of their wedding guests personally, and when someone comes over for a visit, it’s only polite for the hosts to offer the guests something to eat. But because of the sudden and spontaneous visit, the hosts aren’t usually prepared to cook a full meal for the couple and will often cook them scrambled eggs— or whatever they can find in their kitchen. Now, eggs have become a traditional snack for newly engaged couples when they share their good news with loved ones.
19) Switching fingers
In Germany, the engagement ring is typically a simple gold band that is worn on the left hand ring finger. Once the couple is married, the bride switches the ring to her right hand. So no need to buy two separate rings!
20) Civil ceremony
A civil ceremony at the local Standesamt is required before any religious wedding, and most couples have the civil ceremony a couple of days, or even a few months before the ceremony at a church. More and more German couples, however, are now opting for only a civil ceremony celebrating their closest family and friends.
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