How to Incorporate German Traditions in a Wedding Ceremony

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Weddings are a normal time for a couple to celebrate their family heritages. If one or both of you are of German descent, you can incorporate some German traditions into your wedding ceremony. Here are some you might want to consider that are popular with German brides and grooms even today.

Things You'll Need

  • Lots of inexpensive china
  • Computer with desktop publishing capabilities
  • Printer
  • Car
  • Flowers to decorate the car hood
  • Short lengths of white ribbon to tie to radio antennas
  • Paper to print a "newspaper"
  • A bar close to the reception site
  • Money for the bar bill
  • Small piece of bread
  • A little bit of salt
  • A little bit of grain
  • Fir boughs
  • Large log to saw in half
  • Sawhorses to hold the log steady
  • Two-handled saw
  • Liven up the traditional rehearsal dinner by throwing cheap china. This tradition, called a Polterabend, supposedly grants the bride good luck with each shattered piece of pottery. The bride and groom sweep up the shards to ensure that nothing ever gets broken in their house ever again.

  • Consider creating a "wedding newspaper" for the couple. Usually it is filled with pictures of the bride and groom, stories about them told by their friends and family and the tale of how they met.

  • Involve your cars in the celebration. In Germany, the hood of the car carrying the couple is bedecked with flowers before the ceremony. The bride also carries small lengths of white ribbon with her down the aisle. She passes them out to the guests after the ceremony so they can tie them to their car antennas. They join the procession from the wedding to the reception site, honking all the way.

  • Have the groom kneel on the bride's dress during the wedding mass to let everyone know that "he's the boss." Of course, the bride usually steps lightly on the groom's shoe once they stand up to declare that was just wishful thinking on the groom's part.

  • Kidnap the bride. It is traditional for the best man to spirit her away to a local bar where they drink champagne until the groom finds them. The groom then has to pay the bar tab for the bride, best man and the rest of the people drinking with them.

  • Use symbols of good luck during the ceremony. Traditionally the bride carries bread and salt to ensure good harvests, while the groom carries grain for good fortune. Walking on fir boughs from the church to the bridal car is said to bring the couple hope, luck and fertility.

  • Saw a log right after the ceremony. Bavarian couples cut a large log in half to symbolize that they can get through tough problems by working together.

Tips & Warnings

  • Sometimes the wedding newspaper is sold to the guests instead of given away. The proceeds from the sale are used to pay for the honeymoon or other expenses of the bride and groom.
  • If you decide to kidnap the bride, you may want to make it easy for the groom to find where she is. Otherwise the bar tab could get pretty expensive, and the drinkers could get inebriated.

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