Marriage Traditions in Germany
As with most things German, the people of this country hold dear their traditions and customs for wedding ceremonies and marriages. While many things are similar to the traditions to those in the United States, there are some notable differences.
While the bride and groom do exchange wedding rings, the couple will wear their rings on their right hands, rather than the left. Additionally, the bride and grooms wedding bands are identical or matching, and there are usually no diamonds.
The ‘Polterabend’ is the tradition of breaking dishes in order to bring the happy couple good luck. This tradition also requires that the bride and groom then clean up the mess afterwards! Log-sawing is another tradition that is seen at German weddings. After the actual wedding ceremony, the bride and groom are tasked with cutting a log – a symbol of their first task to accomplish as a new couple. Another rumored tradition in Germany is the ‘kidnapping’ of the bride. Friends of the bride ‘kidnap’ her and the groom is tasked with finding her.
It is not legal in Germany to have only a church wedding. A couple must go to a registrar ‘Standesamt.’ This is the official ‘ceremony’ required for a marriage. Unlike in a wedding in the United States, it is not customary for brides and grooms to have wedding attendants (or a wedding party) with bridesmaids and groomsmen.
The ‘Brautbecher’ is a tradition that requires the bride and groom to drink wine or champagne out of a special cup at the same time. The cup is a ‘maiden’ holding a cup in her hand above her head. The bride and groom drink at the same time. Custom holds that the person who finishes the drink first will ‘rule the roost’ in the household. (Since the brides cup is usually smaller, she is usually declared the winner of the test).