7 German Wedding traditions you didn’t know about


From smashing plates to sawing wood the Germans are certainly not short on quirky wedding traditions.  So we’ve put a list of the weird and the wonderful traditions that you’re bound to see at any authentically German wedding.

1. Polterabend

Whilst the Greek love of smashing porcelain is well known. The Germans too share this fondness for destruction. Literally meaning “eve of making a racket” this is usually celebrated the night before a wedding and involves friends and family coming together to smash a bunch of porcelain for good luck.

Once all the dish-smashing has reached its conclusion the bride and groom are given the enviable honour of cleaning up the mess, as a symbol of how they will need to work together for the rest of their lives.

2. Sawing the tree trunk

The Germans are rather fond of playing games at weddings, a particular favourite is Baumstamm sägen – sawing a tree trunk. Whilst in Australia we may consider the act of severing wood to be the exclusive domain of strapping young men at the Easter show, in Germany brides are often expected to don a pair of gloves and start sawing away at a log of wood with their grooms shortly after their ceremony.

sawing tree trunk wedding

Image via MulticulturalWed.com

This practice is designed to illustrate their strength as a couple and their ability to work together to overcome challenges – cute!

3. Junggesellenabschied

Hens and bucks parties aren’t quite as popular in Germany as they may be in Australia, the US or the UK but when Germans do partake in the practice they call it Junggesellenabschied. This literally means ‘bachelors farewell’. As the respective bride or groom goes along their merry party-hopping way, they are required to sell things like shots and condoms carried on a little tray to strangers in the street.

4. The Veil Dance

Whilst some may consider it an act of sacrilege to destroy a piece of the brides outfit, Schleiertanz – the veil dance – involves just that. It all starts when the  brides veil is taken and she and her husband are made to dance under it. Once the music has stopped, single women then try to rip off pieces of it.

veil dance

Image via imagecontentful.com

Whoever collects the largest piece is said to be the next to marry. A variation of this tradition is having guests throw money on the veil. We prefer this version, and so would brides who are particularly fond of their veils.

5. Invitations

The German practice of personalized invites puts our meager written invitations to shame. For their wedding invitations the Germans employ the services of a personal inviter. Adorned with ribbons and flowers the official inviter goes door to door to extend a personal rhyming invitation to the guests.

6. Kidnapping the bride

Traditionally a bride is kidnapped by the groomsmen at some point during the reception who then drags her from bar to bar until the groom finds them. Once the groom has managed to locate his bride he is then expected to pay the cheeky kidnappers bill, as well as a round of drinks for everyone in the bar.

7. Throwing rice

Like many European cultures, Germans traditionally throw rice on the newlywed couple.

rice throwing

Image via A Greek Wedding at the Shangri-La Grand Ballroom

However the Germans believe that the amount of rice that sticks to the bride is symbolic of how many children the couple will have.

Main image via A Boho Chic Wedding in Germany

Posted in Culture by wedded wonderland


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