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Wedding Traditions

German Wedding Customs

Some German wedding customs are similar to those in the United States, such as the vehicle procession following the wedding where vehicles honk their horns to wish the couple a happy future. Other traditions are unique to German culture. In Germany, the bride and groom preparing for marriage are in for a real treat because their nuptials will be lasting not one, but three days!
Thursday kicks off the nuptials when the couple gathers with friends and family for the civil ceremony. On friday, the real fun begins as the couple is visited for the "Polterabend", or wedding-eve party, by friends and neighbors. The celebration entails the smashing of plates and other breakables as a sign of good luck. It is believed that by doing so, the bride and groom will abstain from breaking any household after they are married. It is noted that the bride and groom must also clean up the mess.
Saturday's entertainment includes the actual religious wedding ceremony, wherein the couple is actually united in marriage. However, before the bride and groom may leave the celebration, the guests hold them hostage. The payment to be released is a promise by the groom of a party or money. Other customs include making chaos for the bride and groom on their first night as a married couple. Friends play the wedding ceremony joke of taking apart the couple's bed. Log sawing is also a custom in some German villages to test the new marriage relationship. After the wedding, a log is positioned between two sawhorses. The bride and groom together must saw the log. Supposedly, this is an indication of how the couple will handle joint chores throughout their married lives. Also, interestedly enough, Germans wear their matching wedding bands on their right hands. As with any country, Germany has its share of interesting marriage rituals.




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