Friday, July 3, 2009

German Wedding Traditions

There are a lot of wedding traditions that I saw in Germany that were a first for me. One such tradition, I asked about while getting ready that morning.

Me: "So, do the bride and groom see each other before the wedding?"

Katrin: "Yes, when the bride's car pulls up, the groom meets her at the door and helps her out of the car."

Me"Oh, okay. So, I'll have my camera ready"

So we get to the church, I jump out of the car (since I rode with the bride), I get my camera ready, I look around for the groom to come help the bride out of the car... no groom. A bunch of guests, but no groom anywhere. Uh oh! The bride gets out of the car on her own, and ten seconds later the groom shows up, much relieved from his recent restroom visit. Hmmm! Is that how it's supposed to work?!?

Some traditions were the same as here in the states, like having a cute flower girl lead you down the aisle.There really is no wedding party in ugly bridesmaid dresses. There are just two witnesses who sign that they witnessed the ceremony. During the ceremony, the bride and groom sat down with their backs to the crowd, which I found to be a little odd.

They do exchange rings.

And a first kiss as a married couple.

After the wedding, much of the traditions that are the same, end. Now it got a little crazy for me because everything was different. Here, the bride and groom cut a heart out of a sheet, and then the groom is supposed to carry the bride through the opening in the sheet.

Which he did.

Then, they celebrate by having champagne outside. It's not everyday you can drink publicly on the sidewalks, but hey, I'm just an observer. By the way, in case you were wondering, the bride's mother and father are on the right.

Then, ALL the guests go with the bride and groom and photographer for their photo session. That was really nice at first, to see them in all of their shots, but after about an hour of following them around, it got a little monotonous. I realized the many reasons that we do NOT do this in the states.

Here the bride and groom are sending up a "wishing balloon". They light a fire underneath to fill the balloon with hot air, then they make a wish it send it to the heavens. Cute, I like this one.

Oh yeah, be sure your flower girl attempts to get in every picture, because she is so adorable.

Before the reception, the bride and groom had to saw through a log together. I didn't get a picture because I was holding a sleeping flower girl on my shoulder. But you know what sawing a log entails, right? At least the country folk know, like if you're from Beloit. Oh, and my dad knows how to saw logs too. Both the literal and inferential phrase.

The bride and groom did cut the wedding cake together. Whoever's hand is on top is supposed to signal who will be the stronger force in the marriage. Do we do this? I wonder who's hand was on top at my wedding?!? I mean, it was obviously mine, right?!? They did not serve cake to each other, much to my dismay. I was ready with the camera for a good-old German cake-smashing, but no such event took place.

The guests bring china or porcelin to smash at the reception. It's supposed to symbolize that marriages have highs and lows. The breaking is supposed to symbolize the lows. The bride and groom have to clean up the broken glass. This symbolizes working together through the low points. That, and more importantly, getting your deposit back on your reception hall.

This cloth had a huge heart on it. All of the wedding guests were supposed to write a message inside the heart. Then the bride and groom cut it out and the groom carried the bride through, as I mentioned before. They save the heart and hang it somewhere in their house.

At this wedding, the father of the bride even made a huge, heart-shaped cake for his daughter and new son-in-law. This one was covered with strawberries and had sparklers on it when they first brought it out! Nice touch!

So, the traditions are many, and hopefully so are the happy years of marriage for my friend Katrin and her new husband Tom.

Congratulations from the States!



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