Wedding in Germany
from Ulrike Gahn
the wedding day, the bride enters the
church in a long, usually white dress,
carrying her flower bouquet.
Gahn from Germany
over the world people get married and depending on
their cultural background, religious beliefs and
family customs, they perform diversemore or
less colorful, sometimes exoticceremonies.
I'd like to give you an idea about the way couples
start their married life in Germany.
the number of single households continuously
increases, people still get married. Remarkably
enough, education levels determine the time of
their marriage: the higher the education, the older
couples are when they enter into matrimony. In
former times, year-long engagements were required.
Nowadays short engagements are common and most
couples skip engagement at all.
is an entertaining custom to "punish" men and women
who reach the age of thirty and still aren't
married. Accompanied by their friends, those
"offenders" are taken to the city hall where the
men have to sweep clean the stairs and the women
have to clean the shoe-polish-covered door handles
of the building. Only if a "virgin" from the
opposite gender gives them a kiss are they allowed
to stop their cleaning activities.
contrast to the U.S. where you can get married in
hours, in Germany you have to give a six-week
notice of your intended marriage to the city. After
that, the civil wedding may take place in the city
hall, usually only with a few people such as two
witnesses and the parents attending. Nevertheless,
sometimes friends gather in front of the city hall
from Ulrike Gahn
church, the bride and groom either get
into a car whose flower-decorated hood
shows everybody that there is a just
married couple inside or they take a coach
with horses to take a ride to the
days before the wedding, friends and relatives
bring old porcelain and kitchenware to throw on the
ground in front of bride and groom. This is
supposed to grant them a happy, lucky life; that's
why this evening event is called
Polterabend--the evening with lots of broken
porcelain. The German proverb--"Scherben bringen
Glück"which can be translated as "Broken
crockery brings you luck." is derived from this
custom. The Polterabend often develops into
an informal and casual party.
couples decide to have a church wedding in addition
to thatand most do, the civil wedding is
scheduled one week or one day before the ceremony
and groom put a lot of effort to plan and prepare
the ceremony and the following celebration. At
least six months ahead, a room in a restaurant or
hotel is reserved, the band is ordered and paper
and design of the invitation cards are chosen. The
menu has to be considered, and they meet with the
priest to talk about the mass: songs, readings, and
the ceremony itself are determined. My husband and
I prepared a small booklet which was given as a
handout to every guest in church to provide them
with all the songs and the outline of the
the wedding day, the bride enters the church in a
long, usually white dress, carrying her flower
bouquet. Escorted by her father, she makes her way
to the groom, who is waiting for her in his dark
elegant suit with neck or bow tie in front of the
altar. We gave our promise without any assistance
from the minister, and it turned out to be the most
touching moment of our life.
church, bride and groom either get into a car whose
flower decorated hood shows everybody that there is
a just married couple inside or they take a coach
with horses to take a ride to the restaurant.
Accompanied by their horn-honking guests in their
white ribbon-equipped cars, they make their way.
Depending on the time schedule, the party may have
coffee and cakes or directly starts dinner. Some
couples now take the chance to have some wedding
dinner, everybody who wants to, at least the two
fathers, make a speech to praise the new husband
and wife. After that, bride and groom open the
dance with a waltz, parents and witnesses join
them. With the next song, all guests are invited to
perform their ballroom dancing skills.
Occasionally, dancing is interrupted by some
friends or relatives who present little stakes to
entertain the party. It is very popular to ask the
couple to take part in those games.
in America, bride and groom leave the party after
dinner to start their honeymoon immediately, in
Germany they stay and celebrate until the last
guest goes home. Consequently, this a very
exhausting and long day (and night) for the new
couplemy husband and I closed the party room
at five a.m.!
lot of just married couples head for their one to
two week honeymoon on the next day and enjoy
themselves on the beach recollecting the memories
of their wonderful wedding.
from Around the
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Sandy and Thomas