The Germans aren’t thought of as a fun, humorous culture, but they have a couple of amusing wedding customs.
At the wedding ceremony, when the couple kneels, the groom may put his knee on the bride’s hem as a way of showing that he plans to keep his new bride in line.
The bride, however, may respond by stepping on his foot as she rises as a way of reasserting her independence.
Unlike American marriage ceremonies, German weddings don’t include a Best Man or Maid of Honor.
Many German couples have two ceremonies; one will be an official government ceremony officiated over by a state representative called a Standesbeamter.
The official ceremony usually requires two witnesses who are generally close relatives or friends of the happy couple.
After this ceremony, the couple is considered married.
Couples with strong religious beliefs, or those who just like to follow tradition, will have a second ceremony officiated over by a priest.
Interestingly, sometimes the couple’s friends will set up some tasks for them to perform as a symbol of the way they will work together and overcome difficulties.
For example, a couple might get a long saw with handles on either end and they have to saw through a section of a tree-trunk.
A couple’s friends might also form an honor guard for them by holding items of significance over their heads.
If a couple likes scuba diving, their friends might hold swim fins up in the air.
German couples don’t have either a Bachelor Party or a Bridal Shower.
Instead, there is a celebration called the Polterabend, which is usually staged on the night before the wedding.
The wedding guests will bring old dishes to the couple’s home and smash them in front of the house.
The Germans believe that broken dishes will bring the new couple luck.
The more pieces the dishes smash into, the more luck they’ll have.
After this, the bride and groom-to-be have to come out and sweep up all of the pieces.
Sometimes impish guests will tip over the garbage can containing all these crockery fragments so that the bride and groom-to-be have to come out and sweep up all over again.
Sounds annoying, but it’s all in good fun.
Guests are not invited to a traditional German wedding, but just show up if they want to.
However, these days, most German couples do the expected thing and invite their friends, family and loved ones to attend their wedding ceremony.