Although I am German, grew up in Germany and spent half my life there, I guess I don’t really think of Germany as my “home” anymore. I am not sure I even feel “German” still.
Whatever that means.
For the past 10 years I have been a foreigner, Auslaender or gai-jin in many countries. I just got used to that, I guess.
I was extremely happy, when I got invited to the wedding of my best friend from school. Although we were close friends throughout school and stayed in touch for many years after, we kind of lost touch for a while. We just recently started talking regularly again.
I hadn’t been to Germany or seen her in over two years before attending her wedding.
It was great seeing old friends and my first German wedding. Maybe it was the jokes my friends made (“you sure you still speak German?”). Or just the fact that it was quite a traditional and country-esque wedding but I felt a bit “disconnected”. Which I don’t mean in a bad way. It was just a very different experience- one that I really enjoyed.
The Black Forest
The wedding was in a small village located in the black forest area which is a beautiful place in Germany. Very close to Kuessaberg which is most famous for its old castle (or rather its ruins) and right next to the Wutachschlucht, a narrow valley that’s great for hiking.
I didn’t, have much time to explore and take photos but I am planning to go there again soon to write about the area in more detail!
A German wedding ceremony
The wedding ceremony was very tradition. The church they chose looked simple from the outside, but was really pretty inside..
It was touching seeing my friend of 15 years walk down the aisle. There was a lot of singing and of course- the “Musikverein” was performing.
Germany’s musical societies
Most cities in Germany (at least where I lived) have their own “musical society” (Musikverein). Even in the smallest of towns or villages, societies are an important part of the community. When I went to school, a lot of my friends were- and still are- in the musical societies, sports or gymnastic clubs of their respective towns. These societies have training sessions at least once a week. They also participate in tournaments or perform at public events regularly.
Interesting fact: The German word for “society”- “Verein” means literally “to combine”, “unite”, or “come together”.
My friend’s husband is part of the musical society of the village that they live in, so it wasn’t surprising that the whole music band came to perform at the wedding.
Another example on how closely knit small communities in Germany can be: The whole fire brigade of the town showed up- complete with fire truck. All of the guests got the chance to go up their aerial ladder and enjoy the view from up there.
There was a small reception next to the church in the “practice house of the Musikverein” after the ceremony. There was no tradition wedding cake. Instead, there were baked goods- sweet and savory- and of course coffee, German beer and champagne.
After some snacking and talking, everyone got balloons with postcards attached to them. We we were all asked to write our well-wishes on them and once the wind was right we let them fly. All the postcards were already stamped and had the address of the bridal pair on them so when found, they are easily send back to the pair.
German wedding traditions, what are they like?
A lot of other well-known German wedding traditions include:
- Cutting a tree trunk in half. This proves the couple is “strong” enough to overcome the first real challenge as a married couple.
- Kidnapping the bride. The friend of the bride will “kidnap” the her and take her from pub to pub until her husband finds her.
- Honking the horns. Everyone drives to the wedding venue in their (decorated) cars while honking the horns the whole way there.
One of the most fun German wedding traditions is probably the “Polterabend“. A few days before the wedding, the bride and groom invite friends and family over to smash anything they can find. Crockery, an old sink or even stoneware. The more things break the better. The shards and broken pieces are supposed to bring the bridal pair good luck.
The actual wedding venue, was at the fire station. There we enjoyed a buffet of traditional German food. From Spaetzle to Flaedle Soup (pancake soup) to an amazing potato gratin, they had all my favorite German dishes which I already dearly miss.
I left quite early as I had a flight to catch the next day but I imagine the partying went on for quite a while after the food.
It was definitely a great experience and I am grateful I got to go. I am not sure how many more German weddings I will be able to attend in the future, but I hope they are all going to be as much fun as this one (: