Marrying a German Series: Part 2, “Die Hochzeit”, The Wedding
How culturally knowledgeable are you regarding the traditions and expectations of a German wedding? How many questions can you answer correctly, from below? You don’t have to be German to enjoy this. Hopefully you will find this enjoyable as you think about the various weddings you’ve been to and the different traditions you’ve witnessed.
As you take this quiz, write down your answers so you can grade yourself and
find out how German-at-heart you are.
Disclaimer: I married a Bavarian, Southern German close to Munich, and their specific traditions sometimes vary, to that of Germans in other regions. However, the below, in general, pretty much does stand true to all German wedding traditions.
German Wedding Traditions Questionaire
True or False
1) Germans don’t wear diamond wedding rings?
2) Germans wear their wedding rings on the left finger?
3) Germans spend half what Americans spend on their engagement rings but always get engagement rings?
4) Germans, like Americans, have a short wedding rehearsal at the church the night before the wedding?
5) Germans have a rehearsal dinner?
6) Germans can have up to 5+ bridesmaids and groomsmen but no more than 8?
7) You have to have a civil wedding in a town hall before a church wedding?
8) Groom, and the groomsmen, wear a nice tux?
9) The Bride’s father walks her down the aisle?
After the Church
10) Germans stay in the Church, after the wedding, and take family photos?
11) There is special transportation waiting outside to transport the bride and groom to the reception, after the church wedding?
12) Germans go straight from the church to the reception?
13) Reception takes place after the church wedding?
14) Receptions last about 2-3 hours on average but end before 11pm usually?
15) Germans usually get sloppy drunk from all the liters of beer drinking at the reception?
16) Germans only play American top chart hits at receptions
17) Even the most reserved Germans go funky on the dance floor?
18) Germans have more drinking songs than Americans?
19) Germans love the chicken dance?
20) The Bride usually changes into another dress at some point?
21) You are stuck sitting next to your parents and grandparents at the reception?
22) You dance a Viennese Waltz, which you have hopefully taken lessons for?
23) The first dance is father-daughter dance?
24) At one point, during the reception, the bride is captured and taken away from the party and the husband has to get silly and or drunk to find her?
25) Like the French, Germans also play games at their wedding receptions?
26) Brides toss their bouquet to single ladies?
27) Grooms take off the garter….and toss to single men?
28) Water cost more than beer?
29) Germans will drive home, even after drinking, from a wedding receptions?
30) German throw rice as the couple leaves to go their honeymoon?
The Wedding Cake
31) Germans have a 2-3 tier cake?
32) Bride and Groom cute their wedding cake together?
33) Similar to the tradition in Greece, you usually only give money as a wedding present in Germany?
34) You leave for your honeymoon the night or next day following your reception?
That’s it! See how you did below….
German Wedding Traditions Answers
1) Germans don’t wear diamond wedding rings? True; While Americans do their hugely expensive, bright, heavy blood diamonds, Germans usually do thick, heavy, plain bands, bride and groom matching set, and never diamonds. My German husband surprised everyone, giving me diamonds.
2) Germans wear their wedding rings on the left finger? False; Germans wear their wedding rings on the right hand not the left. While this is changing some in Germany, maybe the influence of America, the majority of Germans still wear their wedding rings on their right hand.
Living here in America, my husband wears his ring on his right hand, I wear my ring on my left hand. Many of my friends, here, have asked how I can be comfortable with my husband wearing his ring on his right hand, especially because he travels so much for work, but I trust my husband and the symbolism of the ring is of faith just as it is faith of trust that I have for my husband. I don’t care how many women hit on my husband; I know he will deflect, if he even notices that he’s being hit on, because I have that great of a man.
3) Germans spend half what Americans spend on their engagement rings but always get engagement rings??? False; Germans usually only have a wedding band but forgo engagement rings.
4) Germans, like Americans, have a short wedding rehearsal at the church the night before the wedding? False; They don’t have a wedding rehearsal and some Germans in our village were talking about our rehearsal, asking if it was really like they had seen in American movies….
5) Germans also have a rehearsal dinner? False; usually they have a dinner following the civil ceremony but not the wedding rehearsal because there is no wedding rehearsal
6) Germans can have up to 5+ bridesmaids and groomsmen but no more than 8? False; Germans do not have bridesmaids and groomsmen. They usually have 1-2 witnesses, not even seen except for signing papers, and that is all.
7) You HAVE TO have a civil wedding in a town hall before a church wedding; meaning you are married before your church wedding via a ceremony? True; You have to have a civil wedding in a town hall before a church wedding
8) Groom, and the groomsmen, wear a nice tux? False; German men don’t usually, if ever, wear a nice tux for a wedding. They usually wear a nice suit and even then the standard of what a nice suit looks like is way different in Germany to American norm/standards.
9) The Bride’s father walks her down the aisle? False; usually the father does not walk the bride down the aisle. Usually the groom walks down the aisle with his bride.
After the Church
10) Germans stay in the Church and take family photos? False; Family photos via a professional photographer are not common; Germans do not stay in the Church and take family photos following the church wedding. As a matter of fact, all our poor unknowingly German guests were outside waiting, for a long time, while we did our American tradition of family and bridesmaid/groomsmen photos. Finally, once outside, all the Germans lined up and came very formally and seriously to wish us congratulations on our marriage and give us their blessings for the future. They do formal congratulations conga lines instead of family portraits which I have to say, I really enjoyed and found dear….
11) There is a special transportation waiting outside to transport the bride and groom to the reception, after the church wedding? True; There is usually some sort of transportation waiting outside to transport the bride and groom to the reception. Same as in America, this can be anything from a special car to a horse drawn carriage.
12) Germans go straight from the church to the reception? False. There is a car procession after the wedding where all the wedding attendees form a car procession and drive through the town, or villages in our case, honking their horns and others honk back wishing the couple good luck. This was fun as I felt quite formal like a queen in our convertible waving to villagers and getting waves back with our many cars following behind us and all the honking.
13) Reception takes place after the church wedding? True; There is a reception which follows the church wedding
14) Receptions last 2-3 hours? False; Receptions can last anywhere from 6 to 12+ hours.
15) Germans usually get sloppy drunk from all the liters of beer drinking at the reception? False; Germans do not get sloppy drunk. At our reception, the English and American attendees had a hard time staying for the whole reception and pacing their drinking via the amount of alcohol served. While Germans are drinking alcohol for 10+ hours, they are good at pacing themselves and not getting drunk
16) Germans only play American top chart hits at receptions? False; Germans usually have a local band playing German music and will usually slide into top charts later in the morning hours with a DJ.
17) Even the most reserved Germans go funky on the dance floor? True; I’ve never seen Germans cut loose as much as they do at a good celebration whether via a wedding reception or festival, when there is good music, food, and a reason to celebrate even the most reserved Germans will go funky on the dance floor, sing, laugh and dance more. After observing the German attendees at my wedding reception, I never again questioned if Germans were able to let loose and funky.
18) Germans have more drinking songs than Americans? True; This is my own personal observation but I would say without a doubt that Germans have more drinking songs than Americans and when they sing they belt those songs out with so much passion it would make Andrea Bocelli melt.
19) Germans love the chicken dance? True; Not only do Germans love the chicken dance but at the time of our wedding they also loved other drinking dances such as Cowboy und Indianer (Komm hol das Lasso raus), the slap dance, and discofox is a formal favorite.
20) The Bride usually changes into another dress at some point? False, A bride stays in her wedding dress all day (15+ hours), not only a few hours as they do in America
21) You are stuck sitting next to your parents and grandparents at the reception? True; Seated at the head table with the bride and groom are the bride and groom’s parents and grandparents. Since there is no wedding party to begin with, there is no need to seat them. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love my parents, but, we really wanted to party and celebrate our marriage, especially with my closest friends(bridesmaids/brother) who had traveled from other parts of the world to celebrate and would be leaving the country the next day not to be seen again for years. *This is something that can vary depending on the region and family
22) You dance a Viennese Waltz, which you have hopefully taken lessons for? True, and all of my in-laws took lessons and this first formal dance seriously
23) The first dance is father-daughter? False, the first dance is husband and wife
24) At one point, during the reception, the bride is captured and taken away from the party and the husband has to get silly and or drunk to find her? True; Die entführte Braut, the captured bride; tradition in Bavaria; this varies from region to region on how they do the kidnapping and what the groom has to do to get her back. More on this topic in a following “marrying a German series….”
25) Like the French, Germans also play games at their wedding receptions? True, and ours were so much fun. They were all planned via siblings, cousins and friends and GREAT FUN!!!!
26) Brides toss their bouquet to single ladies? True
27) Grooms take off the garter belt and toss to single men? False; The tradition of garters being taken off the bride began in England and does not happen in Germany. My husband thought this was the most ridiculous tradition he had ever heard of and refused to lift my wedding dress even an inch, that any other goggling man eyes would be watching and waiting for him to then throw a garter that had been on my leg to them. He also mentioned that none of his friends would catch it as they would have no idea what he was doing.
28) Water cost more than beer? True; The one complaint from our reception that my husband had, he’s not a complainer, came from viewing our reception bill; “Why the heck did the Americans and English drink so much %#^**#!^ water?” “Don’t they know how expensive water is? The beer is so much cheaper and our bill is so outrageous from all the water drunk, why on Earth did they all drink so much water? And especially in Germany, where the best beer to drink is served, seriously water….”
29) Germans will drive home, even after drinking, from a wedding receptions?? False; No no no and no way do Germans drive home after a wedding reception or anywhere if they have been drinking. Not only are Germans better drinkers than Americans but they are way more responsible, and will refuse to drink and drive. So our reception hotel was booked with responsible Germans!
30) Germans throw rice as the couple leaves to go their honeymoon? False; They don’t usually do anything because the couple usually sneaks out at some point as the reception just keeps going and going…. Some guests even drop dead tired and leave before the married couple. My husband and I left our wedding reception around 5am after several Ameircans and a couple of Scottish had retired but all the Germans and Austrians were still dancing and drinking!!!
The Wedding Cake
31) Germans have a 2-3 tier cake just like Americans? False; Germans do not usually have a 2-3 tiered cake like Americans. Usually they have one big flat cake, and no groom’s cake. However, and this is THE BEST, it is typical for guests to bring homemade (and I mean truly homemade, aka no box mixes) cakes to share with everyone. To me this was so amazing that everyone took the time, love and care to make homemade delicious and unique cakes to bring to the wedding for everyone to enjoy. At our wedding we had over 25+ cakes. What a special and delicious tradition!
32) Bride and Groom cute their wedding cake together? True
33) Similar to the tradition in Greece, you usually only give money as a wedding present in Germany? True; since most Germans live together before marriage, they don’t usually have a very big registry list, actually, they never have a registry list. This is the one thing I loved and hated the most for the wedding. Yes, we had no money for furniture so cash helped buy us our first furniture for our flat. We also put half the money aside for our honeymoon. However, I’m very sentimental and the handmade vase my friend from England or the glass casserole dish that my friend from Spain gifted down to the pot and pans from one of my American friends, to this day, every time I look at or use these gifts, I think about our wedding, who gifted these items and think about these friends….
34) You leave for your honeymoon the night or next day following your reception? False; You usually wait several months following the wedding for a honeymoon.
See how you did: How culturally knowledgeable are you regarding the traditions and expectations of a German wedding? How many questions did you answer correctly?
1-15 answers correct; you are so clueless regarding German traditions for weddings and would have been blown away in awe, fun, shock and surprise, as I, the bride, was also, at attending our wedding
15-25 answers correctly; You must have German blood! Seriously, are you just good at guessing or did I make the questions that easy? You still would have been blown away in awe, fun, shock and surprise at our wedding!
25-34 correct: Were you at my Wedding? Either you’ve been to a German wedding, you attended our wedding, you are German or you Married a German!
If you want to marry a German, Herzlichen Glückwunsch! My wedding was a treasure in itself. Marrying a German, especially in Germany, will make for the best wedding fun and memories ever!
What are some of your favorite wedding traditions? Have you been to a German or international wedding? If yes, what traditions surprised you?