Wedding Tips for Marrying a German: 5 Things to Know Before ‘Die Hochzeit’

Oh-God-My-Wife-Is-German-Logo-No-Text
“… to have and to hold, to honor and obHEEEEYYYY!”

I am American. My wife is German. We got married in the States and it was awesome. So awesome, in fact, I was inspired to write this blog post for the benefit of every American who has married — or is about to marry — a German person while in the United States of America.


‘Die Hochzeit,’ meaning ‘Wedding’ in German, sounds rather intimidating, doesn’t it? Unless you’re currently learning the German language and are familiar with its pronunciation, ‘Die’ is probably the word you’d least like to associate with the happiest day of your life, and ‘Hochzeit’ sounds, at least to me anyway, an awful lot like ‘Hogtied.’

funny hogtied couple
Pictured: the bride, about to die… hogtied. — Image courtesy of Orin Zebest (http://www.flickr.com/photos/orinrobertjohn/)

But marrying someone from Germany really isn’t the frightening ordeal one might reasonably expect it to be. In fact, the wedding process will most likely be a totally smooth and completely awesome experience… with the exception of these 5 little details of which you should probably be aware before you bring your German over to the United States to get hitched:

1: Your German Will Be Unfamiliar With diamond Engagement Rings.

Until very recently, giving diamond engagement rings was a tradition largely ignored here in Germany. I have seen more and more jewelers carrying these sorts of rings as of late, but the vast majority tend to be unadorned bands. Thick, depressing, German-as-hell wedding bands. But we are Americans, godammit, and we want our fiancés to wear engagement rings mounted with bright, shiny, blood diamonds. And we want the cost of these diamonds to absolutely decimate our savings accounts, because if they don’t, it means we don’t love our fiancés enough.

funny german engagement wedding ring
German Design: Functional AND intimidating. — Image courtesy of Jyri Engestrom (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jyri/)

Another thing about Germans and their wedding rings — many wear them on their right hands. They wear them on their left hands during the engagement period, switch them to their right hands during the wedding ceremony and then keep them there for the rest of their Teutonic lives. I wear my wedding ring on my left hand, where it belongs, and so does my wife — we roll American style on this one. Unfortunately, this means our rings often go unrecognized as symbols of marriage here in Germany. To Germans, we appear merely to be engaged — perhaps not even coupled at all — and my wife’s diamond engagement ring looks more like a piece of blindingly expensive jewelery… or an outright invitation to hit on her. I’m not worried though. Have you ever seen a German guy hit on a woman? It’s adorable.

2: Your German Will Expect a ‘Polterabend’ before the wedding.

The word ‘Polterabend‘ consists of the German verb ‘poltern’ (to make a racket) and the noun ‘Abend’ (evening). If you’ve ever seen the movie Poltergeist, you’ve probably already guessed this name is, at the very least, a discouraging omen.

poltergeist parody movie poster "they're heeeere..."
“I’ll marry you! I swear! Just please don’t ever touch me again!” — Image courtesy Jennifer Mathis (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenxer/)

A Polterabend is a German wedding custom — a big, all-night party prior to the wedding itself — where guests smash porcelain objects in order to bring luck to the couple’s marriage. The symbolism of this ritual is expressed by the old adage, “Scherben bringen Glück,” which means “Shards bring luck.” And I’m sure they do, for what could possibly go wrong when you combine magic, superstition, copious amounts of alcohol and flying shards of razor-sharp death pottery?

dead ghost undead bride costume for halloween
“Best. Polterabend. EVER.” — Image courtesy of [Duncan] (http://www.flickr.com/photos/duncanh1/)
In practice, however, the Polterabend is mostly an excuse to have a raging party. And if anyone knows how to both rage and party simultaneously, it’s those wily Germans. I, however, think it is a spectacularly bad idea to go nuts the night immediately before your wedding. Not all Polterabends occur the night before — some take place a week or two earlier — but you know all those videos of people passing out right at the altar? That doesn’t happen when you’ve spent the previous evening in your hotel room, quietly rehearsing your vows and going to sleep at a reasonable hour. That happens from Polterabends.

The Wife and I did not have a Polterabend, however, because most venues in the Unites States close at a reasonable hour. Not in Germany. Here, you can rent out a place and go ballistic until the sun comes up. It’s basically expected of you. My wife was highly offended by the American peculiarities she encountered while researching Polterabend venues, because she was entirely unfamiliar with terms like “closing time,” “last call” and “noise ordinance.”

3: Your German Will Party Harder Than You At the Reception

Yes, we are Americans, and yes, we can party. But there’s something deep inside German DNA which allows them to party harder than us by orders of magnitude. A real German party makes an American party look like a bunch of diaper-wearing toddlers trying to hump a piñata.

Your German will drink, but will not get sloppy drunk — just the right amount of fuel to feed the machine. He or she will take — or be featured prominently — in every single picture taken that night. He or she will dance, sing, eat ridiculously heavy foods, laugh and then dance some more… all while you have long since passed out. Germans are cosmic partiers, you see. Your German will be the sun in the solar system that is your wedding reception, and its gravity will pull all celestial matter toward its center — including you, the wayward planet with the decaying orbit — where you will burn in its white-hot embrace for all eternity.

German Wedding Reception
Rocking you all night long… to death. — Image courtesy of JasonParis (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasonparis/)

You know how Americans don’t have any traditional drinking songs? Your German has forgotten more drinking songs than you will ever learn. (But don’t sweat this part too hard; their drinking songs are pretty retarded.)

And you know how Americans don’t have any traditional drinking dances? Germans know dozens of dances, and at your wedding reception, you will be expected to participate in every goddamn one of them. Watch out for the Chicken Dance , Cowboy und Indianer (komm hol das Lasso raus) and the Slap Dance. They look great in the pictures you will see later on, but right in the moment? Right when it’s happening, as you hop around in a circle holding hands with your spouse on one side and some hairy cousin you barely even know on the other? You may think your life has spun dangerously out of control, but don’t be scared; this is all German engineering. This is the Autobahn, baby. Hold on tight and try not to look like a pussy.

4: Your German — and the other german Guests — Will refuse to drink and drive.

As an American, it physically hurts me to admit Germans are better drinkers than we are — hurts me right in my star-spangled heart muscles — but it’s true; they grow up with some of the least restrictive alcohol laws in the world, which seem to encourage drinking responsibility, rather than drinking recklessness.  Maybe it’s because Germans youths are legally allowed to purchase beer and wine at age 16, and then allowed to purchase hard liquor at 18. There’s no excitement in it for them. They’re not breaking any rules. Oh sure, there are spectacular drunks and catastrophic failures of alcohol abuse in Germany too, but they’re not nearly so prevalent as in the States.

drunk college kids
“Where do you go to Highschool?” “Brewdogg Academy yo!” — Image courtesy of Gregg O’Connell (http://www.flickr.com/photos/greggoconnell/)

Wisely, Germany’s relaxed age restrictions on the purchase of alcohol do not extend to driving while intoxicated. Unlike the United States, there is no legal limit of 0.08% blood alcohol level in Germany (though I’ve heard in some parts of the country there is a limit 0.05%, which can be achieved by accidentally swallowing a thimble full of mouthwash). In Germany, if you get pulled over and the officer determines you’re even slightly intoxicated — there goes your drivers license. You’ll be slapped with a massive fine, community service and a restriction on your ability to drive for the foreseeable future. You may even lose your license forever.

Germans grow up with this reality, and they won’t take any chances. They intuitively know how stupid it is to drink and drive. This is why you may need to organize shuttles and taxis for your German wedding guests. (And screw the American ones, right? Because they have the freedom to die in a fire of twisted metal and broken windshield glass if they so desire. It even says so in the Bill of Rights… probably.) So, unless you arrange for safe transportation to and from your wedding reception, some poor German is going to remain sober all night, and just one sober German alone is enough bring about a second Great Depression.

5: Your German won’t understand why American Weddings are so incredibly expensive.

Listen — you and me? We’re American. Our weddings are traditionally extravagant. We get hitched using so much money either our parents pay for everything, or we go bankrupt attempting to handle the cost ourselves. It’s just how we roll.

expensive wedding cake
“Is that a cake or a delicious monument to capitalism?” — Image courtesy of Anthony van Dyck (http://www.flickr.com/photos/maoman/)

Germans, however, are a practical bunch of squares, and we could really learn a lot from them about money. They use local churches, restaurants, hotels and the backyards of affluent relatives to get married. Their wedding venues are cute, quaint, and so utilitarian you’d likely observe better scenery in a dentist’s office while having your wisdom teeth pulled under general anesthesia. That said, American wedding venues overcharge young couples just as hard as they can. So hard it should be illegal. Like, porno hard. But since it isn’t illegal, you’ll need to have a conversation with your German fiancé about the realities of American wedding expenses:

GERMAN: “Do we really need to rent a ballroom with an inflatable bouncy castle?”

AMERICAN: “Yes.”

GERMAN: “Are they really going to charge for food on a per-person basis? That’s like $100 per person!”

AMERICAN: “Yes, but kids are half price.”

GERMAN: “Why do we have to put a 50% deposit down?”

AMERICAN: “Because they’re afraid we might destroy the place… and we absolutely will.”

GERMAN: “Wedding cake prices range between $250 and $1000. Is this normal?”

AMERICAN: “Yes.”

GERMAN: “Do we really need to have an open bar?”

AMERICAN: “Hell yes.”

Now, before you attempt to describe the sorts of expenses involved in a typically lavish American wedding, email this infographic to your German and let it do the talking for you:

Wedding Cost Infographic
“Wait, wait… why are we doing this again?” — Image courtesy of CreditSesame.com (http://www.creditsesame.com/free-credit-score/)

I hope you find these considerations helpful and encouraging. Marrying a German is likely to be the very best decision you ever make in your life, and I congratulate you for having such excellent taste when you chose one to be your lifelong companion.

Now please, as you are planning your wedding while attempting to work all day, run errands, do chores, get enough sleep, maintain a healthy relationship with your German and retain your sanity, remember it is all worth it in the end. The organizing, the calls, the emails, the decisions and the expenses which go into American wedding planning will feel overwhelming at times. And unless you can afford a wedding planner, the stress will increase each day leading up to the wedding itself. But when that day is finally here, and things really get rolling? Everything will fall right into place. I promise.

Congratulations on scoring a wonderful German to be your spouse, and have a blast at the wedding! You’ve earned it!

Herzlichen Glückwunsch!

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470 thoughts

  1. I love how you adore your wife.

    >>> “Oh God, My Wife Is German.” 5/13/2013 12:06 PM >>>
    Oh God, My Wife Is German posted: ” I am American. My wife is German. We got married in the States and it was awesome. So awesome, in fact, I was inspired to write this blog post for the benefit of every American who has married — or is about to marry — a German person while in the Un”

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  2. Hi there! I am the German wife of an American, and yes, there are bitter differences. I had no idea when I was planning my German wedding back in Germany. I had no experiences at all, and I had no clue I would not have a wedding like everybody around me had.

    Turned out, Immigration determined the wedding day (within 90 days of entry), and that was already outside of the wedding season. Bad start already! I should have calculated that when I filed for my Immigration, but I had not wasted one thought about that. I was busy gathering all needed papers and packing up my whole household and my cats to bring over. In the end, I entered in early January, and unfortunately that determined I had to be legally married by early April, unless I wanted to get deported.

    It is not true that we have no traditional engagement rings in Germany! It is the same ring that will become the wedding ring later! You will put your engagement ring on your LEFT hand, and on the wedding day during the ceremony you will put that same ring from the left hand to the right hand. Done!

    So when you are wearing your rings still on your left hands now, every German will think you are engaged. It is that simple. You are obviously wearing engagement rings, because it sits on your left hand.

    I am legally married, but I had no wedding. I was personally offended by these American suggestions of venues where you are supposed to leave by 5pm, because the next party would come in for another 3 hours, or so. I would simply not so that. A wedding goes through the night, you are impolite if you leave before 2am, and if I can’t have that, I will not have a wedding.

    And we needed the money for a house to put down. No, I mean, we needed the money to buy a house and make a down payment on it. So it would have been pretty stupid to blow it on a wedding party that doesn’t even deserve that name.

    And I have no wedding ring, because my husband found out they are not legally required. He is actually really proud about that, and how much money he saved. But I am resenting him for that. In fact, I don’t think I am bound to him other than legally. Yes, we live together, but we only look like a couple, we are really just very good friends. We are both unhappily in love with other people. That, in the end, brings us together again. But only as friends, not as a couple.

    My shock about the wedding to taking place has never healed, and it made me bitter. But it gives me also great power over him. I have never sworn to be faithful! I have no wedding band! And without a Polterabend we had no luck, it is quite obvious.

    Neither of us can afford to separate from the other. He wouldn’t have the job he has if he wasn’t considered a normal (married) man. And I would have no income without being married to him. So we are stuck, and we are getting along pretty well. But we are not lovers, let’s make that clear.

    I had no wedding. I have spent over a year planning it, and I had no idea Americans don’t do weddings the right way. I have not gone that stupid path to waste money on a wedding that doesn’t last all night. It was the right decision financially, because only that way we could buy a house 2 years later. But I don’t feel I am really bound to my American husband. There is a big gap between us.

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    1. We are sorry to hear about the state of your marriage, but certainly appreciate the insight. I’m not sure this is the right venue to vent such information, but if it helps, more power to you!

      Thank you for visiting our blog and commenting.

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    2. *wow* Hilde, I am very sorry to hear your story. Mine is very similar to yours, but I have a happy end, thank to a German immigration forum that opened my eyes about getting married in the USA. I came with the same visa to the US as you did (fiance visa, also with cat after giving up my entire life in Germany) between Christmas and New Year in 2005 and I was fully aware, that we only had 90 days to get married. We thought about Valentine’s Day, but ended up on New Years Day in Vegas/NV simple in Jeans & T-Shirt with three of our friends. It was the best wedding, since I was married before in Germany with all the chi-chi and I hated it. My husband’s family is spread all over the US and my family wasn’t there either, but it was a wonderful day for me and my American hubby. Also most of my hubby’s ‘male’ friends are jealous about the simplicity we chose to get married :) We are still very happy together and bought a house three years ago in Southern California. Hopefully you will find your way out of this hopeless situation soon! *fingers crossed*

      As for this Blog: I just love it and I have a blast reading it. I’m sure my husband and you would get along great!!! ;)

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    3. There is no right way or wrong way to have a wedding party. You are clearly upset about you marriage / wedding but what does that have to do with this blog?

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  3. Ok. So the first time I ever got drunk, and boy howdy was it ever a rip-roaring drunk, I was in Germany. I was 16. And when I got done drinking, I just stepped onto a streetcar and went home. Well, actually, I toured the city twice because I was too drunk to notice my stop. But: streetcar. No need to drive. Heck, were I a German citizen I couldn’t do it at that age anyway, because you had to be 18 to get a license. See now how much sense that makes? Let the kids figure how how to hold their beer before you ever let them get behind the wheel.

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  4. Hilarious! I come from a family of German (Americans) and married into a German American family. These traits ring so true! Thanks for posting and thanks so much for stopping by Travel Oops! Cheers

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      1. Im in the USAand got married in Germany 1975,my Husband is a American and im from Germany,we very Happy 40 Jaers.I’m a American Citizen .

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  5. Although I do not have it in my immediate future (or even plans) to marry a German, I must congratulate you on the funny post. Really cute and properly illustrated.

    I was recently invited to the Polterabend of a colleague of mine. It was much more quiet than you describe it, or most likely, the party took off after I left around midnight. Ich bin kein Partylöwe.

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  6. Number 5… YES!!! One of my pet peeves! Save the date cards? Engagement photographs? Rehearsal dinner??? I sure know better ways to spend my money. And I can’t say that my non-German husband was too sad about this frugality. He, too, thinks that he scored the lottery big time when I agreed to marry him.

    Oh, and you have forgotten to mention the Polonaise dance (Hier fliegen gleich die Löcher aus dem Käse). Indispensable for a proper wedding! Other important songs/dances to be familiar with: Queen’s We Will Rock You, sirtaki (you know, the Greek thingy) and Nena’s 99 Luftballons. Glad someone is taking care of your education there ;-)

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  7. The number one most terrifying thing I experienced from the German wedding I officiated (and admittedly, i was just officiating, so it wasn’t that terrifying) was the German sense of punctuality. In American weddings I’d experienced, everyone was exactly where they needed to be 20 minutes early, just to ensure nothing went wrong. In the German wedding, the bride went off and was doing something OTHER THAN BEING IN HER PREPPED LOCATION right up until 1 minute before go time. When I expressed worry, her German Matron of Honor was absolutely unperturbed. She just knew the that the bride would show up on time. She was, after all, German.

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  8. I kind of like the Germans’ approach…their casual engagement, and their backyard weddings. That seems charming to me, and a lot less expensive! Interesting cultural differences you describe, too, about the drinking laws. I always feel other countries know something we don’t and they’re just smarter. Hilarious, as usual!

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    1. It’s not even the backyard weddings (which I personally never heard from, we usually rent a place) that saves us a LOT of money, it’s the not having a rehearsal dinner, custom made bridesmaid dresses, huge diamond rings and giving out fafors part ^^.

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  9. I am German and I have to agree on everything you said, except the engagement ring. You wear the same ring on the left hand until you get married. Also, usually the husbands name and date of wedding is engraved inside the ring and the brides name in the husbands. The rings are usually plain (whatever job you do, you’re usually not required to take them off for safety reasons) and timeless. We don’t have separate bridal/bachelor parties instead we have our Polterabend. And during polterabend lots of other marriages find their beginnings ;) We also get married twice: once at the Standesamt (to make it legal) and usually the next day in church.

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  10. Being a German wife married to an American I had a great time reading this! We got married eight years ago in Germany. Actually, in the church where I was baptized and confirmed. Can it get any more traditional???
    My husband insisted on getting me an engagement ring, but knowing me he did it the right way: “Okay, let’s go and pick it out together!” Good boy! We eventually found one that I liked (because I’m not a fan of big blings) and was acceptable for him (because he was raised a bit different). All my German friends were like “Wow, it has a diamond!”, all my American friends just nodded and said “Well, that’s nice…” To this day I wear my (tiny) ring with pride because it doesn’t matter how big the shiny thing is, it matters how big the committment is behind it!

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  11. All this goes for the Brits too!!! (with the exeption of the wonderful German traditions of course) I married my American in England..it was cheap and cheerful, no wedding shower, no engagement pictures, no rehearshal dinner, I had a weekend off and went back to work on the Monday.My husband thought he had won the lottery when I told him exactly what I would like to happen on our wedding day.Nearly 9 years later and 2 army brats…still cheap and cheerful for me!!

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  12. The location of the wedding depends on how wealthy you are, really. I’ve been to weddings held in a backyard or barn but I have also been to weddings that were held in nice restaurants or “Gaststaetten”.

    Germans now start to think that they need a bachelor party and a Polterabend. The Polterabende that I attended were not the day before the wedding. They took place the weekend before. The Polterabend does usually go on forever. And it is even more fun when you put “Kronkorken” on the ground before throwing the pottery.

    The engagement ring in Germany does usually become your wedding band. Some women have a blank ring that gets a diamont in it before the wedding takes place. But usually it is just a plain ring.

    I grew up and live in Germany but I too find your blog amusing and very true.

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      1. Yes, it is. If you are able to drive properly, you won’t be fined as long as your blood alcohol level is below 0.05%. But there are exceptions:

        – If you got your driving license less than 2 years ago (= probation) or are under 21, you are not allowed to drive with a blood alcohol level above 0.0. Fine will be 250€ and 2 points in Flensburg (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point_system_%28driving%29#Germany). Your probation time will be prolonged by 2 more years.

        – When driving with an alcohol level above 0.03%, you will be fined if you make severe driving mistakes and/or endanger others. In this case you are treated as “unfit to drive” and will be treated the same as if you were caught with an alcohol level above 0.11%.

        The first time you are caught driving with more than 0.05% you will lose your license for a month, have to pay 500€ and get 4 points. The second time, your license will be gone for 3 month, you’ll have to pay 1000€, get 4 points and have to go a medical-psychological assessment (MPA). You will only get your license back if you pass this assessment (which usually takes 3-4 hours and costs another 500€).

        With an alcohol blood level above 0.11% you will be considered absolutely unfit to drive. You’ll lose your license for at least 9 months. You’ll either have to pay a fine depending on your income (between 40 to 60 times your daily rate of income) or you might even go to jail for up to a year.

        Oh, and if you are caught with more than 0.16% riding on a bicycle, you’ll have to pass the MPA or you’ll lose your driving license even if you never drove a car or motorbike while drunk.

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      2. Awesome information, Myrine! Thank you very much for sharing it with us!

        I respect the strict laws on drinking and driving here. Also, I have sworn to my wife I will never drive here, but that’s mostly because I’m scared of the Autobahn. :)

        Have a great day and thanks again for the comment!

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  13. So enjoyed your post and all the comments! I’m the German wife to an American and we got married in Germany. I remember my in-law’s being quite bewildered with all our traditions, and it caused some problems. But we overcame them quickly and by now have been married going on 28 years. Having moved numerous times between the States and Germany because of the military, we kept up with both ways of living easier, I guess. I’m glad my husband loved living in Germany, and I love living over here now that we’re retired. Thank you for sharing your story, I’ll be sharing it with my friends.

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  14. I love my German so much I married her twice! Our first marriage was hurriedly done by a Notary in South Carolina. The second wedding in Germany took place in a 500 year old church and it was amazing. The priest was a long time friend of the family. The photographers, there were two, were both family members. And the “limo” which was actually a very nice Mercedes, belonged to another family member.

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  15. haha,……from a german girl, married in the states (40 years ago).
    I still can not used to the coffee and cookies at the church weddings-why bother?? 40,000 Dollars for the “average” wedding….these people are nuts.
    My husband wanted to buy a diamond, when we became engaged in DE. I asked him to get me a sewing machine instead. He:” babe, you can’t get engaged with a sewing machine” me (german ):” …and I can’t fix your uniform with a diamond”. Guess who won???

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  16. This just made me laugh so hard. I am a German woman happily married to an american man since 2008. We got married in the states while on vacation and it was a small, private ceremony with his family. Back in Germany we got married one month later again with my family and friends in a church. Being in the process of buying a house at that time we agreed to keep it simple and as cheap as possible. My wedding gown was on clearance $99(still gorgeous), my friend worked at a place that sold flowers and the ones they were about to throw out, we used for the flower girls (which were all boys because none of us had girls) and the wedding cake was made by a student that was in the process of becoming a baker so it was free too. But it was the greatest day of my life even though it was not huge as Americans would have wanted it. Everybody chipped in to pay for the reception rather then giving us presents and in the end we only had to pay 50 Euros out of pocket. I love your blog, it just made my day and I can’t wait to show my husband

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  17. Being German American, it can get pretty confusing at times. Can’t understand why people don’t want to drink and eat a lot, and understand why people do….

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  18. My first marriage took place in Germany went to my moms house for coffee and Torte then we all went to the local Baggersee and partied for two days. There were two other wedding parties going on around the
    lake that same weekend. We had our tents food and drink not to mention the music…

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  19. I also have a German bride and we were married in Germany back around 1974. It was so different then, you had to post your intentions at the court house for all to see so they could oppose if they wish. License of course, court house wedding counts the church is for ceremony. The reception was in a Gasthouse with cold cuts, cheese, rolls, breads and of course beer, wine and liquor. Nothing fancy just good food, good people and a wonderful time for all. Being married to a sensible, practical person has its benefits and the small personal things mean more than anything else.

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  20. I married my German in 2008 and have been living in Germany (first Bamberg, now we are in Dresden) here ever since. I kinda wish I knew some of these things when I married him. It would’ve helped.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love my “boring” wedding band, but I’ve always told him that when we move back to the USA, he will be required to buy me a fancy schmancy rock for my left hand. Because, ya know, I wear my band on my right hand. I do live in Germany and all.

    PS – You’ve got a new follower.

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  21. Hilarious and oh-so true. I’m German, married to an American. I totally understand your wife because I too was unfamiliar with the terms “closing time,” “last call” and “noise ordinance” when it comes to weddings and/or Polterabend. As a matter of fact, I was highly confused when I got invited to my first wedding in the US and found out that there was a “closing time”. Where I’m from, closing time is when the newlyweds (or some of their family) kick you out of the venue which is NEVER before 3-4am.
    In my town, the Polterabend was traditionally on Thursday night … the day the couple got married in court. The actual wedding party was on Saturday, after the couple got married in church and incorporated lunch, coffee, dinner and a midnight snack.
    I remember when I was growing up everybody from the town would just show up at a Polterabend … whether you’re related to the couple or not. Even hikers who just walked by were offered food, beer and shots. Nowadays a lot of people only do a “Polterhochzeit” … a single celebration instead of two. However, I’ve been to a few crazy one of those as well lol
    Did anybody kidnap your bride at the reception? This is something that’s done at every wedding where I’m from. The groom usually watches out very carefully but there will always be a time when he is not paying attention and that’s when party-goers just take the bride and drive off … usually to another bar/restaurant where more drinking is involved. The groom has to find the bride and pay for the tab … and explain to the kidnappers why he wants the bride back and how much he loves her :)
    Awesome blog … read it twice and I’m still laughing :)

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    1. Hi Piep! Thank you for the awesome comment! I love your story!

      Dear God, they kidnap the bride? I’m all for funny traditions, but I’m afraid my American instincts might kick in at the sight of my wife being stuffed into a car and I’d uppercut one of my relatives. Whichever one happened to be closest.

      Have a wonderful day and please come visit our blog again soon! :)

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      1. Absolutely, the “Brautentführung” is a big deal and has happened at nearly every German wedding I’ve attended – except mine, thank goodness! We had to leave that same evening to go on our honeymoon, since we only had a weekend before work started up. My then-fiance made his friends swear not to kidnap me. They thought they’d do it after the reception in the US a few months later, but weren’t counting on our venue being a) in the middle of nowhere (i.e., nowhere else to take me without driving 20 minutes or more) and b) in the middle of a blizzard… They were also very shocked that the bar closed at 11pm and the party was officially over with nowhere else to carry on. Definitely the earliest wedding reception they’d ever experienced! Thanks for the entertaining post!

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      2. This blog is so funny, enjoy reading all the comments. We went to Germany in 2006 for the wedding of our first exchange student & yes they kidnapped the bride. They got married in their small village at their “town hall” & we got to see many of the old marriage customs which were delightful.
        My older son is getting married in Germany next year to a German girl; should be interesting to see what kind of wedding it turns out to be & how they do things.

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  22. Omg! You are so totally right that a German Would Never ever Pay 26 thousand Dollars for a wedding!! That Would be Crazy if you re Not a celebrity!! It is what i earn in a whole Year! ;-)

    Thats Not because we dont have fotographers, Engagement Rings ans all the Other stuff, but its Not that much expensive like in the United States!! For a German wedding in Germany with all included you Pay between 5.000 – 10.000 € ans you will have a Big wedding!

    I didnt know that it is so expensive to get married in the united states! Maybe its the better Idea to bring the American Family ans Friends to Germany and marry here! So the wedding is Not that much expensive and you can Party all Night Long – like we German do it! Its Really no Good Party if you Leave before 2 am! ;-)

    Much greets from Berlin – Germany and please excute my Not Perfect english! Danke! :-)

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    1. And i forgot: German Weddings are Really more intimitated – we Would Not invite 141 guests! Between 50 – 80 guests are normal! I dont think that i will ever be on a German wedding With more than 100 guests! How can a bride couple be able to Talk with all of them – in just 3 hours? It Sounds like Really much Stress and Not like the best Day of my Life! But that is what i Love about the americans! You are damned Crazy – in a Good Way! :-) in the United Staates is everything big, Bigger, the biggest! I visited the United Staates 3 Times in my live and i was everytime again Really impressed about your Country and Lifestyle! You celebrate everything Big and expensive! From the prom Night – that is very Boring in Germany – to the Spring Break – we dont have something like that here – and of cours your Weddings are more spectacular than in Germany too! Its like i Said before – we have everything in our wedding reception too but Not in this size! I Would for example Not Pay 2.000 $ just for flowers!! And 5.000 $ for Rings!

      I am sooo much German… I didnt know before!

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      1. Hello again, Jenny the German (awesome name).

        Yeah, it’s hard to talk to absolutely everyone when your wedding guest list gets up around 100 or more people. That’s why we have Greeting Lines, where you hug and shake hands with everyone before they enter the reception area. Still, the whole experience is a blur. Fantastic, but a blur. :)

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  23. sounds how my wedding kinda turned out except i got married in germany, mother in law wouldnt let me smash any porcelin though, i guess people only do that in the bigger weddings.

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  24. This is absolutely a great approach to the German culture and I think we can learn from each other. The only thing in the States is the crazy cost for things, if you mention it is for a wedding they up the price at least by 100%. I’ve married my husband in the US (I am German) and we got married the American style but 16 years ago so we did not go to expensive and still had a blast.
    All the best to all inter-cultural-couples, it is a challenge but well worth it.

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    1. I totally agree with you, Lucia, and thank you for the comment.

      Yeah, American wedding prices are so marked up it should be illegal… but, no one is forcing us to have expensive weddings. We could totally go to Sizzler and eat onion rings or something.

      Have a wonderful day and please come visit our blog again soon!

      Like

    1. Hi,

      I am an Indian girl and my boyfriend is German..Please please please give me tips as to how u convinced your parents for marrying a German!!! My parents are quite open minded but still have their own reservations :/ Waiting for ur reply..!!

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    2. Hii…I am an Indian girl and have a german boyfriend…Please please please tell me how did you convince your parents to get married to him..My parents are quite open-minded but still have reservations, afterall I’m their little girl :D
      Looking forward to your reply..!! Waiting….

      Like

  25. OMIGOSH this was absolutely hilarious to read. It made my day! :-)

    I went to a German/American Wedding the first time I was in Germany and had so much fun. In the last two weeks there have been three weddings and since I live in a small German town you inadvertently become party to said weddings. One was a neighbor a few houses up from me who helped me capture my runaway pooch a month ago. The wedding party stopped in front of my house and sang a really pretty song and when I opened the door (dressed in my cleaning clothes) before they finished the groom smiled introduced me to his bride she smiled and gave me a hug and asked me and my children to join them later at their home for the celebration. And where I live the homes are deceiving on the outside. Like at my house, you open the gate to the courtyard and my house and the courtyard are humongous and that is what it was like at their house. My kids and I spent a few hours with them eating yummy German food and good drinks. Unfortunately we couldn’t stay later as we had an adult birthday party to go to. Now we wave hi, talk when we can and have had a play date with our dogs since the wedding and that’s been just two weeks ago.

    I found out the other day from Sabine that Hans had told her about that day as we also had talked a little. He was depressed about several things and wasn’t sure about getting married. He did ask me how I as an American would look at the situation and what I would do. Considering what it was I just happened to have had the same experience about five years ago and I gave him my picture and what I did for me. Apparently I left an impression and she said he did the things I recommend and the situation turned itself around and she was thankful for that!

    You just never know what may happen here in Germany. Go with the flow and enjoy the beauty.of this country around you! :-)

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    1. This is also my second time in Germany. First time married to a Soldier, this time as my own sponsor as a DA Civilian. :-D

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  26. My Hubby is one of the lucky Americans who found a ‘good’ German Wifey :) haha
    sooo funny to read, brings back memories.
    well, I have been to some big weddings in Germany too, after all….BIG Family = BIG weddings…..
    we got married in Waynesville, MO (just outside of Fort Leonard Wood), Justice of Piece and had a Lunch afterwards with our Witnesses. TaDa! No expensive wedding for us (couldn’t afford it anyway….besides…was a second go-around for both of us….so what the heck! The BIG First time weddings obviously didn’t last)
    Fast Forward……23 years later…..so far we have survived the ups and downs life has thrown at us and are doing well. I consider myself pretty much ‘americanized’, so much so that I don’t even have any German friends here in FL. (even though we have a LOT that live here) I just don’t like them! hahaha. Weird? Crazy? Well, guess that’s the German in me :)

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  27. omg! Thaks for a very good laugh. Even though I am the German here and not marrying anyone soon, I had so much fun reading it – considering all the pictures I see of my US-friends weddings (huh? what do you need 5 bridesmaids in the same expensive dresses for? – Does that 5k engagement ring fit to anything else you own jewlerywise? …).
    The egagement ring thing is quite interesting. Because I also know people who do have one (not as fancy though) and than a normal wedding ring (unlike stated somewhere above). I guess it’s depending on the region.
    The drinking? I had that thought before – that because we “learn” to drink before we drive, we know we shouldn’t do it together.
    And btw: congrats to both of you.

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  28. “Do we really need to have an open bar?” SAID NO GERMAN, EVER. I have never seen people drink so much as at the marathon of our wedding reception in Germany. When you give a party in Germany, you host. They drink, you pay. There is no byob or cash bar.

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    1. absolutely! our german guests were so shocked at our american reception with a cash bar. i had never been to a wedding and had no clue when i was planning it… :-O

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  29. My wife is German and we have been together for 35 years, and their are frugal to say the least. I lived in Germany for a couple of years, and we meet there. But this is great fun to read, and true too. Thanks Maggs for showing me this.

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  30. Hi, I am German (married to an American) and really loved what you wrote. It is hilarious and soooo true lol Actually since someone mentioned the engagement ring on the left hand; where I come from people usually don’t wear one either.

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  31. Hi I’m German and I like how you discribed it . But I know what you mean because I lived in america for year and went to a american wedding it was so different and we went out for Party but at 2:15 a.m. all the lights went in andere the Party was over!
    Greetings from Germany Sabrina

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  32. I married a German 31 years ago, first in San Antonio, TX in the courthouse within 5 days of arrival so he would not be deported.
    The second time time was the planned Catholic wedding arranged by my mother in Houston, TX in typical American fashion but, as the 4th daughter, it was minimally extravagant before weddings became an industry and was all in the church with a short walk over to the gym and I was the last to leave and actually helped clean up some wearing my wedding gown. Ate almost nothing at the reception as 150 people kept coming up saying high. We left for Germany the next day and I felt obligated to open all my gifts before I left, still wearing my wedding gown because I wanted to arrive at the hotel (in my sister’s little car) dressed as a bride. Room service not possible at the hotel so went to bed hungry. I was nevertheless totally happy.
    Arrived in Germany for wedding number 3 in Pfungstadt so my husband’s gamily could party. Had the Polterabend with people coming in smashing old plates, cups, saucers etc as they entered my in-laws home and then greeting us. We had to pretend to pick up the mess as a couple and had our Bratwurst and beer. After that, I was kidnapped and I have little memory of all that but eventually was returned so I could be there for the wedding the next day.
    We were picked up by a white horse drawn carriage that took a little tour of Pfungstadt before dropping us off at the Lutheran church where my husband had been baptized and confirmed. It was just a “blessing” since we were already marrieds. Then the carriage took us to a place where people that live in apartments keep a small plot of land to garden in and had a reception in the small main meeting place and there was LOTS of food and people drank a lot and I didn’t understand a work of what was being said but I smiled and had a great time.
    The final event was arriving back at my in-law’s house where the “bridal chamber” (my husband’s old bachelor pad) was crammed with all the furniture that would fit in the room to make settling down as inconvenient as possible.
    Then we all (in-laws, aunt and us) went on our 5 day honeymoon to the Black Forest and the Titisee and side trip into Switzerland to the Bernese Oberland/Lauterbrunnen.
    It was great and all paid for my our wonderful parents since we were both students.
    Our 2 grown children speak German and my daughter posted your story on Facebook and that is how I can to write this novel!

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    1. That is so cool, Lilette! Thank you for the post! People keep telling me about this whole ‘kidnapping the bride’ thing, and I have to say it makes me nervous. Like I might put a strangle hold on the nearest uncle or cousin to get my wife back. :)

      We really liked your story and please thank your daughter for us for sharing it on Facebook.

      Have a wonderful day and please come back to read our blog whenever you can!

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      1. The kidnapping part was really weird and I was really not comfortable at all, unable as I was to speak the language or understand why they were doing this. I must have appeared uneasy so they had mercy on me and brought me back after a short while. At least I knew the kidnappers-my husband’s cousins. I cannot recall where they took me. It’s a blur. Since we didn’t have the Standesamt part, I guess they had to fill the time with some other German thing.

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  33. Here is another German wife :-). Thoroughly enjoyable reading, however, our wedding was entirely different. The decision to get married came about after we had looked at our income taxes and decided we were too broke – or too reluctant – to pay them. Getting married (and thus saving all those taxes) was the cheaper option. So off to the Registrars Office (Standesamt) … Quickly organize a small reception (Sektempfang), where you can be sure that the party goes from morning to early evening and everyone disappears before 20:00 hrs. Homecooked finger food, sparkling wine and beer are served and no special decoration necessary. Wedding dress – ordered over Ebay, under 20 €.
    The soon to be husband had to fork out 60 € for the marriage certificate just minutes before the wedding, he’s one of those guys who – when they open their wallets – see the moths fly out. He asked the registrar: “Do I get my money back, when the marriage does not work out?” I am afraid we made history in this “Standesamt”.
    Still, one of the nicest days in our lives, everything is working out just fine since many years!

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  34. Weddings in Germany are a civil ceremony. They must take place at the Standesamt (Registry office). Then if desired they can have a religious ceremony afterword. I was married to my wife by the mayor of the town and then in church. Also wedding rings in Germay are usually only a gold band and are worn on the left hand when engaged and then moved to the right hand when married.

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  35. I am the German wife of an American. If you think planning the wedding is different try surviving the marriage. Fortunately my husband and I managed to sail around the cliffs of marriage, raising kids and living in a foreign country (at least for me) successfully since 21 years. I loved reading your blog. Good luck to you and your German wife.

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  36. I loved the post!
    Having experienced american weddings and beeing an Austrian (no Kangaroos in Austria!) I can absolutely relate to you. Nobody ever told me, there is not going to be a real party.. I felt so out of my depth….

    Anyway, I still married a german girl. In a 700 year old cute little church and a lot of backyard partying at the restaurants garden… right till long after sunup the next day!

    Wish you always a smile, when you encounter another cultural difference!

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  37. Wonderful post! I’m attending a Bavarian wedding in June, and I have been briefed by my gf for what to expect: beer, punctuality, good food, very well-organized fun, i.e. games, games, and games.

    Your post is quite helpful, and, (un)fortunately, I’ve never seen a German guy hit on a girl… I didn’t know that was possible…? :-D

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  38. Oh God, I’m an American woman with a German husband, living outside of Stuttgart. I burst into insane laughter when I saw your logo. Called over my husband, who had just woken up, to see it. He burst into insane laughter, too (and you’re married to another German so you know what a feat this is early in the morning!) I am so following your blog now! —Jadi

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  39. Hey,

    I like your views on german-marriage-traditions. But actually you didn’t get everything straight. (I didn’t read every comment, so I don’t know if anyone pointed out that jet).

    The Polterabend. The Polterabend does NOT take place the night before the wedding!!! First: We can party hard, but how you pointed out “the Polterabend is just an excuse to have a raging party”, but why have two raging partys on following days?! Even we have to take some time to sober up. Mostly the Polterabend is around 2/3 weeks before the wedding, and everybody who is invited to the wedding, is invited to the Polterabend. But you don’t have to be invited to atted. The Polterabend is a celebration of the wedding to be and the couple and traditionally you don’t even have invitations – the roumor spreads around, and everybody who wants to come comes. Everybody who attends and who is not invited to the wedding brings a gift and has their moment to congratulate the couple.

    And for ones let me explain the “American-Wedding” from a germans view. We are just very much confused to go to your procedures. First, you have a ceremony where the marching in of all the bridesmades almost is longer than the reception itself. So we just got comfertable in our seats, we already have to jump up and leave again. The confusion goes on, when we are at the party-location. You eat, drink, dance, do all your traditions all at once. In germany, we actually like to talk, while eating. Catching up with family and old friends is kind of hard, when the music is too loud and the half the table is always gone dancing. And when you are in the mood for dancing, you always have to have an eye on your plate, so you don’t miss your dinner. The most confuseing part: At 12 o’clock everything is over. At 12 o’clock we not just cut the wedding cake, traditionally we also have a whole second meal!! If you party till 5 in the morning, you have to eat inbetween (even our granparents knew that). German weddings end, when everybody left for bed. Your way to actually have an ending time to your weddings ist just so … cute! :)

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  40. *widegrin*
    Awesome advices!! LOL
    I love them!!
    Since I don’t have any American friends with German girlfriends I cannot even recommend your blog which I would LOVE to do! :-)

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  41. Well, first – congratulation to the two of you. Have a wonderful life together.
    Second – yes, Germans are not extremely romantic, when it comes to marriage. so much so that in our days less than half of us still go for the family option. The “most beautiful day of your life”-approach is nonsense anyway – hey, that means, everything after the wedding will be worse!!
    I sincerely hope that for you and Mrs. Oh God, My Wife is German there will be a lot more beautiful days ahead!

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  42. That’s it, I’m eloping.

    I find it hysterical how you refer to her as your German. Reminds me of those pet care booklets for children from the 1970s: Your Budgie, Your Hamster, Your Pekingese.

    The German approach to alcohol, youth, and driving is brilliant. I’ve long wondered why we can’t implement that here. I mean, other than the firm and wide stick up all the conservative religious asses around here, why not?

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    1. I have discussed this very topic with my wife. In particular, she dislikes the fact that in the US, it’s illegal to carry a beer around in your hand wherever you want (except in Vegas). She wants this to be legalized countrywide. I told her that would mean the end of my country, at least until we all get over the novelty of public intoxication. She still disagrees. :)

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      1. So many of our citizens look drunk on a normal, daily basis, anyway, that it would be nearly impossible to enforce. The wrongful prosecution lawsuits would bring our legal system grinding to a halt, from the near-halt it’s been limping along at since the middle of the last century. So, no Beer Walks for us.

        But then we don’t have to eat liver for breakfast, so I guess it’s even.

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  43. This is very funny. Although not German myself, I grew up in the Netherlands. Stereotypically there is a lot of animosity between the two countries, luckily nowadays very civil. Look forward to reading more.

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  44. My ethnically German (but culturally American) family has a tradition you didn’t mention here – marrying on the threes. You can get married at 23, 33, or 43, but not in-between. It’s not really a rule or anything, just always happens to work out this way.

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    1. She was having a rough day — super tired — and she said the wedding post totally turned her day around for the better. Easily the best compliment I can receive for our blog.

      Thank you for asking, Himani. Have a great day!

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  45. What a great writing! German ways are close to my heart, my mother is from an area where their influence is dominant (former Austrian Hungary, nowadays bordering area between Hungary and Serbia) and i do know how odd it might come across at first lolol! (But it’s just the way it should be, if you ask me! ;))

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  46. enjoyed reading this post!

    Haven’t dated any German myself… but one thing for sure German know how t party!!

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  47. A laugh out loud blog! Thanks for brightening my day. Congratulations on scoring a German lady – and to her for scoring someone with a great sense of humour. Tony

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      1. A “Berliner” (not a US President) as you probably know is a type of pfannkuchen like a doughnut with jam inside. A Great German joke is to fill some of the kuchen with mustard for unsuspecting guests. How we all chuckled…. Tony

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  48. I enjoyed reading your post (my wife and I are both Austrians now living in Germany and with the experience of having lived a couples of years in England). However, I was wondering where in Germany your wife is from. I am currently living in Bavaria, and I can do not quite agree with the parts about how Germans are responsible drinkers (maybe it is just the word responsible that should not be used when describing drinking behaviour). And finally, enjoy your marriage!

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  49. i want a German too….awww…so cute and hilarious. loved your post. oh by the way congratulations to you and your wife on your marriage. very well deserved freshly pressed. kudos!

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  50. I am engaged to a German man, it has already been an adventure when the topic of wedding plans arises :) Some of the things mentioned here have not come up, i’ll mention them and see what he says!
    I know the engagement ring ordeal I even went with him to pick one up – we got it in Germany – much different selection than in the States but extrememly elegant and beautiful – love it =]

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      1. The big day will be in 2016! I’m looking to graduate college first and our hope is to have his pastor in Germany be able to come for the wedding too… It will be in the states just as yours was!
        Thanks for the congrats – it’s a fun time! Your blog is great fun to read and relate to!
        I shared it with my fiancé and he got a kick out of it! Feel free to check out mine as well :)
        It’s so fun to be able to relate to your wedding planning experiences! Congrats!

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  51. This is hilarious, thanks so much for the laugh.

    I’m not married, but sometimes I feel like writing something like this about my own relationship with a Czech woman. Expat relationships are an animal unto themselves sometimes. :-D

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      1. I’ll give it some thought as a future endeavor. With two other blogs already on the go, I’m not sure if I’d be spreading myself too thin with a third.

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  52. I married a half German/half Norwegian – can you imagine? He is stubborn and hard-headed! As an American girl, I wanted a big, bright engagement ring to compete with all of my girlfriends. He just couldn’t comprehend this (nor could my German mother-in-law). I did get a diamond – a small one – and looking back on it years later, I wish I hadn’t made such a fuss. German traditions are so much “cooler” than American ones when it comes to weddings. Now perhaps we should discuss the German mother-in-law…

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  53. I am so glad you were freshly pressed. This is a good way to start my day. I don’t even know any german girls, but I will store all of this in my mind for use later.

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  54. I just came across your blog. It’s fantastic! My husband and I learned all about Polterabends, Hochzeits – all of it, but Austrian style. We witnessed a 2 day long country wedding, complete with cannon-sounding shots which were fired on the hour, from 6am to 10pm, and concluded with fireworks and a flaming sticks in the shape of a heart. Now we feel like our American wedding was super boring.

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  55. Loved your post!! Just had to giggle my way through! It brought back memories of my wedding to a German guy, but we had it in Germany…a full 3 day partying program! Starting with the famous Polterabend on the Friday night (I ran away at 1am), Church with a live chore topped with an open cocktail reception to all church guests – so drinking was back on the agenda at 11am. With hardly any time to rest we started at 7pm with a “closed door” diner for only 50 guests/family accompanied by some 10 speeches between every spoon-full of food. With a full tummy and happy wine feeling we moved on to the ball where the other 120 guests awaited us geefully ready for a bast of a drink, sing and dance night! All was topped with late supper at 2 in the morning and more parting!!
    Not satisfied with the feat, we had a Sunday brunch at a hotel for all guests with a massive buffet table and champagne starting at 11 am, needless to say it that went until six!
    After this Odyssey we were more than ready for a week holidays lost in some remote island with no contact!!

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  56. My husband and i got married in Denmark, with just 3 guests. The German Bureaucracy was just not working out for us. It would have taken 8+ weeks to get the license, by that time he would have already PCS’d to Oklahoma. Since we got married up north, we didn’t have a Polterabend, but we threw our really cheap engagement rings (silver with cubic zirconias) into to north sea.

    So now my question, is your wife as stubborn as a German should be?

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  57. jajaja this is the best post ever!!!! My German boyfriend send this to me because one day we were talking about our future wedding and a lot of your points came out. The only thing I would never give up would be my wedding ring! NEVER!!!!

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  58. Enjoyed your post! It was entertaining and informative. Didn’t like your use of the word retarded though-definitely could have chosen a different word that would have gotten the meaning across.

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  59. As an American also living in Germany, yet to go through the Hochzeit (but will), I have to admit you’re absolutely on the mark. Maybe for Teil zwei you could explain the sawing of the tree log, or perhaps the future bride/groom adventures through the city centers for the bachelor(ette) party. Hast du gut über Deutschland den Amerikanern erklärt.

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    1. Hello Aurelius! Always enjoy hearing from other expats in Germany!

      Yeah, there are a lot of interesting customs over here. I’ve heard they even kidnap the bride in some regions. Kidnap her! It’s all fun and games, but man. That’s a tradition I’m glad we don’t have. :)

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      1. Writers can talk their way out of everything ;)
        Now it even sounds cute :3
        I hope you two are happy together

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  60. Holy crap I scared my husband I was laughing so hard while reading this! I’m an American married to an American so we don’t fully understand the cultural differences but I’m happy to say we were very frugal with our wedding. Friends back yard, no save the dates, simple organic invitations and my mom made my dress. I hate that such an act of love is swarmed with business vultures sapping couples dry. This post, though, made my day. I’m an ESL teacher living in China and experienced a Chinese wedding while here. They have the extravagant bug here too. (I blame the booming economy haha) Huge western wedding dresses, a venue with fog machines, laser shows (yep. you read that right. laser show), sit down dinners for over 200 people, wine and beer for every guest, etc. It was quite an experience. Keep writing!! I can’t wait to read more.

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      1. The wedding was unbelievable! I’d love to go to another one before we leave here. You can see the pictures on my blog (rkburgett.wordpress.com). I posted it in October last year.
        We both decided we wanted to try teaching and figured before we go through the years of schooling we should try it out first. We love it so we’ll be moving at the end of the year to get into a Bachelor of Education program.
        I got a chance to look through some of your store. Brilliant design work! Love it man. Keep it up.

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  61. I can’t completely appreciate the humor, being an expat myself, it all registers relatively normal to me ;) Plus, ‘german’ and ‘humor’ used in the same sentence is paradox enough. I’m not a big wedding person and have a German boyfriend, but a couple things I would want that he doesn’t seem to consider is: some ring bling and ‘good food’ :)
    One reason why I’m not a wedding person is because of the expenses associated with an American wedding. Do you know how the expenses would compare to a German wedding?

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    1. Apparently there isn’t much comparison. Sure, Germans can have extravagant weddings too, but they seem to be more frugal on average. I’ve heard between a few hundred dollars right up through the thousands.

      Are you thinking of getting married?

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  62. sweet!!! even though i’m not marrying a german and am not a german by birth except maybe a long way back from the geneology, I enjoyed the crap out of this. I like their drunk driving stance over there. I also like that they grow up responsibly with drinking instead of oh, hey, youre 21 now go crazy. haha that night before the wedding sounds like one wild ride!!! great post. enjoyed it.

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  63. Spot on with the diamond engagement ring!!! I am the German wife that was scared to get one of those huge,silly, sooo american, absolutely inpractical diamond engagement rings…and sure enough made it VERY clear to my soon to be fiance that I would never ever want to have one of those. So I got a plain ring, but had to get another wedding band when we got married, which of course made NO sense to me at all,since,well, we just move the ring from one hand to the other (we got married in Germany)… after 5 years in the States, and more or less acclimated, I told my husband that some bling would have been nice back in the day. Little did I know that he had bought a diamond ring back then, but was scared to give it to me. I got it for Christmas last year, 5 years after he proposed and love it!! :)

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  64. Truly enjoyed your post. Even though I am German and got married twice, I never had a German wedding. That’s what you get when you marry someone from a different culture. But I flew back home for the wedding of one of my brothers – and had a blast. I love the German word for wedding: “Hochzeit” really means “High Time” (I think).
    I am not so sure about your assessment that Germans are better at drinking than Americans. There are plenty of people with alcohol problems and unfortunately a lot of people start young and then just keep going….
    It’s always fun, though, to get an outsider’s perspective on your own culture. You got a great sense of humor. speak any Deutsch?

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    1. I did not stop to think about the meaning behind ‘Hochzeit.’ Thank you for the info, Beauty!

      I speak a little German. I’m a solid A1 level kind of guy. Hopefully getting a lot better after my integration course begins in 2 weeks!

      Thank you for reading and commenting. Have a great day!

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  65. “You may think your life has spun dangerously out of control, but don’t be scared; this is all German engineering. This is the Autobahn, baby. Hold on tight and try not to look like a pussy.”

    I havn’t laughed so hard since… I can’t remember! Hillarious!
    Please, keep on writing!

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  66. One thing you haven´t mentioned – the hijacking of the bride; the bride is abducted to some nearby bar or “Wirtschaft” during the party and the groom has to find her and pay for the drinks incurred while bride and hijackers were waiting for him. I attended American-German weddings which were held the American way where the biggest scare of the US side was that the Germans would abduct the bride… but we always managed:-)

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  67. I really enjoyed reading this and as many of the comments as I could. My daughter and son-in-law are a British/American combo. First they had an American registry office (or whatever it is called) ceremony with his mother and three friends, and an evening together afterwards. Three years later they held a great two-day ceremony plus party for all their friends on the lawns of a relative’s house in England. Dress made by sister, bridesmaids made their own, flowers, cakes and most food made by friends and relatives. There was a great American/English building of barbecue and games of Wiffel-ball (?) on the second day. Weddings don’t have to break the bank. We have just returned from a visit on their 5th wedding anniversary and saw the very beautiful site of their original ceremony in Chicago. Mix the cultural traditions and adapt to income seems a good recipe.

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  68. Aaww… I AM that German. My grandma’s name is Helga, I definitely sported lederhosen as a child, and have lady relatives with substantial facial hair. Thank God grandma can’t sew those German britches anymore now that I’m an adult and way too cool for that sort of thing.
    I remember there was a moment on The Office, where Dwight is reading this weird German folklore book to the kids, I think it was the “Bring Your Daughters To Work Day.” As he started reading it, I had an instant flashback to Grandma Helga reading the same book to us. “Struwwelpeter” a delightful German tale for children about how if you suck your thumbs some creepy guy with giant scissors and Phil Spector hair is gonna prance up at you and cut them off. Charming riiigghht?! Oh Germans… ya’ll are a whole deal. See image: http://www.struwwelpeter.com/SP98w.jpg
    Oi.
    http://aubreys642.wordpress.com/

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  69. This blog is fantastic! I can read it over and over again. I’m german married to an american. In fact we married in Germany 3 years ago. Nobody has warned my husband, so he gave the same courtesy to his best friend two years later walking down the isle with his german wife and later on that day being surprised of what party animals his parents-in-law can be. LOL

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  70. What a wonderful article! Most of what you say applies to the French too. My bf is French and the only disagreements we ever have are over our ideas about weddings haha. But when you embrace a new culture, you’ve gotta go all in, quirks and all :)

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  71. I really liked your article. It is interesting to see how many German-American couples there are.

    I’m going to marry my American this weekend. Of course we’ll also have a Polterabend 2 days earlier. We just mixed german and american customs. First, we wanted to marry in the US, but it is almost impossible to manage an overseas wedding from Germany. So we are lucky to have our wedding in Dresden, although it meant that my bride’s whole family (100+) was invited (I have only 10 on my side). Eventually most of my bride’s family won’t be coming since the ticket prices are too high right now.

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  72. Hello there! I am neither American, nor German, but I’ve lived in Germany many years during my childhood and early adulthood – in a German family. Couple of years ago, my youngest German sister got married and my American boyfriend joined me to the wedding. That was the experience he will surely never forget :-) Traditions are lovely and money is no precondition to eternal love and respect. Congratulations to the two of you and lovely wishes to a long and happy life together!

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  73. First of all, CONGRATS on freshly pressed!

    Secondly, I love you! In a blogger to blogger friend way! I’ve already had my German wedding (rathaus style) last October and we are having our real deal wedding in August 2014 in ‘Merica! I agree with everything you said except the drinking thing. I’m ALWAYS the last one standing and no one can handle their alcohol like I do! But…that could be unfair because I’m of Irish descent! :-) Anywho, wonderful post! Soaked it up to the last drop and looking forward to fighting about spending money on unnecessary (yet TOTALLY necessary) things!

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    1. Hey Diary!

      Thank you for the kind words! Yeah, the Freshly Pressed thing was a nice surprise!

      Congratulations on your wedding last October! So awesome! In which state did you find your German? (I mean like, Niedersachsen or Bayern — not shock or denial.)

      And I’m sorry for doubting your drinking abilities. In the future, I will always include the following asterisk when speaking of Germans and their drinking abilities…

      Germans can totally out-drink Americans!*
      *Except for the author of The Diary of Sugar and Spice; that woman is a raging alcoholic. :)

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      1. LOL! Yes PLEASE make sure you let everyone know of my special drinking powers! Its a gift…seriously!

        My husband is from Baden Württemberg… but really from a small village (I’m talking 700 or less) on top of a mini mountain. Where all the people speak “Farmer German” or a strange dialect of Swabisch German :-) Its a good time! And FAR too different from my home back in NY but we make it work somehow!

        Where is your wife from?

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      2. She’s from Niedersachsen. Also a very small town. 30K, including all the little villages around it.

        Farmer German? That sounds amazing. I am going to ask my wife about this.

        Which region are you living in now?

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  74. I’m German, my wife is English and we got married two years ago, absolutely love this blog post, I would only add one thing and that is ‘the German mother in-law” :). I will be forwarding this to my wife for a laugh.

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  75. When my husband told his parents I wasn’t German, they pretty much looked at me and gave me the “tsk tsk”! Their only solace was in the fact that we were not going to have children! LOL However, I think I have become quite a good little frau, especially in the kitchen…we have a larger variety of vinegar than liquor! =)

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  76. Your blog is very entertaining! It’s a little scary, though, looking at the average wedding costs. I have a 23 year old daughter. I guess I should start saving up!

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  77. I spent the first five years of my life in Weisbaden. Coupled with an Irish mother-a strict Catholic one-I find the extravagant wedding so distasteful. I had to be in one three years ago and the bride agonized over every detail for a year and a half. Weddings are roided up dinner parties. Use that money for a house or maintenance counseling. Life is not about impressing others.

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  78. In our family, my mother married the German – my father. And the traditions are changing somewhat these days – those ridiculous American o-t-t weddings that plunge newlyweds into deep financial ruin for the next few years are sadly slowly catching on in Germany and the rest of Europe, even in Russia. Another great export designed to annihilate and replace local customs, kinda like McDonald’s Coca Cola, Starbucks, etc.

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      1. Yes, I guess I am very German there, cause I would hate to spent so much money on a wedding. It is only one day….and the money can be spend on something like holiday or such. Unless somone is amazingly rich I think it is foolish. ;-)
        I am not a proper German since I have lived 11 years in England….but to waste so much money I would not like ;-)

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  79. This is absolutely awesome! I’m German, my boyfriend is American and we had so much fun reading this. It’s so true, I love it ;)

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  80. In the North of Germany the bridegroom needs two pairs of trousers for the Polterabend. The bride’s friends burn the first pair so that he can’t run away. Afterwards the ashes are buried alongside a bootle of schnaps and stay so till the first wedding day when the schnaps will be drunk.

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  81. OMG, I haven’t laughed this hard in a while! I’m German, married to an American and living in the US now. We had our wedding in Germany, including the Polterabend; and the bit about alcohol + shards, etc almost made me do a spit take. So funny! Thank you for making my day :)

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  82. Do you Americans really spend that much on a wedding party? I am beginning to understand how the financial crisis got started :-) People bought a house, then took another mortgage on top to finance that party…
    As a German, I always find it interesting to have a look at my own culture from the outside. I also wear my marriage ring on the right side, where it naturally belongs :-)
    The real purpose of Polterabend, of cause, is to have an opportunity to get rid of those terrible old dishes with gold rim and flowers you inherited from grand aunt Mathilde :-)

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    1. Haw haw haw! Nice! I always wondered who had to have their dishes smashed. :)

      And yeah, seriously, our weddings are crazy expensive. It really is silly.

      Thank you for reading and also for the great comment. Have a wonderful day!

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  83. This post made me smile as I was just getting ready to write about my travels while getting married to a German (I’m American) last week. I think we avoided most of the 5 details by getting married in Spain (no closing time at venue, outside so no crazy decorations/flowers and no wedding cake, no polterabend as we had all day boat trip day before and everyone was tired). It was fun to see what the different traditions are and there was German signing and dancing which was fun. The rings on different hands came up too but it was decided, left when in US and right when in Germany.

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  84. It is good that in Germany, one tragedy does not lead to another (bankruptcy). Of course, you don’t need pointers for the first one. This article is extremely hilarious. Since I am new to both, it was even more amusing to me.

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  85. I can’t stop laughing! I am german and my boyfriend is American and I see and if we ever get married I see as arguing about the prices and everything already haha. That is so true!

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    1. Maybe you could just get married in Germany!

      I know it sucks to try and ship all the American relatives over, but still. Much less expense for you and your American.

      Please keep us posted on any future wedding plans. Congratulations on finding a great German/American match!

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  86. “A real German party makes an American party look like a bunch of diaper-wearing toddlers trying to hump a piñata.” I’ve heard alot of comparisons, but none as good as this one!

    Ref. pic #4: Hey that looks just like me when I was little!

    Don’t you love the Cowboy and Indianer song? I hope you practiced it before your party!! And yes, when a German couple is together for awhile–like a year–friends start asking when you’re going to get married so that they can attend a polterabend! :)

    In Bavaria the wife is sometimes kidnapped by friends and taken somewhere or to more locations. They may go to a gasthaus or another party, or a wine fest–like the one we accidententally attended last year. It was wine fest in a large barn in some small cow town. A group of great brass umpa musicians were playing on their old instruments between the crowded tables, when they were interrupted by the kidnappers and victim. Oh boy, the party had just begun! She has to party with her kidnappers and of course the guests in the barn until he solved the puzzels or challenges he’s given to find her!

    Greetings from Germany. ;) Love your hillarious take on German weddings!

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    1. What a great comment! Thank you, Pat!

      Yeah, I’ve heard a lot about this bridal kidnapping tradition since this article was published. Luckily, my wife is from north/central Germany, where the kidnapping thing is less common. :)

      Thank you for the visit and please come back again soon!

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  87. Being Dutch married to a Canadian, we encountered a lot of the things you describe. But it was a great give and take exercise: I wear my two rings on the left and we had a ‘cheap but fun’ wedding on the Amsterdam canals.
    Love the way you write about your experiences. You make the Germans look like a totally fun group of people and I am tempted to go look them up!

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  88. I was wondering why my coworker had his wedding band in his right hand! I thought maybe he needed it resized or something, haha. Also, Polteraband sounds like a great metal band name.

    You have a new follower :)

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  89. interesting and hilarious culture shock article!
    i’ve always thought weddings in western countries (no matter it’s european or american) tend to be simple and thrifty. because, we, indonesians, mostly have a lavish wedding party with 500 guests and above regardless the level of income. but lately younger generations prefer to have less guests and family/close friends oriented party (like western people’s way they said), although it doesn’t mean it’s cheaper.
    so i guess the germans will faint thinking how overwhelming the weds in indonesia. however, indonesian-german couple’s wedding is quite a lot as well in my hometown. reading your article, i can imagine what’s inside a german future spouse’s mind about a lavish wed party…

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  90. I totally adore your blog!! It is so funny reading all this (German woman myself here) and totally agreeing with your wife on everything! The wedding….. the Denglish (I totally have the same issues with translations sometimes – English makes no sense and does not have enough words…).

    But back to the wedding stuff – HA – yes, most of my girlfriends back in Germany just don’t wear typical American type engagement rings. You are lucky if you see a tiny diamond in their engagement/wedding bands (that diamond they call in Germany “Brilliant” – the noun not the verb).

    I was laughing soooo HARD about the “second great depression” comment. That is beyond true…….Iol……Germans are so damn serious. I would say having lived in the US for a while has made me less negative and serious but still enough that people can totally tell I am German. But hey – at least my German-ess is very much appreciated at work.

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    1. Hell yes! And I appreciate your German-ness too! It’s awesome. Please don’t ever lose it.

      It’s just so EASY to mock, Nancy. I gotta go it. :)

      Thank you for reading and I’m glad you liked our blog. You’re welcome back anytime.

      Have a great day!

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  91. Funny post — as our anniversary is coming up, little has changed…..
    I’,m still wearing my wedding ring on my right hand, Yes, the wedding reception was in my parents’ back yard. It was a Wednesday morning after the assigned time at the city hall (9am!) and at a time of year which the U.S. Immigration Service had decreed, so I could legally re-enter the U.S. . It has been a great 33 years and I am looking forward to many happy returns!

    BTW I have been to thoroughly American weddings which were pot lucks, in backyards …..

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  92. Hi there, yes its full of rules and scary words in German( I hate this language full of rhus rhus) but i spend 5 year with an German woman, and it was the best years of my life, I would give anything to have it back. Some people say that German people is boring, but what have u tried to change that? i tried and I have successfully achieve great happiness and fun times.

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  93. Good morning! I am looking for more information to put in my programs about what I think is a Texas German wedding tradition. I mentioned this to my German friend from HS (exchange student) and she said “Oh, that’s a Polterabend.”

    However there is no breaking involved. Near the end of the American reception/wedding dinner, friends and family grab /come in with metal pieces and rods to bang around and make noise. These are also plow disc pieces, etc. This seems to be more of a farming community tradition. The bride and groom then have to serve beer to all the revelers until they have their cups.

    It seems like a mishmash of a Polterabend stuffed into a reception but without the breaking.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks,
    Steph

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  94. God bless you all for the wonderful posts!.

    I married a German girl in 1981 in Germany after a two year courtship, due to her parents thinking we needed that time to think it over. From many special and fond memories, here are some anecdotes:
    -Germans have a wonderful sense of humor –understatement and overstatement. My German father-in-law asked me to explain to my American parents that “we stand upright here too!”
    -I knew nothing of German customs and only learned long after the wedding that in Germany the groom is not supposed to kiss the bride at the altar after the I dos.
    -At the reception afterward, my brother-in-law conspired to abduct the bride and make me pay for ascertaining her whereabouts at every kneipe in town. However he bawked when I threatened to retaliate by stealing all of the other ladies around me to the bridal chamber for the night.
    -On a much later occasion, my father-in-law’s eightieth birthday, his east German relatives set an huge assortment of small liquors on the table before me and challenged me to a drinking match. This trial was easily met when I countered that I was indeed willing to participate only if with each bottle I would begin, a German relative would finish it off. They were quite right when they replied it was a trick; I would commence with the smallest sip and they would drink themselves under the table with the remainders!
    My hope is that they remain as fond of me as I am of them. My German has never been as good as it should be, and I am not the easiest person in the world to get along with. Maybe that’s why after all these years I still adore my German wife. Never take for granted that she loves you too!
    From us both, let me pass on the very best wishes and all happiness for your wedding,
    an American Tristan and German Isolde

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  95. I don’t quite understand you Tim. Your German by heritage. You should adjust easier than most. You like Erdinger Weissebrau, I liked Maisel’s Weisse. Too much in fact.

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  96. Well, I’m not American. I’m Kenyan, and soon I’ll get married to my German Hunk whom I really adore. He’s informed me about all these nitty-gritty traditional pre-wedding activities. I however, found this blog really useful. Wish me luck!

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  97. My daughter in law is German and I love her so very much. From the moment my son brought her home before they were married. They were married here in the states a small intimate wedding with a few German/American friends and family. Looking back now I wish I would have had the courage to make the flight to Germany so they would have gotten married there. They did this widow a favor so that she could see her son get married to the love of his life. Her mother came and despite the need of a translator she was one of the most happy wonderful women I have met anywhere. Now I have a grandson who I have not seen. Again courage woman to fly that far alone. It is silly. I can trace my mother’s family back to 1382 in Germany. My mother being first generation American. My father too was German again first generation American. His father and mother where born in Dresden those records were destroyed in the war. My daughter in law turned me onto to your blog and I love it. Thanks so very much. Now I know what I missed. And yes frugal was the word when these two got married.

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    1. Hi Pat! Aww, thank you for sharing! What a great story. And MAN, you are super German! I’m envious. :)

      I really hope you can someday make that flight to see your grandson. I know it sucks, but here are two things which might help:

        The Nervous Flyers Handbook (Amazon.com)
        Xanax (From your doctor)

      Seriously, I hate flying too.

      Thank you for reading and have a wonderful day!

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  98. My lovely German bride to be and I are flying out from Melbourne, Australia next week and heading to Germany to marry! It’s been 12 months of putting it all together and working out how to handle the English/Germany language issues but we seriously can not wait! Unfortunately our venue has a curfew of 3am! hahaha. Should be awesome and to celebrate right after, we go to Munich for Oktoberfest! Prost!

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  99. I so enjoyed reading your blog. My fiance and I have a huge background of German on both of our parents sides. His grandparents are from Austria and moved to the US in their 20s. His grandma still has her thick accent and has been teaching me to cook/bake German food from scratch. Both of us have family that still live in Germany too. We are getting married in November (due to family health concerns) but we are incorporating our German Heritage into our wedding as much as we can. Our colors are that of the German flag black, gold and red. I have decided to make wine charms for wedding favors that have a pretzel for the charm in the center and the flag colors on each side. I am struggling with coming up with a saying to put with these charms. I wanted to have one side printed in English and one side printed in German. Any suggestions or ideas would be most appreciated. I have read most of the comments but didn’t come across any that has a German tradition I had found with the Bridal cup? I know we will be doing the chicken dance, but any other suggestions for German music to be played at our reception? We are doing a Lunch Reception instead of evening, but the Groom and I will be partying well after 2am! If you or anyone have any ideas to incorporate the German Heritage into our wedding please let me know.
    Thank you so much for posting your blog. Many blessings to you and your wife.

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  100. Hello there.. nice, this blog is new and also i loved the contents and boy I really had fun reading.. all positive things and no one says bad comments to each other.. Thank you for this site. my fiance is German and oh what a wonderful man. He is not perfect but i know that we are perfect for each other. Cause I just came from a vacation in Germany and we really had a happy, funny, sweet, musically(he plays the guitar, i can sing), wonderful 6 weeks together.. He also cooks very nice dishes for me and also we cooked together..oh yes I’m missing him now as I went back home to my country. Hopefully also for us that we will have a blast on our planned wedding next year… More power guys! Gracias. and P.S. I looooooove the German rolls!!!!! miss it!!

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  101. Many thanks for this great post. I am German, my girlfriend, too. Although we come from a very rural area in Catholic Westphalia (where Protestants and Catholics slaughtered each other for centuries) we both work now in a very international setting in urban regions. Hence, we get in tough with a lot of different styles of weddings.

    At home, the conservative Catholic ones: A traditional Catholic Westphalian Hochzeit is a community instead of a family matter. Families are big (I have four older siblings and 17 cousins, e.g.), neighbor is virtually everybody living 200 meters around your house, and a friend is someone you invited you to a beer last Schützenfest, fire brigades party, carnival and so on (and you never order a beer for you alone on these occasions, you always a tablet of 20 beers and distribute them).

    In the end it is quite easy to have far more than 150 people on the list and – what makes it even worse – 85% of them will come. In fact, in know more weddings over 200 guests then ones with less then 100.

    The most common format in my home region is:
    – Tax-optimized civil wedding in November or December
    – Polterabend in quite casual clothing with all invited guests plus not-invited ones either a weekend before (then it becomes a real mess) or the Thursday (then they behave a bit) before the church wedding.
    – Church wedding which everyone is entitled to attend. After the couple leaves the church people (also not-invited ones) try to hinder them with a lot of funny obstacles and they are offered a small (outdoor) reception
    – The Hochzeitsfeier in the evening is only for invited guests. If the family has a farmhouse or big garden it is quite usual to celebrate there, otherwise you go to a Gaststätte or big halls (Schützenhalle, Gemeindehaus). Maximum two short speeches, no table cards (only a “Hochzeitstisch” for the couple, close relatives and best-man/maid), buffet instead of menu, games, dancing, drinking, second buffet, dancing, drinking, party finishes when the last guest departs (often not before 5 a.m.).
    – The parents offer a breakfast next morning for the couple and their close friends.

    Summing up, these weddings are clearly community-focused instead of couple-focosed. They are big but basic. The couple gets a lot of voluntary help (food contributions, oldtimer, flowers, hair dressing, photographs, “taxi”-service) and nearly everyone (invited and non-invited ones) gives a cash present (“Westfälisches Flachgeschenk”). Hence, the parties are big but they are affordable. It is typical “long-termism”. In the long-run they or their children will rely on your support in-cash or in-kind. Although this sounds really doll-house romantic the bad thing of this conservative style is clearly that it is not YOUR day.

    Although I do not want live in a small village, again, my socialization often breaks trough. I find weddings focusing the entire time on the couple intimating. I am feeling uncomfortable when people spend a bunch of money for party … especially when they do not have it. Finest suits and long speeches I get everyday on my job. A good female friend of mine said the Bonmot “Scheiße, Hussen!” (“S***, slip covers”). Hence, I am really not a big fan of American-like weddings: I often do not like the style and I do not like the (financial) effort. I think good guests are those who drink and dance (OK, they do not have to drink alcohol … it is just a synonym for being open and authentic) and you can achieve this with easy means.

    In terms of weddings, Germany is a developing country from American perspective but although the trend clearly moves in that direction (especially in the urban areas) I hope this process will be very slow. And maybe there is also some impact in the other direction. As my Italo-American workmate showed her engagement ring to her aunties back the States she got an “Uhhh, it looks very … German” and she counterattacked with “Yeah, but it’s already paid.”

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    1. *“Uhhh, it looks very … German” and she counterattacked with “Yeah, but it’s already paid.”* That is one of the best comebacks I´ve ever heard.

      Having experienced both styles off wedding – the US style and the Austrian style (which is quite different to the rural-german style) I tend to say, the both have their advantages and disadvantages.
      The option of choosing your wedding ground is much more common in the US (like a beach, a garden, even a plane) but if you want your wedding to be an all out party, you come to Austria.
      Here, a successful wedding is one, where you leave the next day at 10am with a couple of friends and strike out to find some breakfast.

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  102. Heheh, if you want to talk culture shock (in a usually good way) try out a genuine American hillbilly married to a German.
    We had the small wedding (I got the German style wedding/engagement combo ring too) — I was very appreciative because I hate stuffiness and a lot of jewelry.
    The party involved everybody gathering at my cousin’s place on the river for a weekend long party/camp out. By the way, yep, Germans can party — but they should be careful when the bride’s cousins show up with “the good stuff” (if properly made it does go down smoothly, but first impressions may be deceiving). I think a good time was had by all; although the first meet up was interesting. The relatives seemed to get along really well — especially after that party broke the ice (along with some tableware — yeah, that shards thing was a bit of a shock).
    We’ve been married a long time, and it’s all been good (well, except for getting used to this rule about never ever being late by even a few minutes, ever — me — and the horrible, dawning realization that some people are addicted to going barefoot, often and cannot be trained otherwise — him).

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  103. To start with, I was married 28yrs to an American / German and you should know that of course Germans (born in Germany Germans) can drink you under the table; they are brought up on heavenly crafted beers from their regions! I think we should do the same in the U.S.A. (personal opinion) and we would not have “alcoholics” in masses! Germans are not only great workers but they know how to “create” an awesome party. A wedding in the USA is soooooooooo over-rated and extravagant, that it really loses the true meaning of the whole thing! I have been blessed to make the trip to Germany 5 times and each time it was harder than dirt to come home to the USA.
    For those concerned with the left hand and right hand and ring issue, make it simple…….. wear your engagement ring on the left hand but wear the wedding band on the right hand. It is a compromise, which is what part of being married is all about!
    The wedding itself should cost no more than 5k from start to finish if done reasonably. And NO engagement ring should put anyone in the poor house.

    Disclaimer: These are strictly my opinion and one does not have to agree. I have 5 children in all (all over 21) and the least costly so far has been the only daughters which cost $2k in all (includes dress, suit, engagement ring & ring set) with 73 guests (2005). step-son #2 = $17k with 82 guests (2011), son #1 = $10k with 80 guests (2013), step-son #1 = approx. 30k (numbers still pending since the wedding is in the fall of 2014) & step-son #4 = (Cost unknown since he hasn’t asked his long time girlfriend yet so no plans are pending at this time.)

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  104. By random stumbled over your blog and that made my day!
    Really laughed like hell! ☺☺☺
    All what you described appeared totally normal to me…till now.
    “Die Hochzeit” = “Die Hogtied”…”Die Hard”….Hahaha.

    Now have read all the posts here and even inside germany are some slight cultural differences.
    Well, though germans can hold their drinks, unfortunately not everyone behaves reasonably with driving. Others mentioned before that only youngsters (up to 21 years) cannot drink at all when driving. Especially some elders suffer under the impression they are wide under the allowed limit of 0.5 per mill.
    “Wenn man nicht mehr laufen kann, muss man fahren!”
    “If you cannot walk anymore, you need to drive!”
    There is an easy solution to avoid drunken early-morning-races:
    Every wedding-guest gets a comfortable bed.
    It’s ok to have several beds in one room, preferably divided by gender.
    And cause you know your family and friends very well, you know from whom you have to steal the car key and keep it till they are sober.

    In case the Polterabend takes place at the evening just before the wedding, it’s absolutely fine and accepted if the fiancés leave around midnight….you want some good looking wedding-pictures, right?
    Please, still keep the car-keys if you want to see every guest next day at your wedding and not at a police station.
    And please, throw only porcelain, ceramic or metal.
    Never ever smash glass on the Polterabend!
    Glass stands for fortune what shouldn’t be destroyed, broken mirrors are worse!
    (germans are not superstitious…Nein, Nein, Nein, Nein, Nein!)

    We saved the bride-kidnapping.
    Our mother intervened “Das gehört aber dazu!”
    But…did I mention the police station…with the drying-out cells?
    Where our father came from, a wedding party lasted leastwise 3-4 days, and nights.
    They didn’t need any drying-out cells, they had enough beds and stables in East Prussia.
    Well, our mother won…only two days…she’s a spoiler!
    Or she was disappointed about the missing bride-kidnapping!

    So, you found your german bride! ☺
    Thank you very much for a very frolic evening!
    You sound so loving and humorous, no doubt all will work wonderful with you both!
    All the best for you and your wife!
    Alles Gute aus Berlin !!!

    P.S. Actually Germany is younger than US. *wink*
    P.P.S. A german cannot help against klugscheißern. *wink* *wink*
    P.P.P.S. Yes, our drinking songs ARE retarded…but fun! *wink* *wink* *wink*

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    1. Haw haw! Great comment, Marlies! So much great information here!

      Have you ever considered starting a blog of your own? You obviously know a lot more about these German traditions than I do!

      Thank you for reading and commenting. Please come back again next week!

      Talk to you later!

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      1. Guten Morgen!
        And thank you for your friendly reply!
        Yes, thought about an own block…simply don’t have so much time…and sometimes I’m anything else but friendly *räusper*
        My block would be soon finished with an answer I would have given here to some people (will not mention names).
        But I’m an endless source of german customs and sailor songs…so, if you’re in need of sailor songs….Lalala.
        Oh, the “time” and songs reminded me to an old animated series (need to find that online), loved that as a child!
        Here a link to the intro and the song:

        So, now don’t have time anymore! ☺
        “1000 Jahre sind ein Tag!”
        “1000 years are one day!”

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      2. P.S.
        Just found the complete old series beside the intro and the song.
        It’s great that the youtube-link turned into a forecast on your site!
        And the “block” is of course a blog…Freudian typo. *blush*
        And if I’m going on like this will get soon some trouble…time, time, time (desk still full).
        Over and out…for now…

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  105. I’m marrying my German in Germany in May (well we’ve done the civil bit already – this is the church bit! Gotta love the Germans and their 2 weddings!) and your post is so true! I’m already thinking about the blank looks on the Brits faces when the Germans start doing their wedding dances, the Brits will also be extremely drunk whilst the Germans are taking it all in their stride and I definitely have a diamond engagement ring! I did have to explain this to my German though – if not my finger would have been lacking one!! We wear ours on the left too – rolling the British way!!

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  106. So awesome! I’m marrying my German guy in America on May 24th and then heading to Germany with him afterwards to live there permanently. We’ve already had some of these discussions so I found this blog to be pretty hilarious. The most recent of these discussions was when I said, “That ring isn’t my favorite, but if you like it, that’s all that matters. I don’t have to wear it.” To which he replied, “What do you mean? You don’t have matching rings in America?” Ha! Thankfully, I’m über conservative and wanted a quaint, tiny, outdoor wedding. Dress and all, the whole thing will cost about $1100 so we’re both happy in that regard. And after about 5 minutes of contemplating throwing him a Polterabend (because his traditions really are very important to me), I gave up. My mind was flooded with thoughts of, “But where do we get all those dishes we’re going to break?” and “Doesn’t that damage all the flooring?” and “Who’s going to clean up that mess?” and, my favorite “I really don’t even like parties.”

    Glad to know my German isn’t the only one who can party. Who ever heard of all-night parties that almost-40-year-old adults attend and ACTUALLY stay all night? After meeting him, I’m certain I’ve never been to a real party.

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    1. I know, right?! I’ve seen senior citizens stay up past 3am dancing and drinking. It’s glorious. :)

      Congratulations on finding your German, by the way! You have excellent taste. :)

      I wish you the very best of luck as you relocate to Germany. It will likely be the best decision you ever make. (After marrying your German, of course.)

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  107. I’m marrying my Englishman next year, I’ve been in the UK so long that I guess I could almost go “How to marry an Engländer” but this here – this is gold for him.

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  108. In the past six years of my relationship to my German bf now fiancee I have never felt more understood. You had me laughing out loud at Germans hitting on a girl, it IS adorable LOL.

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  109. Hello once again. Finally after all those thrills, excitement and tears on the documents, i finally got married to my German husband (Yippieee!!). The happiest moment of my life so far. And this blog, is very very helpful. Cause my next problem is the A1 (oh dear!). But that’s said, thanks for this blog as my husband is also from Hannover. That way, i get to have more glimpse of the life there, as i only spent two months in Deu. Cant wait for your next articles.

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  110. In point 5 it the same as Cambodian people do when they get married but in Cambodia they do it 2 days and the end point do the same German. They drink on the table too.

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  111. Being born and raised in Hannover and “Oh God, my Wife is American” (= I am ze German) made me laugh so hard about your observations… Some of the details you point out and the dryness of your delivery could be made by Loriot, the German comedian! We will be in Hannover first half of August to visit my parents and we will truly enjoy many of these typical German/Hannover specials. I am hoping to introduce my American wife to “Lutje Lagen”… Prost!

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  112. I love this! I’m ze German in a German-American relationship living in Boston and can totally relate. Whenever engagement ring or wedding discussions come up at my workplace, I shake my head in disbelief. We got married in Germany, and I had no idea of all these things until I came here. Keep on blogging, I’ll follow you from now on. Liebe Grüße!

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  113. hahah I love your blog, I am ze German wife, married to an American in Western NY, but I guess I must be weird, because I hated my first Polterabend( I was hitched before to a German) and did not want to repeat the senseless destruction of Grandmas old teacups, heck these things might be worth something some day. As for the wedding and its cost, I am frugal and my husband appreciates it,(at least I think) , and we had a beautiful wedding with 100 people, which is a lot for a German, for around $4000, careful planning had a lot to do with it and hiring local caterers that were friends too. My gown was purchase at David’s Bridal and looked way more stunning than the $ 2000 German fluffy dress I wore 14 years prior. As for the rest of our married life ,we roll American style, but when it comes to cooking , the American husband and his brothers, always go batty for a good old schweinsbraten mit kloesse and Rosenkohl , or rouladen mit Rotkohl.

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  114. Haha, this is so entertaining! I really approve of being legally able to buy at age 16. When I lived in New Zealand, everyone was like “wow, so you get pissed all the time?” – and most irritated when I said “Well, we could, but we don’t”.

    You also get educated in school about alcohol. I think this also leads to one of the lowest road death rates, even though there is no other country, where you can legally go 300 km/h on the Autobahn – traffic permitting.

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  115. Thank you so much for creating this blog- it’s amazing! My husband and I recently moved to Frankfurt, Germany from the States and I’m sure we will learn a thing or two from your posts! All the best, Jess

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  116. Thank you for creating this blog. Really awesome. lol. I am Indonesian. Im going to marry a German this December. And we are going to move to Bavaria.

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  117. I am sure there are negative n positive things bout German. But I believe my fiance will be the best husband ever. I love him so much …

    All the best…

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  118. Well I am dating a german, I come from Ecuador, south america. It´s been always hard to communicate since he doesn´t have a clue of spanish and my Deutsch its not so fluent yet, but we´ve managed it with success I guess. I´m about to go back to Germany to move in with him. (we are both 25… yes, so young). So far it has been a great experience, this is the most committed relationship we´ve ever had, and could not be more happy about it. We´ve already talk about a wedding, and I really was a little nervous about this, because I KNOW, I would like to spend a lot of money on the wedding, and I have no idea how is it for the germans to propose and get married :/ … My mother is already suffering for losing her little girl. Anyway, your blog has been helpful and now I have a better idea of what could happen to me/us.
    Danke!!

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  119. As to the issue of wearing the ring on the right or left hand.. There is a middle man to that problem! 8) Maybe it would pick up as a custom in germany.

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  120. so i have been googling: German Wedding Tradition to add to my Wedding Website for our UK & USA Guest and i stumbled upon this post. I have been following you on Twitter for a while but HOW THE HECK did i miss this post!!!
    First i was laughing my head off about all the truths you have been writing about and then i spend at least 30 minutes reading all the little stories people left on the comments (i didn’t make it to the end because i realised if i want to get my son to swimming on time i better comment now – sorry pointless fact)

    So you inspired me to write a blog post and i will give your name and this post a mention (and a link) because i think its genius!

    Reason why i want to write my own post is because i am marrying a English man with irish roots and there will be kilts (and no its apparently as much a irish thing then it is a scottish tradition) in Bavaria this Summer.
    I decided to save myself some pennies with having NO bridesmaids but to ask all my cousins to come in a red(ish) dress so i can have some nice looking “ombre” type pictures of me and the girls!
    Oh and there will be no bride kidnapping because firstly our amazing rock band would want to up there payment and i think its a little bit to excessive drinking wise and can end badly!

    Better not ask me when i finish the post because all this precise wedding planning malarky is taking up my life big time (although i am enjoying it being german and all that!) but i promise i give you a tweet once its live!

    The only thing i think you forgot (trust a german to tell you that!) is the awesomeness of having a “Tätschmeister” or basic a friend/best man/maid of honour who is organising all those funny sketches, shows and other surprises for the bride and groom with help and input from the guests.
    At my cousins wedding a few years back we held a “Lets Dance Competition” (German equal to Strictly come dancing) because they both had a love of dancing.
    I cant wait what my family/friends will come up for our big day!

    Anyway enough of me! thanks for giving a smile on my face today it was very much needed!!

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    1. Hi AK! Thank you for the kind words!

      I’m very glad you liked the post and I’m sure your own wedding post will be even better!

      Congratulations on finding your German and I hope you have a fantastic time at the wedding. Please say hello to him from us up here in Niedersachsen. (Do they wear undies under those kilts?)

      Have a great night!

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  121. My wife is actually American and I am the German. We didn’t have a big wedding, just the 2 of us at the town hall. But being to the US quite a few times and seeing all those things about an American wedding, makes me always think:

    Do you marry for love or for money?

    You forgot to mention that many women in Germany actually rent their wedding dress (it’s ridiculous to spend so much money on a dress you only wear once). Or buy one of these new dresses that look like a wedding dress and after the wedding you can take of some parts and it becomes a nice summer gown.

    And yes you are right about us partying. As a responsible father I don’t do it that much anymore, but once a year I get together with my friends (now spread all across Germany) and we party – that means nobody stops drinking before the sun is already up again. And unlike the US it is not illegal to drink in public, so we walk from club to club with a beer (or whatever one prefers) in our hand – so the “Pegel” (alcohol level) never drops to a point where you could actually be considered sober by your friends.

    And yes being drunk for the first time around age 16 you usually had your wildest drinking experiences behind you when you start driving at 18. So you have already learned how alcohol affects you.

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  122. I’m a German woman and I love American man! But now I’m sad….. cos I am different… I’m lovely, caring, easy going, down to earth, sweet and and and….
    I would love to spoil “my American ” without end!!! 💋

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  123. I’m American, marrying a Bavarian girl in Munich this coming summer. Came across this blog while trying to figure out if Germans do bridesmaids. You are a very funny writer – I commend you sir! You absolultey hit the nail on the head with the wedding cost disparity! I want a big ass wedding with everyone wearing tracht, she just thinks it will be embarrassing!

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  124. I am a Detroit man-boy who married a Schwarzwald Frau three years ago. We ended up engagement ring shopping in the states and had a very difficult time finding something for her because all she wanted was something “simple”. We would walk into a jewelry store and before we could even get the word “engagem–” out of our mouths we were magically whisked away to one of the most expensive back-lit cabinets with giant ass shiny diamonds and mountains of gold and my wife would shake her head. These are the days the American women cream up for–not so much für meine Deutsche Frau. Fifty stores later (I’m a patient man) we stumbled into (surprisingly) a nice shop that had some interesting odds and ends and actually listened to my wife. We put a beautiful $300 silver ring on her hand with lovely little filigree details and she was more than ecstatic. Endlich.

    Different culture and a different set of priorities. But what you said is right–it’s all worth it in the end.

    LG from the Black Forest.

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  125. Thank you for your hilarious article. I’ll be getting married at the local Standesamt with my German man next week and I can’t wait. We’ve been through all the paperwork and paid off all the right authorities, and all’s left now is to say “Ja, ich will.” At first it was a lot of paperwork to get ready (which took us back to Malaysia where I’m from) and back but thankfully it was all completed within 7 weeks. We’re going to hold a proper wedding reception in August but am planning to skip to whole Polterabend and ‘sawing’ ceremony. Let’s hope we’ll get away with that.

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  126. Dante schone fur dieses Post. I come from a German family on meine Mutti’s side. Only traditions you left out from the North (Bremen). It is great luck the couple run into the chimney sweeper on their wedding day and the couple must clean up the porcelain mess at their front door while their guests party inside. It demostrates how the couple works through their problems. Love Deutsche weddings!!

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  127. Don’t forget. IF you have a gun permit in Germany and get a DUI, you not only losing your drivers license, you also lose your gun permit. If you can’t control your liquor you can’t be trusted with a deadly weapon….

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