A Remembrance of the Past; Building for the Future." ~ Eve Eckert Koehler

Remembering Our Danube Swabian Ancestors

Wedding Customs

by Dr. Viktor Pratscher
(Die Deutschen der Gemeinde Feketic-Feketitsch by Dr. Viktor Pratscher, 1936)
Translated by Brad Schwebler

     The engagement was still always celebrated in the home of the fiancée.  Besides good manners, bad habits have also become established.  So for example the bridal couple lived together until the wedding and the bride went to the altar with a veil on after that.  On the Sunday before the wedding the "Hochzeitläder" were invited. 

A quotation from old times records:

          "The bride's father and mother,
           The bridegroom and the young bride
           Let us invite to a pig roast
           To a glass of red and white wine
           On Thursday the wedding should be."  

by the X.Y.: Bolz Schorr, (Karbiener?)  bring along food, mouths blocked in the pigeonhole The "Läder" (guests) received a glass of wine everywhere and a beautiful ribbon on their  cane besides a present.

    The loaded guests would think about taking part in the wedding.  So the day before a roast and a present were stacked up in the wedding hall.  So it is still today.  The bridesmaid carries in the necessary cooking china in baskets decorated with ribbons.

Bride covered with ribbons from the year 1897.
Heinrich Weißmann (who died a hero) and Susanna nee Dietrich.

     One hundred years ago there were only two ushers and two bridesmaids.  Their number grew with the times from 10 to 15 couples.  The wedding was held in the morning at an inn.  The music was at first gotten by the bridegroom, then by the bride.  Before the aisle, about 11 o'clock, the bride was asked to come out.  After that, first a limping woman and then an old woman were turned away, then the bride appeared.  The wedding procession walked down the aisle to the music of a brass band decorated with ribbons. Then came the groom with a large bouquet in his hat with more colorful ribbons which reached from his hat to the middle of his back. 

     He went between his two bystanders who had a twig with a beautiful "Schleppchen?" holding "Rosmarein" (rosemary).  After them followed the other men.  The women went with the bride. led by two ushers ahead of them, then followed the two bridesmaids.  The procession was decided by the fathers of the bride and groom.  The mothers of the bride and groom did not go to the wedding ceremony.  For the past century the bride has worn a black or white dress with a wreath on her head.  The head, shoulders, and chest were covered with ribbons which were put on by acquaintances, in the house, on the street, and especially by the church door.  Also the bridesmaids have a wreath and ribbons, but only on the heads.  The usher has a bouquet in the hat with a ribbon.  From the church the groom led the bride.  In the inn the bridal dance began, during which the groom dances with his bride in the way of a "Ländler?" and the ushers danced with their bridesmaids. 


Cooks at the large wedding of Karl Morrell and Sophia Gutwein in 1928

Wedding in the year 1932

     After that the dancers changed through a quick succession of partners.  At the table the men secretly grabbed hold of their women.  The midday meal consisted of soup, beef with sauce, sauerkraut with pork and roast.  The groom helped serving the dishes with a white apron tied on.  Drinking was from passing the bottle around.  The guests bring their "food" with them today.  After the midday meal there was dancing until the evening meal which consisted of sour soup (Sauereße), (Paprikasch) and roast.  The weddings usually lasted two days.  Brides have not worn ribbons for the past 30 years, but the beautiful ribbons of the mother and grandmother can still be seen under glass in many homes.  Today the bride goes to the altar in a white dress with a veil or a beautiful black dress in the church.  She is led by the first usher (best man), after her follows the groom with the first bridesmaid (maid of honor).  The weddings take place in the afternoon.  At the dinner the bride and groom sit at the place of honor.  The ushers sit with the bridesmaids and the married couples sit next to each other.  An important part of the meal is the baked goods.  The guests who had endured since early morning had music played to them on the way home. - Such a large wedding is a rarity today.  Usually there is a dry wedding which takes place on Sunday afternoon.  The guests are invited to the church entrance and from there they go home.  Often they get together again in the evening at a pub where they just danced and each one paid his own bill.

     In cases of death the vigil of the body (wake?) and "Leicheninse?"  were introduced earlier.  Since then there is a hearse since most of the dead are no longer carried on the bier.  On the occasions of funerals the neighbors help in the home as well as at the cemetery.

[Published at 2004 by Jody McKim Pharr]