Shenandoah Valley for Ukraine

Shenandoah Valley for Ukraine

Shenandoah Valley for Ukraine

I organized a donation to Shenandoah Valley for Ukraine, and I have good reasons for it. To stand for democracy, humanity, and peace are three of them.

Last year, after 32 years, I left my former home in Maryland for good and moved to the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. The region is just breathtaking. It feels like living in the clouds surrounded by mountains. Pampered by my new home and its surroundings, I became even more aware of how good life is for us, whereas others live in pain and loss.

Counting on the support of the communities, we will collect items urgently needed in Ukraine. If you live close to Winchester, Va, help would be greatly appreciated. I will attach the flyer with all the necessary information. You might already have one or other items at home and don’t need to buy them. Just drop them off at the locations mentioned in the flyer.

If you don’t live close to Winchester, Va, you can donate to the St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Silver Spring, Maryland. 100% of the donations will go to Ukraine.

I like to thank you for your support.

As always, yours, Oma

Shenandoah Valley for Ukraine

Shenandoah Valley for Ukraine


Traditional German Sunday and Authentic German Recipes

German Traditional Sunday! Great food and a greater sense of community

German Traditional Sunday

As I look back at my life, growing up in a small town in Germany, I’m reminded how important the German traditional Sunday was in bringing the community and families together. The atmosphere; that special feeling of warmth, joy, and togetherness; was only outdone by the magic of the Christmas and Easter holidays. Nevertheless, this “day of rest” was always a time cherished by every member of the family—and the traditional Sunday meal was a big reason why. (See my traditional Sunday menu recipes below.) Preparations for the gathering started on Saturday, and everyone had responsibilities, including the children. And the reward—from the brisket and dumplings to the cakes and puddings—couldn’t be more delicious.

Sunday Meal

Preparation of German Traditional Sunday

On Saturdays, my mother would wake up early to run errands—visiting the local butcher, bakery, and grocery store. As a young child, I always liked to join her because the butcher would give me a free sample bologna. But we had to hurry, all the stores closed at 1 pm for the rest of the weekend until Monday. And soon, my older brothers would be returning from school. That’s right, we had school on Saturdays. Luckily, kindergarteners, like myself, were spared.

Back home, mother would start cleaning the house and preparing the soup and the vegetables. She would also make two cakes for Sunday afternoon, one simple one and one that was more of a pastry. While all this was going on, my siblings and I helped with the chores and we each shared different responsibilities. It was serious work, but we knew if we did a good job, we would soon be playing outside with our friends. I loved to shoot marbles. And I was good at it, often beating the older boys in the neighborhood. The other kids would walk on stilts or buckets. Some girls played the Chinese rope or hopscotch. Many children would also gather rocks of varying colors to draw and decorate the sidewalks and streets. It was a fun time for sure.


Saturday’s final task was sweeping the streets. It was a chance to chat with the neighbors during this communal activity. However, when the church bells rang (at 5:00 pm in the winter and at 6:00 pm in summer) all the children knew it was time to go home—but not before picking up the milk from the farmer who lived three houses down the road. When we arrived home, the water for the bath was heated up in a large kettle over a wood fire. (This kettle was also used to wash the laundry and to cook the sausages after butchering once a year.)

[Pictured on the right, a photo of my grandmother (in the center) picking up her milk.]


After bathtime was dinnertime. The meal consisted of fresh bread, an assortment of cheeses, homemade pickles, fresh-picked vegetables from the garden, the ham my father painstakingly smoked, and homemade sausages (which were preserved in jars or cans from the last butchering). I didn’t care much for the sausages, but loved the fat (Schmalz) that formed on the top. When dinner was finished, it was time for bed. Bedtimes, of course, depended on our ages. Out of seven kids, I was the third youngest.

A German traditional Sunday morning began with breakfast—and the first slices of mother’s cake were served. Soon, we would have to get ready for church or Sunday school. My mother would give us a choice between the two. (My brothers and I usually picked Sunday school because we could do arts & crafts. On nice days, we even played outside.)

[A picture of two of my brothers and I at Sunday School.]

Routine German Traditional Sunday

Afterwards, we would come home and the table was already set and lunch was prepared. Out of respect, and because he was the main breadwinner, my father was served first. After lunch, we would help my mother hand-wash the dishes. My father would take a little nap on the chaise lounge that sat in the kitchen. Later,  we either go for a walk or entertain visiting relatives. I wouldn’t want to miss those times because, in addition to the coffee that was served, there was mother’s pastry. So good.

These German traditional Sunday experiences are truly memorable. It was a time when children could feel safe but also independent. The whole village would come together—sharing in responsibilities and looking out for one another. It was a community in every sense of the word. Even as children, we understood our part in helping out around the house and in the neighborhood.

Today, as a grandmother of five, I do my best to uphold the traditions and support the values that keep us all connected. It starts with the meal. So, without further ado, let’s eat!

Yours, Oma

Scroll down to click on the recipes for a traditional Sunday meal

German Traditional Sunday Food

Bone Marrow Soup (Markklöβchensuppe)

German Beef Soup Recipe

Bone Marrow Dumplings (Markklöβchen)

Savoy Cabbage (Wirsing)

German Savoy Cabbage

Brisket with Horseradish Sauce (Suppenfleisch mit Meerrettichsoβe)

Horseradish Sauce

Chocolate Pudding with Vanilla Sauce (Schokoladenpudding mit Vanillesoβe)

Easy Chocolate Pudding Recipe

Apple Cake on a Sheet (Apfelkuchen auf dem Blech)

German Cheese Cake (Käsekuchen)

Traditional German Cheesecake

You’re all set for one of the typical German traditional Sunday lunch menus. Thanks to one of my grandsons who volunteered to be the taste tester. 

Traditional German Sunday



Octoberfest Party Guide

Oktoberfest Party Guide. The ultimate guide to hosting a real Oktoberfest party in your backyard.

Oktoberfest Party Guide

Think Oktoberfest is all about beer? Think again. Just as important as those amazing Bavarian lagers are the authentic Oktoberfest dishes that make every Oktoberfest party so special. With good food and good drinks, come good times. And you will find everything you need to host a successful Oktoberfest beer garden festival in this quick Oktoberfest Party Guide! The best traditional recipes. The top-ten beers. And the greatest Oktoberfest playlist ever. It’s all here in this Oktoberfest  party guide. So, let’s get the party started!

Please scroll down to find all recipes, drinks and music

Oktoberfest Party Guide Decoration

Where it started

What started in Munich in the year of 1810, has spread across the world and is more popular today than ever. Traditionally, Oktoberfest starts in September and last until the beginning of October. The most famous Oktoberfest festival is in Munich at the Wiesn. Let’s recreate the magic of this fun-filled German beer fest celebration in a way that would make King Ludwig l proud.

Welcome your guests by decorating your home in blue and white—the traditional colors of the state of Bavaria. You can theme your surroundings with these Oktoberfest party suppliesincluding banners, table cloth, cups, napkins, and more. Keep your fine china in the cabinets and use simple and rustic seating and place settings. If the weather is accommodating, host your private beer festival outside in the garden. Maybe rent a tent for the backyard. Look for a picnic area, perhaps. Or, take it to the streets and get the whole neighborhood together for an Oktoberfest block party.

Most importantly, keep the Oktoberfest beer cold and music going. And don’t forget to launch the opening of your party with the official “O zapft is” cry—which refers to tapping of the first beer keg.

I wish you a wonderful Oktoberfest party with family and friends. And as always, let me know how it goes!




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Emmenthaler with Salt and Pepper

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Obatzda (spiced chess-butter-spread)

Obatzda Cheese Butter Spread


Typical Oktoberfest recipes that brings everyone to the table. So good. So flavorful. So German!

Pork Roast with Gravy

German Pork Roast Recipe


Bratwurst for Oktoberfest Party Guide


Frikadellen – German Meatball Patties



There’s plenty of room on that plate. Complement your main dish with some of these old fashioned homemade side dishes.

Soft Pretzel

Homemade Pretzels

Mashed Potatoes

IMG_5989 (1)


German Coleslaw Recipe

German Potato Salad

German Potato Salad


It’s not the end of the party – just the end of the course. A variety of apple cakes to choose from. Change the plate, go back to the table and load it up with one of the apple desserts to give your meal a satisfying finish.

Apple Cake with Vanilla Sauce

Simple Apple Cake for Oktoberfest Party Guide

Sunken Apple Cake

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Apple Streusel Cake

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You don’t have to travel all the way to Munich to find a brewery that pairs well with your Oktoberfest celebration.

Here are Oma’s Top 10 Oktoberfest Beers

10 Best Oktoberfest Beers

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No Oktoberfest Party is complete without the perfect soundtrack. From traditional to modern, folk to country, this 35-track German Oktoberfest playlist will get swaying and raising the glasses. Best of all, each track is linked to listen in. If you like it, you can download. Let’s celebrate! Just hit play.

35 Favorite Oktoberfest Songs

German Schlager Volume Three

German Schlager Volume Three of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s

By the end of the ’70s, early ’80s, musicians experimented with the music while…

German Schlager Music of the 50s and 60s

German Schlager Music of the ’50s and ’60s

The catchy music accompanies lyrics about happy-go-lucky life and love…

Open Letter to the Oma Community

Open Letter to the Oma Community

Open Letter to the Oma Community

Dear Loyal Followers and Community,

I want to inform you about the new ideas of this blog using this open letter to the Oma community.

As many of you know, I started the blog The Oma Way five years ago with the intent initially to pursue it as a hobby. It gave me the chance to continue doing what I have always done. Sharing German recipes and homemaking ideas with others to preserve German heritage and cultural traditions.

Development of the blog

I never imagined that this blog would mushroom into something so significant, also in terms of scope, with more than 38,000 followers on Facebook. Many more visitors on my actual website, permanently work that touches so many people around the world. Likewise, the community that I was able to create had touched and inspired me and is also the reason I continue working so diligently to keep up with the website.

Based on the traffic, the expenses for the services to maintain the website are high, including the purchase of goods for preparing the recipes, completing the photography, and computer help. I find myself at the crossroad trying to figure out how to sustain this work on my blog.

Ideas how to cover expenses

Some people have advised me on how to make money with my blog to cover the expenses. Still, I was not particularly fond of the recommendations. Having adds on the site would negatively change its look. Getting paid by clicks seldom generates enough money to cover the costs and finding sponsors? I wouldn’t even know how and where to begin.

My goal was to keep the look and functionality of the blog intact. I have the impression that you like it too and feel like coming home entering “The Oma Way.” I also want to continue connecting personally with you, which is very important to me. I like working with and for you in sharing German culture, traditions, recipes, and much more.

How to support “The Oma Way”

After giving myself some time to think it through, I believe I found a solution to the cost problem. Friends suggested I create and design merchandise for sale using the pictures I took in and around my house. They are mainly impressions from my life that have been received so dearly by all of you. I started to design the mugs and expanded the idea to include tote bags that could be used instead of plastic bags while shopping. To purchase cookbooks, mugs, or bags, click here.

New ideas are always welcome. Just send me an email using the contact form.

With much gratitude and appreciation, Oma

German Karneval Mardi Gras

German Karneval Mardi Gras

German Karneval Mardi Gras. The food, the fun, the Fasching! Helau and Alaaf!

When the German Karneval Mardi Gras season starts

German Karneval Mardi Gras or Carnival (Karneval) goes by a lot of different names: Fasching, Fastnacht, and Fassenacht. But it all means one thing… fun! Germans consider this time “the fifth season” of the year, and it starts on November 11, or specifically, on 11.11 at 11:11 am. The festivity will reach its peak the following year with a six-day celebration that ends before Ash Wednesday (February 10). That’s right; it’s the last days of eating, drinking, and merriment before the start of Lent.

The carnival season has its strongholds in Germany’s Rhineland, Rhinish Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia, Franconia, Lusatia and Baden-Württemberg, but is celebrated in other regions, as well.

German Karneval Mardi Gras Prinzenpaar1 (1)

During the event, a prince or a royal couple (Prinzenpaar) governs Karneval with the support of the Elferrat – an eleven-member council of the kingdom of fools and includes their royal retinue.

German Karneval Mardi Gras Elferrat

Peak of German Karneval Mardi Gras

The Fasching ritual starts on Fat Thursday (fetter or schmotziger Donnerstag). This is not to be confused with Fat Tuesday in the states. The Fat Thursday is an unofficial holiday that celebrates the Weiberfastnacht—the celebration of women. The fun starts at 11:11 am, when the ladies take over town hall and the mayor symbolically hands over the key to the city. From here on out, the women rule. So men, be careful out there. A lovely lady has the right to cut off your tie. In return, you may get a kiss—or two, if you’re lucky.

German Karneval Mardi Gras Taking over Town Hall

The party continues on Sooty Friday (Ruβiger Freitag). In the evening, the main TV stations broadcast the carnival proceedings under the direction of the Elferrat. This four-hour show is filled with dances, sketches, and speeches from a soap box. In front of this platform, you’ll find usually the traditional Till Eulenspiegel—a character that’s your typical joker. 

German Karneval Mardi Gras Speeches

Throughout the evening, the performances are very professional and include dancers (Tanzmariechen) who, at a very young age, already mastered the sophisticated dance moves and impressive leg kicks.

Click pictures to enlarge.

German Karneval Mardi Gras Show Dancing

Tanz3-2 Tanzmarie1 Kinder

Schmaltzy Saturday (Schmalziger Samstag or Nelken Samstag) is the quiet before the storm. It starts with little parades throughout smaller cities on Sunday (Kappes or Tulpen Sonntag) —leading to larger parades on Rosenmontag in much bigger cities like Mainz, Duesseldorf, and Cologne. On Shrove Monday (Rosenmontag), TV stations broadcast the parades that are full of revelry, marching, satirical floats, and all-around amusement. Spectators leave extra early to secure places in the front rows to catch all the action.

German Karneval Mardi Gras Spectators

unspecified-1  KranHaengen  clowns

In the crowd, spectators are prepared with bags to collect goodies tossed to them by the parade participants. When the head of the parade arrives, everybody knows to throw their arms up to greet the groups with a loud and clear “HELAU!” or “ALAAF!” These enthusiastic greetings differ depending on the region. The parades are very diverse with a variety of cultural backgrounds represented. It is truly a unified festival for all to enjoy.

German Karneval Mardi Gras "Helau"

German Karneval Mardi Gras Parade  Afrika  Mexikaner

The height of Mardi Gras is on Shrove Tuesday (fetter Dienstag or Veilchendienstag—Fat Tuesday in America). Traditionally, the day ends with masquerade ball (Lumpenball). At midnight, the people attending the dance remove their masks and reveal their true identities. In some regions, they even burn a straw doll which, conveniently, removes any sins committed during the carnival season.

All rituals and festivities are accompanied by traditional music that is well-known by every generation. Click on the link below to learn more and have a listen.

The ultimate playlist for Mardis Gras. 44 great carnival songs!

German Karneval Mardi Gras Music

During carnival, Germans typically enjoy two kinds of food: spicy or sweet. Click on the links below to discover my traditional Mardi Gras recipes.

Helau and Alaaf! Yours, Oma

Special thank you to photographer Mattias Kehrein for sharing with me his wonderful Mardi Gras celebration photos. All rights reserved.

Oma’s traditional German Recipes for German Karneval Mardi Gras:

Goulash Soup with Venison or Beef – Gulaschsuppe mit Wild

Goulash Soup

German Meatloaf (False Hare)—German Hackbraten (Falscher Hase)

German Meatloaf False Hare Falscher Hase

Potato Soup – Kartoffelsuppe


Skewered Curry Meatballs (Curry Hackfleischbällchen Igel)


Confetti Dip – Konfetti Dip


Waldorf Salad – Waldorfsalat


Apple and Onion Pork-Lard Spread (Schweineschmalz mit Äpfeln und Zwiebeln)


German Doughnuts (Fastnachtskrapfen, Fasnachtsküchle, Kreppel, Kräppel, Berliner)


Red-Wine Cake and Red-Wine Cupcakes – Rotweinkuchen und Rotweincupcakes



Black and white cookies with M&M’s – Amerikaner


Traditional German Christmas Cookies

Traditional German Christmas Cookies Recipes

Traditional German Christmas Cookies

The Traditional German Christmas Cookies are offering a large selection of recipes, and all with quite a story. Some cookies are easier to prepare than others. Butter, eggs, flour, sugar, spices, and a variety of nuts are basic ingredients. The baking goods have a few things in common which are the delicious taste, the typical smell in the kitchen pointing towards Christmas, and the creation of memories with children and grandchildren.

Linzer Cookies – Fruit Filled Butter Cookies

German Butter Cookies   

German Butter Cookies

German Butter Cookies

When to start baking the Cookies:

The holiday baking season begins before the First of Advent so that these tasty treats will be ready for consumption on that most anticipated day. The ladies of the house will carefully ration, hide, and monitor the cookies in tin boxes—making sure they last until Christmas. Each week, one new kind of traditional German Christmas cookies is added to the mix. The last enticing offering is called the “Kalte Pracht,” which means “Cold Splendor.” Between light, thin wafers is an irresistible chocolate-, rum-, and coconut-butter spread. I always had to make it the day before Christmas Eve, or else they would never have lasted.

German Spritz Cookies

German Spritz Cookies   

German Hazelnut Macaroon Recipe

German Hazelnut Macaroon Recipe

Original Macaroons Recipe

Baking with Children the Traditional German Christmas Cookies

Children are always a big part of the baking process of Traditional German Christmas Cookies. After all, they need to learn the recipes and skills to pass them along to their children. Just as important is knowing, when to make the cookies. Look outside. When the cold winter days get shorter, and the reddish sunset sky paints the perfect holiday backdrop, it is time for Christkind to bake the cookies.

Original German Gingerbread Recipe

Original German Gingerbread Recipe

German Gingerbread Elisenlebkuchen

German Gingerbread Elisenlebkuchen

German Spekulatius Cookie Recipe

German Spekulatius Cookie Recipe

German Marzipan Cookies Bethmaennchen

German Marzipan Cookies Bethmaennchen

German Marzipan Potatoes Recipe

German Marzipan Potatoes Recipe

Traditional German Springerle Recipe

Traditional German Springerle Recipe

German Pfeffernuesse Cookies

German Pfeffernuesse Cookies

My children also started to help baking the Christmas cookies at a young age. Since I always made the cookies from scratch—which entails grinding the nuts, shaping the decorations, and using only fresh ingredients—there was a lot to do. My oldest son had the responsibility of peeling, drying, and grinding the almonds. My older daughter was in charge of helping me to shape the cookies while my younger daughter helped to make the icing and sugar flowers. The youngest one made himself responsible for taste-testing the dough. One thing is for sure, my children and grandchildren never want to miss the cookies. My grandson just told me, “Oma, you need to hide them.” Translation: He is coming back and wants to eat some more. His sister agreed.

German Lemon Heart Cookies

German Lemon Heart Cookies

Vanilla Horn Cookies

Vanilla Horn Cookies

German Cinnamon Star Cookies

German Cinnamon Star Cookies

How I took over the baking power:

I was always my mother’s assistant when it came to baking Authentic German Christmas Cookies, until one year when I was 14, I had to take over. My mother was ill, and the thought of no cookies on Christmas made everyone else feel sick, too. So, nervously, I accepted the challenge. I mean, helping was one thing but doing it all on my own was another. The cookies, however, turned out so well that I happily inherited the responsibility year after year. The immediate and extended family members approved to the transition of the cookie power. They always enjoyed their fair share of cookies. Every Christmas season, I would try a new recipe. The ones I mastered made it to my binder. Throughout the years, I have collected many recipes. Now I could not be more pleased to share the recipes of German Christmas Cookies with you and your family.

Traditional German Thumbprint Christmas Cookies

Traditional German Thumbprint Christmas Cookies

German Anise Christmas Cookies

German Anise Christmas Cookies

Chocolate Cookies Recipe

Chocolate Cookies Recipe

Traditional German Oatmeal Cookies

Traditional German Oatmeal Cookies

Merry Christmas

I hope you get to try some of these delicious Traditional German Christmas Cookies with your family. And if you have children, put some Christmas music on and get them involved. It will be a great memory for them. And for you, as well. Please share your stories. And I will keep sharing my recipes!

German Recipe Kalter Hund – Heinerle

German Recipe Kalter Hund - Heinerle

Orange Liqueur Cookies

Orange Liqueur Cookies

Homemade German Rum Balls

Homemade German Rum Balls

Cognac Cookies Recipe

Cognac Cookies Recipe

German Nut Corners Recipe

German Nut Corners Recipe

Chocolate Dipped Almond Horns Recipe

Chocolate Dipped Almond Horns Recipe

It’s the Christmas baking season. Cookies, anyone?

Happiest of holidays! _Oma

Traditional German Christmas Cookies Recipes

German Wedding Traditions

German Wedding Traditions – getting married in Germany and how to celebrate

German Wedding Traditions

German Wedding Traditions and how to celebrate in three steps. It starts with the Polterabend followed by the legal ceremony at the city hall, Standesamt. The church wedding is the final celebration and highlight. The sequence of the festivities are flexible, and the traditions vary depending on regions.

German Traditions – The Polterabend

The Polterabend is the evening before the City Hall Wedding, to give friends, colleagues from work, and acquaintances a chance to celebrate with the bride and groom and their families. Usually, there is no invitation, and the size of the party depends on how well the couple is known or involved in the community life. The guests arrive with porcelain dishes, plates and sometimes with even larger parts like porcelain sinks and smash them to bring luck. The Bride and groom have to clean up the broken pieces, to demonstrate, that they can work together.

German Wedding Traditions

The evening of the Polterabend is filled with entertainment such as; speeches, songs, and sketches performed by friends while eating simple food and mostly drinking beer.

Traditional German Wedding Polterabend

German Wedding Traditions – City Hall – Standesamt

The City Hall Wedding makes the marriage legal, whereas the church wedding is optional. Registering at the office was done already weeks ahead and includes picking the date and the choice of the last name. Only the witnesses to the wedding, closest family members, and sometimes close friends are present during this official part.

City Hall German Wedding Traditions

German Wedding Traditions – Church Ceremony

The Church Wedding is open to everyone. At the Church Wedding, the bride wears a white dress and either a veil or some hair decoration. I used to have a wreath of myrtle since this was a tradition over generations in my family. I bought my shoes with pennies, which I collected over the years in an oversized cognac bottle, another wedding tradition. The groom wears a suit or tuxedo. The wedding bands are simple identical rings without diamonds. They are worn on the left hand after the engagement and changed to the right side during the church ceremony. The groom has to pay for the bride’s flowers and the flowers that decorate the hood of the car. It is an honor to drive the bride and groom. I picked the husband of my godmother whom I always wanted to marry as a child.

How the church service will take place is discussed ahead with the priest. The bride and groom pick the songs, music and a quotation (Trauspruch) from the Bible they want to have as their motto for their marriage. The bride and groom enter the church together after family, friends, and guests are seated.

Church Ceremony German Wedding Traditions

After the Church Service

After the vows and the exchanging of the rings, the newlyweds follow the priest leaving the church. Sometimes spectators are waiting outside to welcome the new husband and wife while throwing rice at them. The couple needs to pass a formed honor guard before they can receive the best wishes and congratulations from the guests who attended the church service.

The cars of the wedding party are decorated with a white ribbon on the side or front and will drive in a procession to the reception while honking the horn. The wedding car usually has empty cans bound together with a cord attached to the back of the vehicle.

Reception of a German Wedding

The reception starts with an opening speech and followed by the first waltz danced by the bride and groom.

Reception German Wedding Traditions

After cutting the wedding cake, entertainment with music, games, and tricks will continue. The most of the cakes are prepared by family members and friends like a Mocha Buttercream Cake, Frankfurter Kranz Cake, Traditional Black Forest Cake, and Sunny Side Up Cake, to mention a few. At one point the bride will be kidnapped by friends of the groom and hidden in one of the many restaurants in the town. The groom has to search for the bride and only then can he get her back after paying for the drinks everybody in the restaurant consumed. Sometimes he also needs to pay for a box of beer or wine to buy his wife free. Back at the wedding celebration, more challenges are waiting for them.

One of the traditions could be drinking from one cup (wedding or bridal cup) at the same time without spilling the drink.

Traditional German Wedding - Wedding Cup

Tricks on the newlyweds

The bride and groom can expect some more surprises at their home after the party. There might be plastic cups filled with water on stairs or the entrance area. The bedroom could be filled with balloons, or the bed could have been taken apart. Finding their car could be difficult because friends might have lifted it and carried it away to a different place and wrapped it in toilet paper.

Those and many more ideas are part of the German Wedding Traditions. Setups of situations during the celebration to force the bride and groom to solve their problems together while working hand in hand.

Traditional German Wedding Tricks on Bride and Groom