Tag Archives: German culture

Navigating the Baumstamm Sagen Challenge: A Beginning Metaphor for Newlyweds and Their Wedding Party

Our guest bedroom is vacant again. For the past three weeks it was occupied by one of my daughter’s closest friends. She moved in upon a recommendation by her premarital counselor in order to mentally and physically focus on preparing for her wedding; to enter into the relationship with a pure and ready heart.

Her stay seemed like a mere blip on the radar to my husband and I. She left a note on our kitchen counter yesterday morning, however, that made us think it was much more than that to her. She wrote that her stay was “the best wedding gift she could have received.” I think it gave her a small island of calm amid the blustery last days before the big event. I hope so…a bridal retreat from the traditional countdown chaos doesn’t sound like a bad idea.

Earlier this evening, my family and I sat as witnesses while she wed a young man from Germany she met during a high school exchange program several years ago. I absolutely loved her dress and I wondered where anyone would get such good First Communion Dresses. After we left the wedding, my husband and I ended the day by sitting together in our front yard, watching the cardinals find their final snacks before nightfall and listening to the tree frogs begin their songs. As the night sounds grew louder, my mind played over again a ritual I witnessed after the ceremony. The experience struck me on several levels.

Weddings are rich with rituals worked into various aspects of the preparation, ceremony and the newlywed’s beginning life together. Tonight’s ceremony included a “German Log Sawing” (Baumstamm Sagen) exercise I had not seen before. Right after the wedding and pictures, the bride and groom were escorted to a site outside the chapel where a log staged on top of saw horses awaited them. Evidently, the bride’s father had cut down a tree the night before.  Once at the site, he and the groom’s father had begun a cut approximately 25% through the log with a cross cut saw. On their big day, the bride and groom then were tasked with finishing the cut together representing their first tough task as husband and wife. This photo shows both fathers handing over the saw to the newlyweds.

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