What Is the German Wedding Tradition Sawing a Log All About?
Are you or your partner of German heritage and planning to take part in Baumstamm Sägen, the German wedding tradition sawing a log at your wedding ceremony? The log represents the first obstacle the newlyweds must overcome, in a lifetime of inevitable future obstacles. With a two-handle long saw, they work as a team (cheered on by their guests) until that log is successfully cut in two. I love it! You can’t get much more literal about what it means to be partners than that.
It’s a fantastic tradition to bring into any multicultural wedding with German heritage, like Sean and Bernhard’s wedding on Love Inc (and photos from the talented Lovebird Studio). One of the best “real wedding” stories I’ve ever read about embracing all wedding cultures, it is the story of their wedding in Pennsylvania on a day that celebrated weddings and love in all forms. As well as mixing in Bernhard’s German traditions, they incorporated loads of traditions from all of their friends’ backgrounds. I highly recommend you go straight to the blog & photographer for inspiration (and then come back here to learn how to saw your own wedding log).
Items You’ll Need
To do it you’ll need:
- A log – preferably a medium-sized old dry one (much easier to cut!). To add extra meaning, a resourceful family member could gift it to you
- A saw – a long saw with two handles (make sure it’s sharp, and out of harm’s way before and after the ceremony)
- A saw horse, like this one
- A wedding venue or church that doesn’t mind you bringing your own carpentry equipment to your wedding – an outdoor space or barn wedding is perfect for easy clean up
- A few friends to help set it up
When to Do It
Traditionally sawing the log takes place just after the ceremony, as the couple leave the church (you don’t want any other obstacles popping up before you have a chance to get to your log). You could also save it for during the reception, but don’t have too many drinks first. Be sure to ask some trusted friends to set it up ahead of time.
How to Do It
Here’s a short video from the wedding of Zach and Kody. I’ve seen it done where the fathers of the bride & groom lift the log into place at the start, which is a nice way for both families to work together.
Real Multicultural Weddings – German Wedding Tradition – Sawing a Log
Here are some more real brides & grooms honoring this German tradition at their weddings – you can find more details and inspiration on the linked blogs:
Kelsey & Kagan’s beautiful wedding* from Green Wedding Shoes
It’s always great to give the guests not from your family’s background (and photographer) a heads up about any special cultural traditions during your wedding. If you have a wedding website, you can add a short paragraph and some links describing what the log sawing is and anything they might need (like keeping small children from sharp saws). Otherwise you could add it to your wedding programme, or keep it a surprise (but still give parents of small children some warning).
*Kelsey makes an excellent point in her real wedding story – this German tradition was her husband’s only wedding request and while it didn’t quite match her idea of the perfect Pinterest wedding she reluctantly agreed. It’s no surprise that sawing the log turned out to be an amazing, fun experience for the newlyweds (and I’m sure a unique event their guests are still talking about)! Don’t be afraid to add unusual customs to your wedding – if they have special meaning to you, they will be totally worth it!
Want to Read More?
There is a really thoughtful piece here about what the log cutting ceremony all means.
Are you planning to have a German log sawing ceremony in your wedding, or have you seen it done differently? Please leave a comment below.