of the bride (Brautentführung
) is a harmless, widespread wedding
custom in (mostly rurual) Germany
. During the reception
, some time after everyone's had some of the wedding cake
and some dancing
, the groom
's friends will kidnap the bride, and the groom has to find her. This tradition
symbolizes the bride leaving her family, being "taken away".
There are many variations: the most common is that the bride and her kidnappers go to a bar or restaurant and order drinks for everyone. When the groom finds them, he has to "buy back" the bride by settling the bill. In Bavaria, the whole affair is more ritualized, and the bride is taken to a different tract of the inn. The groom is outfitted with an apron, a broom and a candle (all symbolical) and then lead to the bride where he has to play a couple of humiliating games to win her back while the guests watch and get drunk. This gives the catering staff time to prepare dinner in the main reception room. Another custom is to give the groom a broom disguised with some clothers instead of his bride when he doesn't manage to find her. And (of course) there are some bawdy stories about brides losing their virginity to the grooms's best friend before the marriage could even be consummated...