Wedding Customs, have survived mostly in rural areas, elsewhere in simplified or altered forms. On the eve of the wedding the Polterabend (stag party) is celebrated. The actual day of the wedding can start with gun salutes ("Brautaufwecken" = waking the bride); the wedding party goes to church either in decorated cars (often sounding their horns) or they walk in procession. After the ceremony friends often form a lane, sometimes with articles relevant to the occupations or hobbies of the couple. Blocking the way from the church to the restaurant (which is prevented by paying a ransom or a forfeit) is particularly popular in eastern Austria. Most common traditions: photo session, wedding meal, cutting the wedding cake, special dances, "kidnapping" the bride and taking her to another restaurant and releasing her against ransom paid by the groom or bridegroom ("stealing the bride"), escorting the couple to their home, accompanied by music, blocking their front door, etc. Other traditions, less common nowadays, are the removal of the bridal wreath and veil during a special dance at midnight, special courtship and engagement customs, ceremonious transferral of the dowry, favourite days (Tuesday, Thursday) or times (after the harvest, at carnival) for weddings and inviting guests by a specially chosen person ("Hochzeitslader").
The white wedding dress probably became popular in the Empire period. Weddings in traditional costume have been particularly popular in the country since the 1960s. Other family occasions are the "silver wedding" (after 25 years), the "golden wedding" (after 50 years), the "iron wedding" (after 65 years) and the "diamond wedding" (after 70 years).
Literature#V. Geramb, Sitte und Brauch in Oesterreich, 1948; D. Duenninger, Wegsperre und Loesung, 1967; B. Deneke, Hochzeit, 1971; L. Schmidt, Hochzeitsbraeuche im Wandel der Gegenwart, 1976.