Gun Shots Fired! It’s Austrian Wedding Traditions

One Saturday morning in early May (to be exact it was 5 am) our family was woken up by a sound of explosions and gut shots fired. Something like this doesn’t happen very often in our quiet Tyrolean village. We ran outside to find a group of 8 to 10 young men setting up what look like explosives and shooting bullets in the air from a big riffle.

We were so outraged and scared that we tried to call the police. But nobody answered at 5 am on Saturday morning. I am now convinced that the Austrian police can only be reached 9 to 5 on weekdays.  Annoyed and tired, we decided to collect the evidence and go to the local police station later that day.  We recorded a video of the shooting and took some pictures. Surprisingly, nobody else seemed to be bothered by what was happening. They must have heard the shots! Our whole building shook from the noise!

Later on our way to the police station we ran into our Austrian neighbor. First thing we asked him: “Did you hear the shots? Something terrible was happening here this morning!” He smiled and said: “Oh, the wedding… Yeah, I have heard it but I went right back to sleep”.

It turns out that shooting on the day of the wedding is one of the old Austrian wedding traditions. Usually, the groom is woken up by his friends early in the morning. The troublemakers have to get a permit from the village authorities and shooting is allowed starting at 6 am. After being woken up in such a brutal fashion, the shooters are invited to breakfast by the bride and the groom.


Bullets used to shoot out the groom

When I tried to mention to my Austrian friends that such shooting can be dangerous and disrupt the sleep of the neighbors, they laughed in my face. They were really surprised to find out that there was no shooting at American weddings.  Now we are reluctantly waiting for next Saturday. We were warned that during the summer wedding season shootings are expected almost every Saturday.

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