04/17/2012 02:03 pm ET

My Feats Of Manliness

On the morning of my wedding, in the tiny alpine village in Slovenia in which my fiancée grew up, I walked with my best men and a trail of 100 guests up the curling road to the tiny Baroque church on the hilltop. As I turned the bend, I was stopped by a rope strung across the path. A cluster of stern and angry people I’d never met stood blocking my way. They carried Medieval-looking implements: A long rusty saw, an ax, an old scythe and a wooden pitchfork. If I was planning to marry my Slovenian fiancée, I first had to pass the “tests of manliness.”