Open your eyes and look around, you will see people in fancy clothes, hear the music on the background and everyone around you dancing in weird poses. Someone offers you a vodka, service brings another portion of food, you are already tired but you know that you will not go to sleep until early morning hours. Take it easy, you are just at a Polish wedding.
Summer season is perfect time to get married. You can especially expecta lot of invitations in June, August, September or October because in Polish these months contain the letter “R”. People believe that having wedding during one of these months bring a lot of luck. If you are person over 16, expect invitation with a partner. Even if you are actually single, it’s better to take a friend along with you. Otherwise, you will be surrounded by couples, people might feel pity for you (unless there are more single people) and grandmas will keep asking if they live on to dance at your wedding. Speaking about invitations, read them carefully, you might be only invited for ceremony in church and if yes, forget about having party with all the guests.
Typical Polish wedding lasts for 2 days, sometimes 3 depending on a region and degree of kinship with newlyweds. The second day called “poprawiny” which can be translated as afters and 3nd day is “klin” which has no good English word. For each day, number of guests invited is getting lower. In some parts of Poland the party starts day before the wedding when guests come to bride’s house to break the glass. You have to bring old plates, jars which bride can destroy. The point is to swipe as much of glass as she is able in order to have more luck in the future.
Most of the wedding ceremonies are held in churches as Poland is very catholic country. Before going to the church, couple needs to get blessing from the both parents. Usually they just kneel before parents who make the sign of cross and say some blessing. It’s very touching moment for families.
Ceremony in the church doesn’t last for very long but after that it’s time to say good wishes to the newlyweds and give them presents which nowadays means just money.
If you were lucky enough to be invited also for the party, immediately after hugging with the newlyweds, you should go to wedding house. It’s tasteful if all the guests wait for newlyweds there. When the couple arrives, they are welcome traditionally with bread and salt. It’s symbolic, bread is offered as a wish for couple to never feel hunger, while salt reminds of life difficulties. Usually they have also their first toast. The couple is given with two glasses, one with vodka and one with water. They don’t know which is which. According to tradition, the person who got the glass with vodka will be the dominant partner in relationship. After that couple needs to throw away their glasses, if swipe,it’s sign of good luck.
Hope that you come hungry for Polish wedding becausethe amount of food served never ends on Polish weddings. Try to eat as much as you can cos probably you will drink a lot of vodka. To not end up under the table, you need to keep balance between eating and drinking. Usually 4 or 5 hot entrees are served during the wedding, except that you can expect plenty of pastries, salads, fatty snacks, fruits and sweets. Menu is based on preferences of the couple but traditional Polish dishesare going to be served as well. Borstch (made by beetroot), broth (chicken soup), pierogi (dumplings), stewed cabbage, you should try every single one of them. There is no wedding in Poland without vodka and some homemade alcohol. Don’t worry, it’s enough alcohol for everyone, it would be shameful for Polish family if they would run out of vodka. Usually there is not a lot of toasts (only at the beginning) but when you hear someone chanting “gorzko, gorzko” which means “bitter, bitter” it’s time to get up, raise your glass and demand a kiss from bride and groom. It’s all about to make the atmosphere more sweeter.
After fulfilling a bit stomach it’s time for dancing and games. Be ready to listen a lot of Polish songs, sometimes kitschy ones but after few shots of vodka, you will feel the rhythm. When midnight approaches guests should be ready to take part in the traditional moments – the removal of bridal veil. It’s called “oczepiny” and it symbolized transition from maiden youth to marriage. Traditionally during the ceremony, bride had to let to cut her hair. After that the wedding veils was removed and bride received special wedding cap in order to highlight new marital status. Nowadays, mostly no one really continues this tradition, instead bride throws away her wedding veil and groom tie or bow tie. During wedding it’s usually one person (from band or DJ) who is leading all the games. It’s also time for collecting more money, for example while dancing with bride or groom, you need to first put money on the box holding by one of the witness. Some of the games can be really silly and often sex-related. And whole night like that, eating, drinking, dancing and simply enjoying time with family and friends till early morning hours.
So, if you ever have a chance to go on Polish wedding, don’t hesitate. This is the party that you are going to remember for long time.