from what i've learned by attending my aunt's wedding;
~bottle of vodka on every table (even if its an open bar); have plenty of spares if there'll be a sizable polish showing
~pork served at midnight (in Chicago it was from a spicket, in PL there was a cart with all sorts of pork products on there (pic 1 @ bottom)
~parents waiting for you and hubby before reception with bread and salt (pic 2)
~don't take your veil off till midnight
~reception lasts till morning
~2nd day reception for close family (less formal, good chance to make use of the leftovers)
~if there are enough polish ppl there, you'll get the wedding drinking song (far superior to the tapping glass to see you kiss thing we do here ^_^ )
-- during the banquet guests chant gorzko, gorzko in a sign for the newly weds to kiss;
lol, that's the other version... at the one i attended they full out sang the song that that comes from... several verses... I specifically love the 'uczono nas w szkole że całuje się na stole' bit, mostly cuz my aunt actually did ^_^
gorzka wódka, gorzka wódka
tszeba aby para młoda
bitter vodka (2x)
we won't drink it
we need the newlyweds
tho make it sweeter
The weddings I have attended in Poland struck me for the constant stream of food. In the US, there is a dinner, often unfortunately buffet style, where some are still queuing in the chow line for the main course, whilst others are already on their desserts (no sense of communtiy!), and then the tables are cleared and dancing begins. In Poland, cold starters, vodka, beer, soda, etc. are on the table to whole time and periodically replenished, interspersed all night long with hot dishes. Often an eye-opener of red barzscz and pasztecik or żur are served to bleary-eyed revellers (survivors?) at the crack of dawn.
I had the opposite experience... though probably cuz the one in PL (previously posted pics) was at a farmstead where everyone had plenty of room and since all the neighbors were at the wedding, no end time/ time to be quiet by.
I'm of the same mind. Polish weddings in the States do NOT compare to polish weddings in Poland.
I've easily been to 30+ polish weddings in Chicagoland. Meet at the bride's home, groom eventually comes over, we go to church, back to house for snacks and pic's at house and park, then off to the banquet hall. You eat, drink and dance, but most banquet halls pull the plug by midnight. 2:00 AM was the latest that most polish weddings last in the States. You'll get a few sto lat's, and other traditional polish moments, but not like in Poland...
In Poland, on the day of the wedding, each guest, in order of importance (parents, stara drozba, family, friends, etc.) is introduced by the band while waiting at a gate at the bride's home. The band plays music while the guests make their entrance, greet with the bride & groom and offer them a gift. Eventually, we go to church, and after mass, more gifts are exchanged and everyone congratulates the newlyweds. Driving back home for pics and snacks involves roadblocks with masked bandits who won't let you proceed until you give them some zloty. This usually happens multiple times. At the banquet, food is served nonstop, kegs flow, and vodka bottles always get replenished on tables. Dancing is a must, and happens all night. If you can't dance, then you're a nobody. Dancing on the first night lasts until dawn with most guests still in attendance. I would usually make it to bed between 6 & 7 AM. On the poprawka the next day, it's much of the same, but less formal. Eating, drinking, and dancing nonstop. If you ever go to a goralskie wedding, then they typically have 2-3 poprawki, so 3-4 days of a wedding. There are a lot of traditional moments as well, beyond a sto lat and dance rituals. Some of my family are gorals and the older ones always break out their hymns while everyone listens.
The biggest difference is that weddings last a couple of days in Poland, and go into the morning each night. In the States, I have yet to go to a polish wedding that made it to the morning with just one night of celebration.
I too am an Aussie, I married a polish girl in 2004 with the wedding in Sydney, and best day of my life until out little boy came along recently to match another great day. I was actually scanning this website for ideas for our little fellow's baptism coming up, wen I saw your message.
Our wedding was a mix of Aussie, Polish, all the way , and was a big winner.
Preist did the ceremony, very much half / half, and was very good. I.e, some of the prayers were said in polish, and a reading or two in English.
All guests could follow the service all of the way through.
Do you Brett -my name, take Malgozata (used Polish Name), not Margaret, to be your wife. ect. , and other really simple stuff, that really went down well with everyone.
Readings in Polish, always following another different one in English.
I dressed in Tux, Marg in white wedding dress, - No differences as I can recall in the whole ceremony as to any other wedding.
The reception. - On arriving at the reception we had photos taken on the golf course in the normal manner, and were then wisked into the room where the bridal parties walk out for the entrance to the reception.
I had organised, a Cracoviak outfit , prior to this, which I picked up from the Polish Club in Ashfield. You know its the picture of the bloke on a Zywiec beer bottle.
I got changed, just prior to walking out, and this was a surprise to my wife as well.
I still remember the absolute joy, applause, and laughter, on everyones faces, in seeing me in a big pair of black boots, these funny overalls and Jacket, and a peacock feather hat, walking into the reception hall with my lovely wife in her wedding dress.
That was heaps of fun. In walking into the reception and after the laughter had died down, My wifes parents were there to greet us, with the bread, salt, and wine(I think?).
We had our MC describe what was going on, whilst, they threw the salt and broke the bread ect. - wedding size was about 200 guests. About 150 english speak 50 polish.
Food. - We had nibbles organised for the guests in the reception hall, so that they could eat, while we were having photos taken. Bread, and polish meats (hams), salami, which went down really well for everyone, in that waiting for things to start time.
Food - we did alternate meals for everone, Entree- 1) Tartar , and 2)Prawn Coctails (ausise style - lettuce mayo) .
My comment is that their was far too much waste on the tartars , with the raw egg, and raw fillet, going to alot of waste. - as alot of people had just come off nibbles, they really didn't want to eat the tartar.
Mains , we did a steak, fish alternate , everone loved it. vegetarian on request.
Dessert, we did the wedding cake cut up, with ice cream, cream.
Drink, - I had organised it with the club prior, that I could supply the Vodka, we had 2 bottles of Wybrovia on every table, that I purchased bulk at discount liquor.
This was a hit - and although my friends are usually beer drinkers, the occasion lent itself to vodka drinking. My bar tab on beers at the end of the night wasn't actually that bad.
We gave out shot glasses to everyone as our bonbonaire gift. These were not expensive, and I had them printed on by a glass printer with our names and wedding date and the words, Cheers and Na Zdowie on the back. These shot glasses are something that all of my friends still have on their bars or kitchens today and were a big winner, as compared to the almonds or chockies that you normally get at weddings and toss out.
Music, Dance. - We had a polish band (mother in laws request) and an Aussie cover style band. It was an overkill, but the best thing was the music never stopped, and my friends got into the spirit of the polish singinging after many vodka's.
Tip - I did dance lessons with my wife, leading up to the wedding, and we did the rumba as a first dance and everone was impressed.
Speaches - all in English, except my father (aussie) who had a go at his in Polish. He mumbled his way through, and finished each sentance with Na Zdovie , which everyone new what to do.
Had a great day, and wouldn't change a thing, except mabee cutting back on the tartar.
Coming up to 5 years married, parents in law great. I can only speak about 2 dozen words after 7 years together, which is poor I know. My wife still speaks polish to her parents all of the time. I am looking forward to our little boy learning Polish as he grows up.
Honeymoon - we did Europe, with the compulsary stop at Poland for more relies, had the video of the wedding and reception flown over to poland ASAP, so that we could play it out at all the cousins, aunties ect.
Clebek . ( Note the Poles call be clebek, because thats the closest they came to for Brett - bread - Clebek) .