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The Polish Wedding - What is it Like in Poland?

21 Apr 2006 #1
Ah, the Polish Wedding. The tables groaning under the humungous weight of the plates with the most diverse dishes, the innumerable bottles of selected Polish vodka and mineral water. The young and beautiful bride all dressed in a white tailor-made wedding gown. The handsome bridegroom, acting a bit awkward "- t's his first wedding, after all - dressed in a black suit, complemented by the white, starched shirt with an exciting bow-tie. Just look at those highly polished expensive leather shoes, worn for the first time, to appreciate the gravity of the event!

A wedding is on occasion cherished by the Polish families - for many Dads and Mums being the peak of their parenthood. Who would believe that the little Kasia that used to sit on her Dad's knees and play with his moustache, and the plump Kazio, that used to collect butterflies and pin them on the walls, annoying his mother, are now getting married.

Weddings are perceived by many Polish families as the best and unique occasion, to impress their neighbors. "Zastaw się, a postaw się," in a free translation, "Show off, even for borrowed money," is a proverbial Polish way of dealing with such an occasion. Money is no object. Who cares, if we need to starve for the next six months or so.

Thus, a wedding is not a good time to make savings according to the Poles, disregarding the fact the divorce rate in Poland is astronomical and that the cost of the divorce is not included.

(Nowadays, the institution of marriage in Poland is not as popular as it used to. A whole 20% of women in Poland choose never to marry; of the around 200,000 that will marry each year, around 50,000 will be divorced. Just like in other more developed countries, like Sweden, the number of marriages in Poland keeps falling, while the number of divorces steadily increases.)

Still, a vast majority of Poles will chose a traditional wedding with long preparations including the tailor-made clothes for the bride's and the groom, the golden wedding rings, renting of a suitable venue (unless the wedding is held at home), an expensive menu, completed often by an especially hired music band.

There is also a white limousine or even a horse carriage followed by a number of less expensive vehicles filled with family and friends taking the young couple to the civil ceremony. The visit to the church follows where, what is perceived as the "real marriage" takes place. Wedding vows are read by the priest: "Do you, Kazio, take Kasia, for your wedded wife?" It is an exalted moment, and saying no is not an option.

Once the rings are exchanged, a kiss seals the holy union, while the family and the friends cheer. Once the priest receives his reward, the now officially married couple moves with their following to the place where the real fun, the wedding reception and the wedding party takes place. The Polish name for this event is "wesele," which can be roughly translated as a "happy occasion," which it is for some, if not for all.

The bride and the bridegroom reside behind the table, the guests depending on their relation to the family and their importance are being seated. The food is already waiting, but before that, it is time for the traditional kiss delivered by the young couple. The guests holding their glasses filled with cold vodka intone "Bitter, bitter," indicating that the taste is not up to the standards until they see the groom kiss the bride. Once this is done, the room erupts in cheer and laughter. Now the real fun can begin.

The traditional toasts follow. Eating and drinking continues throughout the evening interrupted by an occasional, drunk choir. As a rule, the Poles do not have a very big song repertoire, and for some reason, it consists mostly of outdated folk songs that most of them know since childhood. "A girl went to a forest," is one of the favorites, "Mountaineer, aren't you feeling sad?" another. After that last one, not one eye is left dry.

The temperature is rising. The band starts to play Polish favorites. The choice of the first song is most important, and the favorite is "The blue song" by Krzysztof Krawczak. If you want, you can ask the band to play a song of your choice, but it will cost you. The young couple starts the first dance and the rest follows. The choice of music is fairly eclectic, depending on the band's repertoire and the wishes of the family.

Now, the vodka takes its toll. People are becoming noisy, shouting loudly, some sit in the corner with their heads low, others sing to the music, others talk, yet others, mostly men, exchange kisses. (Polish men kiss each other on the cheeks, but only when they are readily drunk). Some cry into their empty vodka glass over their lost youth.

The table is a battlefield after a food battle. Chicken bones on a plate, a fallen wine glass with spilled drink, half empty plates with diverse dishes. I recall vividly a wedding like that. Around midnight the postman came bringing the telegrams from well-wishers. He was handsomely paid for his good news and invited to sit at the table. As an additional reward he was given a bottle of vodka and left to his own devices. Although, he could choose any of the numerous dishes, he was only interested in a half-liter jar of home-made herring in oil, each consumed herring accompanied by a constant stream of vodka.

Every ten minutes or so, looking sadly at the emptying vodka bottle and the jar, as well as at his deserted post bag on the floor, he muttered sadly to himself, "Time to go, I have a bag full of telegrams to deliver," but still he could not give up on his vodka quest. The other wedding guests were having fun, dancing, shouting, talking, embracing, but he just sat there. He stayed till the morning and was the last guest to leave. I don't know anything about his career as a postman after this memorable day. Now that is what I call a wedding party.

A traditional Polish wedding might not be everyone's cup of tea, but whatever you feel, it is one of the most memorable events you can encounter.

22 Apr 2006 #2
I watched the movie "Polish wedding" - doesn't look like it's in real world.
26 May 2006 #3
Yeah, Polish wedding means eating a lot, drinking a lot and having a good and unforgetable time.

The problem is, that some of the guests unfortunately don't remember this memorable event - because the only thing they can remember is headache on the next day :)

Na zdrowie!
3 Jun 2006 #4
Was scheduled to get married in Poland in July. However, do to certain legal issues, unable to get legally married then. We still want to have a wedding ceremony with vows pledging our love for one another and intent to legally get married as soon as possible. Our problem is trying to find a priest that will be willing to preside over the outdoors ceremony and give a prayer. Does anyone have any suggestions?
4 Jun 2006 #5
I watched the movie "Polish wedding" - doesn't look like it's in real world.

The movie "Polish wedding" is a metaphor showing all of the negative traits of the Polish society in one event that is happening over period of 24h. It`s an artistic movie full of symbolism and noone should take it literally :)
13 Dec 2006 #6
Thanks. That really helped my report on Poland.:)
wozzy 8 | 206
13 Dec 2006 #7
Thanks for the best read on this forum for months[b]aPOLE.....

Will be going to one next August, so I'd better start training for the event....
14 Dec 2006 #8
Metaphor? NO! It get even better then that. Drinkin', dancing. The party gose on stright for up to three days with no brakes. Drankin wodka for three days thats at least three days of.... sleep.
27 Dec 2006 #9
When I was in Warsaw in June, I ate at an inn in which a wedding reception was taking place. One of the reasons I chose this particular inn was to hear Polish music. No Polish music was played. The wedding song was "Wonderland by Night" and the second song was "New York, New York" sung by Sinatra, followed by "Under the Boardwalk", etc.
18 Mar 2007 #10
Mar 18, 07, 8:37pm - Attached on merging:
polish weddings

This July I'm going to Poland to attend my cousins wedding. I havent been to Poland since 1991, I was 2. I've never been to a Polish wedding. And I was wondering what are they like and what to expect.
krysia 23 | 3,058
18 Mar 2007 #11
So that makes you 18.
Been to a few. There is a bride and a groom. They say their vows. They eat. They kiss when guests yell "gorzko" and at the end they get really drunk.

Next day "poprawiny" same thing all over again, but this time they eat left-overs.
18 Mar 2007 #12
I've been to a wedding here in America, but my parents say polish weddings are completely different. Are there different things that they do (traditions), that isnt in a non-polish wedding.
18 Mar 2007 #13
They are certainly different as on the other day you don't remember what you have done. Your neighbour from the same table either :).
krysia 23 | 3,058
18 Mar 2007 #14
1. In the US the groom stands on the other side of the bride than in Poland
2. Wedding rings are worn on the right hand in Poland
3. The bride and groom walk down the isle together, in the US the groom stands in front and father (or mother if no father) gives daughter away.
18 Mar 2007 #15
tulipany - tulips - a broken bottle of beer or soda used in wedding fights, beware:)
18 Mar 2007 #16
yeah...that's sad. i guess america is taking over. we start loosing our traditions ...slowly. sooner or later we'll become "trditionally" poor
Patrycja19 62 | 2,686
18 Mar 2007 #17
?.......... Who are you quoting?

we start loosing our traditions

if your talking about America, the Traditions Krysia is talking about might be from
english weddings, America isnt all Polish, dont forget theres a number of traditions
that actually are the same in some ways and different in some ways. I do believe
it is english wedding. another thing, one of my co-workers said, which is true
that people only knock down things they never experienced. I am so glad I dont
come in here and say bad things about Poland, but again, I dont feel that way
personally so I have nothing against something I never experienced.

America may not be for everybody, but dont step on your friends toes if you know
what I mean.
LoneStranger 3 | 382
19 Mar 2007 #18
The Polish Wedding - (Perhaps) The Dream of every DESPERATE men of the Polish Forums. :) :) :)
16 Apr 2007 #19
No one answered her question about the priest performing an outdoor ceremony. It's my understanding that because marriage is a sacrement, it has to be perfomed in a church. However, if one of the couple is not Catholic the priest can request special privileges of their dioscese to perform a ceremony outside.
daffy 23 | 1,500
16 Apr 2007 #20
No one answered her question about the priest performing an outdoor ceremony

i cant see the original question? usualy if no answer happens is because no-one knows sorry
mamma mia
17 Apr 2007 #21
Who would believe that the little Kasia that used to sit on her Dad's knees and play with his moustache,

This is freaky, but you just described my cousin Kasia who is getting married in July and her dad who actually has a formidable moustache!!!!!! lol
moire 4 | 40
17 Apr 2007 #22
hi, i am a chinese girl, and invited to a polish wedding next month with my polish bf. Is it ok to wear black evening dress for the wedding party? which kind of music and how people dance in the party?
ukinpoland 5 | 338
17 Apr 2007 #23
Well usually there is a live band that has been hired by the family. I have been to one and i seem to remember a couple of ladies wearing black So this should be OK. Expect to dance close together mostly and depending on the size of the venue (the one i went to was huge) there will be various dances where everyone links arms and goes round in a circle. Most of my other memories are a little hazy due to the amount of Vodka i consumed. Yes they were very genorous with the Vodka , especially when they realised that Im English. You will have a great time there will be so much food and drink, and a party untill very early in the morning.
17 Apr 2007 #24
I've had the fortune to go to two polish weddings so far an both were great. the second one was probably better since I didn't pass out at midnight, which I had on the previous occasion. The first wedding like I said I was gone by midnight, the second one I passed myself,ate loads, timed my strategic vomiting and probably most importantly sneakily filled my shot glass with shots of water for the first 6 or 7 toasts. that way everyone else was pissed before I started drinking...
moire 4 | 40
25 Apr 2007 #25
thx for the answer. :)
one more question: is it unpolite if I dont drink any alcohol in the wedding? I am really allergic to alcohol. my bf said once i am the cheapest girl in their region, coz he gave me one beer in the pub, i drank it for almost one night, still half left. :(
glowa 1 | 291
25 Apr 2007 #26
no, it won't be impolite,

expect people to ask you a lot to join them for a shot, though.
no problem, if you refuse.
8 Oct 2007 #27
Topic attached on merging:
polish marriages

[i][/i]can anhyone tell be all about polish mrriages?
randompal 7 | 306
8 Oct 2007 #28
can anhyone tell be all about polish mrriages?

they happen when two Polish people like eachother enough to spend the rest of their lives together. statistically these marriages last longer than those of other Europeans, the divorce rat here is still under 50 percent, unlike Spain and Belgium and other countries where marriage isn't for boys and girls only. at the wedding you eat a lot of good food and pour amazing amounts of vodka down your throat, and you are expected to dance until dawn wehther you are drunk or not, not dancing at all is suspect and seen as bad manners. the next day is the poprawiny, when you consume the leftrover food and of course vodka. had your question been more consice/specific you would have gotten a more concise answer...
8 Oct 2007 #29
thanks randompal . I still need like more specific type informational paper for my report.
Like if u talk about the dress i need info about how it look and other info............

Nigel 1 | 71
8 Oct 2007 #30
The band play and the groom comes to get the bribe from the brides home. The couple kneel in front of the inlaws and they bless them and give gifts.I got a gold chain because"every young bull should be kept on a chain" apparently.The band will play and lead you to the car or,as in my case lead the guests to the church on foot.The dress isas in England but in some regions some of the senior folk will dress in traditional costume.The trip to the church is impeded by "road blocks" called bramas-gates.It is neccessary to pay the blocker with a bottle of the wedding vodka,which the best man has in hand.At the church the normal then they will throw 1 grosz coins on the pouple outsdide the chuch.The couple must pick them all up and they are kept for all time in a small bag as a good luck token.The band leads you to the car and plays again when you reach the party.Plenty of dancing(live band) interrupted by frequent hot meals and vodka toasts.Occasional shouts of "gorzka,gorzka" when the couple must kiss,more dancing,silly games,throwing bouquet as in u.k but in Pl it is attached to a game where the men surround the groom on a chair and pretend to prevent the bride from getting it.Of course she succeds , everyone cheers and she throws it to the next victim(JOKE)

Same for the groom,more dancing until 6-7 a.m
"poprawka" is a repeat reception on the following day.This is going out of fashoion now but is still practised by village people.It an expensive thing a polish wedding,but worth every penny.

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