Every Pole knows what to expect from the traditional Polish wedding. However, if you are a foreigner and just got an invitation to the Polish wedding – beware! Not to make unnecessary faux pas and not to fall asleep under the table, today we will talk about wedding traditions, how to survive till the very end and save your face.
First of all, make sure that you had been invited. Quite often it happens that we have been invited only to the wedding – only the ceremony in the church, not the wedding party! So, before you buy a new dress or a suit, make sure that the invitation contains the word “wesele” (wedding party) and not just “ślub” (wedding). And if so, you should dress up with your best clothes and don’t forget to go to the hairdresser! Although in the west it’s not very common, in Poland it’s better not to give the impression of a poor relative. However, you cannot look better than the newlyweds! Women are not allowed to wear white dresses and men – black suits.
Traditionally, the wedding begins in the church, then all the guests go to a specially prepared place in the restaurant or at home, where they await the real challenge. At the beginning the newlyweds are treated with bread and salt. In the European culture it is believed that bread has vital, protective and even magical properties, and salt represents faithfulness. The bride and groom also raise the first toast, and throw the empty champagne glasses behind themselves. If both crash, they are blessed with luck and prosperity.
Slavic nations are famous for the fact that they love to have fun, of course with the right amount of food and beverages. Overnight feast therefore provides several dinner dishes, several kinds of soups and salads, various appetizers and cakes, and of course alcohol – a lot of alcohol. At the same time, drinking vodka is obligatory for all – young, old, men and women. Furthermore, at every wedding there is a predetermined person, who walks between the tables and pours vodka into shot-glasses. Be careful, because your glass will never be empty!
Another part of Polish weddings are games. They usually take place at about midnight, when all the guests are already in a sufficiently good mood. “Oczepiny” begin when the bride throws a wedding bouquet. The girl who catches it – is the next bride. The same is with men, when the groom throws his bow tie or tie. Then all sorts of competitions start – running around the chairs, bizarre acrobatics, recognizing partners with covered eyes… do not be surprised even if you have to parade in front of all guests only in your underwear!
Fun lasts until dawn. You might feel a bit tired after the greasy food and liters of vodka, but that’s not all. The next day (or days), is called “poprawiny” and that means again – food, alcohol and partying. So before you accept the invitation, be prepared that the traditional Polish wedding can take up to 4 days!