Traditional Polish weddings are nothing but fun for two or sometimes even three days, hundreds of guests, lots of food, music, dancing and vodka. However, with time and advancing trends, traditions are probably fading and young couples no longer make such big and boisterous parties. Many couples are also abandoning the traditional church wedding and opting for civil or humanist weddings. Instead of big feasts in wedding halls, they choose intimate dinners with their loved ones over a glass of wine and classical music without dancing.
How It Used to Be…
For a long time in Poland, weddings were celebrated in churches in long ceremonies with only the immediate family. Superstitions were believed in, such as: the bride had to have shoes with the lock closed, she could not turn behind her while walking down the aisle or look at her feet, pearls brought bad luck. The wedding could only take place in months with the letter r in Polish, such as March (marzec), June (czerwiec), August (sierpień), September (wrzesień), October (październik) and December (grudzień).
The wedding reception began with the parents handing over bread (meant the couple would never go hungry), salt (warned of difficulties in life), a glass of vodka and water (decided who would rule the house). The glasses were then tossed and broken for good luck. Throughout the evening, guests chanted “gorzko gorzko” to get the newlyweds to kiss. At midnight, the veil was removed in a ceremony called the nuptials, which symbolised the transition from girlhood to marriage (oczepiny) This was followed by two days of eating, drinking and dancing (poprawiny)
How It Is Now
Unfortunately, over time, Polish traditional weddings have become very expensive or simply many couples do not want such weddings, either because they do not have such large families or because they prefer to spend the funds on their honeymoon. Many traditions are also disappearing and are being simplified or not there at all. Oczepiny, for example, has become a form of entertainment for the guests. The bride removes her veil and tosses it into a gathered crowd of single women. The groom also gets in on the fun – removing and throwing his tie to the assembled male guests. It’s said that those who catch the tossed garments will be the next to marry (though not necessarily to each other).
However, more and more couples getting married in bigger Polish cities or abroad are now choosing smaller, modern, Western-style weddings in place of tradition, creating an interesting duality that may be unique to Poland.
If you want to read more about Polish weddings and traditions, check this site Culture.pl