:: A Polish Wedding

A few weeks ago, we had the pleasure of attending our first Polish wedding! It was located in the small mountain town of Koniakow - about 3 hours from Wroclaw. It was a beautiful wedding and let me tell you, those Poles know how to celebrate! Keep reading to hear all about this Polish wedding traditions ;)
The ceremony took place inside a beautiful church and was conducted in Polish, of course! It seemed very similar to Catholic wedding ceremonies in the US - the bride wore white with a veil that covered her face, she had bridesmaids walk with groomsmen, etc. Even though I could not understand what was being said, it was still a beautiful and moving ceremony. Just goes to show you that you don't need to understand the words to understand the message :)

Here's a look at the church and grounds. 
Following the ceremony, the wedding party and their families were transported from the church to the reception site via horse and carriage. Too cute!
Receiving Line: At this wedding, the receiving line took place immediately following the ceremony. One difference when compared to the US is that the receiving line is also where you present your gifts to the couple. So we gave a hug to each and then our card to them. 

The reception site was BEAUTIFUL - a log cabin ski lodge. LOVE. 
And the view: stunning!
Notice the furs over the chairs? <3
Oh and don't forget to look at those glass-bottle sodas on the table. No, these are not meant to be for refreshment, but vodka chasers. Not kidding. The average Polish wedding assumes 1 bottle of vodka per guest. The whole night is shots, shots, shots! 

The Food: When talking about Polish weddings, the first thing I have to mention is the food. There is SOOOOO much food. Like I can't even tell you how much food. I can't even exaggerate enough to help you understand how much food there is. When we spoke to the groom before the wedding, he mentioned it was a five-course meal. Ok, I was expecting soup, salad, main meal, dessert - you know, the usual. OH BOY was I wrong! Five-course meant like five (or 80) full-blown meals. Each hour, the restaurant was bringing out another WHOLE meal - pierogies, ham, fish, lamb, salads, desserts, you name it and it was probably here. I'm not kidding. I was full after the first meal. Shocked after the second and couldn't believe there was more still coming. We left at 1am and the food was NOT done being served. This is how the Polish people can drink so much at the weddings, I am convinced. 

Oh, and FYI the below dish is not cold noodles, hot broth gets added to it. Don't make the same mistake we Americans did if you find yourself at a Polish wedding ;)
Traditions: The begininng of the reception is kicked off with a gift of bread and salt. Bread is offered so that the couple won't ever know hunger, while salt reminds them of life’s difficulties. 

Following the bread and salt, the couple has their first toast. The couple is presented with two glasses – one of vodka, one of water. They are offered first to the bride, who must make her selection without knowing which is which. They say that whoever ends up with the glass of vodka will be the dominant partner in the relationship. After their drink, the couple throws their glasses and if they break it is a sign of good luck. 

It's a Party: Another thing I can't exaggerate more is that Polish weddings are Fun with a capital 'F.' The party lasts all night long. To help you get an idea of this, the band and photographer for this wedding were HIRED until 5am. Yes, 5am. When we woke up in the morning to leave at around 7am, there were still some people awake from the festivities. It's pretty impressive. 

Vodka: I already mentioned the vodka, but this is a large part of the wedding reception it deserves its own category. It isn't drank casually, it is always taken as a shot. Someone toasts and you take a shot. Immediately after, another toast and another shot. The trick to this is not to have any other kind of liquor and don't drink between shots, I mean toasts ;) While observing at this wedding (remember, I can't drink for a few more months!), I noticed the people who only had vodka (i.e. the experienced Polish attendees), no matter the number of shots, held it together pretty well, while the people who mixed beer and shots (i.e. the American guests at the wedding) were in a bit of rough shape. 

Dancing: There is also a lot of dancing at the wedding. Right when the guests walked into the room, the band started and everyone was up dancing. There was no "wait til the guests are feeling buzzed to fill the dance floor" here (as seen at most US weddings). If you're not dancing, you will be recruited to dance. Let me also add that the Polish people are fabulous dancers. If you're curious, the first dance as husband and wife is also part of tradition here. 

Bouquet Toss: The bouquet toss is also among the reception festivities, however, instead of a garter toss, the groom throws his tie. The people that catch the bouquet and the tie are then required to dance together. 

Music: The night went like this: dance for an hour, eat/drink for an hour, dance for an hour, eat/drink for an hour, repeat until the end of the night. This band played a mix of American and Polish music (the bride was Polish and the groom American so I am not sure if this is traditional or not.)

And I leave you an image of the midnight meal...yes, this is part of like the 3rd of 4th course.
Am I missing any traditions that should be included?


  1. AnonymousJuly 04, 2014

    How about the embarrassing party games? Our wedding guests had to pass a huge sausage shaped hunk of wood from clenched thighs to clenched thighs! Lots of blushing and laughing!

  2. AnonymousJuly 13, 2014

    The Day After is also a standard feature of Polish weddings. This is a way to use up the food and drink left over from the wedding... but generally less structured and more relaxed

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  4. These guys are really wonderful to work with, the food at wedding reception is delicious, the drinks are good, the view is phenomenal, and it's overall just a great group to work with.