I remember vaguely telling you last June (yup, that's last year...) about my second Polish wedding attendance. But I am not 100% sure so I would like to share my thoughts on the subject. Until now I have only been to two Polish wedding parties and both of them were as similar as the sun is to the moon. The first one I have been was a colleagues wedding and as he was a DJ and they were both young it was only normal that they would bo wild - so the wedding party was done in the club where he was playing. It was a whole lot of fun and I remember it dearly. I had my husband (back than my boyfriend/fiance) as a partner and we have some awesome pictures from back then.
***But let me get back to the second wedding, which was 100% traditional Highlander wedding. Highlander = (in this case) the people who live in the mountain. The wedding was of one of my husbands far away cousin and it started in a very old church in the region from which they were from. The weather was not very helpful - raining each and every 10 minutes, stopping and starting again in small drops, with a grey sky above... The custom is for the bride and groom not to see eachother until the wedding. The bride is taken from her house by the family and friends with the sound of a local band in the background (you can see the band in one of the pictures below, dressed up in the national/regional clothes). They take the bride to the church where the ceremony takes places.
***After the ceremony the couple comes out and people throw money at them - coins, for good luck - and rice - for richness of food, so they will always have food on their table - and rose petals - I have no clue if there is any tradition related to that! The bride and groom must scoop - between other people and small children - to take some coins ;))) That was fun!
***When they go out of the church the band starts to play and the line of people begins to form as it is normal at this point to congratulate the happy couple and give them gifts. Actually this is one big difference from Romanian weddings - if you are going both to church and the party, you have to give the gift for the wedding (the money or the object you choose for the couple) in front of the church, after the ceremony. If you come just to the party or if you forgot you can give it there, no worries ;) but that is the custom. You hug and kiss the bride and groom and everyone gets into their cars and goes to the party place. The party place of the wedding of the cousin is the same place that we will have so I was excited to see it for the first time from the inside :)
***Another new thing for me was the reception - the bride and groom stand at the end of the stairs and greet everyone as they come in so innevitably another queue forms (did I mention I actually hate queues?!). Funny part is that at Romanian weddings people do not come in groups - usually - so you do not have queues forming... Here it is customary to come all at once, at the exact time that you have on your card. You cannot be "fashionably late" as in Romanian weddings - if we put 8 pm on the card people can come from 8 to 9:30 or even 10 pm, and the first meal would be served around that time! So, dear friends, pay attention to that when you come to my wedding ;) The first meal will be served in time, after the last guest is seated from the queue!
***In Romania we usually have round table with placement cards for each person. Here they did not. You could sit as you pleased and with whom you wanted - I must admit it is rather eliberating but rather chaotic. Either way I would like that at my wedding, but with placement cards for areas or groups - people from Romania vs. people from Poland, people from work, family and so on... A combination of both ideeas ;)
Being an expat you get yourself in these kind of situations where you have to think in a split second what to do and what to say in order not to offend people. You must know their traditions and their customs and if possible how they think and act so you could plan in advance. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't but that is how you eventually learn :) and by sharing the knowledge you can always help others, so this is why I wanted to share this with you ;)
An Expat LadyBug :)