Polish Wedding Traditions – Important Aspects of the Polish Wedding That You Need to Know
By Eivan’s Wedding Team
The traditional Polish wedding is one that has many important celebrations.
These celebrations can be summed up as follows:
- Engagement period called Zrekowiny, Zareczyny, Oswiadczyn
- The wedding day set up by the young people
- Wedding invitation time called Oprosiny or Zaprosiny
- The Actual wedding day in church and the wedding reception
- The next day party – sometimes goes for 3 days long
Poland has its unique wedding traditions and superstitions. Polish people love celebrations! The more reason why they celebrate weddings for 3-4 days.
These four days are all about food, Polish wedding dances, mysterious oczepiny ceremony, drinking and playing games. The Polish traditional rituals make the whole wedding meaningful, cheerful and important to the couple and the guests.
Let’s look at the common Polish wedding traditions
The engagement ceremony is where all the Polish weddings begin. This ceremony is a small get together of both families held at the house of the bride or groom.
It’s the first opportunity for the future in laws to meet and plan for their children’s wedding.
Right after the pre-wedding ceremony, wedding invitations are sent out. The bridesmaids and groomsmen are always first to get their invites first.
The brides’ and grooms’ godparents follow. Then the rest of their guests get their invitation. In the traditional Poland customs, everyone in the village received an invitation. If one is not able to attend the wedding, they must send the couple a gift.
Polish wedding dress
It is custom for the groom not to see the wedding dress until the wedding ceremony. The bride must wear the wedding dress only once when trying it on.
Unnecessary wedding dress parade attracts a bad omen. The Polish wedding dress should contain at least one blue and white element. The white symbolizes purity, while the blue bodes marital fidelity. The bride must also have something borrowed from the groom’s family. Something old from the relatives and something new as a symbol of plenty in their marriage.
The Wedding Day
Poland is a religious country with the highest population being catholic followers. The procession to the church ceremony is important for both bride and groom. They should look out for pigeons as they bring happiness and good luck.
Ravens and crowns are known to be a bad symbol; they bring bad luck to the couple. The weather on the wedding day is symbolic. Sunny sky stands for happiness, thunder and rain depicts bad luck. Light rain is a blessing from God.
The journey to church must be straightforward! There is no turning back even if the bride forgot something important. The bride’s father accompanies her till the end of the journey. The Polish traditions are exercised out as the couple is joined together.
The best man and maid of honor accompany the couple as their witnesses in church or registry wedding. At the end of the joining, the guests shower the newlywed couple with rice and barley. This symbolizes prayers for fertility and abundance. The young couple’s first joint toast ends up with throwing of glasses so they break.
The wedding party
The reception ceremony is what all guests look forward to. The newlywed couple enjoys their first dance. Wedding guests enjoy the dance floor with traditional Polish music filing the air. Hired bands can also make the wedding lively with their Polish sounds.
The wedding customs include the Oczepiny ceremony is performed at midnight. It is a rite passage where the bride passes from maiden to a married woman. During the ceremony, there is the unveiling of the Polish bride.
The veil is then tossed into a crowd of single women. The groom takes off his tie and throws it to the attending men. Games are a big part of the wedding party. The Polish wedding ceremony has plenty of games to cheer people up at the reception.
One of the best games played over time is a game of the groom choosing his bride among many women. About ten or more women will sit concealed on a chair with their skirts and dresses rolled up. The groom needs to find out which legs belong to his wife. The wedding party goes late into the night or as long as the couple can.
Polish food and drink
Old Polish tradition requires wedding celebrations to be full of food and drinks. The food comes in plenty from dumplings, herring in oil, and vegetable salads. Four to five food courses along with appetizers, cakes, pastries and fruit.
Menus depend on the taste buds of the couple, anything from meats, vegetables, soups. All the food is washed down by an endless supply of drinks. The most popular drink is vodka shots that flow throughout the reception ceremony.
Time to time the guests raise their glassed and chant Goshko! Goshko! Transalted as bitter! Bitter! This is to demand a kiss from the groom and bride.
The wedding cake
The Polish wedding cake is quite like the Western customs. It comes in layers as many as the married couple want. The bride and groom cut the first pieces and feed each other before they can feed their guests.
After wedding day
After partying all night long, the couple and the guests head home to rest. The wedding celebrations resume the following day. Only family members and close friends get invited to attend the Poprawiny.
This is a relaxed and private wedding party for the close relations of the newlyweds. There is still a lot to eat and drink, although many end up drinking as much as on the wedding day. The celebration lasts until the following day.