Civil and religious marriage in Poland
The wedding in Poland is a very solemn occasion, the lovers prepare for the day and arrange everything in detail for a very long time. Simliarly to the UK, the marriage may be solemnised in a register office. However, the couple usually decides to have a church wedding, either in the church of the bride or of the groom. The bride and groom usually choose summer as their wedding date. It is a common practice, purely because of supersticous reasons, to choose a month with the letter “r”, so June (czerwiec), August (sierpień), December (grudzień) fit very well.
Original Polish wedding customs
Polish wedding traditions start from parents’ blessing given by parents to their children usually at home of a bride. The blessing is an important symbol for the couple because in this way parents accept their marriage. After the blessing the couple goes to the church. Along the way they can be stopped by the so-called “gates” (road blocks). To pass such gates, in most cases, they have to pay the blocker with a bottle of the wedding vodka (so it is important for the groom to take a few bottles for the trip to the church). When the gate is open, the bride and groom can go to the church. The entire church ceremony is very solemn and ceremonial. A new western tradition has caught on in Poland, where the bride is accompanied by her father down the aisle and then handed over to the groom. After the ceremony, the newlywed couple is welcomed by guests. Rice or coins are thrown on the couple when they leave the church as a symbol of fertility and future prosperity.
Polish Wedding party traditions
Before the wedding reception, the newlyweds are traditionally greeted by their parents with bread and salt. This is an old Polish tradition during which the parents hope that the newlywed couple will never lack bread and always enjoy prosperity. The newlyweds break the vodka shot glasses by throwing them behind and sweep the pieces together. Once this tradition is satisfied, the groom has to carry his bride over the threshold. At the beginning of the wedding ceremony, there is a toast raised in the name of the Young Couple by all attendants of the wedding party. The first dance is performed by the newly married couple. Lately, it has become very popular to take a few dance lessons before the wedding. The bride and groom often prepare a special dance for the opening and as a result the first dance is performed in a very professional manner.
Moreover, veil throwing is very popular among the guests. At midnight, the bride takes off the veil throws it behind her to all single women. Likewise, the groom throws his bow tie or tie to a group of bachelors. Tradition says that those who catch the wedding paraphernalia will get married in the following year and this “new couple” dances the next dance. A common Polish wedding party usually lasts to the early morning hours. Traditional Polish dishes as well as vodka and wine are served in abundance. Guests enjoy dancing, have fun and relax with a live band. It is interesting that on the next day after the wedding party there is often an after party taking place at the parents’ house.
Wedding symbolism in Poland
The weather pays a very symbolical role as well. If it rains on the wedding day, the bride and groom will enjoy prosperity whereas the sun will bring happiness and joy to their relationship. The newly married couple should leave the church under a rice rain as it symbolizes fertility and healthy babies. The wife is carried by her husband over the threshold, so the husband would remain the protector of the woman.