Pre-Wedding ceremony and traditions
In Poland the couple get engaged which is called “Oswiadczyny”. Following the engagment the traditions involved an uncut loaf of bread and a white scarf. Then the matchmaker join the couples hands above the loaf of bread and tie them together with the scafe. Then the loaf of bread would be cut and the couple would eat. Foolwing this tradition there would be food and drink and small gifts are exchanged.
The day after the enagement the couple then go to the local priest where the banners for the wedding would be put up, ready for the wedding day in Church.
Polish wedding ceremonies are still held in churches which remains an important part of many couples’ wedding plans.
The pair are joined only by their witnesses that is family members or very close friends.
The guests in Poland, then shower the newlyweds with coins.
This traditional custom of throwing coins at the couple is to ensure a prosperous, productive future and wish the couple all the success in the future.
Following on from the church ceremony, it’s time for the party to begin.
Many Polish wedding receptions still open with the traditional presentation of bread and salt. The bread is specially prepared and often decorated with the names of the couple. This gift of bread and salt is very symbolic – bread is offered so that the couple may never know hunger, while salt reminds them of life’s difficulties and the importance of learning to cope with life’s challenges.
The father of the bride or groom presents the couple 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.
Tradition says that whoever ends up with the glass of vodka will be the dominant partner in the relationship. After their drink the couple throw their glasses and if the glass breaks it is a sign of good luck.
Wedding guests start to hand over envelopes of money to the bride and groom. While some couples have started to create wedding gift lists, giving cash is still more common.
At midnight a Polish wedding is just approaching one of its most traditional moments – the removal of the bridal veil. This part of the wedding ceremony is called “oczepiny”, traditionally this represents the transitional moment for the bride as she moved from her single life towards her married future. The midnight hour was significant as this time of transition.
The oczepiny is also a time for fun and games. The bride removes her veil and tosses it into a gathered crowd of single women.
Polish weddings have many traditions and many things which must be avoided during the wedding day.
When she is walking down the aisle, it’s crucial the bride does not trip over her veil. It is also critical that she does not look back to make sure it’s properly positioned, responsibility for the veil falls on the bride’s maids.
The bride’s shoes are very important as tradition has it they mustn’t be open-toed. It is said that future wealth and fortune would fly right through the open toes and would doom the marriage.
The other wrong accessory choice that are also seen to doom the marriage are if the bride was to wear real pearls, as they will bring a lifetime of misery.
If you see the bride covering the top of her groom’s shoe with her wedding dress, she might be following the old belief that this will give her a position of dominance in the relationship.
Those worried about the future of the couple should also keep an eye on candles lit on the altar at the church. Tradition says if one goes out during the ceremony, either the bride or the groom will die young.
Day After the Wedding
Polish weddings can include a second day of partying, and some wedding parties last three or four days of continuous celebrations. This follow-up reception party is called “poprawiny”, which typically consists of more eating, drinking, music and good cheer.