15 things you need to know about Polish weddings – the survival guide

Polish wedding season is upon us. More and more foreigners are marrying Poles or getting invited to Polish friend’s weddings and there are things these people need to know. In this definitive survival guide to Polish weddings I will cover every potential pitfall, misunderstanding and health risk I’ve uncovered in my long career of attending Polish weddings. Comparisons are made with British or Anglo-American weddings, the rest of you will have to wing it.

1. Read your invitation carefully

In Poland it is quite possible to be invited to the wedding but not the wedding party. In fact it’s more common to be invited to the ceremony than to the party. I once bumped into an English friend of mine dressed up in his finest and white-faced with shock.

Me: You look like you found a penny and lost a pound.
Friend: I went to a wedding.
Me: You’re back early, it’s only half five!
Friend: No, I mean I went to a wedding. Just a wedding.
Me: You mean…
Friend: Yes. No party. Just a wedding.
Me: My god…
Friend: Buy me a beer, I can’t feel my arms.

wedding-invitation

Polish wedding invitations can contain unwelcome surprises.

Poles are still attached to the quaint notion that the union of two people in holy matrimony is a significant event that people might want to witness rather than a slightly tedious prelude to a booze up. Shocking I know, but there it is. If your invitation mentions “ślub” that’s the tedious prelude part. If it mentions “ślub” and “wesele” put on your best drinking shoes and pat yourself on the back, you’re going to a party.

2. The missing groom

In a British wedding ceremony the groom arrives at the church first and waits at the altar with his best man for the bride to be escorted down the aisle by her father or nearest equivalent. It’s a tradition that allows for all kinds of hilarious church-based shenanigans such as the groom fainting from stress or the best man passing out from alcohol poisoning. It’s also frequently used as a dramatic device in the kind of movies where brides decide not to turn up at the last minute. In Poland the bride and groom arrive at the church at the same time and walk down the aisle together, sometimes in leg irons. If you’re waiting in the church and notice the groom is missing don’t get excited, he’s coming. Expectations of a thrilling ‘jilted-at-the-altar’ scenario are unlikely to be met.

3. Polish best man – the world’s easiest job

Expectations of the best man at a Polish wedding are not high. The ability to walk in a more-or-less straight line and hold some envelopes are sufficient qualifications. Polish best men do practically nothing. He walks behind the bride and groom down the aisle along with the bridesmaid and then sits down. That’s pretty much it. Best men are often also witnesses, but not always. In a British wedding it is the responsibility of the best man to bring the ring (note, only one ring) and hand it over at the appropriate moment, another tradition that provides limitless opportunities for humor. Not so in the Polish service – the rings are already there in a holy cubby hole of some kind.

If you’re ever asked to be best man at a Polish wedding do not hesitate. No responsibilities, no speeches (more on this later), a definite invitation to the party and a guaranteed woman to go with. You can’t lose.

4. Standing, kneeling and sitting

The Catholic wedding service is essentially a mass with some additional messing about with rings and microphones. As with all masses there is a certain amount of standing up, sitting down, and random kneeling to be endured. If you’re not used to this sort of thing it’s usually easy to just follow the crowd. At weddings, however, things can get a little tricky.

Weddings, by their very nature, bring together two families. These days it’s quite common for these families to come from different places, unless we’re talking a real old-style keep-it-in-the-village affair. The surprising thing about Catholicism is that it isn’t nearly as standardized as the uninitiated might expect. Congregations from different parts of the country, or even neighboring villages, tend to do things slightly differently. The results can be hilarious – half the congregation suddenly kneel down while the other half are looking forward to a good couple of minutes more seat time, or every third person unexpectedly stands up leaving the remainder bouncing uncertainly. It’s the ultimate Polish nightmare – appear to be less devout and schooled than the visitors or do what has been drummed into you since the age of four by your local priest. Poles have been known to spontaneously ignite from stress at these moments.

5. The disappearing bride and groom

You’ve survived the sitting, standing and kneeling business. Everything seems to be over and the newlywed couple are advancing back up the aisle towards the doors. You’re already loosening your belt in anticipation of the coming revelries when suddenly the bride and groom take a sharp left turn and disappear into some hitherto unnoticed wing of the church. What to do? Is there some special exit for newlyweds? Is something else tedious and detrimental to your buttocks going on? Panic not. More than likely they’ve nipped into a side chapel or nook to pay their respects to the local holy painting or finger bone of Saint Tibulus. They wont be long.

icon

Holy pictures. There’s usually one around somewhere.

6. Throwing money around and sealed brown envelopes

On exiting the church the happy couple are traditionally showered with handfuls of loose change. They are then expected to pick it all up. Starting out on married life groveling around on the pavement for pennies like bums is, apparently, lucky. If you ever find yourself in this position I suggest bringing an umbrella which you can smoothly invert to catch the bulk of the incoming coinage.

coins

Heavy metal objects of little value are traditionally thrown at Polish people who get married.

Immediately following this potentially painful and humiliating indoctrination into marital finances everybody lines up to pay their respects to the couple and hand them wads of cash. Three kisses on the cheek and flowers for the bride, a handshake and an envelope full of money to the groom. I’m told the going rate is about 200 zloty. The bride hands her flowers to her bridesmaid, who needs to have forearms like tree trunks, and the groom hands the envelopes full of money to the best man, who needs to have moderately large pockets (I told you this job was easy).

7. The salt and the bread

Off to the party, which might be in a wedding hall, a restaurant, or somebody’s back garden. On arrival everybody gets a drink and the bride and groom get salt and bread. Again, if you ever find yourself in this situation, don’t panic – it’s just symbolic, it doesn’t mean you’re only getting salt and bread for the rest of the evening. One or other of the parents who’s job it is to provide the bread and salt may make a short speech and start blubbing at this point.

bread-and-salt

A very fancy bread-and-salt thing. Usually it’s just bread and, well, salt.

8. Songs, songs, songs

Immediately following the salt and the bread business all Poles in the vicinity will break into song. The song is known as “Sto lat” (“100 years”) and is the same song you will hear sung at birthday parties, presidential inaugurations and, in extreme cases, the opening of a tin of sardines. Here are the words — you’re going to hear them a lot in the next few hours:

Sto lat, sto lat,
Niech żyje/żyją, żyje/żyją nam.
Sto lat, sto lat,
Niech żyje/żyją, żyje/żyją nam,
Jeszcze raz, jeszcze raz, niech żyje/żyją, żyje/żyją nam,
Niech żyje/żyją nam!

which translates roughly into English as:

A hundred years, a hundred years,
We want him/her/them to live.
A hundred years, a hundred years,
We want him/her/them to live,
Once again, once again, we want him/her/them to live,
We want him/her/them to live.

9. First dinner, first dance

Once the singing has died down everybody sits down to the first meal. Note my use of the word ‘first’ here. There may be additional singing in the form of traditional demands for the bride and groom to kiss like alien face-huggers, but there’s nothing important going on there that you need to worry about. Immediately following the first meal the newlyweds are invited to embarrass themselves horribly by performing the first dance.

10. A lot more dinners

I often advise people going to Polish weddings to beware of the amount of food they will be required to consume. “There will be a lot of food” I say “I mean, really a lot.” “Oh good” they say. I shake my head and hold my tongue. A few days later I see them again and they say “Why didn’t you tell us there would be so much!” “I did!” I say “I tried to warn you.” “My god” they say with the horror of recollection in their eyes “I didn’t know there was that much food…”

polish-food1

Polish food. You’re going to be seeing a lot of this kind of thing.

This is how it works. Immediately after the first toast you will sit down to an excellent meal of something roasted, with vegetables and potatoes and a side salad preceded by soup. You will eat this and then help yourself to the various cakes, cold meats, breads etc. scattered liberally about the table. At this point you will be completely stuffed and saying to yourself “Hey, that guy was right, there really was a lot of food, but I could handle it.” You will probably be quite satisfied with yourself and think me a moaning minnie with the food handling capacity of a small rodent. About an hour later the waiters will be bearing down on you with exactly the same thing all over again. An hour after that they will be back again. By now you’ll be feeling the fear. Fortunately there are only three or four more courses to go, each one the size of a hearty Sunday dinner. And then cake.

Do not attempt to eat everything served to you. You will die. You have to regard the food as symbolic. It’s a symbol of wealth and plenty, an overwhelming feast for the happy event, it’s not an actual meal.


11. The vodka situation

Vodka is a big deal at Polish weddings. Talk of who is going to buy the vodka and where they are going to get it begins at least six months before people start considering less significant details such as wedding dresses or who to marry. Presumably there was a time when vodka was in short supply or had to be manufactured in the woods because, as far as I can see, the entire problem can me solved in a ten minute trip to the local supermarket. However, I digress.

Assuming the vodka is there and, to be honest, the wedding would have been canceled if it wasn’t there are a few things you should know. Vodka is only drunk collectively. Glasses are filled, somebody proposes a toast, vodka is drunk, and glasses are refilled in readiness for the next toast. There’s no casual solitary sipping. It’s all or nothing every time. Sometimes it will be a special wedding vodka prepared according to a traditional recipe known only to 84-year-old uncle Bogdan. These are often sweet and pleasant tasting but can still kill an elephant at 20 paces. Do not be tempted to fill in the time between toasts with a beer or a glass of wine, that way lies very messy but dimly recalled madness.

making-the-wedding-vodka

Making the wedding vodka. Legal requirements may or may not be observed. (photo by this guy)

12. Throwing bouquets and ties

The throwing of the bouquet will be familiar to British readers and it has the same function at a Polish wedding, except that it takes place at the party and not outside the church. The difference at a Polish wedding is that it is taken much more seriously. In the half an hour before the tossing of the bouquet is due you’ll notice a gradual but complete evacuation of the building by all unmarried females over the age of about 24. To be 25 or older and still in that circle around the bride is a powerful shame.

Unlike men at British weddings Polish men also get the chance to make utter fools of themselves scrambling after discarded clothing. The groom’s tie is the sought after item in this case. By this time of the night any male who is still able to stand, regardless of age, is considered a good catch.

13. Proper dancing

Dancing is also a big deal a Polish weddings. It’s the women’s vodka. The first time I went to a Polish wedding my girlfriend said “You know there will be dancing, don’t you?” “Well yes” I said “that’s normal.” I had in mind the vague individual flailing around that every self-respecting Brit regards as dancing. Not so. Proper dancing is expected. In pairs, with feet and everything. Dancing schools make a killing in Poland.

couple-dancing

Correct kind of dancing.

hip-hop-dancers

Incorrect kind of dancing.

14. Midnight cake

The cake is cut and distributed to the groaning overstuffed guests at midnight. Or at some other random time. Then they wheel in an entire roasted cow just in case anybody is feeling peckish. Knocking off time will probably be sometime around 3 or 4 in the morning.

cow

A cow. You may be required to eat one… a whole one.

15. The two-day wedding

It is true that Polish weddings sometimes go on for two days. The second day is known as “poprawiny” and you’re most likely to come across it at a traditional village affair. At first the idea of a party that goes on for two days sounds quite appealing to the average Brit. By the fifth course of the first night the idea becomes less attractive. The first time I went to a two-day wedding I imagined a Bacchanalian blow-out that would literally go on for 48 hours. In fact the truth is less terrifying. On the first night everybody goes home in the early hours of the morning, sleeps for 10 hours, then comes back and does the whole thing all over again minus the tedious mucking about in church.

second-day

A guest makes his way to the second day of a Polish wedding.

The second night is traditionally much more relaxed than the first. It’s a no-holds-barred party to celebrate the fact that the previous night’s party went well, or to rectify the fact if it didn’t. Boys are sorted from men.

Enjoy!

And let us know how it went.

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129 thoughts on “15 things you need to know about Polish weddings – the survival guide

  1. teresa says:

    wonderful! I really enjoyed it. In the best tradition of British humour. Pope and Dryden would be proud of it. Thank you

  2. wildphelps says:

    Pretty good list, though having been a groom (albeit an American) at a Polish wedding, let me add my two-cents (or pence or groszy):

    – The service is a mass open to anyone who wants to enter the church. That can include old women who want to say a rosary or two in various chapels or people doing the Stations of the Cross. We have several sideshot photos of myself and my beautiful bride and an elderly woman who kept looking over at us everytime the photographer snapped a shot (instead of praying at the altar that she made a loud, slow stroll to). People always ask if she was a grandparent or close relative as she was so close to us (in proximity). For the first few years, we just answered no and tried to explain that it was a woman praying, but now it is much more fun to make up stories about who she is… Expect both families and complete strangers – a wedding is free theater for a certain segment of the population here, just like those old people who hang around courthouses in the States.

    – The Gate – after all the guests have been given the cash, the wishes, and the flowers, the happy couple gets ready to depart for the party. Suddenly complete strangers will throw themselves (usually in pairs) in front of the couple and demand a ransom. Traditionally it was kids looking for enough money to buy some sweets and since the couple just picked up all that loose change (Item 6), it was no problem. Over the years, however, it has changed into a stream of drunks of all ages asking for enough for a bottle. My best man (who was American and in Poland for the first time for our wedding) asked what these people were doing jumping in front of the car. When we explained it to him, he thought for a minute and said, “That is a shitty tradition!” Everyone agreed.

    – The Ever-Present-Bride-and-Groom – At most Anglo/American weddings, the bride and groom will leave before the guests. Not so at a Polish wedding, unless of course they slip out for a bit of necking and come back in. The happy couple is expected to be at the party until the last guest leaves, the idea being you have the rest of your lives to be together so tonight be a good host and stay and entertain your guests. Gość w dom, Bóg w dom.

    And let me affirm that you were dead on about the vodka. As his gift to us, my brother-in-law paid for the vodka for our wedding. We appreciated it, but as the wife and I don’t really drink, it was more like he bought a really big round of drinks for everyone else.

    I could also mention the games, but let’s see if another person decides to comment on that.

  3. Scatts says:

    We had a full-monty Polish wedding, church & wesele, one day variety and it was great! Polish weddings are just so massively better than Brit ones. I’m always slightly sad at Brit weddings these days, such turgid affairs they are.

    We had 100 at the wesele of which around 30% had been flown in from the UK (using up every air mile I had left!) and they all had a fantastic time.

    For anyone thinking about organising one, our wesele cost around 300 PLN per head but that was in a decent restaurant on the old town square. As Jamie says, there was so much food and drink it was impossible to consume it all. Fantastic value to be honest and we’ve been to equally great wesele that probably cost half of that.

    Jamie didn’t mention, specifically, the late-night bowl of soup, which is actually one of my faves (unless it’s a bad flaki) as it comes just at the right time to soak up a little vodka and give you the boost you need to make it through to 3 am.

    Wedding parties are something at which the Poles are world class. The organisation, the food, drink, music, dancing, fun, drunk people who don’t want a fight….great stuff.

  4. Jake says:

    Yes, you missed out the games! They need a whole article to themselves!

  5. Pawel says:

    teresa, which Pope? Benedict or JP2?

    just for the records, in some regions/churches/families one throws rice at the couple, when they leave the church rather than coinage.

  6. Gabriela says:

    I found lots of similarities with Peruvian weddings, especially that one where you can be invited to the wedding and not to the party. It’s so funny! You don’t know who can you talk about it with, to avoid resentments.
    Saludos.

  7. emi says:

    I see you are preparing very carefully for a September, Jamie;)

  8. Tymczas says:

    You should also try to describe the phenomenon of the polish First Communion. This might be just as fascinating for the foreigners as the polish wedding.

  9. wildphelps says:

    Gabriela – When I was studying in Ecuador, I was invited to a wedding. I eagerly went to the church and found myself alone with the immediate family of the wedding couple. There couldn’t have been more than 20 people there at the church. At the party there were approximately 300. Is that typical for Andean countries? By the way, the party was fantastic – Latinas can really dance!

  10. DeCoy says:

    Great article! My wife and I just celebrated our first anniversary a few days ago, and reading that brought back so many memories.

  11. Ania says:

    I know about those ślub invitations… They happen in the south more than the centre I think. My date from long ago told me about being invited to the church but not to the table in Śląsk… we were both shocked and got drunk on this account ;)
    I am from Łódź and we normally have 2 day weddings and a church service for all the crowd – except that the kids are allowed in on Sunday, because there would not be so much drinking and staying up late. But I suppose our weddings are smaller – family and some przyjaciele.
    So which games are you planning on doing, Jamie? Oczepiny? Drinking champagne from her shoe? Garter chase? Rolling an egg through the groom’s pant legs? Kissing recognition test?

  12. Gmorek says:

    Great subject.. I really enjoy it.

  13. Kuba says:

    The last Polish wedding I was at was in 2004 in Ustronie Morskie. It lasted two days. We stayed in the hotel where the reception was held after the church service. It was great dance my dupa off.
    And i enjoyed the plaza before and after the whole event.

  14. island1 says:

    teresa: I’m sure Mr Pope and Mr Dryden will be rotating in their graves at this suggestion, but thanks all the same.

    wildphelps: Three good ones there, spot on. You’re right, I forgot about these, especially the fact that the bride and groom are required to stay to the bitter end rather than being seen off on their honeymoon.

    scatts: lack of fighting, good point. probably not universal though.

    Gabriela: I’m guessing a lot of these are Catholic characteristics rather than just Polish.

    DeCoy: Congratulations and thanks!

    Jake and Ania: I didn’t write anything about games because they’re the same as the kind of games you see at British weddings.

    Gmorek: Thank you.

  15. gls says:

    What an odd feeling to be reading one of my favorite Polska blogs only to discover myself IN the post…

    The whole story behind that particular tasting: we were toying with the idea of using Ukrainian spiritus as it was cheaper. My soon-to-be father-in-law was skeptical, but he was willing to try. One sip of our trial batch convinced us: nasty, nasty stuff.

    In the end, our przepalanka was the hit of the wedding and we ran out of that before midnight. My wife came to me in a panic, saying, “My dad just said we’re running out of vodka!” “What!?” I responded, also in a panic. No surer way to kill a Polish wedding, I would imagine, than running out of vodka. I began to wonder how we might kombinowac some more, thinking of my friend who ran a bar, the all-night store in the nearest town, etc. when it was finally explained to me that we were running out of our homemade stuff.

    Guests had to settle for the plain vodka, the choosing of which did involve a conversation around the kitchen table: as you noted, choosing wedding vodka is a very delicate matter. As if you can use “delicate” and “vodka” in the same sentence.

  16. island1 says:

    Ha! Excellent. I had the strangest feeling you might turn up. I looked through your flickr pages but didn’t get as far as discovering your blog. As I often say (when my better half isn’t listening) ‘Poland is a village.’

    “Running out of vodka”, my god, that must have been a heart-stopper.

  17. Pawel says:

    Oh and another remark just for the record:)
    I’m sure most people realise this, but maybe it is worth to say. Not all weddings happen according to this scenario. As people are different they might have many other ideas. Some regions/people have different traditions. Some people dislike traditions altogether. Some people decide to only have a ceremony at the Town Hall and spend the party money on a nice honeymoon in Mazury lake district:) Some people don’t like the traditional dancing and singing, and have a disco with a dj. Etc. etc. I’ve been on three wedding parties and none was like Jamie desribes.

  18. boattown guest says:

    To be honest, I’m always really relieved when I get an invitation only for the wedding ceremony. You buy flowers, smile, kiss your friend and her/his chosen one who you see for the first time in your life and off you go.
    As Pawel said, everything depends on the couple. We’re having one-day wedding party (it’s in July, time goes by too quickly), and we have many interesting ideas:)
    I think in most regions you give money or gifts after Oczepiny not after the wedding ceremony. As for the going rate, it’s 300 PLN here. It depends of course. Some nice people give u more, some less.
    And come on!- Polish best man is responsible for filling the glasses and the presence of vodka on the table. It’s a very responsible role. And very often he has to organise the stag party. Now, that’s really important:)

  19. island1 says:

    Pawel: True of course. I’ve even heard of alcohol-free weddings *shudders*

    boattown: Regional variations are bound to exist. My experience is limited to Warsaw and Krakow I admit.

    And congratulations!

  20. boattown guest says:

    Thanks island1:) I’ll send u some pictures showing a wedding ceremony/ party in łódzkie. Or maybe that’s not a good idea:)

  21. guest says:

    Here are 11,990 Polish-XYZ weding pictures ;)

    http://www.flickr.com/search/?s=rec&w=all&q=poland+wedding&m=text

  22. guest says:

    I forgot a “d” ;)

  23. Pawel says:

    No alcohol? And that was in Poland, right? :>

  24. siuniab says:

    I went to a baptist wedding once. Never again. No alcohol and no dancing. Obviously, made a very quick exit.

  25. adthelad says:

    Is that a picture of St Anthony by any chance, patron saint of lost things and missing persons?

  26. Javi says:

    Well a hellish amount of real info over here. I’m from Poland and I’m going to a wedding in a few days, so I enjoyed the article. Ohhh… And if you didn’t know this thing made it’s way on a polish version of digg, so you’re popular in the polish web now… :D

  27. expateek says:

    OMG, Jamie… I’m so disappointed… We could have married whilst I was briefly in Pologne, and it would have been such a party. You know all the rules, and I can dance. A match made in heaven.

    O drat, just remembered I’m already married. Perhaps do a post on divorce, Polish style, and we can then go forward.

    Marvelous post, as usual. I’m missing Poland and my calm and ordered life there… driving on the Chicago autobahn is hair-raising and not my cuppa tea.

    Best to you and your lovely soon-to-be other half…
    x e

  28. Polish guy says:

    This list sux. I’m from Poland and I know how our weddings look like. Shame on you, British ppl…

  29. Boria says:

    Best wishes for wykop.pl.

  30. Darek says:

    Greetings from wykop.pl! :-)

  31. wykop says:

    BEST WISHES K**** FROM WYKOP.PL

  32. Marek from Poland says:

    Sorry for these comments above. Wykop is some like polish digg – these dumbasses above are bringing shame to this web service.
    It was nice reading this article.

  33. Monika says:

    Hey ther, great post! I live in Poland and I really enjoyed your wiev to uor tradition, thanks :)

  34. TiS says:

    Hello. A really nice post :) I’m from Poland, getting married on 23th may (see the webpage http://www.23maja.pl :P)

    I cannot agree with everything you wrote. Vodka is not SO important – at least it wasn’t for us (although we thought about alcohols ’bout 1 month ago).
    I think the reasons are different than what you thought – in communism (for us – not so long ago) vodka was one of the few widely available goods. Well, not exactly, in some times there was ‘coupons’, distributed by government, required to buy goods (you had to have also money – of course) and I heard the whole family gave their ‘coupons’ to the newlyweeds.

    It’s rather eastern drinking culture. If you’ve seen Polish one and think we drink much, you should go to Russia, Ukraine and so on! It’s changing, slowly though.

    Nevertheless, the post was very nice. It’s good to see how other people see our culture.

    BTW: “A Village”. I’ll get you for this one! :)

  35. Rafał S. says:

    Greetings from poland :) . I just want to mention, that in few regions it’s quite common to have 1-2 days party (sometimes it’s 3 days :D ) just after wedding (but of course with much less people). It means that sometimes you’ll start drinking in Saturday and drink Vodka everyday till Wednesday ;) .

  36. Monicysko says:

    I sure enjoyed the articlea! We had a wedding a year ago, and some of our Irish friends were invited.. They had a great time. Even though some of our family (especially older ones) don’t really know English, and our friends don’t know Polish, but after few shots of vodka, there were no barries – everybody was talking in their own language and somehow they were having a great conversation.. :) There was one more thing that has shocked them – after arriving at the party, and all the bread and salt you’ve mentioned, we had a toast with a champagne. And after drinking it, the tradition in our region is to throw the glasses so they break. And then, the bride and groom together, have to clean it – I think it suppose to symbolize sharing everyday life and duties together.. That was new for them… Breaking completly new glasses just so you can clean it after… Oh, and at our wedding, I didn’t throw the bouquet – I threw the veil instead. But I suupose that depends on the region (we’re from the south – Śląsk).
    And were you saying a lot of food and vodka – that’s true.. I warned them before the wedding but they did believe… Poor fellas…
    I think that what they liked the most, was free drinks, as in the Irish wedding (don’t know if it’s the same in UK) you have to buy your own drinks at the bar… So unlimited, free supply of booze sounds great!

  37. Pawel says:

    TiS, if you think the Polish drink much, you should go to London on a Friday night:)

  38. Kasia19 says:

    You have forgotten to explain the fact that the guests sometimes steal the shoes of the couple during the wedding party.

  39. Paradisum says:

    Well done. But pls correct from “god” to —-> God”

  40. island1 says:

    Polish guy: I’m from England but I know what Polish weddings look like too. Your logic sux.

    Boria and Marek: Hello Wykop people! We regularly get picked up by Wykop, so we know it well. 99 percent of Wykop visitors are very nice and polite, but there’s always that 1 percent of naughty boys who think we don’t know what the ‘K’ word means.

    Monika: You’re welcome!

    TiS: Thanks for the comments, glad you enjoyed the post. Sometimes I make light of Polish vodka drinking because it’s a popular myth, I know it’s not really true: have a look at http://polandian.home.pl/index.php/2008/03/02/myth-7-polish-people-drink-a-lot/

    Best of luck for the big day.

    Rafał S.: Greetings back from Poland; we all live here. Two or three day weddings seem to be more common outside the cities. I could be wrong about that.

    Monicysko: Thanks for the comments. I’ve heard about the glass-breaking, but never actually seen it so I don’t know how common it is. You’re right about the free drink though. At most British weddings the guests get a certain amount of wine and free drinks up to a certain amount at the bar, then they have to pay for the rest.

  41. island1 says:

    Btw, the ‘Poland is a village’ remark is a reflection of the fact that it’s very common to bump into / come across people who know the same people that you do rather than a judgment of the sophistication of a nation.

  42. Adam says:

    To be honest, I looking trough all parties I have been on, wedding or not, Vodka helps to melt ice between people. It helps to keep up party all night. Of course you have to control amount of vodka you are able to drink otherwise it will end up earlier for you.
    Concluding Vodka is indispensable on weddings but not everyone has to drink it. Just like with everything else.

    BTW. Great job with that text :-)

  43. Shigella says:

    Ad 1
    In big cities in Poland is new use to invite families and witnesses on a dinner to the luxury restaurant and next day is party for friends in club, pub or at home. Still important is what is written on invitation.
    Ad 5
    Couple is usually disappearing to sign civil marriage documents.
    In Poland church wedding isn’t valid in state law meaning and before signing concordat in 1993 there almost all the couples took wedding two times – first in the office, second – in church or synagogue. Couple had to bring civil act to church before the wedding.
    Nowadays more popular is to take “concordat marriage” – after or before ceremony bride and groom sign documents and priest has 5 days to send it to the USC (office which register births, marriages and deaths) to make marriage valid.
    Of course couple could take only civil marriage or two marriages – civil marriage is only ceremony when one or both persons are divorced.
    Civil marriage usually is more quiet (sometimes only witnesses and young couple participate).
    BTW – traditional Polish weddings especially in rural area in mountains could be 7 days long.

  44. Anna says:

    I must admit that in Poland (my country:) weddings are a “big thing”, almost all U have written is true, buy showing kielbasa on, as U called it “party” is a big missunderstood. Kielbasa is so ordinary…

  45. Sylwia says:

    Hilarious!

    There should be two points added though, or a cumulative one – The Missing Father.

    Anglo-Saxon natives who want to marry a Polish woman should remember to NEVER ask her father’s consent. I’ve met some British and American women who find the practice extremely romantic, but in Poland one would risk being left bride-less, especially if one asked the father before asking the lady. She might suggest to the young man to marry her father instead.

    The difference comes from the influence of civil laws on religion or lack thereof – in England, where the parliament could influence the Church, woman couldn’t be married without her father’s consent, and he was bringing her to the altar (which we see more like dragging her there) in order to give her to the groom. A wedding without it was invalid. In Catholic countries the practice has been forbidden since the Council of Trent in the 16th century and pronounced as human trafficking. Woman could not be treated as her father’s or husband’s property.

    Engaged people go together to their respective families and ask for blessing, although today it’s mostly letting them know about their decision. The blessing (still symbolised by offering of the bread and salt) assured that the couple would be supported by their families (i.e. given money), but they could marry without it anyway. That’s why groom and bride enter the church together. It’s the sign of the freedom of consent of each of them. That’s also why everything in the wedding is equal for the man and the woman – the exchanging of rings (not just one for her), the catching of the tie to pair the bouquet etc. Which means that the father’s presence at the wedding is not required at all. If he didn’t show up it might be noticed by no one. Usually though he pays for the party. :D

    BTW If you marry a Catholic don’t suggest to her any pre-marriage contract, i.e. how your money will be divided in case of divorce. It makes the sacrament null and void from start.

    The purpose of poprawiny is to have people drink and eat all the leftovers, because in the Polish mind a good party is when there’s too much of everything, not when there’s just about enough.

    Meals are served so often because properly vodka is chased with food. All the wedding party dishes are those that go well with it, and assure that people won’t get drunk quickly. That’s why there are no non-Polish fancy dishes there which are useless at such occasions. Vegetarians should use the pickled cucumbers and mushrooms in vinegar to fill in the gap caused by not eating fat. It’ll prevent hangover. The advice to not drink any other alcohol is excellent!

    The no fights rule is universal. If a fight happened it’d be an exception to it. The role of a guest is to appreciate the hosts’ effort and socialise, so that the party would be a success. In other words you have no right to fight at someone’s party. Fights happen at public events, like discothèques in a remiza.

    Exceptions to the traditional wedding party rule happen mostly among young people who don’t want to seem old fashioned. Once in their late 20s or 30s they begin to appreciate traditions and good fun again. If it’s the bride’s family paying for the wedding they might not agree for the young people to spend the money on their honeymoon instead. They have to return the favour to all their relatives who invited them in the past. The old saying goes: The wedding is for the young, the party is for their families.

    It’s not true that it’s a shame to be a single woman after 25 in Poland. On the contrary. Women don’t want to seem eager to marry, that’s why they don’t want to do the bouquet catching. If you propose she’ll give it a thought, but she’d hate if you did it just because she caught the bouquet.

    It’s true that the wedding party is a Catholic, or rather non-Anglican thing. Since Anglicans couldn’t marry after noon there was only the wedding breakfast. The first time I heard ‘wedding’ and ‘breakfast’ in one sentence I thought people must mean the breakfast that’s served the morning after the wedding party, lol.

  46. posith says:

    funny.. but bullshit in real world!
    I just got married in poland. and I tell you if you want a good wedding, and good party.. you can have it.. without all those folklorish food, songs. well, it dont’ cost you more money, but honestly, costs you more time to arrange.. thats it.. just give it a try..

  47. Anonymous says:

    soooo true!

    of course, there are weddings without all this stuff, but the traditional ones are always full of vodka, food and drunk uncles asking you to dance.
    Unfortunatley, I got an invitation to ‘slub and wesele’ few weeks ago and i’m doing my best to find some excuse and don’t go ;)

    Annd despite i’m from Poland i liked the article a lot!

  48. manwe says:

    Greatings from wykop! Great article, you wrote here a lot of interesting things about polish “wesele & ślub”, our tradition. Thanks!

  49. Kuba says:

    Interesting you should be talking about Polish weddings. I just got the Pol Am Journal in the US and it has an article about Polish weddings.
    Explains: Oświadczyny, zaręczyny, termin i miejsce, zaprosiny, wieczór kawalerski and rodzicielskie błogosławieństwo.

  50. Gabor says:

    “To be 25 or older and still in that circle around the bride is a powerful shame.”

    Almost the only thing I do not agree :) Add about 5 years to the second number and You will get the truth. But still it depend on where the wedding is (village or big city) and people who attend (for some grandmas 20y/o girl that is unmarried should feel ashamed and for others 35y/o single is fine) – there’s no rule for that.

  51. EwaP says:

    As for the wedding-and-not-party invitations, many of them are not dubbed invitations (Zaproszenie) at all – they are called information (Zawiadomienie). And then you decide, to go or not to go…

    I would say, that for typical Polish wedding you definitely should have included (just by the bread and salt) the throwing of glasses behind you (most wonderful if they bounce off another wedding guest, which I have seen once).

  52. lydia says:

    this was SOOOOO funny and SOOOOO true. you forgot to mention one significant thing: the dancing while sitting by the table. at every polish wedding there is a band playing stupid songs everybody knows and the singer, when not singing, may ask you to do many moves like standing up, leaning to the left, leaning to the right while holging hands with the strangers you were required to sit next to.

    and the second day of the party is held because somebody has to eat the tones of food and drink the galons of vodka

    thanks for this hilarious text.

  53. Hubert says:

    you know jack about polish weddings man. best man’s job is a hard one, he pours vodka to people all night long, especially to the groom. you’ve never been to a proper polish wedding party, lol.

  54. Sylwia says:

    I was thrilled when I saw a tittlle of this article as i was hoping to show it to my Irish boyfriend. We are planning to get married in Poland and i wanted him to get some taste of it. But now i’d rather he didnt see the article. You made it sound as something horrible, that you have to struggle to survive; or maybe i just can’t understand english humour. I agree that there are few things that might seem weird but overall it is a great tradition, as oppose to a random night out as i would describe english weddings, when you not only have to give a present- perhaps crystal champagne glasses they will never use, pay for your drinks but also around 1 am your so starving and so drunk that you feel like a nice “chipper” and their serve you with a platter of sandwiches and when you are lucky and quick enough you might get one – cheese and coleslaw because nobody else really wanted it. As a polish person, who was brought up in a traditional family, I really believe that the whole “church thing” is the most important. Otherwise why would you get married at all? Its cheaper to go for a pint with your friends on a Friday nite (not a big difference between that and english/brittish/irish wedding). Sorry, there is one big difference – you have to invest in a funny hat with spiky, flowery decoration sticking out from it, so when you stand behind them in a church you can’t even see the bride and groom.
    And you didnt mention about all athe games that are the ground for all kind of hilarious situations and humour, which lack of you expressed in the article. Think its better fun that being glued to you chair for hours listening to all the speeches given by (or rather read by) stressed parents and all best mans and brides etc., and laugh at stories from the couples’s childhood when they fell off the horse or got drunk for the first time in their life.
    Overall – I wouldn’t change a traditional polish wedding for the best five star hotel wedding in Ireland/UK, after all they will clear it your table after your dinner or even remove it to make a room for a dance floor. You left standing at the bar and drinking good all pints as on the Saturday nite the weekend before. Well, it’s better than sitting with your glass staring white, but stained at that stage, table cloth.
    Depends on what you like I guess….

  55. Margot says:

    Even though I hate weddings (mostly because of the throwing flowers thing), I LOL’d like crazy! Dude, this article is really brilliant, your best ever! :)

  56. emi says:

    Syliwa – i think you didn’t get it. He is not making laugh at polish weddings, he is just describing it in a funny way. Obviously with a little bit of exaggeration, but that’s the point of this blog! It is nor a report about weddings in Poland, it is just very funny article written from a little bit different perspective.

    I think this article is brilliant!

  57. island1 says:

    Sylwia (the original): Excellent insights as usual. The whole ‘giving away the bride’ thing has always sounded a bit suspect to me though, as with all these traditions with less than savoury origins, people get very emotional about them and upset if they aren’t fulfilled.

  58. island1 says:

    Sylwia (the cross one): It wasn’t meant to sound horrible, I like Polish weddings and I agree, there are more fun than the standard British kind. I don’t think your Irish intended would find anything here that sounded unpleasant. I add a bit of humour because it makes the information more interesting to read.

    Best of luck.

  59. island1 says:

    Margot: (blush)

    emi: Your wisdom knows no bounds.

  60. MaterialGirl says:

    200 zlotys ONLY?!!! island1, I gave 200 zł for 1 person = 400 zl from the couple in 2004 and we was only for half the wedding party!
    Today I think it’s minimum 300 zlotys from 1 person.
    Average wedding party for 1 person costs circa 150 zlotys!!!

  61. Scatts says:

    He’s cheap, MaterialGirl. Always has been, always will be. Some say he has Scottish roots.

  62. Leszek says:

    You forgot about singing songs not just the stupid old hits but the proper traditional ones which are sing in the area for ages, although that might only happen in south of Poland.

  63. Kuba says:

    Traditional songs are sung in north Poland as well. Well 150km north west of Warszawa. Also a relative had a wedding in Ustronie Morskie and had traditional songs. It was a two day event.

  64. MaterialGirl says:

    Scatts,

    If island1 has got some Scottish roots Kraków is for him right place to live. Be “economic” is here the real virtue. ;-)

    You know what I like in you both? You quarrel, but inside I feel deep relation. So your altercations and flouts are only screen smoke/zasłona dymna and bluff.

    Now, traditionally, I expect answer from island1 (because usually when I’m saying sth to island1 answer gives me Scatts and reverse). :D

  65. MaterialGirl says:

    On the Highlanders wedding parties to the eating table you have to be especially invited, but for the dancing can go everyone who wants to dance tonight. So all people from the village and tourists can play together, not only wedding guests. I like this tradition. It’s very nice!

    In the small villages it’s a honour and the sign of good omen to have got sb from the other country on the wedding, if that person will be recognized as a valuable person can be asked of some kind of speech or wishes for the just married (especially if he/she can say more than 3 words in polish).

    For picking up coins – if bride gathers them more she will hold the bank/money. So watch out of the polish bride! :D

  66. island1 says:

    MaterialGirly: Far be it from me to go against tradition, especially in the context of this post.

    I always thought it must be exhausting being a Górale, they seem to spend their whole lives appearing on the TV news running around wearing funny costumes and taking part in energetic traditions.

  67. EmigrantkaUK says:

    Island1: brilliant post! my fiance loved it and so did his family. They’ve already booked flights for the ‘Polish wedding’ affair :)

    Sylwia: get a life and make sure to let your hubby to be know (before he marries you) that you have no sense of humour at all (not mentioning tolerance).

  68. foo says:

    Well your list is great – I LoLed reading it. Good stuff. I love to see how other nations view our customs (I am a Pole). I don’t know if the intent of this list is just to be funny or also to give some information about the wedding… I think both. :) So just FYI I’ll try to give some more insight…

    1. The best mans job is actually quite responsible… First of all if you are a best man this means you’re the grooms buddy so you need to help him so the ceremony goes well. This includes f.e. going to the priest and paying 500zł for music during wedding… going to the bus driver and paying 500zł for the bus and telling him where to go… going to the couple fancy automobile and paying another 500zł… etc. ;) So you are somekind of manager of the wedding really since the groom may get extremely drunk or/and he will be extremely nervous about the whole thing (we take it as a quite serious moment in life).

    2. I think you need to know that actually polish wedding can be a profit for the couple. :) It is such like a matter of business (but really it isn’t strictly business) – in big family usually after wedding the couple get back what they have invested in the ceremony and are sort of set up for the start… Close members of family usually give quite a lot of cash. But as a not related member the gift may be also symbolical… Nice flower bouqette is quite obvious however…

    3. I know that the Brits have no problem with socializing but please keep in mind that one purpose of wedding party ceremony (wesele) is to make the relatives and friends of the bride and the relatives and friends of the groom to better know each other since the wedding made them a family. This is actually quite a nice thing.

    4. At 24hr (12AM, usually after the cake) you WILL face some really weird behaviour called “otrzęsiny” (well it is a very rustical custom) and after that a set of party games for drunk people like dancing with chairs, dancing standing ON chairs (imagine that after a LOT of vodka) some games involving getting half naked and few other weird (but funny) custom. These games are held by DJ and usually involwe hunting for single volunteers… So keep that in mind… :)

    5. Usually after “otrzęsiny” there is normal dancing to some old hits…

    6. On “wesele” you can drink a LOT of heavy alcohol (vodka) if you wish – well you can go for like 1,5 liter and still live and even get up the other day! The secret is to:
    – never mix the drinks – if you drink plain voodka dont drink anything else (beer, wine, sodas)
    – eat, eat, eat – with each meal that is served eat something that is fat
    – dance, dance, dance – while dancing you will drop some of the boooze with sweat
    – folllow what everybody is doing – if they eat – eat, if they drink a toast – drink, if it is dancing – dance

    This way you will make your record in drinking and still live. :)

    7. Last advice is that usually there is a transport (a bus or something) from the church (usually in the centre of the town) to the “wesele” place and than sometime in the morning (4AM, 5AM) there is a transport back. But if you came by car and don’t feel like driving (got drunk – normal – you would be weird if you didn’t) ask the groom about sleeping rooms – usually they are provided as an emergency for the guest.

    So that is all – have a great time at polish weddings. :)

  69. Anonymous says:

    It,s such a pity that our blinkered brit chose to see a traditional Polish wedding in such a restricted understanding of celebrations in other cultures. There must surely be only one culture in the world that has more impact and meaning than any other. Oh so British and gods gift to society!

  70. island1 says:

    Foo: Information in an entertaining package – yes, that’s the humble idea.

    Thanks for your additional points. One thing I learned from this post and its comments is that there is a LOT of regional variation in Polish wedding customs. I guess my only point about the best man was that he doesn’t have a ceremonial role like he does in British weddings (handing over the ring), the idea that he is a trusted ‘helper’ to the groom is the same in Polish and British weddings, though I have to say I haven’t seen best men doing half of the things described in some comments here – variations again.

    Good advice about vodka control methods.

    Anonymous: Honestly, I despair sometimes. I don’t know how I could have been more positive or embracing of Polish traditions than I was here. I suggest you acquaint yourself with the phrase ‘chip on the shoulder’ and consider it in relation to your view of the British.

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  73. Crayden says:

    Thanks for the excellent article, I am English but married in Poland, it was quite a culture shock. I also had a restaurant in Poland, we catered for many weddings. The average vodka consu,ed over around 40 weedings was 2.8 bottles per person, per wedding. This doesnt include the bottles people smuggled into the festivities to minimise cost.

  74. AlexW says:

    Great article. Takes me back to 1996 when we got hitched in Gorzow WLKP. From which I learned that, if you’re doing a Church wedding, you should keep your Englishness under wraps when conversing with the clergy before the ceremony. Or get used to being called ‘Poganin’ (pagan) and being harangued by the verger for 20 minutes on the iniquities of Darwinism.

  75. […] 15 things you need to know about Polish weddings – the survival guide. […]

  76. Daniel says:

    I am Danish and went to a Polish wedding two weeks ago. My tactic was to never say no to vodka, because they should not laugh at me bacuase I was Danish. At 23.00 I was on my way home in a taxi, totally drunk. But it was a good 5 – hour – wedding :-)

  77. Anonymous says:

    stuped

  78. aika says:

    I do not agree but for other reasons. In general, when you turn 13 +- 2, being put in a circle and expected to compete for the privilege of being “the new bride” associated with taking part in some more or less ridiculing “play” afterwards (maybe kissing “the new groom” and stuff like that) and being picked on by elder aunts etc. (about your boyfriend or prospected wedding) is all together embarrassing.
    You don’t feel bad about being not married. You feel bad about being treated as a kindergarten child. That’s why many young people do not like the relatively new tradition of wedding (euphemism) party games. Perhaps older country folks who have not had the chance of attending kindergarten and kinderballs miss their missed childhood and that is why some of them seem to love wedding games and competitions.

  79. aika says:

    I think you have intermingled “otrzęsiny” with “oczepiny”.
    “Otrzęsiny” (hazing?) was a set of practical jokes and quasi-tortures applied to students freshmen – something similar as sailors’ babtism while crossing the equator. For the English speakers: the word comes from “shaking”, probably because the freshmen would be shaken by their new colleagues during the procedure and quite shaken afterwards. The tradition is almost as old as the oldest universities.
    “Oczepiny” was the moment during the wedding party, when the maidens would give the bride away to the matrons and her wreath would be changed for a “czepiec” – coif (I’m not sure whether I found the right English words…). Right now most maidens are not actually maidens, not to mention no one actually wears wreaths nor coifs. Therefore it is changed for veil-throwing etc.

  80. aika says:

    Believe it or not, but I’ve been to a Polish wedding party where everyone preferred wine or non-alcohol drinks. Nevertheless if you look at some Polish wedding forum you are bound to find a couple of discussions about “how much vodka”, “what kind of vodka”, “where one can buy/order special wedding vodka labels” and stuff like that. Seems it’s still an important issue for many.

  81. Daniel, you made 5 hours. That’s pretty good compared to my girlfriend’s father who passed out almost immediately after the civil ceremony. See, at the end of the official marriage a colossal amount of vodka was spread around the room. I was old it was traditional for the Suwalki region and was 70% proof. There was a good few under-9’s and myself who weren’t drinking, which of course meant a new surplus of vodka. An absolutely disgraceful, sacrilegious act to commit at a Polish wedding is to leave vodka undrunk. Same with guinness in Ireland, wine in France, club orange in Spain, sausages in Germany (yes, they drink them too) and beer in Britain. So he decided to knock back the remainder. A least he missed the 112 courses before midnight. Of course, there were another 17 between midnight and 2am so he didn’t starve.

    At another wedding, mid-way through my brother in law to be passed out after about 3 hours. Somebody spiked his vodka with, er, vodka. I had the unpleasant experience of seeing him lying in a comatose state later that night in a piss-filled bed. Attention all readers, pretend you have a drink problem when you go to a Polish wedding. At least that way you lower the chances of disgracing yourself by doing something uncalled for like attacking the bride’s wheelchair bound mother-in-law.

  82. jan says:

    Good said Sylwia! good said
    The real Polish wedding is very funny!

  83. kuba says:

    None of you mentioned a fight, especially on the village wedding there should be a good fight;)

  84. Anonymous says:

    hip hip all mvt LIP ROLLIN wan

  85. Anonymous says:

    hip hip rollin in dance

  86. Anonymous says:

    woman rollin dance

  87. John says:

    I have a Ph.D. in ethnomusical studies. In summer of 2009, I went to a wedding with my girlfriend in near Krakow in Poland. They said there would be played only Polish songs, so I got quite excited since I haven’t studied them so much. But during the party, I as an ethnomusicalogist would recognised some songs, the band would play (Probably the guest didn’t know) one gypsy song from Russia (called “Ana, ljubliem ciganko Yana’ ” written in 1909 in St. Petersburg), a wedding song from Austria (called “Zillertaler Hochteitsmarsch” from Zillertal in Austria, the author is unknown), a czech polka song (called “Skoda lásky”), German song with polish lyrics called “Alte Kameraden”, and some american songs as well as the ,,very” Polish disco polo, which was invented in the 90’s, and hasn’t got a long tradition. No oberek, kujawiak, or krakowiak played. None, zero. Even it wasn’t played I was told by the guest that I was in a very ,,traditional” Polish wedding. What a shame that the people doesn’t even recognise their own musical history.

  88. Yellow says:

    Great article! ;) I’m polish and I was laughing like crazy…I went to quite a lot polish weddings, with people from all over the world (British, Danish, Italian, Czech, Russian) It was always funny to have a wedding-party with non-polish people which were surprised by things like “some really weird behaviour called “otrzęsiny”” (it’s called oczepiny btw.)
    Usually people enjoyed weddings in PL. Some of them didn’t…specially amount of vodka was a little bit scary.
    Like someone wrote before: you just need to move a lot (dance), eat a lot of fat food (ham, any meat etc) and don’t mix drinks!
    In the end I’d like say to people who doesn’t like polish tradition…that they are wrong ;) Comparing to weddings in other European countries, I must say that we are the best :D It’s not only about get drunk and dance a little bit…it’s also about families which are meeting for the first time, about ceremony in church which is very important for the most of the young people in our country.

  89. wedding says:

    you did not include MANY things that are worth mentioning
    explaing why there is a loaf of bread and salt,
    talk about throwing not just money but rice,
    talk about otrzesiny, and the silly games present at some weddings, talk about throwing the empty glasses behind u (thats what the newlyweds do), talk about ‘giving away the bride’ to the groom, you didnt talk about the blessing (parents bless the bride and groom),your article aint bad but you should add way more info to make it perfcet and so it gave the entire picture of a Polish wedding as the way it is now doesnt give the whole picture as you skipped many important things that make Polish weddings yet more unique

  90. Name says:

    you eat SO MUCH so dancing is absolutely essential to make some space for the next meal. but to have the courage to dance you need to be slightly tipsy. but as said, you eat so much that getting drunk with one shot of vodka does not work. this equals: to be able to eat more you dance but to be able to dance you need to be drunk but to be able to get drunk you need to drink alot because you eat alot. evil they are those poles.

  91. Anna says:

    well, you really don’t know much about Polish weddings. Some of the information is ok, but mostly you just don’t know the deeper meaning, the symbolic meaning, e.g. the bread and salt, throwing the coins at them, and the job of the best- man! He really has to work hard. Really I woul’d believe in the thing written here. And when it comes to real Polish weddings, it all depends on the region where it is, e.g. wedding in Polish mountains last for even 7 days sometimes! And the picture of the food here is also probably from Wielkopolska.
    Really, I’m from Poland and I saw hundreds of wedding, as a guest and as a waitress, and I think you shouldn’t publish this article. It doesn’t look like that in reality.

  92. vauban says:

    @name:
    Harharhar! True, it’s like a vitious circle;) No exit;)
    However, I have to say, there’s something a’ changing. In a bigger cities there’s a obciach (slightly shameful) to arrange a traditional wedding party. There is no fame to make big event but rather make something different. I’d made a wedding party at Chinese restaurant and that’s so much exotic for all the guests they’re just delighted. It was 13 years ago… and they still remember as something special!

  93. mrw says:

    @However, I have to say, there’s something a’ changing. In a bigger cities there’s a obciach (slightly shameful) to arrange a traditional wedding party.

    Yes, if you are a hipster.

  94. tazz says:

    @Yes, if you are a hipster.

    Hipsters don’t marry, do they?

  95. mrw says:

    @Hipsters don’t marry, do they?

    In Poland everybody marries.

  96. Kuba says:

    No in San Francisco everybody marries everybody

  97. dorota says:

    hey, there is also one song “a teraz idziemy na jednego…” which is a sign to go for a shot (or 10) but as foreginers don’t understand the words, they just start dancing :) That’s hilarious!

  98. Beata says:

    This article doesn’t seem to be written with a bit of humour. In fact it’s pathetic. Is the only way to caught british people attention? I guess the author got a polish wedding invitation only. Obviously POLES saw him as a POLE who may not be a “proper guest”. Nobody makes you to eat the whole food you can see on the table, nor you have to drink all vodka or dance to the 5 a.m. Now I’m waiting to reed someing about traditional british wedding parties – written with a bit of humour of course.

  99. Name says:

    It seems that you don’t know much about Catholicism

  100. Kuba Wolanin says:

    I really enjoyed this article! It’s the whole truth about polish weddings. It’s well-said and I’m glad that someone finally described it. I played on a wedding band for a while – practically I’ve been on 15 weddings on 2010 and it was TERRIBLE for me, because of one reason – our traditional songs. I played on drums for eighteen looong hours for people, who were too drunk to listen. They were just dancing and spiraling gracefully with vodka.
    I’m planning my own wedding, but – to be honest – I’m not taking seriously our traditional, drunk party. It’s a total disaster!

    One more time I’ll say that – great article! Cheers

  101. Name says:

    And what’s the weird in not inviting you at the party?? I thought it would be the same to all countries,i think in yours not!!!But of course u can’t invite a really third person and pay for him to party,its logical!

  102. EimearM says:

    Great article. I recently agreed to marry my long suffering boyfriend who hails from Central Poland. I am really looking forward to planning the wedding and having a very lively mix of Irish and Polish traditions when we marry next summer in Poland. I am certainly going to take this article and include it (with a few tweaks) in the invitations to my family in order to prepare them for what lies ahead. I have been to a couple of Polish weddings and at the last one I was at a cousin of the bride slapped in accross the face in a case of mistaken identity!! When my boyfriend tried to restrain the girl another relative of the bride mistook the situation and punched my boyfriend on the nose!!! It was a great party but that did put an end to our night fairly quickly.

    If anyone can think of any good suggestions for the midnight games that would work well without having to use too much language (Polish or English) please let me know.

    Also can I say that my favourite part of the Polish wedding party is when the guests force the couple to kiss in front of everyone contantly all night by chanting and singing at them…..I might change my tune on that point by Summer 2012. Lets hope the Myan prediction doesn’t come true by then.

    Thanks for the article. It will prove very useful.

  103. PolFr says:

    So funny :)! But also so true!
    I’m getting married in Poland (I think it make sense as I’m Polish) with my French fiancée. We will have guest from France, Poland and England and I must say this is probably the best description of the Polish wedding that I have came across ;) Good job…I am off to sending it to all of my English friends ;)

  104. […] When the bride and groom exit the church, it is tradition for them to be showered with handfuls of loose change by guests.  The bride and groom are then expected to pick it all up.  Starting out married life groveling around on the pavement for pennies is considered lucky, according to Polandian. […]

  105. […] When the bride and groom exit the church, it is tradition for them to be showered with handfuls of loose change by guests.  The bride and groom are then expected to pick it all up.  Starting out married life groveling around on the pavement for pennies is considered lucky, according to Polandian. […]

  106. michelle says:

    I went to my first 2 day polish wedding earlier this year and was warned by my partner about the food and drink and dancing, warning was not enough, it was completely different to english weddings, it was fantastic. i really enjoyed it and i am very proud of myself that i managed to walk out of the venue at 4am after eating and drinking so much.

  107. Hi, the article is so true ;) obviously some customs varies in different counties in Poland. I am wedding photographer, and was already on so many polish – english weddings (usually held in uk), and always some polish traditions are kept ;) I do like it, and seems to like english like it too ;)

  108. Oh my God!!! I haven’t laughed so hard in years. Being Polish myself I can only say – very accurate picture…

  109. mspolishdonut says:

    Great article, I laughed so hard. I feel sorry for anyone who didn’t appreciate the humour in this. I’m Polish, planning to get married to an Australian (possibly in Poland), so this could potentially be of great assistance in terms of introducing his family to Polish traditions.

  110. Rebecca says:

    This was very helpful. Since I will be the bride at the polish wedding (Groom polish).
    Wish Me luck!!!!!

  111. Irishguy says:

    This was excellent. I am getting married in Trzebnica in July to my Polish fiance and we attended a wedding last year…a village wedding. Road blocks for booze, massive amounts of food. Vodka coming out our ears. Dancing…..lots and lots of dancing. No hangover (true, do not mix the drinks). I caught the tie (and now I am next to marry so that was true). Nervous but looking forward to it so much. I think my family coming from Dublin will love it…if they remember anything : )

  112. Marcus says:

    I’m marrying a Polish lady but I have never met her parents or been to Poland. She wants us to get married in Gorzow. What do I need to know about meeting the parents? Any help guys?

  113. ahmadsammy says:

    Alright you guys… that was a very interesting article, however; I am faced with a bit of a predicament here…I am to be married in 2 months to the love of my life, I am not Polish, I am Egyptian and my bride, yes you guess it, she is Polish… She is from a small town and although she lives and works in the UK she insisted that the marriage takes place in her country, specifically her town, which I must add a small town,so pretty much everybody knows everybody.
    Here is the thing…
    Her family, mom and sister don’t really like me, for the simple fact that I am not Polish and I don’t share the same religion as she does. She defied her family and we applied for marriage and got the court date and she is insisting on inviting all her family…
    I will be all alone, I mean I don’t have anyone from my side to hold my back.
    It is not a church marriage, just a civil one.
    Now what I really need to know is what shall I do? What will the ceremony be all about? How I shall react in case I get harassed by one of her family members?
    I really am nervous about the whole thing. Not that I have any doubts, I just know that this is very important for her and I really don’t want to mess it up…!!
    HELP

  114. Kara says:

    I laughed so hard reading this! It’s so true though and it reminds me of my partners family who are Polish, the food the vodka it’s so true and very endless! Are there any nice/fun polish traditions (apart from the vodka that will already be there!) I can incorporate into my wedding? I don’t mean a full polish wedding but I’d love to have a few things in there to give it have that “polish” feel! Any suggestions welcome thanks!!!

  115. Name says:

    I’m crying of laughter! On our trip through Poland we were made to watch two wedding videos of people distantly related to my bf. The videos were almost as long as the weddings and really really cringe, but they were exactly like you describe – except less fun to watch than to read about.
    But WHERE ARE THE PICTURES???? If they’re anything as funny as the text, I want to see them!

  116. Catriona wojcik says:

    Thank you very much for this, I wish I read it before I went to my first polish wedding, someone took my plate away at the beginning of the night and I was fuming because I hadn’t finished…no one told me the food was just going to keep on coming!

    Polish weddings definitely make English ones look boring, another plus is that polish weddings DON’T include hours of photos before you sit down and start late afternoon :)

    Thank you also for writing this as it has certainly saved me a job, we are having a polish wedding and I shall simply share this with all my English family and friends to warn them :)

  117. Olga says:

    i pissed myself laughing! exactly how it is! and love the humour :) wish me luck at my polish-British wedding in August!

  118. Nicola says:

    hello, I am looking for some information on the Polish mountain wedding (Goralskie wesele).
    I would be grateful if someone would give me details on that. sorry for commenting it here!

  119. paintball says:

    Piekielnie ciekawy tekst, zalecam wszystkim

  120. Russ Parker says:

    Hahaha this is brilliant. Having been to a few Polish weddings as a foreigner i can say that it’s pretty much spot on, very funny indeed.

    Also, i’m currently planning my wedding to my Polish fiancee so this will be helpful to send to my friends so they are prepared.

  121. Marcin says:

    I’m Pole. I live in Poland., and I was on dozens of polish weddings. That’s my few “survive” advise for foreigners:
    1. Eat fat meals -meat, chicken soup (brouth?),hunter’s stew. Fat makes your stomach prepare for a vodka.
    2. Don’t mix alcohol! If you drink vodka, drink only vodka (till morning). :D
    3. Dance a lot!If you can’t dance- move.
    4. Don’t smoke cigarettes ( occasional, if you not addicted).

    That’s it. Don’t worry, everything will be great.

  122. Darin says:

    Hello, i believe that i saw you visited my blog
    so i came to go back the want?.I am trying to in finding issues to improve my site!I assume
    its ok to use some of your concepts!!

  123. Anonymous says:

    Polish weddings are the best! I am married for 33 years and still get teary eyed when I think about all the beautiful Polish wedding traditions we did. They have been passed down for generations. My son and his Italian girlfriend want the same traditions we had.

  124. Liz says:

    Funny reading, except for the English geezer posing as an expert. Weddings, especially in the country are traditional affairs. I’d compare them to a boot camp – if you survive those, you’re up for any challenge! I’m a total urbanite, so it was loads of fun :-)

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