Cultural Wedding Customs: Polish Wedding Traditions?
Q: What are some ways I can incorporate my Polish heritage into my wedding day?
A: Whether through food, dress, decor or music, there are many ways to salute your Polish heritage on your wedding day. Here are some ideas: Polish brides usually wore a lush wreath of fresh flowers and rosemary in their hair. Horsedrawn carriages were traditional at Polish weddings -- the bride and groom used to ride to and from the ceremony this way, with the wedding guests following after them to the reception by foot. In Polish tradition, guests rained oats and barley down on the couple rather than rice or birdseed as they exited the ceremony. Traditional Polish celebratory fare such as roasted duck and veal, pickled herring, dumplings, smoked sausages, potato leek soup, almond-filled pastries or dried fruits were served at the reception. The Polish also hold a blessing ceremony before the actual wedding ceremony, for just the bride, groom and their parents, during which the parents give the couple a ceremonial gift of bread and salt, meant to represent the "prosperity and bitterness" that all couples encounter throughout their lives. One of the most popular Polish traditions at wedding celebrations is called the "unveiling", which takes place during the reception: Guests link arms and form a circle around the bride, and her mother takes the bride's veil off (symbolizing her coming into womanhood) and places it on the head of her honor attendant, who then waltzes with the best man. The maid of honor then passes the veil to the next bridesmaid in the circle, who dances with the next groomsman in line, etc. The significance of the passing of the veil is that the bride is offering her maids good fortune for marrying themselves one day.