The Kurek/Pyciak Wedding

Real Polish Wedding, Part 2

Date: Sat, 11 July 1998

As usual, I write so fast that I forget some of the good things to put in.

1. I think of general interest are a few of the differences between the weddings over here and those in America. First, it is highly noticeable that in America, the bride is on the left of the groom at the altar. Here, she is on his right. Second, in America, all the people are in their pews, the groom and the minister or priest are at the front of church, and the bride comes in all her splendor down the aisle escorted usually by her father. Over here, the bride and groom wait at the outer door of the church until all the people are lined up behind them. Then they walk together down the aisle followed by their witnesses, and then the people walk in and go to the their seats in the pews. And unlike the tradition where the brides relatives and friends sit on the left and the groom's on the right, the people sit anywhere. And finally, the rings are placed on the right hand over here; on the left in America. I am attaching a JPG photo of the line up outside the church, hope it comes out on your end okay.

2. At the reception dinner and party, the bride and groom take the traditional first dance to the music of the band, then they are joined first by their parents, then on the third dance all may join in.

3. During the dinner and thereafter, there are the usual toasts to good health, happiness and large families, etc. Then the band goes from table to table serenading each couple or family with a short parody.

4. About midway through at midnight, the fun really gets going with the bride and groom. Just before midnight, the dance floor is cleared, and two chairs placed in the middle. The bride and groom each sit in one. Then the band starts playing a traditional number and four men start hoisting the bride and chair into the air, catching on the downward fall, then hoisting it again and again. It takes six men to do the same with the groom, at the same time. (See JPG photo attached.) When the number ends, they put the chairs back on the floor, and some girl runs in, goes under the brides dress and removes her shoes. At the same time, some boy runs in removes the grooms shoes. For about 10 minutes they are without shoes, complaining of how hard the floor is. Then after paying a ransom, they get their shoes back. The ransom? A bottle of vodka for each pair.

5. At precisely midnight, the bride is placed in a chair in the center of the dance floor. Two attendants help her remove her veil. Then all the bachelorettes form a circle round her. The bride closes her eyes, the music starts and the ladies start going in a circle. At some point the bride throws her veil over her shoulder, and then one of the ladies in the circle catches it. This is like the bride throwing her bouquet of flowers over her shoulder in America. Then it is the groom's turn. Remember in America, he usually removes a garter worn by the bride, and throws it over his shoulder to the waiting men. Here, he removes his bow tie, sits in the chair and closes his eyes. The bachelors form a circle and do a duck walk in a circle around him. The first attempt, while the music played and the men circled, went sort of sour. He threw the tie too hard and some married woman watching caught it. So, the men made a bigger circle, duck walked and this time one of them caught it. Every one laughed and clapped for him (as they did for the lady). Then the two winners clasped each other and kissed quite heartily. This made me wonder if the winners were really strangers or are really next in line to marry, to each other.

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Updated 16 January 2006