Summer Wedding in Poland

Penny W-TStarred Page By Penny W-T, 8th May 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Weddings

An unexpected invitation led to a travel opportunity to Poland

The Poles and Irish really know how to party.

Early in 2010 a wedding invitation arrived. My friend Caroline’s eldest son Erol, was to be married. Caroline and her family live in Northern Ireland, and I have been a frequent visitor to their home. However the bride Monika, is Polish, and the wedding was to be held in Poland! Much excitement ensued. As a large contingent of Irish and English people would be descending on this unsuspecting town, it was decided that at least a week was required for the event. Hotel accommodation and flights were rapidly booked. This famously named airport was our gateway to Poland.

Hotel base for the week

On the appointed day, flights from several points of England and Ireland disgorged a noisy assortment of wedding guests at Gdansk airport where a coach was waiting for us. Lots of hugging and then we were on our way into the town of Staragard some distance from Gdansk. It was a bright sunny morning and we were all excited. For me, this was my first visit to Poland and I intended to enjoy every minute.
Two hotels had been reserved to accommodate all the guests and we were soon safely ensconced in this beautiful 4 star hotel on the outskirts of the town.

Party - Party - Party

Now the first thing we discovered was that weddings in Poland, spread out over three days (similar to parties in Ireland as I recall). So, after a relaxing day to recover from our journey, the first party arose on the Friday evening, when an al fresco party was held at the home of the bride’s family.
However, things don’t always go right, and just prior to the party, there was a very unexpected tornado ! We watched this stormy spectacle from the hotel, whilst waiting for the coach, and it was an amazing natural phenomena to observe.
We were picked up by the coach and ferried there in some style. On the way we witnessed the devastation caused by the sudden tornado, trees torn out by their roots littered the country roads we were travelling. When we arrived, the sun was shining and the party marquee had been re-erected. Goodness knows what the neighbours thought about this Anglo-Irish invasion, but as most of them were at the party anyway, I don’t suppose it mattered.

Get us to the church in style

With barely time to recover from Friday’s partying, it was soon Saturday morning, so a leisurely breakfast at the hotel was followed by preparation for the wedding ceremony. The coach arrived to collect us and we were enroute once more for the bride’s home. We were amazed to see neat piles of chopped wood logs along the route and it was soon revealed that the local authority had had workmen out all night clearing the debris caused by the tornado and the evidence of their hard work was seen along the sides of the roads. I must say, I don’t think councils in England would have cleared the area so rapidly !
The bridal limousine was waiting at the house and before long we were on our way again to the church.

Arrival at the church

While the civil paperwork was completed, the wedding guests were deposited at the church to await the arrival of the bride and groom and best man. It was already becoming a very special day. The church is an amazing building, and whilst it had been sadly neglected during the ‘communist’ period of Poland’s history, it is now returning to its former glory.

Ornate interior of the church

I was so glad that we had time to sit and meditate inside the church because there was so much to see and the eye was drawn everywhere. Gold leaf decoration and marble decoration seemed to be everywhere. The floral decorations were delightful, with all the seating arranged by the altar for the bridal party. There was a definite buzz amongst the congregation as we awaited the arrival of the bride and groom.

After the ceremony

The ceremony was conducted in Polish with the important parts being delivered in both English and Polish, so we all understood the procedure. The young priest was enthusiastic in his performance of the rites, and the ceremony was concluded with a wedding Mass. I had a good view of the whole event, and watched all the reactions of the guests as the marriage was finalised.

Reception venue

Outside the church and photographs were being taken, followed by the throwing of coins. Presumably this little tradition is designed to bestow wealth and good fortune on the happy couple.
Back into the coach again and we are on our way to the nearby hotel where the wedding reception had been planned. At this point we discovered that there would actually be two wedding ‘breakfasts’ – one now, following the wedding, and another tomorrow (Sunday) when we would all return to this hotel again and enjoy further hospitality!

Wedding Reception - Saturday

On arrival champagne was served and more photos of the happy couple were taken. Then we were all seated at the tables and festivities began. The tables were already decorated with huge fruit baskets and bottles of wines, spirits and soft drinks at strategic points and within reach of everyone !

Reception

Trays of food began to appear, meats, poultry, sausages, salads, rices, pasta dishes – oh it seemed that if you thought about something it would suddenly appear in front of you. Just when you thought that must be the end of it, more dishes of hot food and cold dishes would appear.
This was followed by cakes and pastries, fruit and other delightful desserts. By the end of the evening we had counted that over 28 different dishes had been served, in bulk, to the 75 or so guests. Needless to say, we were all full to bursting by the end of the evening.

Wedding Cake

To allow time for all this food to settle, and for people to be comfortable, various entertainment occurred. This was interspersed with ‘drinking’ competitions – seemingly the younger elements of the Irish contingent felt they had to outdo the Polish guests in their capacity to imbibe! This was definitely a party to outdo all other parties.
Pride of place on the table was the wedding cake. The style of this follows a different tradition to a wedding cake in England, being a variety (three tiers) of elaborate sponge based, highly decorated cakes.

Belles at the Ball!

Around the tables there was a wonderful array of fashionable style amongst the lady guests particularly. Obviously a lot of thought had gone into the wedding outfits. Note in this photo, the complimentary colouring of outfits, as if the guests had compared notes beforehand as to the colour schemes they would choose.

Starting the party

But of course, the bride’s dress was stunning. It drew gasps of admiration from everyone when she first appeared, and of course, her new husband gave an equally suave impression in his wedding outfit. When the guests were able to do so, following so much food, the party got underway with music and dancing, singing and musical instruments carrying the event well into the late hours. I think I can safely say that everyone fell into their beds totally exhausted after a day of intense activity. What a great day - and we have to get up tomorrow and do it all again.

Sightseeing

Following a three day weekend of celebration and partying, we had a couple of days to spend sightseeing in the immediate area. We explored the shops and cafes in the local town, visited the museum, took photos of the historic buildings and bought souvenirs to bring home. On the Monday we indulged in a local icecream – sadly I forgot to take a photo, because no description of this icecream cone could ever really do it justice – it was huge.
It was soon Tuesday and we were scheduled to fly home. Again, the whole contingent descended on the airport. Our flight times were different, and we had quite a wait, but there were shops . . . . . . . .

Tags

Family, Ireland, Poland, Tourism Location, Travel, Weddings

Meet the author

author avatar Penny W-T
Published articles on education themes, travel, history and writing techniques. Written a book on WW1 - Gallipoli, and travel books. Run a marketing network for small businesses.

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Comments

author avatar Delicia Powers
8th May 2013 (#)

How very lovely, thank you...:0)

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author avatar Penny W-T
8th May 2013 (#)

Thank you for taking the time to read this article and comment. It is much appreciated.

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author avatar Eileen Ward Birch
8th May 2013 (#)

We go to a Polish Remembrance service on Cannock Chase every May.
Everybody is welcome at their local club in Wolverhampton.

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author avatar Rose*
9th Jun 2014 (#)

Sounds like a good time was had by all!

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author avatar Penny W-T
13th Jul 2014 (#)

Indeed a good time was had. Time flies, this was over 4 years ago now.

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