Polish weddings

In Polish culture, weddings are preceded with engagement celebrations. Those are usually small parties held for the closest family members of the groom and the bride and are meant to get the two families meet and get to know each other better. The engagement dinner party means that both families accept the engagement.

In the past, the engagement ceremony was the time when the future bride received a ring from her beloved partner before the entire family gathering in a very official way, which resembled to some extent the wedding ceremony itself. In recent years, however, that official note has been largely abandoned and a ring is delivered when the future groom pops the question for the first time in a more private setting. The family gathering is just a nice way of informing the family members about the mutual decision once it has been made.

The Polish Wedding Ceremony

For many years, preparations for the Polish wedding ceremony and reception were largely concerned with finding a place for the wedding, organising food, drinks, making guest-list and inviting people to the wedding. In some regions, especially in the countryside, the custom was to invite family, friends, and neighbours in person, so the future groom and bride would devote a lot of time to visiting people before the wedding day. In the modern day, although the tradition prevails in some places, open-minded Polish younger generations and celebrities copy the western examples and some Polish brides and Polish grooms like to hold Hen and Stag parties shortly before the wedding day.

Most Polish weddings take place on Saturdays and continue through Sundays. The marriage ceremony and wedding reception for all guests are held on Saturday, while a smaller, more private party for close friends and family is continued on Sunday. There are no weddings during the 40-day Lent before Easter and during the Advent before Christmas. Those periods of year are believed to be the time dedicated for penance and preparation for the most important Christian holidays, so there is not space for public celebrations and dancing parties. Interestingly enough, there are very few weddings in May as well. This is mostly due to superstition, as many people believe that persons who marry in May are not going to be happy and won’t live together long.

In the church, the bride and the groom walk up the aisle together preceded by their groomsmen and bridesmaids. The parents and other guests are usually already seated when the couple enters the church. Whether the ceremony takes place in church or at a local magistrate, there must be two witnesses of the marriage, who sign the documents alongside of the bride and groom. During the religious ceremony, the traditional in the Western movies kiss basically does not exist. Civil ceremonies are less solemn and usually only the bride and groom, and the witnesses are allowed in the room, so whether they kiss or not, very much remains their private venture.

In Poland, weddings in the countryside are usually much bigger than weddings in the city. The reason for that is simple; in the countryside all people know each other, so most get invited to the wedding unless there is some conflict going on between the families. Thus, weddings in the country are longer and more extravagant because more people attend, and more guest return on the following day to celebrate, eat, drink, and dance some more.

A special moment on the first day of Polish wedding celebrations is when the Polish bride is taken the white veil off and an apron is wrapped around her waist. This symbolizes that she gives up her innocence and accepts her duties as a wife, a hostess, and a mother. Once this tradition is satisfied, the wedding guests give presents to the newlyweds. In most cases, those are congratulation card with money, but other useful household objects are also quite common.

 

Japanese weddings

Shinto is the ethnic religion in Japan and it has a huge impact on the country’s culture and ceremonial traditions. Even today, more than 79% of Japanese people still belong to Shinto temples. Still, a large majority of people in and even outside of Japan are not very familiar with how the religion influences different ceremonies and events in Japan. The same is the case with Japanese wedding traditions that may come as a surprise to many.

The Betrothal/ Engagement

Called the yuino in Japanese, the betrothal ceremony is an exchange of symbolic gifts between the bride’s and groom’s families. The most popular gifts are a seaweed called konbu, which refers to “childbearing woman”; a long piece of hemp in white that represents the wish that both husband and wife will grow old together; and a folding fan that spreads and indicates future growth and wealth. The most common gifts also include a hakama for the groom and an obi for the bride. One of the main gifts in this ceremony is money, which can be £5,000 or more – the money is offered in a shugi-bukuro, a special envelope with gold and silver strings. Ornate rice-paper envelopes are also used to give other gifts.

The Venues

Since most Japanese weddings take place in Shinto temples, the wedding venues are always quite attractive. These locations also feature religious iconography that give the whole function a special feel. Some of the most common are water pavilions, stone dogs, and tall red gates that symbolise the division between the corporeal and spiritual worlds.

San-San-Kudo

This sake sharing ceremony is common for Buddhists as well as Shinto Japanese weddings. It is among the most interesting Japanese wedding traditions for outsiders. There will be three stacked cups of sake and both bride and groom have to drink taking three sips. “Three, three, nine times” – just as the name San-San-Kudo suggests. Ku or 9 means good luck in Japanese culture. So, some believe that the three sips each time represent love, wisdom, and happiness, while others believe they represent earth, heaven, and mankind. Some believe they represent the three couples – the bride and groom, the groom’s parents, and the bride’s parents. However, some believe they represent the biggest human flaws, which are passion, hatred, and ignorance, which the couple will overcome together in life.

Wedding Wardrobe

Something that will always fascinate you in a Japanese wedding is the wedding wardrobe. It is all in white – at least most of the time. The country’s national colors are red and white, and you will notice these same colours in Japanese weddings. While a bride’s gown may be of delicate silk or some other material, the colour is usually white. Sleek evening gowns may come as a surprise to you, but they are quite common. Grooms usually opt for black – they may wear a suit or kimono. At some Japanese weddings, brides wear a white silk material over the bun in their hair – that silk headdress is called a wataboshi and is one of the oldest Japanese wedding traditions.

Speeches

Wedding speeches hold a great place of importance in Japanese wedding ceremonies. Family, friends, teachers, colleagues, and other relatives stand in line and wait for their turn to wish the couple well. These speeches can be moralistic tales about marriage, but they can also be heartfelt messages of love from family and friends.

Gifts for Parents

As you may have gathered, Japanese wedding traditions are often about exchanging gifts. There will be loads of presents for the parents of both the bride and groom. The most common gifts are a toast for the parents, bouquets of flowers, and a personal letter of thanks and love. These simple gestures make Japanese weddings very intimate and special.

Gifts for the Guests

Japanese weddings have a lot available for the guests as well. Brides usually spend up to £50 or even more on favours for their guests. These favours might be a lace bag of sweet almonds and much more.

 

Classic Traditions

Trends come and go. But, if you want your wedding to be more timeless than trendy, consider incorporating some of classic traditions that have been in hiding for years.

We think it’s time to bring these sweet rituals back!

  1. Tying The Knot

It turns out there is deep symbolism behind the phrase “tying the knot.” It refers to an old Irish and Scottish ritual called hand-fasting. The officiant ties the couple’s hands together with a brightly coloured ribbon or cord. The rope symbolises that the couple is bound together with an eternal bond. Hand-fasting is popular in European weddings—Prince William and Kate Middleton even incorporated it into their royal wedding ceremony.

  1. Wedding Bells

The church bells ringing at the beginning and/or end of a wedding ceremony was once thought to ward off any evil or negative spirits. As many wedding ceremonies have moved out of the church and fewer churches seem to have bells, this tradition has fallen by the wayside. But, don’t give up on this one yet. The original Celtic tradition involved a smaller bell that was rung at the end of the ceremony. The bell was then brought to the couples’ new home and whenever tensions arose (as often they do with newlyweds) the bell was to be rung to restore the marriage commitment and break off the negativity of the argument.

  1. Sixpence In Your Shoe

Most of us are familiar with the rhyme “Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.” But, not as many are aware of the last line, “and a sixpence in her shoe.”  The sixpence was given by a father to the bride to symbolise all the blessings he had for her. By giving her the sixpence, he was symbolically wishing her great health, wealth and happiness that could be passed down with the coin from generation to generation. So sweet!

  1. Decorating The Car

The ritual of decorating the bride and groom’s wedding car with flowers on the bonnet and ribbons streaming from the side mirrors or ariel began in Germany. The newly married couple would lead a procession to their reception, and guests would beep their horns all the way there to get the party started!

  1. Money Dances

This is a custom that comes in several different forms depending on the culture of the bride and groom. In Poland, the bride will dance with different guests as they take turns pinning money to her. It is sometimes called the apron dance as brides would wear aprons in order to save their gowns from holes. At an Italian wedding, you may see the bride carrying a silk bag and when guests come to dance with her they put money into the bag. The Phillipines, Mexico and several other countries also have their own version of the money dance.

  1. Love Letters

In traditional Icelandic wedding ceremonies, the future bride and groom would write love letters to each other the night before the wedding. They would use the letters to express their feelings about the upcoming day, as well as their hopes and dreams for their future together, or to recount the story of how they fell in love. Oftentimes, parents of the bride and groom or the officiant of the ceremony would also write a letter to the couple. The letters would then be sealed in a box to be opened on the couple’s first anniversary. What a beautiful and meaningful tradition.

 

Intimate Wedding Venues

Intimate Venues for Small Weddings

Bingham, Richmond

A chic riverside hotel with a restaurant that glows over the Thames come twilight. The Bingham in Richmond is made of two Grade II listed 18th-century houses and run by a mother and daughter team. While its event space allows for up to 100 seated guests, the hotel has 15 bedrooms allowing for up to 30 people to stay overnight. Hire the whole hotel and choose from a casual barbecue by the water or a formal five-course wedding breakfast.

Lower Barns, St Austell

In the Cornish countryside near St Austell, Lower Barns brings together one-of-a-kind furnishings and a bold maelstrom of textures. The hotel creates an upbeat feel in their rural home and a fun and quirky environment for small and intimate weddings. The quirky bedrooms with freestanding baths or a custom-made breakfast bars are real conversation starters. Spend the evening before your nuptials stargazing from the outdoor hot tub and unwinding in style.

Court House Farm, Portishead

A beautiful medieval manor a stone’s throw from Portishead Point and Woodhill Bay. This venue offers plenty of space and the perfect rustic, romantic backdrop to any wedding. Only a couple hours from London or 30 minutes from Bristol, Court House Farm is very well connected whilst maintaining the perfect feeling of country escape. The venue is open all year round and the owners are more than happy to work with you to help create your dream wedding.

Cley Windmill, Norfolk

For something a little different on the Norfolk coast, Cley Windmill is a B&B with tonnes of character. It’s set in a 19th-century grinding mill surrounded by open fields and perfect for intimate wedding ceremonies.  It has a restaurant and a beautiful round Sitting Room too, which can hold up to 22 people. Given the intimacy of the space, it’s all about bespoke occasions whether you opt for a daytime or evening occasion. However, we’re particularly fond of the candlelight dinner option.

Pentillie Castle, Cornwall

In a timelessly elegant fairytale setting, surrounded by woodland and overlooking the River Tamar lies Pentillie Castle. Built in 1698, it has remained in the same family for more than 300 years. It is surprisingly spacious and classic, with 55 acres of gardens to roam in. It’s a wonderful place to feel like royalty and to welcome guests to a special occasion. Say your vows in the romantic Victorian Bathing Hut on the banks of the Tamar or on the Terrace if you prefer. You can furthermore tailor the rest of your day to suit you and your nearest and dearest as you please.

Romney Bay House, Kent

This beautiful 1920s mansion in a spectacular location amidst wild marshland scattered with ancient churches. Romney Bay House Hotel is a spectacular place for a small and intimate wedding reception. Plus, you can hire the whole hotel for up to 20 guests and take the whole hotel for an entire weekend from May to September.

Hever Castle B&B, Edenbridge

Hever Castle is probably best known as the home of famed and fated wife of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn. Today the magnificent 13th-century property is not only a spectacular attraction, but it’s also open for wedding hire. There are multiple spaces in this historic location so you can have a wedding of any size here. However, in the castle’s inner hall, there is the perfect amount of space for 60 ceremony guests and 40 wedding breakfast attendees. What could be more spectacular?

 

You Tube Proposals

We thought we’d round up a few amazing You Tube proposals that really made our mouths drop. These are extremely impressive whichever way you look at it!

The Zip Line Proposal

It’s not often that you find a wedding proposal on YouTube that has incredible camera quality and video editing, which is why the Zip Line proposal is a must watch. Uploaded just two days ago, it features popular YouTuber Brodie Smith who hadn’t uploaded any Frisbee videos in the past 5 months. That was all to change as you can see in this video where he takes out his girlfriend Kelsey under the guise of shooting a new branded video. What transpires involves seven members of her family, tears from both and some fab interviews beforehand.

The Skydiving Proposal

How do you go bigger than a zip line? How about by jumping out of an aeroplane and proposing afterwards. That’s exactly what Austin did when he proposed to Catherine. Another couple that have an incredible amount of followers – 8.1 million! – we feel that this deserves a spot in the blog because hey, you don’t jump out of a plane everyday and because Austin is actually scared of heights. He only jumped out of the plane because this was Catherine’s wish for her birthday.

The Greatest Showman Proposal

There’s no doubt that The Greatest Showman has taken the world by storm since its release at the end of last year. The soundtrack is often on in our office and we are certain that it probably blares out of your speakers fairly often as well. Imagine Amy’s surprise when what appeared to half of Brighton turned up to her proposal in the form of a flash mob dance, whilst her boyfriend Harry came forward in the Hugh Jackman role. Cuteness personified!

The Lip Dub Proposal

A classic these days (it was recorded six years ago), but one we absolutely adore. Isaac’s lip dub proposal is daring because not only is he sitting his girlfriend in the back of a car as it drives off but everybody involved in this lip dub flashmob is actually a friend or family member of his soon-to-be fiancée. We are sure that you know relying on so many amateurs is a recipe for disaster but it works absolutely brilliantly here!

The Abseiling Proposal

We’ve had zip lines and skydiving so why not abseiling as well? Seth saved the life of Nicole when she was abseiling a year earlier – you could say that she literally fell in love with him – and a year later, Seth decided to propose in a similar manner! Too cute. There’s not much else to say about this one but we love the dawning realisation on Nicole’s face as she descends and every other member of their group is far away from her beloved.

 

DIY your Wedding

It’s great to see that so many brides and grooms-to-be are drawing on their own talents, and no doubt those around them, to make their big day their own. It is lovely to be able to make your wedding special and unique to you by having real input into it.

When the newlyweds were asked to reveal which items were made or altered through do-it-yourself means, they found the most common DIY details to be the favours, invitations, and the wedding cake. The more unusual answers included the wedding dress (9%), the music or entertainment (6%), and even conducting the service or ceremony (2%)!

Here are the top 10 DIY details at weddings:

Photography – 19%

Flowers – 18%

Catering – 15%

Order of service prints – 14%

Guest book – 13%

Beverages – 11%

Favours – 41%

Invitations – 38%

Wedding cake – 24%

Venue decorations/styling – 21%

DIY is not for everyone, though, and if you’re starting to feel a little overloaded or panicked, you need to make sure you have time to put your feet up too! It’s okay to get some outside help, but be sure you can trust wedding suppliers and that they can help you make your dreams a reality.

A survey conducted found that fewer than one fifth of weddings do not feature any do-it-yourself touches, with the vast majority of newlyweds relying on the method to save a bit of money, add that oh-so-special personal touch, and to make sure everything is done the way you want it.

Most guests love to see a bit of a handmade touch in weddings, and that’s why there is no surprise about how many people are DIYing their wedding these days.

 

3 Wedding Traditions

  1. Why Do People Tie Cans to the Back of the Married Couple’s Car?

This tradition actually started during the Tudor period in England. As the bride and groom left in their carriage, wedding guests would throw their shoes at them because it was considered good luck if you hit the vehicle. Today that would be considered wrong, so we tie them to the car instead. And since walking home from a wedding with only one shoe is no fun, people started using tin cans instead.

  1. Why Is It Bad Luck for the Groom to See His Bride on Their Wedding Day?

This common tradition seems sweet, but its origins aren’t exactly tender. For hundreds of years, fathers arranged their daughter’s marriages by offering money to young men. However, if Daddy’s little girl wasn’t that desirable, Daddy might decide to search for prospective grooms in nearby towns, for obvious reasons. When these men showed up on the wedding day—not having seen their future brides before—it was common for some of them to flee the scene. So the tradition that it’s “bad luck” for a man to see his bride before the ceremony really started out as insurance for her dad.

  1. How Did We Get a “Ring Finger”?

The ring finger is not the same for everyone. In some parts of India, wedding rings are worn on the thumb. In 3rd-century Greece, the ring finger was the index finger. But later, the Greeks believed that the third finger on a person’s hand was connected directly to the heart by a route called “the vein of love.” Today’s Western tradition stems from that.

 

The Best Man

Many years ago, pre medieval times, the groom’s best man stood beside the bride at the altar. He assumed his position at the side of the bride as protection throughout the wedding ceremony. What was the meaning behind the protection? Is it not the best man’s’ job just to throw a huge bachelors party, and say a few kind words at the reception?

The best man was traditionally a friend of the groom, and asked by the groom to be the chief guardian of the bride during the time preceding the wedding. He in turn would appoint mutual friends to help with the duty of protecting the bride and seeing to it that she got to the wedding on time and unscathed. This is the origin of the best man and groomsmen, or traditionally called “The brides knights”.

Of course, scandal wasn’t uncommon in the Anglo-Saxon days of Great Britain. And on occasion it has been told that the Best Man with the assistance of his groomsmen would kidnap the bride. Some could interpret this as being an act of selfishness or unkind, others might detail a different story. Most marriages in the dark ages were still arranged and courtship was granted by the father of the bride to better the family status. Thus, potential suitors would be pitted against each other; similar to applying for a job. Your letter to the father would outline your traits, qualities and suitability to wed his daughter.

Of course, the daughters were still given a lot of freedom and allowed to marry in most instances where they too consented. But in the cases where the parents did not approve, they would see their daughter kidnapped by the groomsmen and guarded until married.

Of course the family would take action and try to dispel the marriage, even whilst the two delinquents were at the altar! Hence you will find that the Groom would stand to the right of the bride at the altar so his sword could be drawn quickly to defend his position in marriage. And the best man would guard the bride by standing on the brides other side until the vows had been completed.

 

To have and to hold

When planning a wedding there’s no doubt about it, in this day and age more and more couples are choosing to write their own wedding vows rather than follow the traditional verse. If you’re a modern man or woman, it probably makes sense, with the traditional vows perhaps being a bit too traditional in their tone, while many couples like to tailor their words to their partner in a more personal manner. With that in mind, here are a few tips!

Read Wedding Vows Online

We don’t mean the traditional words – though they could help too – but vows written by other modern couples! You can either watch them on YouTube or have a read through a variety of wedding sites. Certain phrases or ideas might be too good to pass up!

Agree on a Tone

This is a must because you don’t want to exchange vows for the first time at the altar, with one of you opting for a deadly serious tone and the other joking about the hilarity of the first date jitters. Pick a tone between you and stick to it. References to parts of the relationship are a nice idea, but ensure that you aren’t saying things to one another that your partner doesn’t want to be heard in front of friends and family…

Have a Ponder

What makes your relationship special? How do you view the person that you’re going to marry? Can you explain how they make you feel in just three words? What inspires you? What are you going to accomplish together? What difficulties have you faced as a couple? What does the future hold? These are all questions that can help when it comes to writing your wedding vows. Write the answers and then combine these thoughts into something coherent for the big day.

Think of a Promise

If you decided to google ‘define vows’, you’ll find that a vow is described as ‘a solemn promise’. As such, your vows shouldn’t just be a vivid description of how much you love the person in front of you but a moment to promise something to them, throughout your forthcoming wedded lives. “To love and to hold…” is of course the most famous traditional line, but we think you can come up with something just as good.

Don’t go on and on…and on…

…and on. A wedding is all about two people coming together and yes, it should be a given that you love each other very much, but unless you’re a top quality poet who’s won a Nobel Prize for your grasp of literary verse, it’s often best to keep your vows short and to the point. Nobody wants to feel that the most important of the wedding is dragging on and often, shorter is better (just like the wedding speeches!) with more meaningful choice words winning out over long, rambling declarations of love each and every time.

Enjoy it!

Our final tip isn’t so much a tip as a simple hope: Enjoy it! This is the only time you’ll get to say how you feel to your partner with all eyes on you. You’re marrying the love of your life! Make it special and bask in the occasion.

Good luck!

 

That special dance

There are a number of traditional moments on a wedding day. There’s walking down the aisle, the speeches, kissing the bride and many, many more. It’s fair to say that there is a lot to remember and that is never more true than with the first dance. Since all eyes are on you, here are our top tips to ensure your wedding dance goes without a hitch.

Take some dance lessons

You might not be the one to rush to the dance floor in a nightclub and you may not own a pair of dancing shoes, but at least attend a couple of sessions to get the basics. You might not become Michael Flatley overnight but you we think you’ll definitely pick up enough knowledge to not only scrape through the first round of Strictly, but also wow your guests!

Practice, practice, practice..

When doing the dishes, run through your steps. When out for a walk, practice your steps. When on the way to work, ponder through the movements in your mind. There’s nothing better than practicing your dance to ensure that it will be perfect on the day and if you’re lucky, the wedding venue might even allow you both in to see how much space you’ll have!

Pick something that’s danceable

It goes without saying that you should be sure to pick a song that is special to the two of you. Not only that but you also need to ensure that the lyrics are okay. Most important however, is making sure the song you pick is danceable. You might love heavy metal, but it doesn’t make for a good first dance wedding song. Here are the most popular ones and most come under three minutes and have a melodic tune. Take note and you should be fine!

Tell the wedding entertainment

If you have a live band rather than a DJ, it’s fair to assume the wedding band will be the ones playing your song on the day. You might not get a chance to rehearse with them, so do make sure that the song they’re learning is the version that you’re hoping to hear on the day. Many songs have numerous covers and it’d be terrible if they’ve learned the wrong one!

…And practice on the day

It’s all very well practicing from the comfort of your own home but we all know about nerves! Considering you might be performing your first dance in front of well over fifty people (and that would be on the small side), you might wish to run through it with your partner on the actual day. Can’t think of time when you’ll be alone? A wedding photographer is sure to allow you a couple of minutes to practice whilst waiting for the perfect shot.

Wear the right shoes

There’s no point practicing the dance in your slippers if you’re not going to be wearing them on the day. Unless you’re planning a sleepover themed wedding, we suspect you’ll be wearing some nice high heels or a smooth pair of black brogues. The thing about both these forms of footwear is they don’t tend to have a lot of grip… So make sure you’ve worn them during some of your rehearsals; nobody wants to fall over during their first dance!