I had the honour to attend a Polish wedding in September 2016. And no, it was not mine, I’m still available, ladies.
A week before the event, a friend told me she was going to a wedding and her plus one suddenly couldn’t go. We didn’t (and don’t, I guess) really know each other that much but going to a Polish wedding was one of the things in my to do list for 2016 so I couldn’t say no. It was in Jarocin, a 28,000 inhabitants town four hours from Warsaw, so I spent Friday night in Poznan, where I met a really kind CouchSurfing host, before meeting my friend and going to Jarocin.
The ceremony was quite simple: around 45 minutes in the church filled with some religious songs and speeches by the priest, speeches from which I could understand basically one word, “modlitwa”, and that’s just because it’s the name of a very cool song.
Once the ceremony was over and I could interact with people again, bazillions of one grosz (one cent of the local currency, the zloty) coins started falling from the sky. Ok, not from that high, people were throwing them; apparently in weddings you throw them to the happily married couple and they have to pick them all up, which often takes from three hours to seven weeks.
Immediately after that we went to some kind of celebration hall which smelled of cabbage (proof that we were in Poland) decorated with red and white balloons (more proof that we were in Poland) and the real party begun. The real Polish wedding. The main reason why I was there. I knew I was going to need quite a lot of energy so I ate a lot at first: huge tasty croquettes stuffed with different things, different meat products, some traditional Polish soups, etc.
Once I was ready for the real challenge, I turned from the food and faced it: the vodka. No bullshit here: there was no other alcohol. I mean, I saw a few bottles of beers at the entrance, but nobody touched them. I wondered if they were for the dogs or what. No wine, of course, just vodka. The plates were changed several times during the wedding, as well as the bottles of vodka. The shot glasses, however, remained our faithful companions throughout the whole evening.
After a few shots, I felt ready to face the other real challenge: the music. Music of questionable quality, if I may add. Three guys with cheap keyboards and a saxophone delighted our ears with a selection of Polish music to which I’m sure most people would be allergic in different circumstances. Not gonna lie, I danced as much as anyone else and it was great fun, as I had the luck of meeting a few people there who made me feel extremely comfortable the whole time.
I have also realized that, when it comes to weddings, it’s not that Poles can drink like crazy without getting drunk, but rather that they know how to drink in a very smart way. What happened at this wedding was that for 20-30 minutes there would be some background music while people talked, drank and ate, and then the next 30 minutes would be of live music with everyone dancing around. This sequence would go on for eleven or twelve hours. The good thing is that if you didn’t stay on your chair during dancing time, it was just imposible for the alcohol to get to your head. I won’t say how much I drank (although I’m quite sure it was a personal record), but I was absolutely sober all the time.
To make things better, some dancing games were played. I don’t really know how to explain them, but when I saw some people being chosen for who knows what, I sneaked out for a couple of minutes. When I came back, I saw things that can’t be unseen. Oh, and I should also mention that, to remind us that we were in Poland, the waiters served more cabbage… at 1.40 am.
The celebration finished at some point between 4.30 and 5am and I danced until the very end; my obviously sweaty hair in many photos is the best reminder. After that, we all went to sleep hoping that the next day we would still be human beings. I can’t really say I was, but it was totally worth it. An extremely fun experience. Congratulations to the husband and the wife!