This weekend, I went to a close friend’s wedding. It was lovely and the celebrations stretched out before and after the actual wedding day. It was amazing and I loved it how they combined traditions from an English wedding and a Polish wedding (the groom is Polish) but they also did a lot of things their way too making it intimate and personal. That is what marriage should be in my opinion – personal and intimate. It is about two people and every couple is different, so the wedding and marriage should reflect this.
I wrote a poem for the event and it became part of the best man’s speech. One friend made the bunting and individual name places for the dinner table. One friend created the invitations. One friend sang the song for the first dance. And I’m sure there are many more personal involvements. To me, a wedding is about the joining of two families as well as the joining of two people romantically and legally, It is also about having everyone you love and care about under one roof, which is why this wedding was just wonderful. Friends and family all joining together to help, support and celebrate! Here, take a look at my personal contribution:
By Sam Gray
To be together you have promised,
Forever and beyond,
To gaze into each other’s eyes
Nothing will break that bond.
Lou does her silly dances,
Pav says ‘Louisa you’re crazy!’
She laughs and keeps on prancing,
Saying “one day I’ll have your baby”!
Pav loves to go camping,
And Lou enjoys it too,
Whether in Poland or in England,
It’s their perfect thing to do.
But, Pav’s not much of a drinker,
Just one beer and he’s done,
Soaked up by McDonald’s fries,
a big mac burger and bun!
Louise is the total opposite
And loves her New Zealand wine,
It reminds her of her gap year abroad-
That she goes on about all the time!
But they’ve always got their date nights,
Many Slices of India to consume,
Pav gets his chops around the lamb,
Then home for a DVD – we assume!
We know they go together well,
Like the ring now on her finger,
Though Pav can’t have much spice in life……
….he loves a bit of ginger!
Naturally, the poem means more to you if you know the couple. But that’s the whole point and how all these little touches helped to make the day so personal and individual for them. As I said above, they combined some Polish traditions with the English. One of my favourites was where the bride and groom were given a shot as they entered the wedding breakfast. One was vodka; one water. They didn’t know who had which one, until they drank it – and the one who has the vodka shot will become the leader of the household. It was the groom on this occasion 😉
There was some Polish language during the speeches too and on each table there was Polish and English sweets as favours. There was also photographs and information about their English and Polish holidays on each table – each table named after an English or Polish city in fact (we were Wroclaw). So it was the combining of her English family and his Polish family in many subtle, special ways.
I did a bit of research into our English wedding traditions and what they mean. Some were quite interesting!
Bridesmaids and groomsmen have always worn matching outfits to each other in order to trick evil spirits! Evil spirits wouldn’t be able to tell who was who if the wedding party were dressed similarly so would leave the happy couple alone 😉 (bit crazy that one!)
- Throwing the garter (we had the groom do this at the recent wedding). This apparently originates from when guests would accompany the bride and groom to the bed chamber. Some would get too rowdy and too eager and attempt to take the couple’s clothes off (and they say we are too sexual these days!) so the garter would get thrown into the crowd in order to distract them!
- Brides have traditionally worn a veil for centuries and in many cultures. In ancient Rome, the bride wore a veil to protect the bride from jealous rivals who may try and get her for themselves! In ancient Egypt, India and China, the veil was worn because it was bad luck for the groom to see the bride before they were married – which ties in with how we still use it today.
- Crossing the threshold has been a tradition for years and still exists today. This used to happen to avoid evil spirits on the floor. Another reason was that it was bad luck for the bride to fall as she walked through the door, so she was lifted instead (not sure how that works if she was dropped though!) and another reason was so keep the bride’s maidenly modesty and so she didn’t look to eager to get to the marital bed!
Wedding traditions from other countries and cultures are just as whacky:
- The term ‘tying the knot’ comes from a Celtic tradition where the bride and groom’s hands were tied together.
- In Latvia, the engaged couple choose a married couple, usually friends, to plan their wedding for them (I feel a reality TV show coming on!)
- In Austria, the shirt the groom wears is given to him by the bride. He then saves it for the rest of his life and is buried it when he dies (what happens if he is married more than once?!)
- In Mexico, it is traditional for the couple to be given 13 gold coins as a symbol of trust and devotion. (not like our ‘unlucky’ 13 then!?)
- An African-American tradition, is for the bride and groom to jump over a broom to brush away malevolent spirits.
- Switzerland folk set fire to the bride’s bouquet to symbolise the end of her maidenhood!
So there you go – many traditions; personal touches; ideas – you can do them, steal from other countries or even make your own! At the end of the day thought, marriage is the same everywhere and to everyone: the joining of two people in love who vow to be together forever 🙂
Congratulations to my two friends and whoever else has celebrated their big day this summer!
To see other related posts: https://samanthagray9.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/two-hearts-two-rings/