We woke bright and early on the wedding day. There were still some last minute preparations to attend to, as well as a visit to the salon. Ula was nice enough to schedule some time for me as well at the salon. I was a little apprehensive, not that I had seen any hideous hair while I had been in Poland, but it is hard enough to have the courage to switch up stylists in the states. However, I had no need to fear, Ula had chosen a highly skilled stylist, and all I was doing was straightening my hair. I felt very special to share these last minute preparations with Ula. It was difficult though to calm the nerves of someone who was debating eye shadow color in another language.
When we returned, after a lunch of delicious chicken soup, it was time to split the houses, all the males in one house and the females in another. There was one alteration to this rule, her father was in the brides house, and the mother was in the grooms house. I don’t think this had anything to do with tradition, but more along the lines that her father had his suit on about 8 hours before the wedding, and her mother was tidying up until the last minute. Little did Tim and I know, but we were IN the wedding. The groom and his men proceeded down the hill from Ula’s parent’s house down to the bride, at the second house.
Awaiting in this house is a full range of friends, relatives, neighbors, and a 3 man band to greet the procession. When the groom arrives, the wedding couple is to be blessed by the parents, and come to find out, me! As I had no clue, I hadn’t prepared for this moment, and stumbled along blessing the couple, sprinkling them with holy water, and presenting a crucifix (backward!) for the couple to kiss. Fortunately I could mumble my “what the heck am I supposed to do” as not many, if any in the room, understood English. Unfortunately, it was caught on tape, so I am sure someone at sometime will understand what I had to say.
The entire wedding party then walked behind the bride and groom through the streets of her village until we arrived at the Chapel.After the wedding mass, most of the wedding guests boarded a bus to the reception hall. As there was a bottle of vodka waiting for each and every guest, designated drivers had been set up before hand. I am unsure why I would assume the reception would be like American wedding receptions, but I was wrong (the vodka should have tipped me off). It begins with the guests creating a line to wish the wedding couple well and give the bride flowers and the groom cash.
Next, we all sit down to begin the feast. We think we’re gluttonous at Thanksgiving, a Polish wedding knocks it out of the ball park. Six FULL dishes are presented throughout the evening at one hour increments. In between, if you happen to get hungry, just stop the wait staff who is pushing a cart of meat, for an extra helping. After surviving the non stop feeding, Tim and I felt we had met our quota of trying the local fare. I think the mountains of food are directly related to the amount of vodka you are required to consume and the non-stop dancing that happens in between the feasting. You need a zillion calories to keep up with the Poles, plus a successful reception lasts until 5 am (no joke). I think it is safe to say that everyone had a blast. We also learned the chicken dance is an international hit.At 3 am, Ulas’ father was nice enough to arrange for our transportation back to the house. I was disappointed in myself only later, when I found out Ulas’ grandmother had outlasted us.