We had completed all the church related requirements, and were able to get married in Tymowa church. I just needed to learn the wedding vows!
Following almost 6 months of intensive lessons, I was almost fluent and able to recite the vows from memory. Even if I did substitute some of the Polish words with “pushchair” and other English words that sounded similar. I have since forgotten most of the Polish I learned during this time and recently started having lessons from scratch again.
The day of the wedding, I was driven to my future in-law’s house in Targowisko. The tradition here is to meet your bride at her parent’s house and receive the family’s blessing prior to travelling to the church. As we drove towards their gate, we went through a decorative arch which had been built by some of the villagers as part of the tradition. There was one small difference in that they had actually taken the trouble to write a translation in English as well for me and my family!
I went into the house and saw my beautiful wife-to-be standing there in her dress and I was completely overcome, unable to speak and just walked to her and tried to pull myself together, as there was a lot to get through! Our parents and grandparents then gave their blessings and it was time to leave for the church. It was about an hour’s drive and our guests were there waiting for us. We had a really nice ceremony and the priest was excellent, my step-dad read a passage and one of my wife’s family sang for us. It was a great experience and something I’ll never forget.
We then moved onto the reception which was in the nearby town of Czchów at a gorgeous venue in the hills, with a very narrow driveway. Unfortunately, this meant the coaches could not make it and most of my guests had to walk a couple of kilometres up the hill with their suitcases.
The party started and so did the dancing! We ate several meals, desserts and soups until the last course was served at around 4am. My wife and I retired shortly after this, but some of the guests continued until around 6am.
There was also plenty of vodka being consumed of course, with a short intermission to search for one of my young cousins who went missing, but was eventually found in a bedroom sleeping.
The next day was back to my in-law’s house for a BBQ and even more vodka. This was a bit more chilled except for my brother, who obviously didn’t learn his lesson the previous night and continued to try and out-drink my wife’s uncles. He was carried back to his overnight accommodation at around 10pm. The rest of us lasted until around 1am, so it was a pretty tiring weekend but absolutely amazing, and I’m extremely happy that I got married in Poland, rather than the UK! (It was also a lot cheaper, at around 20% of the price of the average British wedding and that includes all the food and alcohol, my wife’s dress & handmade shoes and my tailored suit)
If you ever get the chance to attend a Polish wedding, jump at it! They are a completely different experience!