Sunday, September 30, 2007

Happily ever after . . .

I attended my first Polish wedding yesterday. It shared many similarities with every other wedding I have attended: the bride was beautiful, the groom was very proud, family and friends were joyful.

However, unlike any other wedding I've been to, this one was held in a beautiful 14th century Gothic church. Fittingly several of the lovely hymns, sung by a choir composed of friends of the bride and groom, were also from medieval times. And the bride wore a long flowing dress and a crown of flowers that reminded me of portraits from the middle ages.

And, as my 3 year old friend Mis remarked several times, she was a princess. He was in awe of her, especially when he handed her a rose and she asked him for a kiss.

Before the ceremony my friends and I stopped in the Rynek (the main square) and bought huge bouquets of flowers for the bride. Flowers are extremely popular in Krakow - one corner of the Rynek is dedicated to flower stalls (see the yellow umbrellas in the picture below).

As I witnessed at some of the weddings I stumbled across this summer, everyone brings flowers for the bride. A few lucky friends or relatives are drafted into flower duty. Yesterday there were at least two flower bearers.

My Polish friend told me that there is a complicated system in place for distribution of all of the flowers after the wedding: some are given to the church, others decorate the reception hall, some are given to relatives, and others go home with the bride and groom.

And yes, it was all in Polish, except for a few Latin bits.

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