Last week I attended my cousin’s wedding and I thought I will write about how a hungarian wedding usually goes. I realised that in other parts of the world, what we do here is not at all common. Everyone has their traditions, and now, let me tell you about the hungarian ones.
Usually it starts in the church or the registry office for those who don’t want a really big ceremony or those who are not religious. In Hungary, the groom also walks down the aisle with his mother, and the bride walks down with his father. Her young bridesmaids carry her veil behind her, so it does not touch the ground. At the ceremony there is usually singing and readings from the bible. It’s not common to write your own vows, but it’s starting to become a trend. When the ceremony is over, everyone leaves the building and the congratulations take place. Usually after that there is picture time, with everyone in it, and then with smaller groups, like family members together. And then, there is the bouquet toss. Every girl, who is not yet married, has to stand behind the bride and try to catch her bouquet, like in the picture above. Whoever catches it is believed to be the next one to get married.
And then the fun begins! Everyone goes to the restaurant which is reserved for the occasion. The meal is pre-planned and usually there are shitloads of all kinds of drinks. You can ask for it to be catered, and usually there is someone in every family who makes wine or some kind of spirits and they insist bringing some. When you arrive, usually there is champagne for starters, and some snacks and cookies. Then there are all kinds of traditions, speeches and such. There is a man who entertains the guest with funny poems, games and jokes. We call him the vőfély, which my translator said is the equivalent of the best man, but I’m not sure. As I said, he entertains and leads the activities of the evening. Some examples of traditional activities are drinking from the bride’s shoe (I mean the groom drinks from it, not everyone, yuck) kidnapping of the bride. These are games in which the groom has to prove that he is worthy of the hand of her bride.
The dinner is pretty traditional. There is always broth, which hungarians love. Sometimes there is an entrée before the soup, but that’s not tradition. The main course is mostly meats, with many types of garnish, like rice, potatoes and cabbage. There usually is dessert, but not all the time. After midnight they also serve stuffed cabbage or stew. There is no such thing as a vegetarian wedding in Hungary. Of course, there is wedding cake, but we call it the bride’s cake. The newlywed couple cuts the cake together, holding the same knife.
Meanwhile there is dancing, usually with a live band. There are some ,,classics”, which you will hear on every wedding. And some traditional activities too, like ,,train-dancing”, kind of like the conga line, just funnier and more active and versatile, because you have to do some tricks while being in a chain, like jumping on one foot, going backwards, etc. The party goes on until the morning. At midnight, there is the bride’s dance, when people give money for the chance to dance with the bride. This is how the family members support the newlyweds in their new lives together. This also usually helps to pay for the wedding costs. 🙂 The male members of the family ,,fight” to be the last one to dance with the bride before she is officially a wife. Then she changes her dress, into the ,,menyecske” dress, which is traditionally red and polka-dotted.