What little girl doesn’t dream of having a fairytale wedding in a castle like a real princess marrying a real Prince Charming? This dream became a reality for one of my closest friends, and I got to experience it by being one of her bridesmaids. IN POLAND. It was an incredible experience.
The wedding was held at Zamek Bobolice (Bobolice Castle). The castle was built in the 14th century at the top of a hill in the village of Bobolice as a part of a fortress system (Zamek Mirow is the other part of this system). The castle was slowly destroyed throughout years and wars, but the family who currently owns it rebuilt the castle from the ruins, with the help of scholars to try to replicate the original floor plan. The family also built the Bobolice Inn next to the castle to house guests, and a reception hall. My friends generously arranged for all of us from America to stay in the Bobolice Inn; I woke up every morning to look out my window and see a castle staring back at me. It really was like living in a dream.
We woke up Saturday morning and walked to Mirow Castle, which is the sister castle to Bobolice, but still in ruins. We got back and got ready for the wedding, which took place in one of the upper rooms of Bobolice Castle. Everything was in Polish, so I didn’t understand what was being said, but it was beautiful. After a few Polish wedding traditions (again explained in Polish that I didn’t understand) we went to the hall next to the castle for the reception. It lasted more than 12 hours. There was so much food, vodka, and dancing I honestly don’t know how Poles survive if they attend more than one of those a year. I had to give in and go to bed around 3 or 4 am, but the next day I heard how several of the rest of my friends there stayed up until 7 am.
A big part of the Polish wedding tradition is what my friend called a “do over” in English. In Polish it is called a “poprawiny”. After everyone woke up the day after the wedding (most with only a few hours of sleep), we went to another reception hall in a town near the castle. (The groom’s aunt owned a beautiful event space.) Here there was another reception, again with an enormous amount of food, vodka, and dancing. This again lasted late into the night. Let me just say that getting up the morning after the poprawiny to catch our train was a little rough.
Have you ever experienced a wedding in a cultural different from your own?