Britain vs Poland: Weddings
Let me tell you about a British wedding. The bride and groom meet at the church or registry office or hotel, they stand in front of the person marrying them and they tell each other how much they love each other and then they are married. This is normally late morning. Then they pose for photos. Then more photos. Then a few more photos. Then they go for the wedding reception.
At the British wedding reception everybody has a starter, then a dinner, then a dessert until they’re full and a little bit drunk. Then the bride and groom thank the bridesmaids, the parents, the ushers and anybody else they can think of. They give them flowers and tell them how great they are. Then there is the best man’s speech.
This speech has the sole purpose of making the groom look very stupid. Every embarrassing story the groom has ever had is in this speech. This is a very important part of the wedding reception and a part that everybody looks forward to.
By the time the speeches have ended it is around 5pm and everybody is relaxing. At about 7.30pm all the other guests arrive. In Britain you have different types of guests! The most important guests are there at the wedding ceremony, they’re there for lunch and they stay for everything. These are close family and close friends. In the evening there are different guests…friends of your dad….cousins you haven’t seen for 8yrs…the neighbour who invited your parents to their daughter’s wedding…basically people who aren’t very important.
At 8pm everybody goes to the buffet where they get ham sandwiches, sausage rolls, crisps and other food that will take a few months off their life. Then the DJ will start to play ABBA, ABBA and then maybe some ABBA to get everybody dancing. Everybody will dance, they’ll get drunk and then go home. The next day they will talk about what a great time they had and the wedding will be a success.
Then there was my wedding.
I got engaged to Weronika on a balcony in Nysa in 2007 on the night Poland qualified for the 2008 European Championships. I was drunk. That doesn’t mean it was a mistake! I was planning it for a long time but that was how it happened.
I left Poland in December 2007 to become a policeman in Wales and our wedding was planned for 2011. This obviously meant there were many years that we were engaged and living very far apart but (please get ready to be sick) we love each other so much it was very easy for us.
Then there was our wedding weekend.
I arrived on the Wednesday and we were due to get married on the Saturday. My first few friends and family arrived on the Thursday. We went for a nice evening at Weronika’s flat. Then the smashing began.
Everybody had to get out of the flat because people were smashing cups, glasses, plates, sinks, toilets (!), and we had to clean it up! I’m sorry, but why should I clean up after everybody who are smashing things?! Poland is a strange country.
Then there was Saturday. My wedding day! 2nd July 2011! I had waited for this day ever since the night I got drunk in Nysa and Poland qualified for the 2008 European Championships.
My best man was my best friend – a Welshman called Mark. He was understandably happy there were no speeches. There would have been big problems in translation for him!
Mark and I had breakfast at my future brother-in-law’s flat near the Rynek in TG, we watched TV for a little bit and then we got ready.
In Britain the bride and groom don’t see each other until they’re in church. It was very strange for me to go to Weronika’s flat before church. When we were there Weronika and I got on our knees and our parents blessed us. This is nothing like in Britain. My dad got very emotional at blessing us and began to cry. I really had to fight to stop crying too. Then we went to church…
I had warned Mark about people who want vodka before we go to church. I just didn’t know how many people there would be! He is a policeman too and he was looking at these tramps outside church like he didn’t know whether to give them vodka or put them in handcuffs.
9 bottles of vodka later…
Weronika and I went into church – in Britain the man is always in church first and waits for the woman. We went into church together and that was strange for me. It was hard on Mark because he didn’t know what to do – when to kneel or when to sit down. We just told him to do what Zaba (Weronika’s Maid of Honour) does and that should be fine. Mark was doing great until Communion. Weronika and I took Communion, then the priest went to Zaba and Mark whispered to me “Is this right? I’m not a Catholic!” I told him not to take Communion and sit down!
Then Weronika and I were married and together forever.
We went outside and people threw small pieces of metal at us! This metal hit us in the head and in the body! The metal was coins and they were for good luck. We had to clean the coins up! What a stupid rule! Imagine if I threw bricks at somebody and asked them to clean it up afterwards. Poland is a strange country.
We went to the place for the wedding reception and had to drink champagne and throw the glasses on the floor. Then we had to clean the broken glass up! Was somebody going to pay me for all the work I was doing at my own wedding?
I had many family and friends come over for my wedding and they all said the same thing – there’s so much food! It was really different for us to have so much food. Also in Britain everybody pays for their own drinks at a wedding. In Poland they were drinking my beer and my vodka and not giving us anything!
There are no speeches in Poland. That was a good thing because it would have been really hard for Mark to give a speech that was funny in English and Polish. We had a great time anyway. All my family and friends were enjoying the food and Tyskie! I had to tell them about the ‘Sto Lat’ song and by then end of the day some of them could remember the words! Also everybody thought the Polish guys were such good dancers too! They are much better dancers than British guys.
At around midnight people started to hit me with wooden spoons. I don’t know why. A few minutes later people started to hit me with plants. I don’t know why. I had to throw my tie away and Weronika had to throw some flowers away. I just did what I was told. But everybody had a good time. The British people had more food than they ever had at a wedding, they had more alcohol than they ever had at a wedding, they danced more than they ever had at a wedding. They had more FUN than they ever had at a wedding!
Then they all had to come back the next day and do everything again.
Poland is a strange country.