Sunday, May 27, 2012

First Euroland Wedding

Yesterday was my first wedding here in Euroland.  Not mine, but rather the first wedding I've been invited to.  Actually the first of three weddings I'm going to this summer.  I guess after three years, I'm starting to fit in over here or something.  The wedding was beautiful and it was interesting to see all of the little cultural differences between a European wedding and an American wedding.

Alexandra is from Romania and Ondřej is Moravian (Czech) so things were somewhat blended.  But from what I gather many of the wedding traditions are pretty similar.  The ceremony was at a hillside chapel in Rudice, about an hour from Brno and since the ceremony was at noon, I had to be ready for my ride around 10:30 AM.

The ceremony was in Czech.  I didn't understand everything but I was more or less able to follow along.  There weren't any bridesmaids and groomsmen.  Just two witnesses which stood by the couple as they made their vows.  As part of the ceremony, the bride, groom and witnesses all had to sign the registry to make everything legal.

After the ceremony was finished, we all exited the chapel and congratulated the newlyweds.  While they took pictures for about an hour the two moms went around giving everyone sweets.  The fathers went around giving everyone shots of slivovice and pálinka (Romanian slivovice).

The wedding lunch took place at a Golf course in Kuřim.  All of the wedding speeches were in Czech, Romanian and English.  The couple were presented with two glasses.  One was water and one was slivovice.  Alexandra seemed quite relived to have chosen the water.  A plate was then broken on the ground and the two of them had to work together to sweep up the pieces with a brush and dustpan.  I think that they are supposed to have as many happy years as there were pieces of broken plate.  Or something to that effect.

During the first course, the newlyweds were wrapped in a sheet, like a giant bib and had to feed each other soup.  The object is that the couple will have to communicate and work together.  Of course the kicker here was that the soup spoon had a big hole in it so this took a while.

The party lasted well in to the evening and there was lots of dancing.  There was also lots of drinking.  And the ongoing debate about which is better slivovice or pálinka.  Not to mention the differences between Moravian wine and Romanian wine.  My diplomatic answer was that I preferred pálinka with Moravian wine but slivovice with Romanian wine.  Pretty noncommittal but it seemed to appease people. 

Everything was great!  It was an awesome day and I was so honored to have been invited.  I think that these two have a lot of good times ahead of them.

Here's one thing that was odd for me.  In Europe, people don't register for gifts like we do in the USA.  It would have been so easy to just go to a store, find out what they registered for, make my selection and the item would have been removed from the list.  Yeah, they don't do that over here.  Not for weddings or baby showers.  Instead, here someone is in charge of a gift list.  This time there were two lists, one for the Czech speakers and one for the Romanian or English speakers.  You call the person who is in charge of the list and he or she tells you want the couple wants.  Maybe it is a bit less personal in the USA but our registries are way more efficient.

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