Venue: nearby Humenne, eastern Slovakia
Lens: Nikkor 50mm f/1.4
Music: Saga krasy – A ja taka dzivocka ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKNrOas1qIQ)
Last summer I had the good fortune to attend the wedding of a good friend and colleague of mine from Slovakia. His wife is English, but they decided the main event would be held in Slovakia near his birth place in the low Tatra mountains in Eastern Slovakia. The whole trip there and the event itself were beautiful and truly different from other weddings I have visited, so I’m happy to share with you some important moments from a semi-traditional Slovak wedding. Enjoy, and all the best to the happy couple!
The wedding was at a small ranch in the countryside, and the little orchestra playing traditional music from the region made up for a perfect atmosphere before and during the event.
The start of the official ceremony…
..and fast-forward to the moment when they were officially proclaimed husband and wife, and the celebrations could start.
One of the nephews of the groom, dressed impeccably.
The party is slowly starting, and you can see some elements from the decoration, which were all around the ranch…
..another wedding detail.
Some of the main participants – the mother of the bride and the father of the groom, playing with her umbrella.
A Slovak tradition before entering the dinner hall – the newly wed had to clean up and recover together all pieces of a broken plate. As expected this tradition had a deeper meaning bringing luck, but I fail to remember the full story behind it.
More of the carefully thought wedding details – the tables were named after important places for the couple. Liverpool is…
The other important places and tables-names were Budapest (where he said yes), Porto (where she put a ring on it), and Zurich (where they live). Not an entirely traditional wedding after all, is it?
The opening toast of the groom, followed by food and more drinks and several other speeches.
The dinner party from above.
One of the other nephews and some more of the beautiful decorations.
And while I was going around trying to capture all the little details, the others started the real party with the live band and dances…
…the bride and her sister were learning the new popular dance of last year.
And the bride’s father and groom’s uncle had already had a few drinks and decided to compare their waist sizes.
The band was of course playing very lively traditional Slovak songs perfect for dancing, just like the one I linked to above.
The party was going strong and it was time for some English traditions as well, like cutting the wedding cake.
Pretty soon we were back to Slovak traditions though. According to one of these, the best-man and the groom had to change into special traditional clothes at midnight…
..and the bride had to slip into a red dress and dance with everyone in a circle…
..before at last she would dance again with the groom. A much better version of George Martin’s red wedding, I’d say.
It was also time for another important ritual – dancing and jumping around vodka bottles. You are not supposed to kick the bottles while dancing, but some of the guests were not that great at dancing around vodka bottles (i.e. there were plenty of foreign guests that were already drunk, while the Slovaks were just starting). In any case all the dancers had to drink up the vodka in shots at the end of the dance, so pretty soon there were no sober people left.
The last tradition: the best (i.e. Slovak) dancers would take small decorated wooden axes and dance with them around the vodka bottles. From this moment on, there was only one common Slovak, English and all-European tradition left: drink the night away and celebrate together the happy occasion.