Alfred Wierusz-Kowalski, The Polish wedding ride

Wedding Customs from Poland

Rite for Foreigners Marrying in Poland

In 2016, A Catholic Life reported on a special Polish wedding rite for foreigners marrying a Polish bride or groom. See the full rite here:

Regional customs

A reader was kind enough to share some traditional Polish wedding customs:

You need to consider the fact that in Poland there were 4 different Rituals (for Poland, for Silesia, for Pommerania and Varmia) and they slightly differentiate between each other.

  1. In Poland, the bride and groom are welcomed by the priest in the doors of the church. He gives them either cross or Pax or reliquary to kiss. They may also be blessed by the holy water

  2. Then, they go to the main altar. When they reach it, Veni Creator is sung. It is very typical Polish custom and it is still present in Ordinary Form. In TLM, the priest sings it on the lowest altar step (some books say that he sings it together with the organist)

  3. After Veni Creator, there was scrutiny (till 1962) or blessing of the rings proceeded with readings from Ephesians 5,22-33 and Matthew 19,3-6 (since 1962, scrutiny was after that; till 1962 blessing of the rings was after scrutiny)

  4. The oldest Polish Rituals (e.g. Ritual of Piotrków from 1631) writes that either rings or crowns may be blessed. In fact, crowns were still very popular till early 20th century between poor people

  5. During the right part of the sacrament, the priest ties right hands of spouses with his stole

  6. In some Rituals there is the fourth promise made by the bride that she will be obedient to her husband. However, this promise was later dropped in Rituals in the early 20th century because it ceased to be used during Matrimonies and it was quite a new addition to the sacrament (late 16th century)

  7. After the sacrament, there is a prayer for spouses made by the entire community. In Pomerania and Varmia it was Psalm 127, sung in Polish

  8. After the prayer for spouses, there is a special blessing for the bride (similar to the blessing after the childbirth). The priest welcomes bride in the doors of the church and he sings or recites Psalm 66 and 127 (in Latin or vernacular). Then, he leads her to the main altar where she is blessed like after the childbirth (additionally, she kisses the reliquary after everything

  9. During nuptial Mass, the first blessing is sung in the preface tone. Additionally, during both blessings, both spouses are blessed by the holy water

  10. After Mass, the spouses go to the altar of Our Lady where Sub Tuum Praesidium is sung (in Polish Pod Twoją Obronę)

  11. There is a tradition of celebrating the 25th and 50th anniversary of the weddings. It begins before the Mass (it may also start with Veni Creator as the wedding if “spouses wants it”) , with the prayers for spouses and blessing. The hands of spouses were also tied by the stole. In Silesia Psalm 144 is sung or read. In the main part of Poland, the spouses get the canes with crosses from the priest during celebration of the 50th anniversary of the wedding. These canes should symbolise the help of God during their senility. After that, the Mass (of the Virgin Mary or Holy Spirit) is read/ sung. The spouses should receive Communion during the Mass. After the Mass, Te Deum is sung.

When it comes to other things, some historical accounts from 19th century mention that velatio nuptialis was used. But it was written like it had been used in Middle Ages. And I’ve also found in Jungmann that there were processions with gifts done by bride and groom in Silesia (they brought wine and bread).

Other Customs

The Church has always been quite accommodating of local customs in weddings, as long as they do not interfere with the liturgical ceremonies. If you don’t know of any wedding customs, consider asking your family or researching your place of origin.

Some popular traditional customs include:

  • Leaving flowers to Mary after Communion
  • the Lasso or Lazo
  • the Arras
  • Velatio Nuptialis (this is cheating; it is not popular. But it should be.)
  • Crowning (not common in the Roman Rite, but common in many Eastern Rites)