What Does a Polish Wedding Look Like?
Since entering into the concordat life from 1993, a contract between the Apostolic Capital and the Republic of Poland, which is dated from April 25th 1998, there are three types of weddings allowed in Poland: civil, church or concordat. Confessional marriages, which are contained in churches and also registered in Civil Departments, create the largest percentage of legally united marriages; their numbers are about 70%.
The civil marriage takes place in the presence of a legal employee in the Department of the Civil Court, after filing a willing statement about entering into a marriage union. The marriage vows in Poland are offered by two people being of single status and of opposite sex. Entering into a marriage union is possible in cases of people, who are 18 years old and older. In justified situations, and this pertains to women, this age can be lowered to a borderline of 16 years. Such a situation takes place in cases excused, for example in case of a pregnancy. One cannot, according to a Polish attorney, enter in to a marriage union of two people of the same sex, related, instructed to do, incapacitated or mentally retarded. An obstacle is also created by bigamy or by being related. Entering into marriage demands the presence of two witnesses, and after a ceremony of marriage vows, the marriage certificate is received.
Because the majority of Poles declare attachments to the Catholic Church, the most often church wedding is the sacrament dispensed in the catholic rites. In order for the church wedding to be approved by the Polish law, it has to be united by marriage vows earlier in the department of the Civil Court. Along with tradition, the wedding usually takes place in the parish of the bride. In recent years, it happens, that couples walk away from practicing this tradition and decide to organize the ceremony in the parish of the groom, or even another one, for example a parish where the couple attended during the school years. Sometimes young couples chose a church exceptionally set in a picturesque spot, or a historic temple.
In relation with the ease, resulting from the chance of uniting the church wedding with the civil into one celebration, the majority of couples profit from a solution which is the concordat wedding. The concordat wedding is a form of a Catholic Church wedding, but with all sorts of aftermaths and the legal power of a civil wedding. It is embodied in a parish, then all the documents are prepared, and sent to the register of deeds department. Based on this the officials create a marriage certificate. The preparations begin at least 6 months before the planned celebration date. Required documents are the baptismal certificate, confirmation certificate and personal IDs of the engaged couple. Also necessary is a certificate of finishing a premarital course and necessary meetings in a family practice, and also a certificate from the register of deeds about the lack of situations excluding entering into the marriage union. It is also required above all, to attend a premarital confession and supply certificates supporting this fact.
The wedding ceremony has a very festive character. The Bride is traditionally dressed in a long white dress and a veil, and the groom is dressed in a suit. Right behind the young couple in church are the witnesses, who with their signatures ascertain the fact of entering into the marriage union. After a lifting homily, the young engaged couple vows each other by answering the minister’s questions. They put wedding bands on each other's fingers as a sign of uniting the marriage agreement.
Traditionally, Poles treat the marriage institution very seriously. Sometimes, the parents of the engaged couple plan on organizing the wedding and wedding reception a few years before the planned ceremony date. In some parts of Poland the engagements as well as certain steps for preparing to the wedding undergo traditional regulations. Both families are often engaged in preparing for the wedding. Very often the credit limits are stretched in order to pay for the exuberant wedding. Although in the last years the numbers of divorces have increased, the amount of weddings however grows, because Poles, as traditionalists most often tend to regulate their unions before the law (and the church).