“Oczepiny” or “The Unveiling” is one of the oldest Polish wedding traditions. It usually happens at the reception around midnight, and officially marks the first day of the bride’s life as a mature woman and wife. The ceremony begins with the unveiling of the bride (hence the name, duh). The maid of honour is put in charge of taking off the bride’s veil, which you can imagine is no easy task!
After the veil is removed, the bride tosses it to the single ladies at the wedding, similar to the American custom of tossing the bouquet. Traditionally, a cap of sorts is placed on the head of the bride, usually by the mother in law, to symbolize the bride’s transition from young bride to married woman.
This ceremony is usually followed by all sorts of fun games and contest. The groom will usually throw his bow tie (not the bride’s garter) to an eagerly awaiting group of bachelors, and the next couple to be married is selected. Typically, a type of money dance is incorporated at this point as well, with the maid of honour collecting monies in an apron for “diapers”.
There will most likely be an “unveiling” at the Pudding wedding, but I think that we will stick to throwing the bouquet, and skip the “married woman cap”. I do like the idea of Mr. P throwing his bow tie instead of the garter, since that tradition makes me a bit uncomfortable.
Will you be incorporating any cultural games/customs into your reception?
- Greater Toronto Area/Vermont
- High School Teacher
- Wedding Date:
- July 2010
- Catholic Ceremony, Cultural Hall Reception