Polish Wedding Traditions – “The Unveiling”

“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?


Mrs. Pudding

Greater Toronto Area/Vermont
Wedding Date:
July 2010
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  1. misspug Bee
    misspug 3668 posts, Sugar bee @ 3:31 pm

    i’m with you on preferring the bowtie toss to a garter toss!

  2. Member
    kimmibear 30 posts, Newbee @ 4:16 pm

    i love these traditions! the bowtie is much more classy than the whole garter thing imo!

  3. seashell Bee
    seashell 1689 posts, Bumble bee @ 4:30 pm

    I’m not a garter toss girl. I like the bowtie alternative!

  4. Member
    Miss_Riley 428 posts, Helper bee @ 4:43 pm

    I was SO uncomfortable with idea of doing a garter toss but FI really wanted to do one. (Uh, hello? My grandfather is sitting over there as my dress is hiked up to my neck and you’re diving head first under it… guh-ross.)

    So we compromised… he will pretend to try to win me over and let him take off the garter off me but instead I will flip the tables on him. I will deny him “access”, sit him down, and pull the garter off him. We think it will be really funny and not quite so scandelous as the traditional version.

  5. Member
    mrspaetz 3812 posts, Honey bee @ 4:50 pm

    I like this alternative! Very cool traditions. I wonder if the ‘American’ way was adapted from this but early migrants!

  6. cardigan Bee
    cardigan 8645 posts, Bumble Beekeeper @ 5:24 pm

    Love this alternative!

  7. Member
    Miss Stargazer 170 posts, Blushing bee @ 6:14 pm

    I will definitely have to suggest the bow-tie throwing! Not a fan of the garter thing.

  8. Member
    jordynrose 6351 posts, Bee Keeper @ 6:40 pm

    This is a great alternative to the American tradition. I agree with skipping the “married woman cap”…I woudn’t want to ruin my hair. 🙂

  9. Member
    tea 2414 posts, Buzzing bee @ 6:42 pm

    these are great traditions! thanks for taking the time to write them up for us.

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