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How I Barely Survived a Czech Wedding

June 28, 2013

So, a couple of mobp4nths ago Sleeping Booty posted about her experiences at a Morman wedding.  Now I want to complement that with a post about another wedding- in the Czech Republic!  Percival’s friend Tomas (pronounced To-ma-jzsh) was getting married and he wanted Percival to be there- and somehow, with some wheedling, I was invited too.

We spent a few days in Prague, but the wedding itself was three hours outside of Prague, in Moravia- the part of the Czech Republic where the bride was from.  Now, in America you would expect maybe to drive there, have the wedding, and drive back- one day affair.   No, instead we drove down on Friday and back on Sunday because the wedding was an all day engagement.  Now when I say all day, some of you might be thinking different things.  Maybe you are thinking- oh, it started at noon and went to nine- which would be pretty long for an American wedding.  No.  When I say all day, I mean 9:00am until… well, I went to bed at 11:30, but I heard tale that the festivities didn’t end until after 4:00am.  The Czechs know how to party.

At 9:00am we all split into cars abp1nd drove to the house of the bride’s family.  At the house we were greeted with live accordion music and tons of food.  This was also the time that the Czechs started drinking.  They drink a lot of beer in the Czech Republic (really good beer, actually), but this morning most people were going for something stronger.  They had this clear liquor that came in a bottle looking like water.  Apparently it was homemade- and strong enough to kill a horse, with an alcohol content boarding around 50%.  They would drink this stuff straight, in little clear shot glasses.

After the eating had gotten underway, the next thing to happen was the ‘false bride’.  There is apparently a Moravian custom where, instead of greeting the real bride, a bridesmaid will show up all dressed in white and try to get with the groom.  He has to get rid of her and pay her off before he can see the real bride.  Percival and I couldn’t understand a lot, since everything was in Czech, but luckily after some effort Tomas was able hoist the false bride off on his best man, and get to meet his real bride, who was lovely as a vision.

After the festivities at the bride’s house, we headed up to the castle for the ceremony.  Once again, this was all in Czech, but it wasBP3 still touching to watch.  The ceremony itself took place in this little upper room in the tower of the castle.  It was an epic and beautiful setting for a wedding.  The ceremony seemed pretty traditional, not unlike at American weddings, and afterwards the new husband and wife took wedding pictures around the castle, and we had a chance to explore on our own.

The next part of the wedding took place back at the hotel, where we shared a ‘common meal’.  This involved several traditions including the breaking of a plate, which the bride and groom had to sweep up, one holding the brush and the other the dust pan, as well as tradition of sharing a bowl of soup, which the bride had to ladle out with one hand and the groom had to feed the both with the other hand.  We all had the soup, it was pretty tasty (until I found out it was liver, after which it was a bit hard for me to look at it the same…).

Following the meal was the best bit of the whole day: dancing!  I said above that the Czechs know how to party- well they do- but they also know how to dancbp5e.   We learned that it is mandatory for all Czechs to take dance classes in high school, and many take more lessons after that.  So, the waltz, swing, cha cha, samba… they know them all.  I have never been to a wedding where there was formal dancing, and where, best of all, everyone knew the steps.  It was wonderful, but also a bit intimating, as neither Percival nor I are great dancers, and could hardly manage a waltz between us.  The Czechs were all very nice though and did their best to try and teach me the Polka, a very traditional dance to that area.

But yeah, so there was more food around and dancing, which was occasionally broken up by little wedding games (like one where the groom was blindfolded, and had to identify the bride out of a long line of women, simply by feeling her leg).  And the night went on, with the bride and groom hanging around to party… until, well, way after I went to bed. Oh, and of course, the little clear bottle of alcohol kept making a reappearance.

Overall- it was a great time- maybe a bit exhausting for my weak American constitution, but as festive an event as I have ever been too.  Everyone was happy, dancing, drinking, and generally living it up to celebrate the marriage of these two people.  Just as wedding should be.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 28, 2013 10:01 am

    castles, new love, dancing, traditions, unidentified liquor… sounds like the best weekend ever. FYI I’ll totally play the fake bride at your wedding.

  2. snowwhore permalink*
    July 2, 2013 10:20 pm

    love it! Did you and Percival imbibe any alcohol during the day?

    • thelittlemerskank permalink*
      July 4, 2013 10:00 am

      I made the mistake of trying the clear alcohol. Erm…not tasty, but at least I had the foresight to ask for a miniature portion. Percival didn’t imbibe as he… never imbibes, lol.

      On the upside though: Czech beer? Awesome! I didn’t have any at the wedding, and waited until near the end of my trip to try it (unfortunately) but they have this dark, amberish beer that was really good. I am not a huge beer person, but I might have to say this was my favourite beer ever. Oh, and also very cheap.

  3. Julee permalink
    March 24, 2014 11:18 am

    Hi! Do you remember any more of the games that were played? I’m trying to do some research to help a friend out with her wedding here in Prague.
    And that super strong alcohol is stalled Slivovicé, extremely common in CR. The locals harvest whichever fruit they want (plums, apples, etc) and then have it distilled. It’s definitely strong!

    • thelittlemerskank permalink*
      April 1, 2014 10:20 am

      Hey Julee! Sorry for the delay in responding. But yeah, I remember a bit about the games. The one that sticks most vividly in my mind was a slightly bawdy game where the bride and groom had to try to identify their spouses when blindfolded. The groom was given a row of ladies and had to feel their legs and say which was his wife– the bride similarly had a row of men and was supposed to tell by feeling their backside which was her husband, which I thought was just a little awkward. They also did a raffle, where all the prizes involved funny puns or jokes in Czech (for instance, they would say that they were giving you a romantic getaway, and give you toy castle etc). Also, as I mentioned in the post the groom had to buy off a ‘false bride’. I can’t remember any other games right now, but if I think of more I’ll let you know! 🙂 I hope your friend has a really epic wedding!

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