Hungarian Wedding Traditions

Since most of our guests are coming from abroad and may not be aware of what happens at a Hungarian wedding, we figured it would be a good idea to talk about the traditions that we will be incorporating during the wedding night. This will hopefully prepare you for what you can expect and look forward to.

The main events of the night after the dinner reception are the following:

  • Bridal dance
  • Folk dance show
  • The red dress
  • Groom’s surprise
  • Midnight breakfast

In general, today, Hungarian weddings are less formal and rehearsed than in the US, and follow a similar, but simpler, format. The bride and groom sit in special chairs up front, their witnesses along side. Late in the evening at the reception is when the traditional events begin.

BRIDAL DANCE

Also known as the “money dance”, the bridal dance involves all guests and the bride. Traditionally, the father, best man or a master of ceremony would announce that the “bride is for sale” while Hungarian wedding music plays in the background. He would hold a bucket or a hat to collect money from all the guests to “pay” for the privilege of dancing with the bride (usually just a couple of seconds of spinning her around). This was supposed to be a way of providing the bride money for their honeymoon and the couple’s new life.

In our case, we will only use the money symbolically and each of our guests will have an opportunity to dance with the new bride. The last to dance with the bride would be the groom, but before he can do that a couple of the guests will kidnap the bride and take her away.

FOLK DANCE SHOW

After the bride is kidnapped, a traditional folk dance show will take place (our addition as a special treat for the many foreign guests). And to perform this spectacle, we have found a very well respected and highly talented group from the region of Hungary that we’ll be in.

The dancers call themselves Szinvavolgyi and are from a local dance academy. They will bring with them their own authentic folk band to play along side their performance and all of the fees we pay towards their services will go back into the dance academy for the kids. Above is an example of their show.

THE RED DRESS

During the folk dance and while the bride is away, she changes into a traditional folk outfit known as “the red dress”. The bride then comes back after the folk dance, dressed in red as the “new woman”.

For the red dress, we have sourced out a local dress maker from Eger who works under the label called ÖRÖKsÉG. She specializes in modern tailored clothing that are expressed by handmade embroidery originating in the ancient Hungarian ornamentation. These special folk motifs are what bring out the real beauty in her handmade creations.

GROOM’S SURPRISE

With the return of the bride as the “new woman”, the groom has to do something to win her back. This will be Jason’s surprise. What will he do? How will he do it? Will Sophie like it? No one really knows. Does Jason even know? Stay tuned…

MIDNIGHT BREAKFAST

Hungarian weddings are an all night affair with lots of dancing and music. To give you that extra energy to keep going into the night, there is traditionally a “midnight breakfast” served in the wee hours, usually stuffed cabbage. We have the room and music until 4:30am and plan to stay up to watch the sunrise, so some food will definitely be needed.

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