a hungarian wedding

The purpose of the trip to Budapest was to attend a wedding. I can attest that if you search in Google for “what to wear to a wedding in Hungary,” you won’t get much help (although after I publish this post, there will now be help for future foreigners invited to Hungarian weddings, ha ha!). I’d never been to a wedding outside of the US so I had no idea what to expect. Turns out, that besides the language, Hungarian weddings aren’t too much different from American weddings.

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The wedding was about 90 minutes outside of Budapest, so the bride had family friends pick us up at our hotel in the city and drive us to the venue – Pannonhalma, a UNESCO World Heritage site. And conveniently also one of Hungary’s wine regions. Before we even got on the road, the father of the family pulled out a bottle of unicum, which is traditional Hungarian liquor. He suggested a shot every 20 km and seemed a bit disappointed that we were satisfied with just one to kick off our journey (note – he wasn’t driving).

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The ceremony was in the church at the monastery. It was a roman catholic mass so while the language was different (the priest actually switched back and forth between Hungarian and German – the bride was from Hungary and the groom from Germany), the mass was exactly the same as in the US. 

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After the ceremony we moved over to the adjacent restaurant for the reception. Overall, the reception was much like a reception in the US. We had a delicious meal, drank lots of wine, the bride and groom had a first dance and cut the cake, and then we all danced to the wee hours of the night. Even though I was the “plus 1” at the wedding and knew no one but my date (well, I had met the groom for a beer when I was in Germany last summer), I had an absolutely fantastic time. It seems not to matter what country you are from or what language you speak – if you are in your early 30s-late 20s, you seemingly will have no problem singing and dancing with new friends and old to the Backstreet Boys or Britney Spears.

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What I found most interesting was seeing some of the traditional aspects that are likely common-place at a Hungarian/German wedding, but traditional in another sense when we Americans talk about family traditions. For example, there was one dance were people stood in line to drop money in a hat in order to take a spin with the bride – common in the US, but originating in Eastern Europe.

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So now that I’ve gotten one foreign wedding under my belt, I’m ready for the next. Galicia (Spain) here I come!

{And in case you did come here via Google because you wondering what to wear to a wedding in Hungary – dress choices were similar to that of an American wedding, I wore a dress that was more formal because I knew the wedding itself was a bit fancy (and because I don’t have much opportunities to wear this dress!), but there were plenty of people in more informal dresses who did not look out of place.}

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