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.


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).


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. 


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.


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.


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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