~Hungarian Wedding Traditions~


Hey there~! It’s been a good while since we shared anything wedding-related on our blog, so here it goes~! Since my Owner is from Hungary, we thought it could be interesting to show you how a wedding looked like back in the old days in this European country. Anyone who likes learning about other cultures and traditions will surely enjoy this article~ ^w^

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Hungarian Proposals

Although the Hungarians now enjoy modern methods of dating and finding true love, back in the day there used to be plenty of good old courting conventions in play for Hungarian couples.  Once a girl was deemed to be old enough to marry, a whole string of suitors might appear at her house, with herself and her parents having the option of deciding if he was a going to be good enough ~ a real life game of “Snog, Marry, Avoid”!

The thing was though, that being a spinster or a bachelor was considered to be extremely shameful, so for both the suitor and the bride-to-be, there was a lot at stake: the fear of rejection or of rejecting too many and finding that no-one else was suitable was high!

Today, many Hungarian couples will choose each other without suitors lining up at the girl’s front door, but they will keep their parents informed as soon as a proposal is made – and accepted!


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The Hungarian Wedding Ceremony

Actual wedding ceremonies will largely depend on any religious faiths of the couple or the location of their wedding.   With a nod to their folk-rich traditions, many services may still take place in stunning outdoor settings or quaint and ancient churches, whilst civil weddings might take place in alternative licensed venues or the local courthouse.   In many regions, a trip to the courthouse was a necessary part of the process, as a civil ceremony was required to take place before a church ceremony.

A procession to the wedding was always customary, and might generally be on foot or by horse and cart in rural areas, a tradition which many modern couples might reflect by still walking to their ceremony venue if it’s a village wedding.  Alternatively, a motorcade procession, convoy of cars or a highly decorated horse and carriage arrival to the venue is the modern alternative.

During the service, just like Greek couples, the Hungarian bride and groom will pass over their engagement rings, which they have both been wearing on their left hands, to be blessed by the priest or to be held by the celebrant in a civil ceremony.  When the rings were returned to them as the marriage is solemnized, they are put onto the couple’s right hands, to demonstrate that they are now many and wife.

Folk poetry and choirs singing traditional songs can be a particular event at Hungarian weddings and again these originate from folk customs which can have very distinct regional variations.   It was also customary for individual guests to take part in the ceremony by singing, reciting poetry or sharing their stories about the couple and in some rural ceremonies this might still be seen, so if you want to incorporate these lovely interactions into your ceremony, it really might be possible!


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Hungarian Wedding Parties

The majority of Hungarian weddings take place in the afternoon, so the feasting festivities tend to include a full dinner reception.  Nowadays it’s this part which might be quite western in its approach, with a hotel or restaurant venue, but you can be sure that those traditional activities will start to creep in once the dinner is over!

♥   But hang on a mo, there’s a sneaky game which could take place whilst the bride is seated having her dinner … traditionally one of the guests might creep under the table and steal her shoes!  If the guest succeeds, the groom has to pay a forfeit – such as to drink champagne  from one of the shoes.  This way she gets her shoe back  …  but has to dance in a soggy shoe all night!

♥   The Bridal Dance may still take place.  In older times, the bride’s father or the best man would have announced the bridal dance and as many of the guests as possible would crowd up for a quick spin on the floor with her.  However, they’d have to toss some cash into the father or best man’s hat as a thank you for the privilege.  The original purpose of this was to raise money for the couple to use for a honeymoon or towards their new life, but today the dance is generally symbolic.  The last one to dance with the bride is supposed to be the groom but often, before he gets the chance …

♥   The kidnapping of the bride takes place.  She’s usually whisked away by some of the groom’s party and he’ll then have to barter, bribe, bargain or just prove himself a man to get her back for that dance.  This is all part of the fun of the event and the games involved in the groom trying to claim his wife back can be great fun for everyone!

♥   When the bride returns to the party, she may have changed outfits into a traditional red dress.  Although nowadays this isn’t likely to be a full on folk dress, it may well be a modern dress with a traditional twist, such as exquisite embroidery incorporating local motifs.

♥   Back in the day there would have been plenty of traditional folk dancing at a Hungarian wedding.  Although as a spontaneous act amongst the guests, this tradition has largely faded, many cosmopolitan weddings might include a folk dancing troupe coming in to put on a show for the guests.  This is often the case when the wedding’s in Hungary because one of the couple is Hungarian and the other is not.  As such, it’s seen as a welcoming gesture for the foreign guests and there will usually be a few dances where the troupe might get some of those guests up and dancing too.

Whatever their setting, the tradition is for Hungarian wedding parties to carry on all through the night.  Even in hotel venues, it’s acceptable for the venue to be on hire until the following morning to allow for this all-night celebration.  It’s customary for a special midnight breakfast to be served, to help the guests to keep their energy levels up!

Waiting for the bride during a traditional Hungarian wedding

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Hungarian Wedding Wardrobe

There would have been many regional folk wedding costumes in years gone by, many of which may have been handed down within families or would have been years in the making for some couples.   The bride’s outfit would always have included a regional version of the ceremonial headdress, which always had wheat woven into it as a symbol of fertility.

Modern weddings mostly see the bride and groom wearing the full white wedding dress and dark suit combination which is popular across Europe and the USA.

However, the bride may well take the opportunity of her kidnapping to change into that customary red dress which has more of a traditional design and should certainly include some of that amazing local lace or embroidery.   Part of the modern-day fun of organizing the bride’s outfit includes finding a traditional seamstress to create that very important red dress.

Unique Traditions

♥   Although at modern weddings, the traditional bride kidnapping is all part of the fun and games of the day, back in the old days this kidnapping was a serious thing.  The bride could even be kidnapped before or during the ceremony – which was every groom’s worst nightmare.  A kidnap then would literally have the purpose of sending a specific message to the groom that he did not deserve his bride … hence why it’s custom for the groom to have to demonstrate that he is worthy of her, in order to get her back!

♥   That red dress change usually takes place around midnight, when the wedding day is officially over and the bride has truly become a wife.  In the old days, just like Latvian brides, the Hungarian bride would not only have changes into her red dress but also donned an apron and taken up a wooden spoon to demonstrate her new status!

The size and nature of the wedding ceremony and celebrations would traditionally have been influenced by region as well as whether the wedding was at a farm, village or a larger town and many such influences remain.  As in any other cultures too, the couple’s wedding budget might also influence the type of wedding they have.



Thank you, worldweddingtraditions.net~!


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