Many couples, these days, are making wedding celebrations a multi-stage endeavor, having legal services followed by post-pandemic ceremonies and receptions. While I appreciate the desire to keep these legal services “short and sweet,” I do like to encourage pandemic couples to slow down and enjoy their private wedding, just as it is.
I had the opportunity to marry a European couple, recently, who will be going home for a proper church wedding later in the year. While they clearly wanted a secular ceremony, since they would ultimately have a religious service with a priest, I was keen to customize the ceremony in some way outside the Catholic church’s tradition. After a bit of thinking, I suggested to the bride, who is originally from Poland, that we might use a cultural ritual at the end of the wedding, to bring in a touch of home. Having married a number of Polish couples before, I was familiar with a “salted bread and wine” offering that takes place at the end of the ceremony. I suggested it to the bride, who was happy to incorporate the ritual!
Their wedding, like so many these days, took place in a wonderful, wintery outdoor location. So it was important to keep this ceremony add-on simple. I brought a lovely red wine and keepsake glass for the occasion. I was initially tripped up locating “salt bread,” so I opted for a New York-inspired variation..the everything bagel!
In a typical Polish wedding, parents would offer the bread and wine to the couple, a role that I happily embraced. I suggested the bread represented the nourishment they would provide to each other through the years. The salt on the bread symbolizes an ongoing enhancement of life. Wine, of course, stands for the sweetness in life, ever more robust as time goes by.