I was honoured to be asked to shoot this wedding, despite we're countries apart and then travel restrictions were in place but this lovely couple put their faith in me regardless. :)
It was an absolute blast, I loved every bit of it from the morning to the late night.
Wish I could do it all over again.
I travelled to Hungary to attend this event, and then I spent a couple weeks there to get away a bit after a long and boring lockdown.
A Hungarian wedding as this was, is a bit different from what we've seen in the UK. It is a lot more... intense, to put it in a way.
I learned that a traditional countryside wedding there starts in the early morning, way earlier than what I've been used to. And lasts well into the night, way longer than what I've been used to. (I felt like I aged 20 years that day, as my feet and my back was killing me even days after the fact.)
Started at the early morning to get enough pics of the bride prep before the quests and the groom arrives. In Hungary there's a tradition The Send-Off of the Bride. A staged, cheeky, playful speech performed traditionally by the best man/toastmaster (who runs the show and keeps everybody engaged during the day through various games, holds speeches, announces events and just entertains people). During the send-off, the best man asks the Bride from her parents in the name of the Groom - traditionally at the house of Bride’s parents. He asks the parents to let the Bride leave from the parental home and also says thank you in the name of the Bride for bringing her up.
Then everybody would walk down from the parental home to the local church traditionally on the streets for the whole village to spectate and cheer for them. In case of a church wedding of course.
After the wedding breakfast you'd have the Bridal Dance and during this dance the bride is dancing with each guest (usually with couples and families, not separately with each person). Originally this is the occasion to hand over the wedding gift. The mothers of the bride and the groom used to collect the gifts (or envelops) and the best man is screaming: “Bride for sale”!
Hungarian brides still change their white bridal dress at midnight. Traditionally the new dress is red and it is called the “new wife dress”. This also symbolizes becoming a wife. Sometimes the groom also changes his shirt to a red one. When they come back in the new dress, the best man announces the new wife and new husband.
If the bride changes her dress at midnight, she used to say good-bye to the white dress with a Candle-light Dance or Waltz before that. She dances a last dance with the groom holding one candle in their hands. The guests are standing in a big circle around them and they are also holding candles, which the newly-weds blow away while dancing. When all “guest candles” are blown away, the couple blows away their own one too, and leaves the room to change the dress. Traditionally, when leaving the room, the groom picks up the bride on his lap, and runs out with her.
The dance itself - as its name shows - used to be a waltz: Viennese Waltz or English Waltz, but if you just dance “something” to a slow song, it still will be amazing. :)
Sometimes the bride doesn’t want to dance with all guests in her white (and big) dress, if she feels it uncomfortable, so they rather makes this dance in the red dress (which is always smaller and lighter then the white one) in the New Wife Dance. In this case we call it a new wife dance instead and the gifts are handed over at this occasion. The best man is screaming: “New wife for sale!”
Another form of new wife dance is the Coin Dance, but it is danced with the groom, while the guests are throwing coins on the couple. At the end of the dance the couple must clean the coins with a broom and a shovel. It’s not an easy task, since the guests try to prevent it by kicking away the coins.
This symbolizes their wishes of wealth and good fortune for the newly-weds.
After all that you may see one last event, the break of the brittle wedding cake. The brittle cake is made of melted sugar and ground nut formed into spectacular shapes. Traditionally the bride and the groom break it with a hammer or with their joint hands banded with a kerchief of textile napkin. It is said that they will have so many children as many pieces the brittle cake falls apart to.
Worth to add that live bands are commonly found on Hungarian weddings, and among them Hungarian Gypsy musicians are highly regarded. Gypsy music used to be played during the dinner or during the bridal dance too (with the guests), also a live band can escort you from the start in the morning at the parental house.
It a long day really, but Hungarians are known for their hospitality, so if you're ever so lucky to attend one, you can expect the host to make sure no mouth is getting dry and no-one is going home with empty stomach. The Újházi chicken soup in the main wedding dinner and the stuffed cabbage at midnight are good choices. In Hungary there is no wedding without these two! :)
Here's a sneak peek of the ~700 pics I made that day (enough for two regular British weddings, haha). You can see some of the candid photos we, photographers make on every wedding on top of the creative stuff. Hope you like it, in which case please reach out for a quote! :)
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