Roznava Town Square
Sylvia and I took some pictures around the town square before the wedding. The Cathedral is the yellow building in the background.
I apologize for not writing this blog entry several months ago, but we just received our wedding pictures a few days ago.
Sylvia and I came to Slovakia this year knowing that we would get married here on the 2nd of January, 2010. For this reason, we had already started making plans in the United States and once we arrived in June, Sylvia got to work putting the plans into action. We first had to navigate a maze of legal paperwork. We had to establish my residency in Slovakia to make my situation legal, and then obtain certified copies of my necessary documents from the United States. Can I just say that I am tired of European police? Second, we had to satisfy the Catholic Church with documents so that we could get married in the Rozňava diocese in the Cathedral here. Once this was completed, we were more or less ready to go.
I will skip all of the details leading up to the wedding, but it involved arranging the schedules of about 40 international guests. Most everyone arrived on time with few delays, and in January, that is saying something. My brother Eric actually was able to arrive early
Sylvia putting on my flower.
and spend Christmas with us before everyone else arrived for the wedding. He arrived on the coldest day of the year (about 20 below), but that just made the boiled wine at the Christmas market taste that much better.
It was very fun to have family and friends in Rozňava for New Year’s Eve. We had a very nice dinner in a restaurant in the town square before going outside to enjoy music, fireworks, and champagne. The next day allowed people to rest and shake off any jet lag before the evening events. In Slovakia, it is traditional to have the groom go into the forest with his unmarried male friends to chop down a birch tree and bring it back to the party. In the evening, I gathered all of the guys and went to a location I had already scouted for birches. Unfortunately, we found that gypsies had already chopped down my tree, which left us scrambling to find a new one which luckily, we did. All of us carried the trees back to a restaurant in the town square where the unmarried girls decorated the tree. We enjoyed a nice dinner of traditional Hungarian gulas and had
Before the wedding, we had to ask our parents for forgivness.
toasts with 25 year old slivovica (plum alcohol).
The wedding day started early in the morning with several photo sessions before everyone gathered in the afternoon at the town hall for a traditional ceremony called 'odpytavanie.' This is a ceremony where the bride and groom ask their parents for forgiveness and blessing to get married in front of the wedding party. It was of course, very emotional, and so the shots of slivovica which followed help everyone calm down a little before the wedding. After a while, we had a procession through the town square to the cathedral for the wedding. We were very fortunate to find a very good priest who helped us prepare. The wedding included a traditional Slovak Catholic mass spoken in Slovak with our vows spoken in English. The Cathedral was built in 1304 and has no heat, so it was quite cold in January. After the ceremony, we greeted everyone at the church gates before proceeding back to the town hall for the reception. Slovak wedding receptions are a little different than in the United States and it is common for them to last until six or seven the next morning. Also, they usually feature
The wedding party walking to the Cathedral.
several meals (four is not uncommon). A common tradition is the breaking of a plate, which the married couple must then clean up together. The wedding party usually scatters the pieces so that it will take some time. After we cleaned up, we entered the dance hall and started the party. After the meal, came the first dance. It may have been a shock to Slovaks, but our first dance was to an Anne Murray waltz. After this, everyone joined in and the evening went on with dancing, eating, and drinking. According to tradition, at midnight Sylvia changed into her traditional Slovak costume (known as a 'kroj') and had a group of older women put on her bonnet for the first time. This represents a change into womanhood. After that comes the 'redovy tanec,' which is somewhat similar to the 'dollar dance' in American ceremonies. All of the wedding party dances with the bride after paying some money and are rewarded with a piece of cake and a shot of alcohol. Finally, the groom must break through the crowd to get to dance with his wife. We hired a local band to play throughout the ceremony, and during the hour
Our wedding taking place inside the Cathedral.
from midnight to one, they played traditional Slovak and Hungarian folk music which included an accordion, violin, and one of my favorite instruments, the cymbalom (a type of dulcimer). At one o'clock, the bride changes once again into a new dress and the couple have a 'second' first dance. This is often times the Blue Danube waltz in Slovakia. After the dance, everyone enjoyed the second meal of the night, which was a buffet. Everyone danced and had fun for several more hours until the party finally ended at 6 a.m.
A week after the wedding, we went on a honeymoon in Kaprun/Zell am See, Austria to ski for a few days in the Alps before visiting our friends in Germany.
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