Traditionally, buns called Kolache are baked a few weeks prior to the wedding, and given to relatives, friends and neighbours as an invitation to the wedding reception. Kolache have at least three sweet fillings, and show off the culinary skill of the new bride. What a delicious tradition!
A smashing reception
As the bride and groom reach their reception venue, a plate or glass is broken in front of them. They must sweep it up together to show their new union and ability to work together as a team. However, some articles that I have read indicate that this tradition sometimes may actually create conflict, as bride and groom fight to have the broom – some traditions say that the person who gets the broom will be the decision maker in the household, while the one who holds the dustpan will be subservient!
The wedding feast at a Czech wedding can often occur late into the evening in comparison with European timescales. Often a traditional beef goulash is served up at around midnight to provide sustenance for the partying guests.
There appears to be no specific Czech tradition influencing the seating plan – often the European top table layout is used. For smaller weddings a U shaped table is often seen, with the bride and groom seated at the head of the table.
At the start of the feast, the bride and groom show their unity by eating a bowl of soup together. However, it is not as simple as it may sound, as their hands are bound together with a piece of cloth or towel, and they both hold the same spoon to eat from. This tradition symbolises their new reliance and trust in one another, and their ability to share and give to each other in equal parts.
At the end of the feast, bridesmaids present the guests with sprigs of rosemary to symbolise fidelity.
Traditional wedding dances
Among the many special dances performed at a wedding reception are the Kolibka and the circle dance. The kolibka involves the chief bridesmaid, who holds a plate in her arms as she would hold a baby. Guests throw coins onto the plate to start a nest egg for the couple’s future children. During the circle dance, the bride closes her eyes whilst dancing, and single girls try to steal a part of her veil. Men create a protective circle about the bride to try and stop the theft. When the circle is broken by a successful girl, it symbolises the bride’s loss of innocence as she enters her new married life.
End of the evening traditions
When the reception has almost finished, friends of the happy couple perform one final tradition – the kidnapping of the bride! The bride is taken via a circuitous route to a local inn or pub, where she and her friends wait for the groom to follow the clues left behind and find her. When the groom finds the bride, he must claim her by paying a ransom – often a round of drinks for the kidnappers. This tradition symbolises the bride’s separation from her parents, and the beginning of her new partnership with her husband.