Thursday, August 20, 2009

Suzanne & Michael's Big Fat Polish Wedding

As soon as I saw pictures from Suzanne Rozdeba and Michael Holcomb's June wedding in Poland, I knew I had to share them here. Suzanne and Michael share a passion for adventurous traveling that I think many destination-seeking brides and grooms can relate to—they even met on a backpacking trip to Ecuador six years ago (how romantic is that?)

But their decision to have their wedding in Poland was also a family one. Suzanne's parents were born (and married) in Poland; raised in New Jersey, Suzanne has Polish citizenship. "We just loved the way they celebrate there," says Suzanne. "We wanted a party that would go all night, until six in the morning. Everywhere we looked in New York said our wedding had to be finished way earlier than that." So, the couple started scouting locations in Poland. Their chosen venue was Korzkiew Castle, just outside Krakow. It's a small medieval castle that has been renovated for events. Suzanne and Michael fell in love with the place at first sight. "Since the decor was very ornate already, we didn't have to dress it up much," Suzanne explains. And because the castle has five bedrooms, the bride, groom and both sets of parents were able to stay on site.

Suzanne's romantic dress is from Priscilla of Boston's Platinum collection. The bridesmaids' cobalt blue satin dresses were also from Priscilla. The flowers were a mix of calla lilies and red and white roses. "Red and white are the Polish colors, so we tried to incorporate them," says Suzanne.

The ceremony took place at the beautiful Saint Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Krakow. The priest who presided was Suzanne's grandparents' priest who had traveled from New Jersey to Poland. He was able to do the mass in Polish and English, a treat for both sides of the family. After the ceremony, everyone traveled to the castle, where the cocktail hour was held in the courtyard.

One of the highlights of the evening was Suzanne's cousin—a professional dancer in Krakow—surprised her by performing in traditional costumes with some of his troupe. Afterwards, dinner was served in the dining room with long tables arranged in a "u" shape. There were six courses throughout the night, including a red beet soup, beef croquettes and a grill with kielbasa and Polish meats. "You need that much food to keep going all night," Suzanne says. "Even my grandfather stayed up partying until 6 am." In keeping with local culture, the couple had one bottle of vodka on the table for each couple, complete with shot glasses. For dessert there was vanilla and strawberry wedding cake (the groom's cake, a very chocolatey one, was served the night before at the rehearsal party).



The best part about Suzanne and Michael's wedding was that the festivities lasted five days. There was a rehearsal dinner party, a day after wedding party, known as a "poprawiny," hosted by the groom's father on a docked boat and many organized sightseeing trips. The couple wanted to introduce their 70 guests from the States to Poland, so they did everything from hiking and visiting a Unesco heritage site and salt mine to taking a tour of Auschwitz, which was "emotional but very moving for the guests" says Suzanne.

In keeping with their wanderlust, Suzanne and Michael plan to spend their honeymoon backpacking in Southeast Asia this January. They even registered for their honeymoon using Smart Honeymoon.
Suzanne and Michael, thank you for sharing your gorgeous wedding with us. Wishing you a lifetime of happiness and frequent flier miles.
Photos: Foto-Mikulska

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