Thinking about a destination wedding? As it turns out, Hungary is one of the happiest places to have your ceremony, with 51,800 couples getting married last year alone.
You already know that weddings represent a time of celebrating love, life, and happiness. Adding in your own cultural elements and honoring unique traditions makes this time that much more special.
Whether you’re still pondering wedding locations or you simply want to incorporate some of your heritage into your ceremony, we’re here to show you some of our favorite Hungarian wedding traditions.
Let’s get into it!
Our Favorite Hungarian Wedding Traditions
Preparation & Getting Ready
In traditional Hungarian wedding days, the Best Man invited each of the wedding guests in person. He was also responsible for much of the planning of the wedding event.
Brides typically wore colorful gowns with detailed embroidery and traditional headpieces made from wheat to represent prosperity and fertility.
The village would also help participate in the getting ready process. It was not uncommon for the entire community to form a procession behind the decorated car transporting the bride to the wedding ceremony.
In fact, sometimes guests would even makeshift “kidnap” the bride in order for the groom to come “rescue” her.
Regardless, the bride and groom arrived at the ceremony separately and each provided the officiant with a small token of appreciation (cookies or wine).
If you’re thinking of incorporating any of these special traditions, consider an unconventional wedding dress with lots of embroidery or beading. Consider incorporating a lovely headpiece.
Last but not least. In many weddings, the maid-of-honor shoulders the majority of the wedding tasks. The takeaway here? Get the Best Man involved!
Hungarian Wedding Ceremony
While actual wedding ceremonies vary depending on the religious faith, many services still take place in churches or outdoor settings.
The procession to the ceremony location is still widely practiced in some parts of Hungary, and it can be an exciting way to build up the momentum and energy for the ceremony. Even today, modern couples might choose to walk to their ceremony venues to represent village-type weddings.
The bride and groom exchange their rings (similar to traditions in most weddings). They also receive blessings from the celebrants and place their rings on their right hands (instead of left) once being declared husband and wife.
Many Hungarian weddings still use folk singing, traditional choirs, and even poetry during their ceremonies. It’s a great way to include guests. Some couples use this opportunity for their guests to sing happy songs or share stories about their couples.
Even if you are not having a traditional ceremony, it might be a great idea to consider including some of your guests.
Once the bride changed out of her wedding gown at midnight, there was a traditional sending-off the white dress with a celebratory dance. This is known as the candlelight waltz.
Typically, this is the last dance of the evening, and the groom holds a candle to symbolize just that.
Guests often circle around the happy couple, also holding their own candles, and the bride and groom “blow” the candles (just like as you would blow your birthday cake candles) out.
After all the guest candles are blown out, the bride and groom blow away their own. Once that is done, the bride is now ready to change into her new midnight dress.
While the dress is traditionally a waltz, many modern couples have adapted to various styles of dances. Even just swaying to a slow song works!
Midnight Dress Change
In a traditional Hungarian wedding, the bride changes her wedding gown at the strike of midnight. This process typically occurs just after the lovely candlelight waltz and after all the candles have been blown out.
This is considered the new wife dress, and it beautifully symbolizes the process of now becoming a wife.
In the past, the dress was red, though nowadays, the sky is the limit in terms of which color brides choose to wear. Oftentimes, the groom will also change his shirt to match his new bride’s color.
After entering back into the reception wearing their new outfits, the best man typically announces the new wife and new husband.
This is a wonderful way to really capture the first few moments of husband and wife, and it makes for absolutely stunning photography and videography opportunities!
Traditional Hungarian Feasts
What do people remember most about weddings? Typically, they recall the general energy of the ceremony and party and, of course, the food.
Thinking about having a traditional Hungarian wedding in the heart of Budapest or simply incorporating some of their tasty delicacies into your reception?
Hungarian receptions typically embody feasts with plenty of traditional Hungarian dishes served to guests.
Meals may start with a noodle broth soup, often with vegetables and meats included. Main dishes may include beef goulash, chicken paprikash, and stuffed cabbage. Other soups, such as wedding soup and cherry soup, may also be served.
Sweets and desserts are not to be overlooked! Hungarian weddings love their pastries, cookies, and “bar cookies.”
The wedding cake tends to be lavish, with many layers and decorations. Instead of having a cake ceremony with the bride and groom feeding each other, the happy couple usually serves their guests the wedding cake. Some guests will bring small wedding cakes, which are given to the couple and to guests.
Food is not thrown away at the end of the night — guests happily munch on wedding food for their next meals.
Hungarian weddings are undoubtedly beautiful and rich in history and culture. Today, many couples integrate some of these traditions into their own modern weddings. It’s a great way to honor customs of the past while also leaving some room for your own individual taste.
Thinking about your own dream Hungarian wedding? We can help you with every question and every detail at every step of the way. Please contact us today and let us help you create the wedding you always wanted!