Over the years I’ve decorated for a lot of Croatian weddings and I really enjoy these celebrations. Croatian weddings have some really special customs. For instance, the night before the wedding, brides will place brooms or rosaries in trees for good luck and for the rain to stay away on the wedding day.
Croatian traditions are a bit different than they are in Canada. There, the bride and groom see each other before the mass. The groom will come to the bride’s house with his best man, ushers, family and friends. The best man and groom sometimes have to saw their way through a tree log in order to get to the bride. The best man also usually has to pay the bride’s family in order for the bride to leave the house. As a joke, some of the bride’s male relatives will dresses up as fake brides. Finally when enough money is collected, the father of the bride walks his bride out of the house and hands her off to the groom. Sometimes, the bride and groom will even throw apples fully across the house for good luck in their marriage. They will then drive off to church together.
In Canada, Croatians typically follow the Canadian tradition of the bride and groom not seeing each other before the wedding. The wedding will begin at the groom’s house, where the groom, best man, ushers and flag bearers (one to carry the Croatian flag and one to carry the Canadian flag) celebrate with the groom’s side of the family.
Musicians will play traditional Croatian wedding songs as the group gathers around. They then drive over to the bride’s house, where the bride’s family and friends are waiting outside. The musicians lead the way, followed by the flag bearers and the rest of the crew. Once everyone arrives, both sides have finally come together. This is a very fun and festive time, with drinks flowing and everyone singing. During this time, the bride patiently waits inside so she doesn’t see the groom before the wedding.
Then, the groom and his best man head off to church. After they leave, the bride’s father escorts her out of the house and is presented for the crowd to see. The people cheer, the music continues and the dancing finally begins. Then everyone heads to the church for the ceremony.
Once the couple is married, the musicians continue playing outside the church while the guests congratulate the bride and groom. They then perform again at the main entrance of the reception hall. The music continues all day and night, along with brandy, delicious food and desserts! Croatian weddings are a lot of fun and I really enjoy decorating for them.