Last Saturday, I spent all day at the church for Gergő and Márti’s wedding. I was thrilled to be a part of the couple’s special day and see the wedding traditions of my congregation in Nyirtelek. We started the day’s festivities with coffee, lemonade, and pogacsa in the foyer, and then the ceremony commenced at 2:00pm. The wedding started with the congregation singing a hymn, then there was a special reading, and then Pastor Misi gave the message. There were a couple differences that stood out to me as the ceremony progressed, such as the exchanging of vows and the music. The couple did not say their vows to one another; they spoke their vows to Misi who then placed the rings on their fingers himself. We in the congregation sang four hymns throughout the wedding and there was a section of the ceremony wherein different groups could go to the front of the church to congratulate the couple and offer well wishes for their life together: Márti’s family sang a medley for her and Gergő, the church’s women’s group (which Gergő’s mother is a part of) sang two songs for the couple and read a Bible passage, and the youth group sang two songs and then passed off ‘the stick.’ The youth group’s tradition of ‘passing the stick’ started thirteen weddings ago when a member of the group got married. The stick has colored ribbons attached to it with the couple’s names and the date of their wedding, and the last couple to get married passes the stick to the newlyweds and offers some words of advice. The group’s presentation was really cute and got everyone laughing—the youth group is always ready to deliver a good laugh!
After the ceremony the couple went outside for more pictures and I had my normal job of watching the kids while everyone else tore down the chairs in the sanctuary and extra meeting room to set up the meal and tables for the reception. It only took about an hour to transform the sanctuary and attached meeting room into a reception hall where we sat along long banquet tables and ate the traditional Hungarian cuisine of meat…lots and lots of meat. After our meal, we had sütemény, which is the name given to all the delicious cakes, bars, and pastries that have made my time here in Hungary so great! I absolutely love sütemény! When I was done eating as much sütemény as I could get my hands on, I went downstairs to find the youth group’s space transformed into a dance hall, where I learned three more traditional Hungarian group dances—it was a lot of fun. Cake was served after the dance, and even though I was stuffed, I ate a very delightful piece of cake and then went outside in hopes of walking off some of the food I ate. Food is very important in Hungarian society, which makes me very happy, but I can say without a doubt that I ate way too much at the wedding—it was all so good, I just couldn’t help myself.
At the end of the ceremony I helped tear down the tables and decorations in order to clean and set up for the church service in the morning. It was a very busy day, but I had a blast and was really excited to experience a Hungarian wedding! It was beautiful and very sweet. I wish Gergő and Márti all the best!