Hey, little sister, shot gun!

Yes, in my version of a Polish wedding, I get to marry Gabriel Byrne while Claire Danes looks on in confusion.

But this wasn’t my wedding.  Hell, we didn’t even GO to the wedding, because the deal was: wedding at 11:30, reception at 6:30, at a venue far, far away in another galaxy. We would have had to find something to do in between the wedding and the reception because, as Dave so poignantly said, “If we go home after the wedding, I’m not going back.”

So we chose the reception, but only after we were promised rare Meats of the East(ern Europe) and a House of Food.

Listen bubs, if you’re planning on attending a Polish wedding reception, the best advice I can give you is to bring a notebook. I used the Notepad app on my iPod to type a few notes, and this is what happened:

  • Polisg reception
  • Splanx
  • Tying on old clothes
  • Backup underwear
  • T and h already married …. Wars the cockles
  • Applying biofreeaze in car changing underwear
  • Photo of purse that doesn’t zipin car taking notes told Dave “has anything happened yet “

Translation: I tried on some old clothes, tugged on a pair of Spanx, being sure to tuck a pair of backup underwear in my purse that I realized too late doesn’t zip close. Cockles of heart warmed by the groom (T) and bride (h), who, yes, were already married in a small civil ceremony but who wanted to do it right, this time with 400 guests and head cheese.

The Spanx didn’t even make it into the reception hall. They lasted about as long as it took to pull out of our driveway. Thank god for backup underwear. Thank god, also, for Biofreeze, which I applied liberally in the car, managing to get the jelly-like substance all over my skirt (and backup underwear).

And as I typed frantically away, Dave noted  that “nothing has happened yet.” Oh, Dave. How little you understand the blog of JD.

ANYway, the bride was gorgeous, the groom was handsome, everyone was happy, blah, blah, blah and now onto the FOOD!

First, there were candy bars and mini champagne bottles on every other plate. I selected a candy bar plate!

There was also a platter of mysterious cheeses. Don’t be scared! JD tried each one so you don’t have to, and found them to be not only mysterious but delicious.

A bottle of vodka on every table.

The “House of Food”! Except it was more like a House of Scary Meats and Questionable Cheeses. Mmmm — is that a rib cage I see?

See that big round white thing? A cheese.

The meats of Poland!

Is head cheese a meat or a cheese? It really doesn’t matter, because who in their right mind would eat that?

As we started our delicious dinner (no photos), I anxiously eyed the dessert table. Surely after we ate, there would be a mad run on desserts. What if they ran out? I hate waiting in line! I want my desserts now!

My plate of desserts, which sat on the table, untouched, then traveled home with me on a paper plate covered in napkins, then sat in the fridge overnight, after which I promptly forgot about them.

As we watched the happy bride and groom on the dance floor, I sighed to Dave, “I wanna get married again.” “OK!” he said, more enthusiastically than I would’ve imagined. I continued excitedly, “We can renew our vows on the beach!”

“Oh, I thought you meant you wanted to marry someone else.”

“. . .”

I’m more than a little disturbed by that enthusiastic “OK!” I bet Gabriel Byrne wouldn’t let me marry anyone else.


Polish wedding DVD came from here

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40 Responses to “I Went to a Polish Wedding Reception”

  1. 1 puglette

    hello! well, what an interesting reception! oh…and i agree with dave, once i go home, i stay home.

    the house of food is certainly a different setup for a wedding buffet. and the way they stuck the knife in that white dome of cheese is very passive – agressive. i am glad you tried all of the mysterious cheese for me, although i don’t have a problem with cheese. and i am very glad that even you did not try the head cheese!

    i totally understand about the need for backup underwear! especially when you start out with spanx! i also understand about the unzipped purse and potential for embarrassing situations with spare underwear. i am glad you took care of this problem by changing in the car. i do hope you left the spanx in your car and not in your purse. stay tuned to the “what’s happing” blog, i have a embarrassing underwear story to share.

    and i am so sorry that you need to slather on any kind of pain reliever. i hope i am not being too nosy, but i did you fall and hurt your back? do you have arthritis? constant pain is awful, i totally understand.
    have a great weekend, and as always, thank you for sharing!
    .-= puglette´s last blog ..Awards and Internet Funnies =-.

  2. 2 absepa

    Ha! Great post. My beloved aunt’s family is Polish, and she has told me a lot about the traditional foods her family ate when she was growing up. One word: blerg. I am not very big on meats or cheese, so I think I would have focused on the dessert table. That looked scrumptious.

    At least you realized your purse didn’t zip, and changed out of your Spanx in the car. What if you’d had to carry the Spanx around at the reception? That’s just a recipe for disaster. I once changed out of my pantyhose after work, stuffed them in my purse, and forgot about them. Until I opened my purse at Walgreens to pay, and my pantyhose tumbled out onto the counter. (The cashier was a teenage boy.) SO embarrassing.
    .-= absepa´s last blog ..Greetings from the stir-crazy =-.

  3. 3 annofthejunkdrawerblogfamily

    More underwear stories!!!! Is there anything funnier?! As for husbands wanting to get married again…I’m sure my husband would not want to go thru the trouble of tolerating another wife’s idiosyncrasies. It’d be too exhausting. More importantly, what’s the story with the House of Food? Was it for display purposes only? Or was it like a deli where you gave somebody your number and they wrap it up in brown paper and you stuff it in your purse next to the backup panties?

  4. 4 CatLadyLarew

    That Dave! I’m guessing he slept on the couch that night?

    BTW… head cheese? Total gross out! Thank you SO much for trying that so I don’t have to, JD!
    .-= CatLadyLarew´s last blog ..Youre So Brave =-.

  5. 5 Mom Taxi Julie

    I’m so horking over the head cheese! The vodka would be nice though!
    .-= Mom Taxi Julie´s last blog ..Debbie Downer =-.

  6. 6 Daisy the Curly Cat

    I’m glad you used your back-up underpants so they didn’t accidentally fall out of your unzipped purse by mistake. I think I would enjoy that reception, on account of I love cheeses! I don’t think snausages are very delicious though. I am pretty sure that head cheese is the leader of all the other cheeses.
    .-= Daisy the Curly Cat´s last blog ..A Pretty Pink Frock =-.

  7. 7 cardiogirl

    Hey I’m Polish and I never knew cheese was so big in the land of Poles. My extent of all things Polish includes — jokes and kielbasa.


    The dessert table/plate looked pretty damn tasty, too. Did I see baklava on that table?
    .-= cardiogirl´s last blog ..The book of questions- Volume 104 =-.

  8. 8 Kathy

    I don’t understand why that cheese is so big. Seriously. How many crackers do you think you’d need if you were going to spread the whole thing? I’m guessing 1,054 give or take a cracker.

    I was at a reception last weekend myself, and even though I ate all but the table linen, I still inhaled everything I could at the dessert table and ours didn’t look nearly as nice as yours. Then they brought cake to the table. I ate that too. Then I exploded. What a mess.
    .-= Kathy´s last blog ..Where to Find Big Girl Panties =-.

  9. 9 Ron

    Ok, first I want to say…..

    Who the hell has a wedding at 11:30 and then the reception 6:30 (7 hours later?????). I’m with Dave, had I gone home, I would have never come back. So, I’m glad you chose the reception. I would have too.

    I cannot take my eyes off the head chees photo. OMG…it looks like someone chopped off the arm of a teddy bear!!!

    “Is head cheese a meat or a cheese? It really doesn’t matter, because who in their right mind would eat that?”


    I think had I gone to this reception, I would have only eaten from the dessert table – HA!
    .-= Ron´s last blog ..Facebooked =-.

  10. 10 Stephanie Barr

    I am so grateful you’re gastronomically fearless. I love cheese, but I love boring cheeses like cheddar and colby and anything more adventurous than swiss is all but beyond me. Especially goat cheeses. I know that makes me a heathen.

    I still remember when my oldest child was five and flower girl for a friend. They had a large number of foods she’d never seen before and she took one of everything. She’d take a tiny bite, decide she didn’t like it (SOP) and then put the remainder on my plate.

    Until she tried the Swiss.

    She did indeed put the remainder of the piece on my plate, but then she pulled my plate forward and spit out all the half-chewed bits of cheese as well.

    Good times.

    P.S. I had no idea what any of the underwear and Spanx and stuff was all about. I chalked it up to being an old fuddy duddy and left it alone.
    .-= Stephanie Barr´s last blog ..So Much for Euphoria =-.

  11. 11 Kathleen Kaufman

    I’m extremely disturbed by that Hagus looking thing, I thought only the Scottish came up with sausage stuffed with sausage bits and entrails. But my squeamishness but offset by the ball of cheese, and every table needs a bottle of vodka. Maybe I’ll get married again too…..

    What will I tell The Husband?
    .-= Kathleen Kaufman´s last blog ..Three Brilliant Headlines For Not So Brilliant Stories =-.

  12. 12 Jeremy from We Took The Bait

    After reading your opening line, I ran “It’s a nice day for a White Wedding” through an English-Polish translator… so that you don’t have to.

    The result is:

    To jest przyjemnym dniem dla bia?ego ?lub (weselny)

    Yeah. No idea.
    .-= Jeremy from We Took The Bait´s last blog ..…And the Mini Swift Peeler goes to… =-.

  13. 13 JD

    HI PUGLETTE! I was sooo excited by the idea of The House of Food . . . and then just a little disappointed. I really expected an actual house. Perhaps made of gingerbread. It was still fun. That cheese was menacing, I tell you. The knife seemed to make very little impression on it. I did leave the Spanx in the car, but not before waving them in Dave’s face as he drove. I have pretty major scoliosis (curvature of the spine), which pretty much messes up everything. And some herniated discs, just for fun. But I’m working on it. Thanks for your kind words. And I can’t wait for your embarrassing underwear story!

    absepa: So good to see you! The cheeses I tried were pretty darn good, tho I stayed away from that big white one. Oh, my god. Those Spanx would’ve fallen or popped out of my purse every time I reached in for my chapstick! They were better off in the glove compartment. But who knows? Maybe the waving of Spanx in the air is part of the Polish wedding tradition! (Those Walgreen’s cashiers have seen it all.)

    annofthejunkdrawerblogfamily: I do love a good underwear story. I didn’t have any room in my purse for deli meats, but everything was real — even the hanging stuff, which I don’t think was intended for eating. But it would’ve been funny to just grab a sausage and start gnawing on it.

    CatLadyLarew: He SHOULD have slept on the couch, damn it! But by the time we got home, I was just too tired to be mad. And too full of cheese. But NOT the head cheese. Oh, no. There are some things even I won’t do.

    Mom Taxi Julie: I think you need the vodka to get the head cheese down!

    Daisy the Curly Cat: Well, now, you may be right about the role of the head cheese. I never thought of it that way. And out of respect, I think we should never, ever eat the head cheese, right? I love cheeses too. I bet you would’ve liked the long, white squiggly ones.

    cardiogirl: Well, there were plenty of jokes and kielbasa at this reception — but also cheese. You’d better read up on your Polish history and start buying gigantic, weird cheese. I don’t think there was baklava, but there were many, many delectable pastries. None of which I ate.

    Kathy: I didn’t understand the giant cheese either. And believe me, there was barely a dent made in it. You know why? NO CRACKERS! WTF? We didn’t get cake, which surprised and saddened me. But I guess they figured with all those desserts, who needs cake?

    Ron: I KNOW! Apparently the wedding party had a luncheon after the ceremony and then photographs and who knows what else. I’m so glad we went to just the reception. Those Catholic wedding are LONG. The actual dinner was truly delicious. Nothing “weird,” all good food that you could easily identify. And no head cheese on the tables. OMG, I’m dying. “Someone chopped off the arm of a teddy bear”!!! BWAH!!!!

    Stephanie Barr: I was a little nervous about these strange cheeses, but I was also starving upon arrival, and that platter of cheese on the table was just ripe for the pickin’. I managed to restrain myself from spitting out one of the Meats of Poland I dared to try, but I sympathize with your daughter. Sometimes you just don’t want something in your mouth.

    Kathleen Kaufman: The Husband will understand. Mine certainly did. Maybe he thought I’d get lots of cool wedding gifts and he would somehow benefit. HA!

    Jeremy from We Took The Bait: Huh. Well, that’s . . . interesting. Why the parentheses? It all starts out fine but then you run into those question marks, and I just don’t even know. But thanks for doing that so I don’t have to.

  14. 14 Lauren

    Whining – I want to go to a Polish reception. I’ll check the NY Times engagement page for Polish sounding names, find a wedding date, and then crash the reception. It should work now that I know several Polish words: Head Cheese, which sounds more like Polish porno, and vodka, which appears in similar form in many languages. I wuv vodka!

    A back up plan is always a good idea except when you are the one who is backed up. All that cheese could do it.

    As always, love the pictures!

    On a side note that has absolutely nothing to do with Polish weddings (it’s just how my mind works), my husband and I dropped my son off at college yesterday. A sniff-sniff-yay! combo. We’re now empty nesters, except for the two dogs.

    I tell you this because there were credit card companies on campus handing out ads for Visa Cards, etc. Nothing like getting college students who are already in debt from student loans in further debt from buying shit they don’t need. I have one of their giveaways/ads – a package of chewing gum.I’m pissed that I didn’t photograph one of their welcome tables. I will however take a picture of the chewing gum package and eventually post it.

    End of non sequitur.
    .-= Lauren´s last blog ..When Reality Bites You in the Ass and You Cant Bite Back =-.

  15. 15 babs - beetle

    You take a change of underwear to a wedding reception? Do you need Tennalady maybe?

    How could you not eat the desert? I think I would have passed on all the meats, and gone for a plate of cheeses and desert.
    .-= babs – beetle´s last blog ..10 steps to having beautiful eyes! =-.

  16. 16 Surfie

    Don’t you know you’re supposed to start with the desserts? And what’s with forgetting about the plate of untouched desserts you took home? That’s wrong on so many levels. Mostly the “untouched” and “forgotten” ones. But I’m with you on the Biofreeze. I get that from my chiropractor and I love it. In fact I had to use some last night!
    .-= Surfie´s last blog ..Gettin With the Times =-.

  17. 17 Cats~Goats~Quotes

    That dessert table looks fantastic! I probably would not have forgotten mine in the ‘frig, but what a nice surprise for you the next day!
    .-= Cats~Goats~Quotes´s last blog ..Good-bye Sara =-.

  18. 18 Pricilla

    Was there any goat cheese?
    I hope so. Goats need to be represented.

    Except in the meats of course.
    .-= Pricilla´s last blog ..Silly Sunday =-.

  19. 19 Lin

    I once went to an anniversary party for my grandparents at a Polish Smorgasbord–which doesn’t make any sense as I type this. I guess what it was really was a buffet of all things Polish. Most of the stuff scared the hell out of me (like that head cheese thing you are showing here) and I pretty much stuck to things like Pierogi.

    You gotta be careful what you eat as those old country Poles use every bit of the animal and you don’t know what you are gonna get on your plate. I typically stick to things I can identify and save myself for the paczki. Those are filled donuts with powdered sugar on top.
    .-= Lin´s last blog ..Its got to be the morning after =-.

  20. 20 JD

    Lauren: Since the average Polish reception draws about 1,500 guests, I have no doubt you could crash the party easily. Maybe to seal the deal, bring your own head cheese. No one would question a person with a head cheese tucked under their arm. Yes, please post the photo of the chewing gum package. It’s a perfect symbol of greed and debt. (Sidebar: I wish I had a credit card in college. Can you IMAGINE?!)

    babs – beetle: OK, I Googled “Tennalady,” and you do not even know what came up first. (But if you do, look it up on Urban Dictionary.) I found it under “Tena Lady,” and NO I DO NOT NEED ONE! The backup underwear were comfy undies in case the Spanx got too restricting. Which they did after 10 minutes. I was so full after the amazing dinner, that I just couldn’t fit in any dessert. It made me sad.

    Surfie: Biofreeze RULES! It’s the best topical thingie I’ve ever tried. I did eat one of the desserts, and only because it wasn’t shoved into the back of the fridge. It was a pastry with prune filling, and I was greatly distressed by the prune part. Maybe that made me subconsciously forget the other desserts.

    Cats~Goats~Quotes: Yes, it would have been a nice surprise the next day . . . had I remembered it then. But I didn’t.

    Pricilla: Well, there was DEFINITELY no goat meat, but there was plenty of goat and sheep’s milk cheese. Of course, the goat cheese was the best.

    Lin: Hey, now that you mention it, we didn’t get any pierogi! RIP-OFF!!! Yes, we did have paczki, but the one I tried had a prune filling. This was very disturbing.

  21. 21 Margaret (Nanny Goats)

    i ALWAYS forget what headcheese is. Not that I really need to know because after seeing THAT picture (and throwing up a little) it’s a moot point, really.

    And who the HELL – I mean WHO THE HELL schedules a wedding and reception 6+ hours apart? Who does that? Polish people? Is that a Polish thing? I die when the couple take too long taking pictures after the wedding (because they SHOULD have done all that before if they need so many damn pictures) while the rest of us with low blood sugar and starving have to stand around a wait so we can eat within the hour. I realize it’s their wedding and they can do what they want, but in this particular aspect, my opinion will not waver. Unless there’s a casino involved.
    .-= Margaret (Nanny Goats)´s last blog ..Confessions of an American Musical Idiot =-.

  22. 22 Caffy Tirr

    Oh this is wonderful! It reminded me instantly of the time in 1974 when my husband and I went to dinner at a co-worker’s house. Said co-worker’s husband was Polish so after dinner they took us to a “Polish Dance”. Mind you this was not on Halloween. In one room, of course, was polka dancing with, of course, accordions (and this was before accordions were hip). I think the bar was in that room too. But in the next room, no kidding, was BOBBING FOR APPLES! Is this typical Polish fun? There were no children there. I didn’t know then and I’ve never have heard of it since. My husband and I could hardly contain ourselves, laugh-wise.

  23. 23 Barb (Mother of the Groom


    Throughout the past week of attempting to describe the wedding to those who didn’t attend, well, let me say, I couldn’t have said it better than you! We were so glad you were there to celebrate the wedding with us and to experience the whole Polish 9 yards! There was an ‘after party’ on Sunday, known in Poland as the Poprawiny. Guess what we ate? Lots of Polish sausage and that mystery mound of cheese. Luckily this time there was bread because spreading it on the sausage just seems like dialing 9-1-1 and waiting! And, of course, what would any Polish party be without more Vodka and Spiritus! Of course, by the end of Sunday we were calling it Spirit Juice! It took a great part of last week to recover from the festivities! But it was all worthwhile.

  24. 24 Alexandra

    So did you try the meats? Do share the impressions! Please?
    .-= Alexandra´s last blog ..Anniversary =-.

  25. 25 moooooog35

    I don’t know who would eat the head cheese/meat cheese thing… but if I did, I’m pretty sure he knows where Jimmy Hoffa is.
    .-= moooooog35´s last blog ..Cue the Jaws Music =-.

  26. 26 JD

    Margaret (Nanny Goats): Well, there was no casino involved, that I know of. I don’t know if it’s a Polish thing, but there were a lot of extracurricular activities that whole weekend. There was some sort of luncheon after the wedding, and then photos, I’m sure. But we were lucky that our friends understood and said it was fine to just go to the reception. I was horrified when Dave first suggested it. YOU CAN’T DO THAT! But, apparently, you can.

    Caffy Tirr: Accordions are hip? Huh! Anyway, that Polish Dance sounds kind of awesome. I’ll have to ask my friends about this whole bobbing for apples business, but on the other hand, who cares? It sounds like fun! Any excuse to bob for apples, I say! Bring on the polka music!

    Barb (Mother of the Groom): Oh, hi. Are we still friends? Seriously, I love having you drop in like this and be such a good sport about my making fun of head cheese, etc. It really was a blast. Just send over confused people to my blog, if they need to know what it was like. I even have video! Your party on Sunday sounds awesome. Was there Spiritus at the reception? I think I got drunk on cheese. Anyway, thank you again for such a wonderful party and congrats on your amazing son and beautiful daughter-in-law.

    Alexandra: I only tried one of the meats from that platter. It looked sort of like uncooked bacon, and it was GOOD! But this was all before dinner was served, so I didn’t want to fill up too much. My husband had one of the sausages, and he proclaimed it delicious as well.

    moooooog35: I’m sure you’re right about that. And come to think of it, I DID see someone gnawing on that head cheese . . . and he looked pretty suspicious.

  27. 27 meleah rebeccah

    Plates of mysterious cheese and bottles of Vodka on the tables? SIGN ME UP for the next Polish Wedding!
    .-= meleah rebeccah´s last blog ..Summer’s End – 2010 =-.

  28. 28 Ziva

    Hi JD! You’re a very brave woman to try all that food. The head cheese looks alive, are you sure they served it right? The vodka sounds great, though!
    .-= Ziva´s last blog ..Mmm- roasted high jumper- my favorite! =-.

  29. 29 dcr

    I was at a wedding once where I had to eat pork with a spoon. Not sure if that counts as a Polish wedding though. The bride was half-Polish though.
    .-= dcr´s last blog ..Steampunk Fail =-.

  30. 30 kathryn

    Oh, Dave. Dave, Dave, Dave.

    That was the wrong answer, bud. I’m sorry there’s no air conditioning in that dog house but you should have thought harder before answering.

    This is a life-lesson, my friend. When you screw up, JD does things….that’s just how it works.

    (Glad you guys had fun…sounds like a blast!)
    .-= kathryn´s last blog ..The Power of Love =-.

  31. 31 MomZombie

    Considering my poor stomach’s sensitivity to the food offerings pictured above, I would have to bring a diaper bag with me to that wedding — and a barf bag. Thank goodness for vodka at every table.
    .-= MomZombie´s last blog ..Peg Bundy would be proud =-.

  32. 32 JD

    meleah rebeccah: You’re officially invited as my guest of honor! (Can you do that? I think so.) We will have a blast!

    Ziva: I’m pretty sure I did see the head cheese move a little. But isn’t that always the case with the gelatinous food groups?

    dcr: Pork with a spoon, eh? Sounds Ukrainian. Was there any head cheese?

    kathryn: Yes, we had fun, apart from my discovery that Dave is so eager to have me marry someone else. HA!

    MomZombie: The dinner was delicious, tho. And a few of the offerings in the House of Food were pretty mainstream, like that cold pizza thing you make with Pillsbury crescent dough. Either way, it was all good.

  33. 33 dcr

    I was seated between the flower girl and I have no idea. Ms. No-Idea took her fork. The flower girl took my fork. So, someone somewhere had an extra fork and I had to eat pork with a spoon.
    .-= dcr´s last blog ..Success September- 1-000-000 in 30 Days =-.

  34. 34 Your Daily Cute

    I don’t know. Thank goodness I’m not Polish. There was too many body parts in that buffet.
    .-= Your Daily Cute´s last blog ..Merengue Dancing Dog! =-.

  35. 35 Wynn

    Good lord. I’ve been to a polish wedding/wedding reception. In Poland. In the rural country. It was VERY interesting. A culture clash, you may say. I would like to use the phrase “They drank all the vodka, didn’t understand why we wanted WINE with our food and then made us dance and eat for eight hours.”

    My mom calls it “The most hysterically movie-like family trip. Ever.”
    .-= Wynn´s last blog ..Youre kidding- right =-.

  36. 36 doreen mccabe

    Thanks for doing all these things so i don’t have to. fabulous.
    keep it going please. Glad life is so fun for you!

  37. 37 JD

    dcr: Well, I hope it was tender. You should have had a stern word with that flower girl. Being stolen from is no excuse to steal. They have to learn these lessons at as young an age as possible.

    Your Daily Cute: Indeed. But you just never know when a delicacy like intestine will really hit the spot. And let’s hope you — and I — never do know.

    Wynn: That sounds like a blast! We did have wine with our dinner (and there was a free bar), but this IS America, and we will not be denied our rum and Cokes. I do believe most of the guests ate and danced for eight hours, but we made our getaway fairly early.

    doreen mccabe: Yes, life is fun. Especially when you live in a House of Food. Thanks for stopping by!

  38. 38 meleah rebeccah

    Oh you YOU can do that – And hell yes, we would have an absolute blast!
    .-= meleah rebeccah´s last blog ..T’was The Night Before High School… =-.

  39. 39 Ms. MM

    Oh. My. Fish. You made a Billy Idol reference.

    I’m reading your blog from now on.
    .-= Ms. MM´s last blog ..I didnt want to write a new post =-.

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