a polish bride

THE POLISH BRIDE

Oliwia is a typical 21-year-old Polish citizen. These are the last two weeks before her wedding.

 

Kalety, Poland - July 2013: Olivia, the bride-to-be, braids a bracelet while sitting at her kitchen table. Her wedding is less than two weeks away.

Kalety, Poland – July 2013: Oliwia, the bride-to-be, braids a bracelet while sitting at her kitchen table. Her wedding is less than two weeks away.

Czestochowa, Poland - July 2013: Oliwia's younger sister, Alicia, searches for a dress for her sister's wedding party.

Czestochowa, Poland – July 2013: Oliwia’s younger sister, Alicja, searches for a dress for her sister’s wedding party.

Kalety, Poland - July 2013: Justyna, Olivia's mother, and Alicja relax with Radlers after a long weekend of getting ready for the wedding, which is less than two weeks away.

Kalety, Poland – July 2013: Justyna, Oliwia’s mother, and Alicja relax with Radlers after a long weekend of getting ready for the wedding, which is less than two weeks away.

Czestochowa, Poland - July 2013: Religion, specifically Christianity, is incredibly important in Polish culture. Visitors from around the world leave trinkets and jewelry on the walls of the Jasna Gora Monastery which houses the revered and Our Lady of Czestochowa shrine.

Czestochowa, Poland – July 2013: Religion, specifically Christianity, is incredibly important in Polish culture. Visitors from around the world leave trinkets and jewelry on the walls of the Jasna Gora Monastery which houses the revered and celebrated Our Lady of Czestochowa shrine.

Czestochowa, Poland - July 2013: A gift shop across the street from the Jasna Gora Monastery sells statues and depictions of Christ, Mary, and the Black Madonna for pilgrims and visitors to take home with them.

Czestochowa, Poland – July 2013: A gift shop across the street from the Jasna Gora Monastery sells statues and depictions of Christ, Mary, and the Black Madonna for pilgrims and visitors to take home with them.

Kalety, Poland - July 2013: Oliwia watches TV in the living room of her parents house. This is her last week of living with her mother and father before she moves into her new apartment with soon to be husband.

Kalety, Poland – July 2013: Oliwia watches TV in the living room of her parents house. This is her last week of living with her mother and father before she moves into her new apartment with soon to be husband.

Kalety, Poland - July 2013: Olivia teaches English to children and works all she can leading up to the wedding.

Kalety, Poland – July 2013: Olivia teaches English to children and works all she can leading up to the wedding.

Kalety, Poland - July 2013: The bride-to-be and her maid of honor, Monika, make sure everything is perfect at the final dress fitting before the wedding.

Kalety, Poland – July 2013: The bride-to-be and her maid of honor, Monika, make sure everything is perfect at the final dress fitting before the wedding.

Kalety, Poland - July 2013: Alicja and a friend ride bikes to a hidden paczki shop.

Kalety, Poland – July 2013: Alicja and a friend ride bikes to a hidden paczki shop.

Kalety, Poland - July 2013: Much like religion, food is a massive part of every Polish family's life. Paczki's are no exception.

Kalety, Poland – July 2013: Much like religion, food is a massive part of every Polish family’s life. Paczki’s are no exception.

Kalety, Poland - July 2013: Oliwia presumes for her Hen Party, the Polish equivalent to a bachelorette party. The bunny ears are to distinguish her hen party from other hen parties, of which there were two others later at the club.

Kalety, Poland – July 2013: Oliwia pregames for her hen party, the Polish equivalent to a bachelorette party. The bunny ears are to distinguish her hen party from other hen parties, of which there were two others later at the club.

Kalety, Poland - July 2013: Smoking is not a widely acceptable behavior in certain parts of Poland. People can be fired from their jobs for posting photos of themselves smoking. The girls smoked flavored cigarettes out of the upstairs windows of Oliwia's parent's house.

Kalety, Poland – July 2013: Smoking is not a widely acceptable behavior in certain parts of Poland. People can be fired from their jobs for posting photos of themselves smoking. The girls smoked flavored cigarettes out of the upstairs windows of Oliwia’s parent’s house.

Kalety, Poland - July 2013: Things begin to get a little wild at the Hen Party pregame.

Kalety, Poland – July 2013: Things begin to get a little wild at the hen party pregame.

Kalety, Poland - July 2013: The entire family, including Oliwia's sister, parents, grandparents, and the groom-to-be Kamil's parents set up tables and tents for the Polter, a barbecue style pre-party hosted the week leading up to the wedding.

Kalety, Poland – July 2013: The entire family, including Oliwia’s sister, parents, grandparents, and the groom-to-be Kamil’s parents set up tables and tents for the Polter, a barbecue style pre-party hosted the week leading up to the wedding.

Kalety, Poland - July 2013: The entire family, including Oliwia's sister, parents, grandparents, and the groom-to-be Kamil's parents set up tables and tents for the Polter, a barbecue style pre-party hosted the week leading up to the wedding. Justyna and two of Oliwia's great uncles relax with a beer afterward.

Kalety, Poland – July 2013: The entire family, including Oliwia’s sister, parents, grandparents, and the groom-to-be Kamil’s parents set up tables and tents for the Polter, a barbecue style pre-party hosted the week leading up to the wedding. Justyna and two of Oliwia’s great uncles relax with a beer afterward.

Kalety, Poland - July 2013: Walter, Oliwia's grandfather, helps cut and bag cakes in the local bakery. There is a tradition that the bride and groom must hand deliver cake to every person invited to the wedding during the week beforehand.

Kalety, Poland – July 2013: Walter, Oliwia’s grandfather, helps cut and bag cakes in the local bakery. There is a tradition that the bride and groom must hand deliver cake to every person invited to the wedding during the week beforehand.

Kalety, Poland - July 2013: Kamil and Oliwia hand deliver cakes to every person invited to their wedding as per Polish tradition. Oliwia complained about this tradition throughout the entirety of the drop-offs.

Kalety, Poland – July 2013: Kamil and Oliwia hand deliver cakes to every person invited to their wedding as per Polish tradition. Oliwia complained about this tradition throughout the entirety of the drop-offs.

Kalety, Poland - July 2013: Oliwia delivers a cake to her future mother-in-law. There is a tradition in Polish culture that the bride and groom must hand deliver cake to every person invited to their wedding.

Kalety, Poland – July 2013: Oliwia delivers a cake to her future mother-in-law. There is a tradition in Polish culture that the bride and groom must hand deliver cake to every person invited to their wedding.

Kalety, Poland - July 2013: Justyna poses for a photo with the child of a close family friend during the Polter, a barbecue style pre-party hosted the week before the wedding.

Kalety, Poland – July 2013: Justyna poses for a photo with the child of a close family friend during the Polter, a barbecue style pre-party hosted the week before the wedding.

Kalety, Poland - July 2013: Kamil and Oliwia sweep up broken shards of porcelain and glass in front of Oliwia's parents house during the Polter. Two traditions of the Polter are for guests to dress in costume and to come bearing old china and porcelain which they will later break on the ground for the bride and groom to clean up throughout the duration of the party. This is to symbolize how the bride and groom will work together in their coming marriage. Oliwia complained about this tradition as well.

Kalety, Poland – July 2013: Kamil and Oliwia sweep up broken shards of porcelain and glass in front of Oliwia’s parents house during the Polter. Two traditions of the Polter are for guests to dress in costume and to come bearing old china and porcelain which they will later break on the ground for the bride and groom to clean up throughout the duration of the party. This is to symbolize how the bride and groom will work together in their coming marriage. Oliwia complained about this tradition as well.

Kalety, Poland - July 2013: Family and friends and the couple eat and drink copiously while Oliwia and Kamil sweep up broken china in front of the house.

Kalety, Poland – July 2013: Family and friends and the couple eat and drink copiously while Oliwia and Kamil sweep up broken china in front of the house.

Kamil and Oliwia sweep up broken shards of porcelain and glass in front of Oliwia's parents house during the Polter. Two traditions of the Polter are for guests to dress in costume and to come bearing old china and porcelain which they will later break on the ground for the bride and groom to clean up throughout the duration of the party. This is to symbolize how the bride and groom will work together in their coming marriage. Oliwia complained about this tradition as well, particularly when Kamil snuck into the backyard to hang out with his friend. "Where's Kam?!" Oliwia shouted.

Kalety, Poland – July 2013: ¬†Kamil sneaks away to the backyard to hang out with his friends. “Where’s Kam?!” Oliwia shouted.

Kalety, Poland - August 2013: Monika, the maid of honor, laces the back of Oliwia's wedding dress on the morning of the wedding.

Kalety, Poland – August 2013: Monika, the maid of honor, laces the back of Oliwia’s wedding dress on the morning of the wedding.

Kalety, Poland - August 2013: Unlike in traditional American ceremonies, the bride and groom see one another before the wedding. Tamil arrives at Oliwia's parents house and sees his bride in her wedding dress for the first time.

Kalety, Poland – August 2013: Unlike in traditional American ceremonies, the bride and groom see one another before the wedding. Kamil arrives at Oliwia’s parents house and sees his bride in her wedding dress for the first time.

Kalety, Poland - August 2013: Kamil's father blesses and soon-to-be bride and groom before the ceremony.

Kalety, Poland – August 2013: Kamil’s father blesses and soon-to-be bride and groom before the ceremony.

Kalety, Poland - August 2013: After the ceremony, Oliwia and Kamil exit the church to their guests tossing rice and coins to them.

Kalety, Poland – August 2013: After the ceremony, Oliwia and Kamil exit the church to their guests tossing rice and coins to them.

Kalety, Poland - August 2013: A Polish wedding traditionally lasts for two days and most of that is spent eating, drinking, dancing, and playing games at a reception hall.

Kalety, Poland – August 2013: A Polish wedding traditionally lasts for two days and most of that is spent eating, drinking, dancing, and playing games at a reception hall.

Kalety, Poland - August 2013: As noted previously, food is a major part of every Polish family's life and from the time we sat down in the reception hall at 1pm until 10pm that night, there was never a moment when there was not food on the table.

Kalety, Poland – August 2013: As noted previously, food is a major part of every Polish family’s life and from the time the guests sat down in the reception hall at 1pm until 10pm that night, there was never a moment when there was not food on the table.

Kalety, Poland - August 2013: A photo of Oliwia's grandparents from their wedding day looks over other family photos collected throughout both Oliwia and Alicja's lives.

Kalety, Poland – August 2013: A photo of Oliwia’s grandparents from their wedding day looks over other family photos collected throughout both Oliwia and Alicja’s lives.

Kalety, Poland - August 2013: Kamil's niece and nephew play in their parent's kitchen while dinner is prepared.

Kalety, Poland – August 2013: Kamil’s niece and nephew play in their parent’s kitchen while dinner is prepared.

Kalety, Poland - August 2013: Oliwia plays with Kamil's niece a few days after the wedding.

Kalety, Poland – August 2013: Oliwia plays with Kamil’s niece a few days after the wedding.

Zakopane, Poland - July 2013: Oliwia and her mom goof off while sunbathing in a mountain town not far from Kalety.

Zakopane, Poland – August 2013: Oliwia and her mom goof off while sunbathing in a mountain town not far from their hometown of Kalety.

Zakopane, Poland - July 2013: Justyna walks ahead while on a family outing to a mountain town not far from Kalety.

Zakopane, Poland – August 2013: Justyna walks ahead while on a family outing to a mountain town not far from their hometown of Kalety.

Kalety, Poland - August 2013: Oliwia and Kamil and Oliwia's parents and grandparents pose for a family photo.

Kalety, Poland – August 2013: Oliwia and Kamil and Oliwia’s parents and grandparents pose for a family photo.