On Monday, I had the opportunity to go to a Hungarian wedding! Not only did I attend the wedding, but I sang in the choir! Let me tell you, this celebration of love was like no other. So, let me start at the beginning of the afternoon and give you as many details as possible. Are you ready?
Panna and I get to the church an hour before the wedding to practice the song with the choir for the second time (the first time being the day before). There were about twelve people already there, only about four of which came to rehearsal the day before. It was a pleasant surprise to see one of the women I work with there! We had a man on the keys, one on a drum, two girls Panna’s age on the flute and the clarinet, and Ildikó directing. We practiced our song a few times, moved our positions of where we would stand three times, cut out a verse of the original song, and added a new song to the mix. At about 2:45pm, we wrapped up and waited for the wedding of a fellow choir member to begin.
Within fifteen minutes, about 150-200 fancy-dressed people took their seats -with their coats on- in the chilly church. My reaction to this event was the same as any other wedding I’ve been to- giddy and continuously whispering to myself, “Wow. I just loooove weddings”.
At this wedding, joining a Lutheran man and a Catholic woman, there was no organ music. There was no music at all at the beginning of the service as the 10 (yes, 10!) children all dressed the same walked down the aisle with the two bridesmaids. There was no music for neither of the two pastors when they walked to the altar or for the groom himself. BUT when the groom came to the altar, he leaned to the side pew and grabbed his TRUMPET. He started soulfully playing “Amazing Grace”, basically enchanting his bride up the aisle as he walked slowly back down it to greet her with his smooth tune. The father gave his daughter away as they all reached the altar together. This was the point where I noticed there were no groomsmen and that the bridesmaids weren’t standing as close to the soon-to-be-married couple as I had expected them to.
I’m pretty sure Eszter (one of the pastors at the Lutheran church) led a prayer, and then the choir sang the song that was just given to us an hour prior. Naturally, I didn’t have enough time to study each Hungarian word in this new song to pronounce correctly, so I was not very confident heading into this commitment. Of course, I was in the front row though and some man was recording us. I tried moving my mouth enough to be able to pass as knowing what I was doing, but I don’t think it worked as well as mouthing “watermelon” on stage in America does.
We sat down after some claps and smiles from the couple, and the children followed us with talk-singing a song of their own – adorable!
Soon the choir was up again, but with confidence for our original song! The song was incredible with our perfect harmonies, a beautiful blend of our instruments, and the groom even joined in part way through with his trumpet! I felt like I was in Madrigals (*Warren, PA reference #sorrynotsorry) singing the most fun song in the concert!
I’m not sure the exact order, but by the end of the ceremony, here’s what happened:
– A woman played on the piano (not even a foot away from me) the most elegant, fast-finger-moving song I’ve ever experienced, and I’m pretty sure she put us all in a trance.
– The Catholic priest shared a message, crowned the couple (literally with bronze crowns), and put a cloth over the bride’s head and flicked oil on it (which her bridesmaid held like her bouquet afterwards).
– Eszter did the vows, and their responses translated to “Of course”.
– There was no kissing or introducing of the newlyweds.
– The couple walked down the aisle in hand, in silence. Then, in no particular order, everyone else (including the rest of the bridal party) just started shuffling around to leave.
After the ceremony, friends and family gathered in the church’s garden to receive drinks and snacks from a man standing at a plastic table as the pictures commenced. The youth of the choir did not join this part of the celebration, but we went to the church’s kitchen for some snacks of our own and then went home. I was told that a party endures after all the pictures are taken.
Man, I love weddings. What an experience this was!