Czech Weddings of Yesteryear
The weddings for couples today have drastically changed from those of our ancestors, and with each generation, the traditions of the past are increasingly forgotten or eliminated. Very few contemporary bridal couples incorporate the wedding traditions of days gone by into their ceremonies or celebrations because of modern conveniences, technology, marketing, the media, and most of all, the blending of ethnicities which dilutes traditions. The wedding march is the only “constant” that still seems to prevail, especially if one or both of the bridal couple has Czech ancestry.
Weddings for Texas Czechs in the 19th and early 20th centuries were generally held in late October or November when harvesting was done, and the weather was still fairly decent. Usually they were held on a Monday or Tuesday – never on a Sunday, which was the Lord’s Day. Wednesdays were acceptable only if the other two days were already taken by someone else in the community. No invitations were sent out; instead, the best man and perhaps two groomsmen did the inviting in person. They rode by horseback from house to house, firing a pistol to announce their arrival. After being invited into the house, they would remove their hats, and the best man would come forward to deliver a standard speech inviting the family to the wedding. They were then often treated to a drink of schnapps, homemade wine or beer before leaving. Sometimes it took them several days to get around to all of the invited guests, who lived miles apart. Of course, the extra added time that it took to visit and share libations affected their endeavors.
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