When looking at the pictures of Aneta and Pawel you might think that they have been in love since they day they met, but that wasn’t the case for the younger versions of these two people. Many years ago, Aneta and Pawel met for the first time when he was in medical school in Poland. Pawel knew he wanted to be with Aneta but she wasn’t quite so sure she wanted to go out with him. A short three years later, their paths crossed again and this time Aneta did agree to go out with Pawel.

That date, three years in the making, must have gone well because just one year later Aneta was over the moon excited when he asked her to marry him. After the excitement of telling all their friends and family they were engaged, they knew they needed to start planning a wedding. This proved a little complicated because Aneta lived in Poland, Pawel was practicing medicine in the United Kingdom and they were getting married in Windsor, Ontario. With the help of Pawel’s parents, who live in Windsor, they were able to make all the arrangements they needed and even had Aneta’s family fly over to Canada for the big day.

This couple knew they wanted those friends and family who are closest to them there to celebrate in their love and the excitement of starting a new life together. Aneta and Pawel had 5 bridesmaids and 5 groomsmen in their wedding party: friends who have supported each of them through the life challenges they faced individually were there to witness them coming together and starting this beautiful new life together.

The ceremony of their wedding took place in the backyard of Pawel’s family home. After the couple was officially married, we headed towards the Windsor waterfront so we could take some pictures with the Detroit skyline in the background. This location was perfect for pictures of the bride and groom because it features waterfront and greenery so you can capture so many different shots all in the same area.

Following the pictures of the bride and groom, we headed over the reception which was held at The Serbian Center. There were over 200 people invited to the reception where guests were treated to a beautiful mix of Canadian and Polish wedding traditions. One such tradition is the presentation of bread, salt, water and vodka. These gifts are symbolic and are meant to send the best wishes to the couple in the start of their married life. The bread is made especially for the big day, and is usually decorated with the names of the couple. The bread is given in the hopes that the couple will never know hunger in their married life, and the salt is given to remind them of the difficulties they will face together during life and the importance of coping with the troubles life gives them.

After the bread and salt are given to the couple, the first toast happens, and the father of the bride or groom who delivers it. After the toast, the bride is presented with two glasses: one of water and one of vodka. The Polish tradition is that she gets to pick first which glass she wants not knowing which is which. The tradition says that the partner who gets the glass of vodka will be the dominant partner in the marriage. After the couple each takes a sip of their glass, they throw the glasses. If the glasses break then the couple is said to have good luck throughout their marriage.

During the reception, Pawel’s parents had a special surprise for all the guests. The Polish dance group that Pawel danced with as a child came and put on a cultural dance for everyone, wearing traditional Polish clothes. Everyone enjoyed the dance and it was very special to bring in the group that was such an important part of Pawel’s childhood.

For those of us who have been to Canadian weddings, many of them start to wind down sometime around midnight but for the Polish tradition there is a very important ceremony that happens around midnight. This ceremony is one of the biggest traditions in a Polish wedding, and it is known as “oczepiny”. This ceremony is the removal of the bridal veil, and it symbolizes a transitional moment for the bride where she moves from her single life in married life.

Aneta and Pawel’s wedding reception was filled with games and laughter for all of the guests. We thoroughly enjoyed photographing and videographing this wedding and watching the couple move into their married life together.

Click here to watch a hihlight video of Aneta’s and Pawel’s Big Day.