‘Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing. Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing!’ ABBA knew that songs may bring pleasure and serve as presents. Soon, you’ll know it, too! Last time I wrote about turning songs into a present for a child. Today I am going to encourage you to sing at weddings by writing about mini-concerts for the newly-weds that I have listened to and composed myself for a present.
Who was the first to sing at wedding?
I am not going to pretend that I am the first one to sing at wedding. In my family, the first concert that I know of was given by my uncles for their sister. Admittedly, they used to play in a band during weddings for money, and they completed some classes in a music school, so they probably had little stage fright. Nevertheless, they must have had some nerve to dedicate my mother, or perhaps rather my father, a song that starts with ‘Oh, Susan, my life is over; it’s finished because of a single night with you.’ Then follows an all but complimentary description of the bride who ‘resembles Miss Piggy’ in terms of beauty and is even heavier than her. Since I hadn’t been born yet, I can only imagine the enthusiastic reception of the song among the guests.
Luckily, my uncles repeated their performance during my wedding reception and the wedding of my cousin. We laughed till we almost cried with my husband when we listened to them singing two songs by Polish cabaret artists (‘Kobiety jak te kwiaty‘ by Piotr Bukartyk and ‘Filozofia małżeńska‘ by Hanna Banaszak). Actually, I still keep singing under my breath the chorus of one of them (‘He loves me; he respects me; he kisses me because… he was hit on the head for the first time at the right time’ i.e. just after the wedding 😉 ). My cousin, in turn, was entertained with a song by Golec uOrkiestra (‘Lornetka‘) with lyrics changed to suit her and her husband. I think it shouldn’t be surprising that I wanted to bring my friends the same kind of joy. Nevertheless, I am neither as brave nor as experienced as my uncles, so the same present looked quite differently in my making.
When I decided to sing at wedding…
First of all, I didn’t want to sing on my own, so every time I gathered a group of friends to sing along. Secondly, I didn’t feel like performing on stage, so I thought it was better to sing on the way from the church to the reception. There is an old Polish tradition to stop the newly-weds on their way by barricading the road, and request ransom (either sweets or vodka) for letting them go. The barricade is supposed to be funny or surprising. The first time when I came up with this idea, immediately after the mass we ran out of the church, picked our guitars and stationed ourselves on the only road leading out of the car park. When the groom went out of the car, we sang a hit from a pilgrimage to Częstochowa, which we had made together several years earlier, adding the names of the newly-weds at certain places. The stunned face of the groom and his look filled with emotion were far more gratifying than any words of appreciation.
Several years later another friend of mine got married. Since he was a part of the band on that previous wedding, it seemed only logical to prepare a similar surprise for him. Unfortunately, the weather was not good enough to wait for his car in the open with guitars, so eventually we gave up on this discreet form of performance and ended up singing in the ball room. I have to admit I was really stressed, but it would have been a shame to forget about the whole initiative once we had the song ready. Especially that it was not at all easy to modify. One of the favourite bawdy songs of the groom includes numerous twists and turns resulting from a specific position of rhymes (it always seems that a verse will end broadly, yet the expected tail rhyme is replaced with an internal one that is perfectly decent!). As you can imagine, it was a challenge to compose equally surprising and funny lyrics that would relate to our newly-weds.
With the help of other ‘musicians’, we managed to come up with several stanzas that we could be proud of. Just before midnight the master of ceremonies announced our performance. Our 9-people choir stood in a semi-circle on the side of the stage and, accompanied with an acoustic guitar, warned the newly-weds that ‘There will be no sleep this night’. The groom was delighted. Together with his wife he danced to our song and raised toasts with milk in line with the lyrics (although the tail rhyme suggested vodka). The entire song was recorded, and the newly-weds received the lyrics as a keepsake.
Will you sing at a wedding?
I have witnessed songs performed for the bride and the groom at weddings in other countries, too. Perhaps you have been a part of such a reception as well? What were the reactions of the guests? And of the newly-weds? Or perhaps you have been brave enough to sing (or dance) during a reception yourself? Let me know in the comments below!
- Remember to inform the master of ceremony or the person responsible for the video recording about your surprise!
- If you want to read the full text of the song we composed in Polish, click on the Polish flag on the menu bar in the top right corner to change the language version, and have a look.