The couple tear off pieces of bread, and then each eat a piece. Sometimes the bread is also shared with family and friends. It symbolizes their future as a family together.
Throughout history food has been used to symbolize many different things in different cultures. In Polish tradition you have the Bread and Salt blessing. In Russian weddings the use of bread helped determine who the head of the family would be. Two different cultures but each use bread in their wedding tradition.
Polish Wedding Tradition- Bread and Salt Blessing
The Polish wedding tradition of The Bread and Salt Blessing is a sweet tradition that can be incorporated into today's modern weddings. At the wedding reception the bride and groom are met by both sets of parents. The parents have a loaf of bread sprinkled with salt and a goblet of wine. The parents then say "According to our Old Polish tradition, we greet you with bread and salt so that your home might always enjoy abundance."
The bread is given in hopes that the bride and groom will never go hungry or be in need. The salt conveys that time may be difficult but they must learn to cope with the struggles in their life and marriage. The wine, as with the bread, give hope that the couple never goes thirsty and their lives be filled with joy and happiness.
The bride and groom each take a piece of the bread and a drink of the wine and then break the plate and the glass by throwing them to the ground. The parents then give a kiss to the couple and the reception begins.
Russian Bread Tradition
The Russians have a unique way to determine who the head of the household is. During the wedding ceremony or at the reception, the bride and groom are given a loaf of karavay (a small round loaf of bread). Someone holds the bread for them as they each take a bite from the loaf. Whomever takes the bigger bite is the considered the head of the family.
As with the Polish tradition the bread is also a symbol for health, long life and wealth. And after the bites are taken, the bride and groom take a drink as well and then break the glasses from which they drank.
Even though each culture has different ways to use bread in their ceremonies, the bread still has the same symbolization. That symbolization is what makes this these traditions so great.
The Polish and Russians probably got the ideas and varied the ways the breads are used from the Romans. This shows us that the tradition, even if changed slightly, goes on forever, passed down from generation to generation.
How lovely that we can enjoy all the cultural traditions and differences and incorporate them into our modern days weddings.