Imagine a charming highland wedding in Zakopane, full of dances, folk music and traditional songs. Organizing a wedding in Zakopane presents unique challenges, but also countless opportunities. Are you looking for the perfect location, surprising attractions for your guests and elegant decorations? Have you considered the amazing possibilities offered by Zakopane and other locations in Podhale?
Podhale boasts breathtaking mountain scenery that will leave everyone in awe. As I read while preparing to write this article, wedding planners love working in this region because it allows them to be highly creative and to delight guests, especially those from different areas.
How to Find the Ideal Location for Your Wedding in Zakopane
Most of the wedding venues in Zakopane and the surrounding area have a rustic and cozy atmosphere – so be sure to embrace it. Zakopane is known for its highland folklore, local products and distinctive decor. Imagine a log and stone cottage, tables and benches covered in sheepskin, embroidered tablecloths, curtains and fresh wildflowers.
This is the perfect setting for an unforgettable, traditional Podhale wedding. But how do you find the right venue for your guest list? Keep in mind factors such as a good price, convenient location, beautiful surroundings, and reasonable cost per plate.
↳ Make sure to check out my guide to ALL attractions in Zakopane, so you don't overlook anything interesting: 66 Best Attractions in Zakopane 2023 – What to Do – Interesting Places
Recommended Restaurants and Accommodations for Zakopane Weddings
From my experience of attending weddings in Zakopane and the surrounding area, I can tell you that I have a good understanding of the venues, hotels and quality of services offered in the region.
If you’re interested in a quiet mountain wedding and a festive dinner in a restaurant, I recommend Kraina Smaku in Olcza.
For an outdoor ceremony and intimate gathering in Zakopane, consider Tatranski Bór, located in a picturesque setting. If you’re looking for an elegant venue for over a hundred guests, the Mercure Kasprowy Zakopane Hotel may be the perfect choice. Each of these venues offers catering and accommodation options to simplify your wedding planning in Zakopane.
- Kraina Smaku Wedding
- Hotel Mercure Zakopane Wedding
- Tatrzański Bór Wedding
- Nosalowy Dwór Wedding
- Hotel Belvedere Zakopane Wedding
Embracing Zakopane Wedding Traditions
The wedding traditions in Zakopane are truly unique. Typically, a groomsman or witness gives a moral and religious speech, after which the couple must decide whether to proceed with the marriage. During this ritual, the bride and groom are often asked semi-serious questions about their future life together.
After this questioning, the couple receives a solemn blessing from both sets of parents. In Highlander tradition, the symbolic journey to the church and then to the wedding hall carries great significance.
Interestingly, the bride and groom travel separately to the church. The groom is accompanied by bridesmaids, while the bride is accompanied by groomsmen. After the ceremony, the newlyweds ride together to the wedding hall, preferably in a horse-drawn carriage.
Bread and Milk Wedding Tradition
Highlander music accompanies the couple from the moment they leave the church. The traditional greeting with bread and milk (served in vodka glasses) takes place upon their arrival.
This marks the beginning of the celebration, which is called „oczepiny”. Similar to the „oczepiny” tradition, instead of a veil or bouquet, the bride throws a wreath and wears a scarf called kaźmierkula. This symbolizes the end of her innocence and the beginning of her married life.
The groom removes the feather from his hat to symbolize the change in his life. However, he must first buy it from the bridesmaids, which can be both challenging and entertaining for the guests.
The „oczepiny” is followed by the bride and groom dance, a highlander dance, and the celebration lasts until dawn or even several days.
The after-party is followed by the best friend’s hospitality, a special event for the groomsmen and bridesmaids who took care of the guests during the wedding. This is their time for dancing and toasting.
Songs are sung throughout the wedding, and if you’re worried that not all the guests know them, you can provide songbooks with chants. In winter, a sleigh ride for the bride and groom or all the guests can be an exciting addition.
A Zakopane wedding wouldn’t be complete without traditional cuisine such as kwaśnica, oscypek cheese with cranberries, local sausages and hams, lard, oven-baked bread, bunz, potatoes with sour milk and roast suckling pig.
And don’t forget the alcohol! Slivovitz is the most traditional Highlander drink and is served generously at these weddings.
Traditional Zakopane Bride and Groom Attire
A traditional bride from Podhale wears kierpce shoes, red pearls around her neck and a wreath on her head as a symbol of innocence. She will throw the wreath during the ceremony.
The groom should wear a white shirt and light wool „trousers”. The trousers should be decorated with patterns that match the embroidery on the bride’s dress. He’ll also wear a wide belt and a feathered hat, which plays an important role in the Sepin ceremony. Like the bride, the groom wears traditional kierpce shoes.
Do You Need a Wedding Consultant for a Zakopane Wedding?
A wedding planner or consultant can share valuable experiences and help you make many difficult decisions. They offer a database of reliable, professional vendors, advise on specific services and solutions, and contact selected companies on your behalf. This saves you a lot of time!
Working with a wedding consultant can save you up to 250 hours of organizing and planning on your own. You don’t have to involve the consultant from the beginning.
You can call on them at any stage, whether you’ve forgotten something, run into last-minute problems or simply need professional input. They offer complete wedding and reception organization as well as one-time wedding consultations.
A consultant can also help you save money. They’ll negotiate favorable rates with service providers and manage payments while staying within your established wedding budget.
Their goal is to support the couple both physically and mentally during the planning process, the wedding itself, and even after the celebration when dealing with payment deadlines and contracts.
Why a Zakopane Wedding Is an Excellent Choice
Zakopane is a popular year-round destination, attracting visitors for its stunning views and exciting trails. But that’s not all this mountain town has to offer. It’s becoming an increasingly popular choice for couples looking to plan their dream wedding. Here are a few reasons why:
1. Fantastic Hotels – A Wedding with Breathtaking Scenery
Zakopane offers a wide range of hotels. When choosing a wedding venue, couples often prioritize location and attractive prices. From my experience I can recommend some excellent places for beautiful wedding.
You can have your wedding at the Aries Hotel, or consider the Logos or Radisson Hotels as great alternatives. It’s also worth exploring the surroundings of Zakopane, where you’ll find many attractive options.
If you prefer something more modest, a charming inn in Witów – Ziębówka.
2. Delicious Food at Zakopane Weddings
Everyone loves good food at a wedding, right? In this regard, it’s hard to be disappointed in Podhale. Guests, especially newcomers, will appreciate the traditional highland dishes and delicacies.
In addition, you’ll find a variety of international cuisine, homemade Polish specialties, and innovative, modern dishes. A wedding in Zakopane is an excellent option that seamlessly blends tradition with modernity.
Please read more about this regional cuisine: Zakopane’s Top Food Delivery Choices for a Delicious Night In
3. Mountain Air – Great for Hangovers!
Have you ever thought about it? The mountain air can work wonders, especially for guests from lower elevations who join in the festivities. The mountain climate is conducive to partying until dawn, and the morning after a night of indulgence isn’t so daunting.
This effect is only enhanced by the next day’s invigorating highland sour soup. Even if you don’t drink, Podhale’s air and proximity to beautiful nature are compelling reasons for a wedding in Zakopane, which brings us to the next point.
4. A Peaceful Wedding in Zakopane? It’s Possible!
If you prefer a more subdued and modest atmosphere for your special day, Zakopane is an excellent choice. There are many quiet and charming places in and around the city.
I’ve already mentioned Ziębówka, but you can find similar examples even within Zakopane itself. Keep in mind that these locations are likely to be on the outskirts, away from the bustling city center.
However, the stunning views and the embrace of nature will provide the desired tranquility.
5. Sleigh Rides and Other Zakopane Attractions
Zakopane is a fantastic option if you want to offer your guests unique entertainment. One of them is a sleigh ride, which can be organized in winter or adapted for summer. If you find a charismatic driver, this attraction will be even more atmospheric.
Singing, snacks and the presence of beautiful nature all contribute to a delightful experience. Often a sleigh ride is followed by a watra – a highland bonfire where the fun and festivities continue!
6. Discover Highlander Culture and Traditions
A wedding in Zakopane is a wonderful opportunity to explore elements of highland folklore. Many couples choose to include highland music during the ceremony and reception.
Traditional clothing is also popular. You can even take it a step further by incorporating Highlander dancing, singing and the classic „cepie” – Highlander oczepiny! If you haven’t experienced this yet, it’s a must!
7. Outdoor Wedding in Zakopane
Natural light, stunning backdrops of mountains and hills, a riot of color, and a unique atmosphere make for a truly magical wedding session in Zakopane. This setting also lends itself to a more casual dress code.
In my experience, both the couple and their guests tend to feel more relaxed in an outdoor setting, which creates a fantastic atmosphere. The atmosphere takes on a whole new dimension, and the photos of this special day create lasting memories.
I highly recommend that you consider this option!
To conclude this article, I’d like to emphasize that Podhale is a distinctive and unique region. If you’re looking for an unforgettable location for your wedding and reception, it’s definitely worth considering.
The reasons I’ve outlined here are just a few of the many compelling factors that make Zakopane and the surrounding area an ideal choice for your special day.