Bohemian Weddings

A Bohemian (/bəʊˈhmɪən/) is a resident of the former Kingdom of Bohemia, either in a narrow sense as the region of Bohemia proper or in a wider meaning as the whole country, now known as the Czech Republic. The word “Bohemian” was used to denote the Czech people as well as the Czech language before the word “Czech” became prevalent in English. “Bohemian” may also denote “a socially unconventional person, especially one who is involved in the arts.” Wikipedia

On a Saturday, this June, we attended a wedding in El Campo, Texas.  It was all out Bohemian and followed the traditions of a long line of Polish and Czech families.    With over 1200 people on the guest list and close to 800 expected, we were advised to get to the church an hour early if we wanted to sit down; and,  rightly so,  I must admit.   The service was full of scripture readings to encourage the Bride and Groom to live their lives for God, each other and family first.   I was overwhelmed in nostalgia and thought about my own wedding almost a quarter of a century ago to a man of Bohemian descent.

Although we are no longer  Catholic, I miss the ceremony and reverence that the sacrament of marriage entails when performed in the Catholic Church.  The time frame for the couple to prepare is anywhere from a year to a minimum of six months and followed by a weekend called “Engaged Encounter”.   It was tough for us and we almost didn’t make it past that weekend.  The counselors reassured us that we would probably be one of the couples who would make it because we were so impacted by what they had to say.  Here we stand today, not out of the danger zone, but recognizing that our marriage is not just about us.  We were reminded of that immensely as we sat there watching a new generation begin their lives together.

Our marriages are or should be a ministry to others demonstrating sacrifice and commitment which can only come when you stand with God.  Our young couple Saturday really seemed to grasp the meaning of marriage in the light of serving God by their commitment to one another.  The ceremony was an hour and a half long.    Some of the guest were complaining, but I relished it as I sat there and thought this is how it should be and got lost in my own memories of my wedding and how important our marriage is to God.

We attended with a couple who had never been to a Bohemian wedding so we explained that you start with the ceremony at church at around two or three o’clock,  and then to a local hall for a reception, dinner and dance.   Halls are  usually built by organizations such as the Knights of Columbus, Elks, Masonic or Veterans of  War  and you can bet a close relative is a member of one or all of these .   They are dark, sometimes with paneled walls lined with framed photos of their predecessors dating back to the early 1900’s, and you cannot hang anything on the walls.    You get real creative and gussy up the place so that your guests will feel festive and the young couple will know how special this day is for all.  Not realizing this is a time honored tradition that comes full circle within the community from church, family, friends and those who came as immigrants before them to this country, outsiders may think the hall venue is too informal, plain or even tacky.   Knowing that the immigrants who settled the Bohemian communities, fought in wars, married, farmed and built these halls right where they lived  so that they could enjoy a sense of community with their neighbors and peers, gives you a sense of how close knit and special it is to pass on these traditions.   Plus, the hardwood floors have held up to generations dancing polkas, waltzes and two steps achieving a patina that could never be duplicated without years of wear and tear that only builds character.

Frankly, I am quite surprised at how nostalgic I am about this wedding.  We haven’t attended a wedding on my husband’s side of the family for a few years and I guess I missed the point then or saw things differently when I was younger.   We were honored to be invited to this wedding and I thought I would share some of the wedding decorations that adorned the hall with you.  Most were handmade, including the woodwork,  by the Groom’s talented mother, Mary Jean Skow, who paints, builds and organizes to the “T”.   I won’t spoil the treasure hunt of telling you all the details; instead, I will let you find them on your own just like a good “I Spy” book.  Please bear in mind that there were probably more than eight hundred people floating around so I had to snap these photos fast, and we all know, ‘ Ima not so gooda at the photography’…

AT THE FRONT DOOR

A SMALL SECTION OF  THIRTY-TWO FEET OF THE “SWEETS” TABLE

BRIDE’S CAKE

GROOM’S CAKE

GIFT TABLE

NEAR THE POWDER ROOM

THERE WERE LOVELY VIGNETTES THROUGHOUT

ANOTHER VIGNETTE FOR PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES

GENERATIONS OF FAMILY WEDDING PHOTOS

FRUIT AND CHEESE –  ALL FLORALS WERE FRESH FLOWERS AND GREENERY

HEAD TABLE

PLACE SETTING

THE GRAND MARCH IS WHERE ALL OF THE GUESTS JOIN THE BRIDE AND GROOM IN A SORT OF POLKA SHUFFLE AROUND THE HALL UNTIL FORMING AN ARCH AND THEN A CIRCLE AROUND THE BRIDE AND GROOM FOR THE FIRST DANCE.  It’s all very organized and led by an experienced couple that can separate the men from women and come together again to form circles and arches.

MY FAMILY AFTER A TOAST WITH SWEET TEXAS TEA.  Or, is it Texas Sweet Tea?  By any name, it’s a big deal here and has to be just right to get the full name because otherwise, “it ain’t fit to drink.”  (There are many things I could point out about this photo besides sweet tea…who is that girl lurking over my youngest’s shoulder?)

I hope you get some really fabulous wedding ideas.   Thank you for allowing me to share our day with you.

The Irish Lady (married to a Bohemian)

Vela Farms, Hand-Crafted Goodness

“Hand-crafted Goodness” , who can resist?  I can’t so I stopped and visited with Sara, the “hand-crafter” from Vela Farms and learned a lot.  For example:

Orange Marmalade can become Texan when you add chili peppers and so delicious…

Another Texas treat was the Texas Sweet Tea Jelly,  yum…

Sara also makes all her own spice mixes.  I bought both and have already cooked with the Jalapeno Sea Salt and served the Orange Chili Marmalade to company.  What I love is no preservatives, colors or flavors.   That stuff can make your tummy ache.

There is a huge assortment and Vela Farms ships all over.  Sara includes recipes to use with all of the jams, jellies and spices on her site.

Hand-crafted Bags and Wallets from re-purposed feed and fertilizer bags.  These make great gift bags and totes…

Grow bags are so smart!  These are portable and can be used time and time again for porch plants and gardening.   Where I live, gardening is an extreme experiment in dealing with wind and swarms of grasshoppers and all sorts of unusual insects.  I am using one of these for a tomato plant back up that I can place on the porch and control the wind and pests.  Apartment dwellers or urbanites will find these useful too.  You can grow tomatoes on top and something below such as potatoes or radishes and carrots.  Each Grow Bag comes with your choice of heirloom seeds.  Hmmm, this could be a great gift for those who have everything or for kids to learn gardening.  Did I mention these are hand-crafted from re-purposed bags?

FOR MORE IDEAS AND INFORMATION:

WWW.VELAFARMS.COM

WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/VELAFARMS

The Last of It, But…Round Top Year Round???

Sandra at FoodieAffair.com, my sweet blog follower ,  I did not find out about the Great Dane at Round Top.  I never made it back there for a thousand reasons, but mainly I had company at Round Top on my next trips and they were males so no meandering and oodling and ahhhwing  just all out searching for guns and swords and man stuff.  On the other hand I did get to sneak a peak at some things and snatch up a few very quickly so here goes…

1944 Dimes made into Bracelets.  I picked up a few extra for purchase.   1944 Dime Bracelet $80 plus shipping.  Extra dimes can be added for larger sizes.  All set in sterling silver.

1936-37 Buffalo and Indian Head Nickel Bracelets $75 plus shipping.

Hand Made Cypress Chairs have been around a long time.  I still like them and since I have never owned one I would like to fill my porch with them.  No maintenance and very comfy.  These come from a retired gentlemen who lamented, “I have all the time in the world to make special orders.”  The chairs sell for $125 each.  He makes a lovely settee which sells for $375.  I will be taking special orders and making the trip of anyone is interested in placing an order with me.

Strawberry Cake Cover and Stand

I don’t know why, but I wanted this thing!  It was funny and delightful and oh so kitschy so I bought and used it for company over the weekend.  It’s handmade ceramics at its most whimsical.    On bottom is the name Steve.  Hmmmm, I wonder who Steve was and did he continue in a career in ceramics?   Now I am ready to pass it on to someone new and will be placing it in my booth in the near future at $44 or will ship at cost.

Louis Vuitton Tables

These were the last ones left on the last day.  The one on the left was listed at $1900 and the one on the right was $900.  I am not a collector of Louis, but I suppose I could make an exception.  Just not this time, but Tikaa if you are reading this …I was thinking of you.

Round Top Year Round

If you think of it, Brenham IS Round Top Year Round!  There are antique shops and boutiques lining both sides of the courthouse square in Downtown Brenham.  Truthfully, a lot of the pickers for Round Top scour the shops in Brenham the weeks before Round Top to increase their inventory for the big show.  With just an hour drive from Houston or Austin, we can have Round Top all year.    Here’s the latest in my antique booth at Hermann’s Antique Mall located on Alamo Street in Downtown Brenham.

Round Top Curiosities

It’s Round Top time here and since I only live a few minutes away I’ve been twice so far and have a few more trips planned.  I admit I get easily distracted all the time and most of the day so I thought I would share my Round Top distractions with you.

Distraction No. 1:  “The Beetle”

Yep, this was at Round Top.  According to the owner, it was in a barn.   The barn had rats, the farmer got his shotgun and went to town,  in the barn that is,  and some of the buckshot hit the beetle.  Never did find out if the rats got it or not.  Hmmmm, curious.   Also curious is:  why is curious spelled with a “u” and the word curiosity which is derived from the word curious is not spelled with a “u”?

Distraction No. 2:  “The Great Dane”

When my oldest son was little, I worked in sales and traveled extensively so he stayed with my mother who had a Great Dane named Champ.   The dog was amazing with a toddler who poked, prodded and tried to ride on his back at every waking moment.  Champ would just stand there and move his mouth as if the two were really communicating.  My son would be inches from his face with his finger in Champ’s nose or eyes.  They would saunter around the yard together discovering nature, talking and making merry.   To this day, my six-foot two,  about to turn twenty-one year old son gets tears in his eyes when he talks about his buddy,  Champ.    Hmmm, curious.   Why does this make me want to cry?

Distraction No. 3:  “Cage for Great Dane”

There is a message here and I am not sure what the cross means to the owner.  I didn’t get to speak with him or her, but I think I have to go back and talk to this person and find out.   Hmmmm, big Hmmmm, curious.   Who travels with a dog, let alone a Great Dane, notwithstanding a Great Dane with puppies?  Who wants to build a cage of that magnitude and then place a cross at the front?  I have to know this person.  I am definitely going back.

Round Top is still going for another week.  Don’t miss it