I recently went back to my home country where I was born to visit. I was also lucky enough to be invited to a Romanian Wedding…and let me tell you…any wedding that lasts anywhere from 10-14 hours is sure to be a good time! The wedding traditions were very different than ours here in the states…but I have to say some were extremely fun and unexpected.
Unlike American weddings…there isn’t a set time that you have to show up. The ceremony is usually 3-4 hours prior to the reception…and although the reception officially started around 7pm…people were trickling in throughout the evening. You walk in…find your seat…and then the waiters starting bring you food upon food.
The bride wore a beautiful ball gown style dress with pick-ups throughout the skirt and gold embroidery on the bodice. The color scheme of the wedding was champagne and a deep burgundy shade that you saw in all the details. From the napkins, to the floral arrangements and the sashes on the back of the chairs. It’s customary that when you first walk in…you are greeted by the bride and groom and they pin a small silk flower to wear on your dress or suit.
The centerpieces were these long vases with an arrangement of burgundy daisies. At the bottom were candles that illuminated the crystals inside the vase. Also on the tables were place card like items that were in front of each place setting…the interesting part was that when you opened it up…they also served as an envelope to place your gift and give to the bride and groom. Unlike in the US the main gift that is given to the bride and groom is only cold hard cash. The guests do this to help the couple start their new life with money for a new home.
They had a band with several singers and performers…a pop singer and incredible violinist that at one point played the violin behind his back…
The most amazing tradition by far was the “The Stolen Bride” tradition…because the receptions last so long this is a game that’s played in the middle of the night. Right before midnight…someone…anyone…can steal the bride from the reception…while the groom isn’t looking. You can put her over your shoulder and wisk her away…THEN…you take her to a bar, nightclub or anywhere you like! I was asked to take part in this tradition and we took the bride to a local nightclub.
On the ride to the location…someone in the car calls the groom asking him “Do you know where your bride is?”…You then proceeds to ask for ransom. For the kidnappers and usually for the bride too. I know it sounds crazy, but the brides always look forward to this because the ransom is usually a bouquet of flowers and maybe her favorite dessert. The kidnappers usually ask for a bottle of their favorite alcoholic beverage or something else more desired. Keep in mind this usually takes place around midnight…the challenge is then to find a place to get these items.
Once the requests have been made…the bride and the kidnappers (usually best friends)…spend about 30-45 mins at the location of choice…and maybe have a few cocktails…The best part about watching this happen is that when we initially walked into the bar there was another bride leaving the place…and then a few mins later we were surprised with another kidnapped bride arriving…
So the bride had her fun…now it’s time to get back. We arrive back at the reception site…and we carry the lovely bride back to her ecstatic groom…happy to have his lovely new wife back in his arms. Part of his ransom payment was to get down on one knee and sing to her a love song in front of everyone. We all enjoyed the groom being silly for a moment!
Throughout the evening there was food upon food being placed in front of me. All menus usually start with the following:
1. The appetizer plate -This included all sort of cheeses, salamis, vegetables and caviar.
2. A fish dish – Grilled fish with roasted potatoes and vegetables on the side.
3. Traditional Romanian Dish called “Sarmale” – Pork & Rice rolled in pickled cabbage in a tomato based sauce with a side of polenta. It’s incredible…definitely my favorite dish from Romania.
Then…there is more…
4. Plate with beef filet, chicken & pork chop with herb roasted potatoes…Yeah you read right…ALL THREE…Here you get to pick one…but there food is the major expense of the wedding. If you don’t have these basics it’s not a wedding.
AND then…you of course have the cake & dessert…With the cake they always serve ice cream with it.
There were all sorts of dances all evening…traditional “horas” and couples dances.
And lastly…the cutest tradition that I as able to witness was the unveiling of the bride and turning her into a housewife…A little old fashioned but traditions are still very important in this country…
The bride sits in a chair and the godmother of the bride starts to unveil her…she has to appear sad…then once it’s off a scarf is then placed on her head that symbolizes her transformation from a single woman to a wife. During this time she has to reject the scarf from being placed on her head 3 times, throwing it down every time they put it on her head. But finally….she allows the transformation and she’s officially a housewife!
With that new position comes money…all the guests come up to the bride and congratulate her while stuffing money down the front of her gown…This one was indeed a little interesting…but who cares…money is money!
I had a fantastic time…it was a lively crowd..and I really wanted to share some fun traditions and images from a different land. I left at 5am…but the party was still going…my flight back to the states was in 6 hours.
Hope you enjoyed a glimpse into a different culture!