I have just got back from the first of my planned trips over the next few months. This year I have promised to attend two weddings and a birthday in three different countries, and the first of these was a wedding in Romania. After a 26 hour drive across 4 countries, I was planning to post about the whole experience before diving into bed, only to find out that I was completely cut off from internet access. Oh well.
The road trip itself was exhausting and uneventful. Although I was hoping that we could turn it into a similar road trip as the last time I went down to visit my boyfriend’s family, he had far too much to squeeze into his two week visit to afford to dawdle, so we simply drove straight through. We managed to catch a couple of hours of sleep, then got in the car and drove to Bucharest for a massive, no holds barred Romanian wedding.
Having only been to one Irish wedding as an adult, I was curious to see for myself how the Romanian one would differ both from it and from what little I have gathered from movies and television.
As it was my boyfriend’s cousin who was getting married, this time I got to see the entire celebration from start to finish. First there are the pre-wedding celebrations, which started in the late morning. We were all supposed to watch the bride get dressed (not from her underwear, just watch her getting into all the add-ons) while someone sang a song directly to her. After that, the groom had to sit in a chair in a circle of onlookers while the singer sang a different song directly to him. Then we were all supposed to dance in a circle while the bride stood in the middle and stopped random people in order to fix flowers either to their lapels or to their wrists. We ate, gave the bride her presents, and then headed off to the church.
You have to stand in Orthodox churches, which sucks for those of us who have to wear heels. On the other hand there are no rules of modesty for dresses in Orthodox churches as there are in Catholic ones, which is a plus. Also, the entire ceremony was sung in a 4 piece harmony, and I have to say those priests were pretty damned good. There are no vows, rather the priest touches various objects to the couples’ foreheads (first the rings, then a gold crown, then they put on the gold crown, then they take it off, etc. etc.) while singing the vows for them. Then everyone is supposed to eat a piece of candy at the end of the ceremony, take a picture on the church steps, and invite the priests to the reception. Seeing them getting down on the dance floor in their snazzy modern suits was quite jarring after seeing them in their gold antiquated robes, I must say.
So, off to the reception we went. There was of course lots of dancing, lots of food, fireworks and bands. One thing I have to say is that, while it was a sit down dinner, they brought each course with two hour gaps in between. I thought this was absolutely brilliant, as it does not force guests to sit and eat an enormous meal all at once and then start dancing and having fun, when all they want to do is take a nap. Instead people got up, danced, chatted and enjoyed themselves, and food just magically appeared at their seats for their pleasure whenever they wanted it. The food was delicious and the last course came after the cake at 4:30AM.
At 5:00AM, I was asked to be part of the group of women to try to catch the bouquet. I made no effort to do so and in fact I didn’t catch it, and I was so glad that I didn’t. It turns out, there is a whole ceremony around that too. First, they make you sit in a chair on the dance floor, and a singer sings an awkward song to your face yet again. Then, they seat the bride next to you, and everyone gathers around while she is undressed. Then the bride puts her veil on the woman who caught the bouquet. Then another song is sung, and then you have to dance in a circle together.
At 5:15 it was finally over, not that it was not fun, but I could not keep my eyes open by that time. I was told I got off lucky, as in the countryside the weddings go on at least until dawn. In any case we gave the groom some cash, back to the house, and caught 4 hours sleep before we were woken up, given some wedding food for breakfast and my boyfriend drove me to the airport.
All in all, I did not sleep for more than 4 hours at a time over 5 days. By the time I got home I dove head first into my bed, and have not been fully functional until today.
So, that concludes the first of my trips this year! Next up a 30th birthday party in London in June, and my own cousin’s wedding in the States in August, which we are planning to combine with a much more enjoyable road trip down the West Coast. If I keep this pace of international visits, I’ll be able to write a manual on how we wedding across the world!