The advent of spring means that Chisinau will soon be overrun with bridal parties and marriage celebrations. We kicked off the wedding season with our frisbee friends’ nuptials last night.
We’ve already talked at length about Moldova’s elaborate wedding celebrations, which are sometimes so over the top that no amount of flowery language can do them justice. Instead, we’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
We had dinner with Olga and Vlad a couple of weeks before the wedding. Olga wanted to meet Munchkin, but there was also a more practical reason: the couple insisted on hand-delivering invitations to all 250+ of their guests, including making a trip to Ukraine to invite friends and relatives from across the border.
Vlad explained that the wedding had an ethno-cultural theme. They wanted to show off the best Moldovan traditions and cultural customs, but they also wanted the foreign guests to add a bit of their own cultural flare to the occasion, and encouraged everyone to dress accordingly.
There were no paid dancers, like in the last wedding we attended, but the couple’s friends more than adequately covered the entertainment aspect of the event. Some theater friends dressed up as mimes, to the delight of all. Another friend sang beautifully, and yet another couple — who were professional dancers — showed off their moves on the dance floor.
There were two bands — an excellent cover band that played American songs during the outdoor portion of the event, and a traditional Moldovan band that took over once the guests were seated for dinner and the indoor portion of the festivities began. The bride’s father turned out to be a violin virtuoso and he brought the house down playing for the newlyweds.
We were on the fence about leaving Munchkin with a babysitter and ultimately decided to bring him with us. The wedding coincided with a charity black & white ball, which most of the Embassy and diplomatic community attended, and we were unsure if our nanny would be available to babysit because we share her services with another family. Munchkin was a champ, hanging out without fussing most of the night and sleeping so soundly despite the booming music that we even were able to hit the dance floor for a couple of songs.
Even if bringing Munchkin did not require a ton of packing and prep time, there was no way D’s work schedule would have enabled us to make it for the 5:30pm start of the festivities. So we missed the bride’s and groom’s entry as well as their civil ceremony. We did, however, get to hear the priest’s blessing before dinner.
In lieu of a best man and maid of honor, Moldovan weddings feature nasii — spiritual parents, who help guide the newlyweds and ensure that everything goes smoothly during the wedding.
Our favorite Moldovan wedding tradition is when the bride and groom are presented with a loaf of bread, which they then have to split. They grab onto the loaf, which has been taped over with flowers, and engage in a tug-of-war until it parts. Whoever ends up with the bigger piece is said to be the boss in their married life. Judging by the photographic evidence, Olga is destined to wear the pants in this relationship. Sorry, Vlad.
We left a little after midnight, just as the toasts to the couple’s health and happiness were getting under way. As most of the toasts were in Romanian, this proved an opportune moment to make an exit. We found out later that leaving when we did was the right move. The toasts lasted for almost three hours and it was almost 3am by the time the wedding cake was finally served.