In 2011 after more than a year and a half of planning I married my best friend. Ana and I met in her hometown two years prior and had grown deeply in love even though we were 8 time zones and more than 5k miles apart. We had decided to have the religious ceremony in Romania and the civil one in Kansas City allowing us to apply for a fiancés Visa.
Due to the distance and language barrier Ana had to do most of the plans in Romania and I can confidently say she did a wonderful job. I had actually attended two Romanian weddings before ours and it was amazing what at all she was able to accomplish. I arrived a coupe of weeks early in Bucharest where she was living at the time to help with the final plans and to practice our first dance. This is a big deal in Romanian culture and my wife being a huge fan of dancing it was important to her.
She found a dance instructor and we arranged to meet with him for two hours 5 separate days before we left for Râmnicul Sărat where the wedding was being held. My wife is much more nimble and experienced with dancing than I am so it was mostly the two of them being patient and reviewing the steps with me over and over again. We picked the song I Believe in You by Celine Dion & Il Divo (above). It has a nice smooth melody and a lovely message. Ironically Ana was so overwhelmed with all the plans she forgot it all the day of the wedding and had to follow my lead. You can see some of the dance in the video below.
Romanian culture is steeped with traditions some of which are part of their national identity but many more specific to regions or even just to a town. One such practice involves the purchase of a very specific style of rug. This is placed in front of the bride and groom and is where they take their first steps as man and wife.
The church was understandable quite old and did not have any air conditioning so combing the fact that it was July with the fact that I sweat easily (and was wearing a tux) it got pretty painfully hot. You can see beads of sweat in most of the pictures of me. A small price to pay for marital bliss though.
Another tradition involves the making of a specific kind of dense dessert bread which is then broke into pieces over the brides head and tossed to onlookers usually the poor or gypsies. Following that the wedding party dances in the street to the music of an accordion.
The wedding reception is an amazing time with hours and hours of dancing, unsurprisingly Ana stole the show. A few hours in though I was informed that my wife had been kidnapped and they gave offered ne one of her shoes as proof. A few Tech Team friends warned me of this and it appears to be an old tradition going back more than a thousand years. I just kept thinking about when this happened in The Office finale to Angela and Dwight. Silviu (my Godfather) and I had to negotiate to get her back from my then brother-in-law Bogdan. Our deal involved dancing to the song Bear Necessities from the 1967 Disney Jungle Book movie. It was silly and embarrassing but fun none the less. I took a couple of bananas off the table and juggled them while following Silviu's lead.
Later that evening Ana threw the bouquet which was a tradition I was familiar with however there was a Romanian twist. The maiden that catches the flowers sits next to the bride and they have a humorous little ceremony, The Godmother tries to take the veil off the bride. She rejects this 3 times separate times before finally giving in and it is replaced with a large hat to symbolize her transition to married life. They then pin the veil onto the young lady who caught the bouget.
There were countless more moments I could speak about but the whole day was a whirlwind of excitement and joy. A decade later I can say confidently my life has been immensely blessed from the love of this woman. She is as beautiful, brilliant, kind and funny as the day I met her and with any luck we will have many more years together.