Sunday, October 09, 2011

Albanian wedding

Last month Terry and I attended our first Albanian wedding - well, part of one! Here we are decked out in our finery pre-festivities (Shpresa loaned me the sweater, bracelet, and earrings - I think she was worried I wasn't going to be fancy enough!)
The part of the three-day affair that we were invited to was the Bride's farewell party, which is given by her family. The bride was one of Terry's co-workers so that's how we scored an invite. We went together with four other people from his office, as a "family" unit. The Bride's party is the second part of the process; the first part is a party thrown by the groom's family for their friends and relatives. The third part is when the groom's family goes to get the bride from her home and take her to the groom's home to live. For families that are not particularly religious (and remember that Albania was an atheist state for 50 years) there is no other ceremony such as we typically think of in the Americas.

We arrived at the locale, a ballroom at the top floor of a fancy hotel, a little late (the invitation was for 8:30 p.m., I think) but we weren't too late to see the bride make her grand entrance on her brother's arm (her father is deceased):
She was lowered through the ceiling on a special descending platform with dry ice billows, blue and red lights, and two adorable flower girls.

She was seated at the head table and everyone proceeded to eat two courses of a 5- or 6-course meal (salad, cheese and cold cut platter, grilled vegetables, sausage stew, roast lamb and potatoes, and probably a dessert that we missed because we skipped out a little early).

More than an hour after the bride arrived, the groom and his immediate family came down a flight of stairs:
And then there was eating and drinking and dancing until after 3:00 a.m. It was live music, kind of like this but livelier. It was very different from our Mennonite wedding in Lancaster, PA, 11 years ago!

The bride and groom danced together and people threw money at them.
Technically we were not supposed to leave until the groom and his family did, but by 3 a.m. we were pretty beat... so we made our retreat.
So fun! I wouldn't want to do it every weekend but people have been telling me since we got here that we need to see an Albanian wedding while we're here, so I was really glad we got to go to one!


anita said...

Did Sheprea babysit?

curtis03 Lewis said...

Loved with this wedding. You know I have also decided to have night indoor wedding at most beautiful Chicago wedding venues. We would be hiring lighting services too to add those additional factors in ceremony. Quite busy these days to find affordable services.