Tag Archives: Albanian wedding

How to Plan my Vintage Albanian Wedding…


To plan a retro wedding you have to desire it and be in a vintage mood while planning it. I always loved looking at old family pictures, going through happy moments of my loved ones or reanimating the spirit of the good old days. In the end celebrating a wedding itself is an act of reviving the past lovely moments while imagining a bright future ahead.

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“The devil lies in the detail” – is one of the most fitting phrases I can think of while planning a wedding.  Despite the fact that you might have carefully thought every single detail – there is always something. Starting from the invitations, wedding dress, cake and wedding menu, to the first dance, song selection, video, photos and so on. The list gets longer like a complicated usage manual of some product you just purchased.

In contrast to what I initially thought, planning every detail of my wedding was great fun. As I did not want to be lectured about something so personal and special, I decided not to hire any wedding planners. They can be very useful, but in the end weddings are personal, and so is our taste…

So we split the duties. My husband was in charge of song selection, DJ briefing, keynote for our guest, photos and video arrangements while I took care of the rest. Picking the location was easy. It had to be a place filled with beautiful summer memories. And since wedding parties are pretty formal in Germany we decided instead to do it in my home town Tirana.

The first thought that crossed our minds was Chateau Rexhekri, a beautiful resort between valleys and hills in the outskirts of Tirana. We spent there in utter amazement of escaping the heat and noise of Tirana many summer days. Since weddings in Albania tend to be big, with a minimum of 120 guests, it was unusual in this small resort to celebrate a wedding. When I told to my younger cousin that I would only have 50 guests, he started laughing and in typical “dark” Albanian humor said : “…but that’s a birthday party…lol”.

Decor was important to reflect my personal taste. I spend hours surfing at Etsy online store or Pinterest as I wished for a vintage touch to my wedding. And it was all worth it! It certainly was a nostalgic mental journey in connecting the past dots while looking forward to the future. A glass of wine surely helped us writing down the invitations, wedding menus, preparing a keynote presentation for our guests, selecting the songs and so on. The retro sounds during cocktail hours featuring Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Barry White followed by Lana Del Ray  “Young and Beautiful” created a sizzling atmosphere, perfect for the photo shooting session with our guest. While the first glasses of champagne start kicking in, so busted our mood…

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The opening dance could not be retro enough. We both loved  At Last – Etta James. The decision felt naturally without further thoughts. A pretty tight wedding dress looks undoubtably classy and gorgeous, but it’s does not allow too much room for the extensive long Albanian dances or Rock and Roll. Great that our guests were eager to keep the dancing floor busy or to leave surprise video messages for us.

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While planning our wedding turned out to be a pretty inspiring and fun process, executing it was quite demanding. It’s like we were the key actors casting a movie. We both agreed in advance that it doesn’t have to be everything perfect. Important is to enjoy our special day. So we did. As for the next time, we wish we could be guests in our own wedding 🙂

 

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Pinned at a fabulous wedding party!


If you were to pin your wedding in an Albanian way, the most frequently asked questions would be: Whom to invite? How many guests? Live music or DJ? Traditional or modern style? I’m not even mentioning the bride’s dilemmas about wedding dress, hair and makeup artist, interior decor, camera man, menu selection, etc. I know these facts from my friends and family who got married earlier. Everyone thinks it’s crazy to go through the process and yet every one does it. It’s all worth it in the end…

I love being a wedding guest. Not only I don’t have to worry about finding the perfect gift for the couple since the norm here requires money only sealed in an envelope, but I have plenty of time to plan in advance my outfit, hair and makeup. It’s a bit like going to a ballroom; equipped with a splendid appearance and a dancing partner. My only single requirement as guest is to show up on time, often a challenge since it really takes time to get ready for such an important event . It is like this old Albanian saying  “One gets married and one hundred get crazy”.
So here I’m sited in a round table with an entrée plate looking at me: Try me, try me!!! Not yet, though. We have to wait for the fireworks signaling the arrival of the newlyweds. Once the bride and the groom greet us, their dancing performance which they mastered following ongoing dance courses in the last few months finally starts. I feel empathy for the groom. Poor him, what he has to go through for the perfect wedding dance. But it’s ok. Little exercise is healthy after all and never killed a man.

As for the bride, she left us all speechless wearing that gorgeous bell shaped wedding gown.  Congratulations to Loreta and Eris and wish them happy new life together!

Once we get out of the way the newlyweds dance’s choreography of romantic ballad-R&B-techno-tango-you name it, is finally our turn to swing and twist. Good luck with that! If the next music track happens to be from the southern Albania, it involves meters long of human chain dancing around in the dance floor. The couple doesn’t have their main performance until they dance the mid-Tirana region collage of wedding songs. A sudden wave of money flows over their foreheads circled by the many of us floating around them to the Napoloni dance rhythms. While kids get busy collecting the money on the ground, someone offers to burn the bachelor’s handkerchief that groom is holding as a symbol of commitment to the new marital life.

As the party goes on for several hours make sure you eat or at least try some of the many courses being served before getting totally lost into dancing lines.

In addition, there are no worries about holding a great speech to welcome guests. That takes 3-5 seconds. And the guests are not required to say anything to the couple, at least publicly. In the end, we don’t have a public speech gene.

Shall we continue to dance?