One of the most beautiful Romanian wedding rituals is the tradition of the fir trees. The bride and her friends will cut six fir trees, not more than 1 meter in height. They will attach two of them to the door of the godparents home, and then they will attach two of them to the door of the bride’s parent’s home. These firs will stay there until the first anniversary of the
wedding. The bride and groom will each chose one of the remaining firs. Since Romanians are brothers of the forest, the evergreen fir is a symbol of life. It is said that the fir that dies first will be the spouse who will die first.
While the bride is getting dressed with the help of her bridesmaids, a traditional bride’s song is sung that says, “Say farewell bride to your family and house.” After she is ready, she waits in the yard with her parents, godparents, and friends for the groom so they can go to the church. During this time the best man is shaving the groom and the elder men are giving the groom marital advice. When he is ready, he will go to the bride’s house to get the bride, and he will bring a cake to the bride’s parents since he is taking their sweet daughter away.
With a band of fiddlers playing traditional songs, the wedding party walks through the streets to the church. The godparents carry two large candles decorated with flowers. These candles, which symbolize God’s light, will burn during the ceremony. If there are fountains in the village, the wedding party will pass by three fountains, and at the third fountain, the bride will splash water on the party for good luck. When they enter the church, there is a bucket of water at the door where guests put money. After the ceremony, the couple will leave the church and kick the bucket with their feet to drain the water and get the money. There is an old Romanian saying, “All the bad things may be washed away and all the good things may come together!”
After the wedding, everyone proceeds to the reception, but the bride and groom cannot enter until their mothers (the groom’s mother is the Big Mother-In-Law and the bride’s mother is the Little Mother-In-Law) wrap a big towel around their necks and drag them into the reception. After this ritual, the wedding reception officially starts.
Sometime during the reception, the bride will be stolen from the groom. According to Romanian tradition, the groom is never to take his eyes off his bride, but his friends trick him and steal his woman. One of the groom’s friends becomes the negotiator for the bride’s release. The groom has two choices: He can go and look for his bride, or he can pay the ransom to have her released. When the bride is stolen prior to midnight, the godfather is responsible for the ransom. When she is stolen after the midnight hour, the groom must pay the ransom.
After the bride is returned and after the wedding cake is served, there is another lovely Romanian tradition … the bride’s hoe-down. The bride and all of the women dance a traditional hora together, and if a man wants to dance with the bride, he must pay money. At the end of the hoe-down, the godmother will take the bride’s veil and replace it with a wimple or a scarf. At this moment, she is a bride no longer, but a wife.