Not as cool as people's trips abroad but I figured I'd do a write up if anyone is interested in foreign customs / weddings. I'm a little uncomfortable posting others online so I chose pictures where people are mostly censored.
Day 1 – Rehearsal Dinner
Rehearsal dinner: Pretty typical, everyone gets dressed up, they walk through the ceremony. The bride did a small ceremony to convert to the Macedonian Orthodox Church, because you need to convert even if you are already Christian. The church has a hall next door with a bar, and everyone meets there after for a giant feast of food. One of the bartenders didn’t show so I happily hopped on bar, gave me a break from the small talk. 7 & 7s were everyone’s drink of choice.
After everyone eats a young single girl in the community makes the koluk, a sweet easter bread. It’s round with similar symbolism as a wedding ring. Young people decorate the bread with other sweets then its whisked away to be cooked and brought to the ceremony tomorrow. Oh right, first we have to dance with it.
Day 2 – Wedding Day!
The day starts early, everyone went to the groom’s family’s house. The band showed up, there was dancing and food and sipping rakia (Macedonian moonshine, stay away if you want to live!). They mock shave the groom, because after that much rakia no one should handle anything sharp. The groom goes on to the church, while the band and wedding party goes and dances at the brides place (kinda a give us your daughter dance).
Picking up the bride and bridesmaids
They head to the church for the wedding. The ceremony includes a ton of rituals, exchanging the crowns, lighting candles, ect. A big difference is the numko and numka. They are like a godmother / godfather to the couple, and are integral in the ceremony. They are on the left, parents are on the right.
After the wedding is the reception. It’s at the one place that can hold 400 people, the Hyatt. Tooons of food, drinks, and Macedonian circle dancing. Then they dance with the pig (the tradition started to keep away the Turks, yes seriously). The numko tastes the pig, says it doesn’t taste good enough, so he seasons it with money. So they dance around, collect more money from the crowd while handing out shots / drinks of wine. Again he tastes it, and has to season it with more money. They go around until it’s well seasoned. Then everyone eats!
They bring out the bread they made the day before and the couple tears it in half. The theory is whoever gets the bigger half wears the pants in the marriage.
The dancing continues until the venue kicks everyone out. Kicking out Macedonians or getting them to be quiet is almost impossible, trust me it’s a miracle when everyone stops dancing and heads home.
Day 3: But wait there’s more!
Next day everyone gathers at the family’s house for breakfast. Even more food, rakia, ect. At this point no one who wasn’t born Macedonian can eat anything else, you can tell the Americans all need naps while the Macedonians are still partying. They burn the apron, I have no idea why and google doesn’t seem helpful. Maybe at this point they were just making stuff up to mess with the gullible Americans? Then everyone starts heading home, wedding done!
Some of the food. Not all. One tiny corner of the table.