How to do an Albanian wedding: the wedding photos

When we started planning our London wedding about 18 months ago we decided that even though photos didn’t rate near the top of our importance list and that we were both not that comfortable posing in front of the camera, we still wanted nice, natural, relaxed pictures that gave us a reminder of the day. (Which is what we got. We love our London wedding pics – they perfectly captured what the day felt like to us.)

This did not happen for our Albanian wedding. In fact, I don’t recall us ever having a choice about it. We initially suggested to our photographer that she turn up at our apartment a few hours before the wedding and that we would stop off at a particular beauty spot on the way to the venue for a few shots.

She said that’s not how things were done and that she would need more time. A lot more time. Turns out wedding photos seem to be the most important part of an Albanian wedding. Specifically, photos of the bride and groom. (Primarily, the bride. The groom is pretty much a prop over which the bride is instructed to attractively drape herself.)

Since we had committed to having a proper Albanian wedding, we threw ourselves in the deep end and booked our photographer for an entire day of photography on the Saturday before our Sunday wedding party.

That’s how I found myself in the salon at 6.30am on the Saturday of our wedding weekend getting all blinged up. Then, having collected the photographer and my groom, we spent the following SEVEN hours traipsing around in 30 degree temperatures posing in the most unnatural ways.

I coped. Because that’s what girls do. But there were times when I doubted my patient Albanian groom would last the distance! All the posing with flowers, hugging trees and gazing adoringly at each other rapidly got very tedious.

But later that night, at the end of the Bride’s Party, the first lot of photos were sent to me. And I have to admit to a small squeal. In amongst the weirdly awful cheesy photos are some real gems. Although I’m not sure what we’ll ever do with dozens and dozens of photos of ourselves. Albanian wedding calendar?

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(All photos by Foto Fiona)

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