How to do an Albanian wedding: the Groom’s party

(aka: the main event)

It will be a long time before I’ll forget arriving at our wedding party. We walked up the stairs on the red carpet, the large wooden doors swung open. Rose petals were scattered on the carpet ahead of us and the wedding march blared at high volume over the speakers. We paraded around the room and then stood in front of our wedding table – lit from underneath by LED lights. It was an incredibly insane moment!

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The dancing started almost immediately while we sat on our ‘thrones’ and picked at one of multiple plates of food that were served during the course of the evening and greeted the steady stream of guests whom came to our table.

Different groups of guests were invited to take to the dance floor at different times. I was particularly proud of our overseas guests, who, after a quick impromptu lesson, managed to hold their own on the dance floor!

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There was no let up in the dancing all night – nor the incredibly loud music that accompanied it! Mid-way through the evening we went around the room and greeted every single one of the nearly 200 guests! Then members of my new family donned traditional costume to take to the dance floor.

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The other part of the evening that had me in hysterics was the cake cutting. ‘Sugar Sugar’ by The Archies was played (loudly) while we were paraded to the cake. After the cutting it was Whitney Houston’s ‘I will always love you’ screaming out while everyone cheered!

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The cake cutting signals that the evening is drawing to a close. But there were still some important dances still to come. The first was mine. I had no idea what was going on – but it seemed to be some sort of dance where I had to mime doing the laundry (perhaps an initiation into Albanian housewife-hood?).

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The final dance of the evening was Valle Shamia e Beqarit, where the groom’s handkerchief is set on fire – symbolising the end of his single life! And possibly the end of his shirt cuffs!

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We staggered out of the venue at 3am. It was one crazy party.

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