5 years ago (ish) I shot my first Serbian wedding in the Cleveland area. I was told of the craziness that is the Serbian wedding day, but I had no idea, and that day 5 years ago will stay with me forever. Fast forward to June 2015 and the wedding of Tanya and David, friends of the couple from 5 years ago. I had not yet met Tanya or David, which is unusual. A few conversations on the phone and David claims, "just show up". So I did, and this time I was prepared.
Immediately upon arrival (11am) to visit Tanya the Serbian band is playing for the entire neighborhood to enjoy. Hopefully they have some cool neighbors. Whisky from carved, round flasks, dancing, and music. All this while Tanya is getting ready, and David hasn't even arrived yet.
OK, she's dressed and up drives David and his posse. Hundreds of them. The entire family. Flags, escorts, and a handful of people with official wedding day titles, which I failed to learn. More whisky. Break out the beer, as many as you can carry. Before David's family can make their way to claim their bride (more on this in a bit) they must barter with Tanya's family. After a respectable offer is made and accepted David's family is then allowed up to the front door, where a second offer must be made. On and on it goes for almost a hour, and I have no idea what they are saying. None.
Offers are discussed, presented, and laughed at. Tanya's family scoffed at a few offers and presented a pregnant cousin (?), then her grandmother. Funny stuff. Finally, whatever David's family offered was good enough and accepted. Tanya emerged from inside the house and the celebration REALLY begins. Hey, let's celebrate the accepted offer with more whisky! And more beer, plus it's time for the food, right? By 12:30pm my head was spinning. It's a ton of fun, that's for sure.
All day, dancing and drinking. Drinking and dancing. I have to admit, Tanya and David are not like most of our couples, and their wedding was not like most. It's an opportunity that most folk don't get to see, but I would highly recommend crashing a Serbian wedding. They will cram whisky, beer, and food down your throat, then smear the wedding cake all over your face. Mine finally came off after a late-night shower.