You've probably woken up many days thinking "I wonder what a Lithuanian wedding is like?"
Well folks, I have your answer. It should be noted that there were several aspects of the wedding I attended last weekend in Siauliai (pronounced "shao-lay") that met with the strict standards of the International Matrimonial Norms, Elements and Regulations Dictates (IMaNERD):
- There must be at least one Mom or Grandma dancing the shoulder-shrug shimmy; often in conjunction with finger-snapping.
- There must be at least one guy who gets loaded and puts a tie or other object on his head (see above - no, that ain't me).
- There must be a minimum of two Abba songs played.
- There must be one uncle who has to dance with every woman present, and somewhat creepily at that.
With these all met easily, the wedding did have some interesting customs that I was unaccustomed to:
- The bus that took us all from the ceremony to the reception stopped at a bridge, whereupon the bride and groom got out and he had to carry the her across it for good luck. Others could follow them doing them same with their respective partners, also for good fortune.
- A "table commander" was assigned to various sections of the dinner table. Among his/her roles were to ensure that everyone drinks and had a full beverage ready when a toast was made. Many toasts were made.
- Before the wedding, at the house of the bride's family, the groom was blindfolded and had to try to fit a shoe belonging to his wife on the right foot, with a choice of 5 other pairs of feet. So he would feel the others' feet first and would get in trouble if he didn't recognize his wife's own.
- In a big departure from North American weddings, the bride and groom see each other and pre-celebrate at the bride's home with family and friends before even heading to the church.
- There were a number of games throughout the evening which involved drinking. And the party did not stop till 5am. We were among the first to leave at 2am; even a 79-year old grandma stayed till 4:30.
Overall, it was a very nice time, with great hospitality provided to this obvious foreigner. And now you finally know what a Lithuanian wedding is like.
The wait at a ranchhouse while photos and sleigh rides were held outside. Treats included brandy, vodka, champagne, and pastries.
This is not the church where the ceremony was held, but the place where photos were taken in-between ceremony and reception.
The rented bus had strict rules, including a rather random "no ice cream cones" policy
You're thinking "Is that woman wearing a makeshift diaper and running away from a man menacingly pouring vodka?" Yes. That's exactly what it is.