What makes Moldovan weddings so special?


moved to Moldova and married my dream guy. He is Moldovan, I’m Estonian. On that special day, we signed the paper and had dinner with his parents. And that’s it! I didn’t think much of it. Now that I have lived in Moldova for a few years, I have realized that weddings are a huge deal. But I couldn’t understand why. Why would anyone spend a year or even two of their lives organizing one party?

I’m a journalist, and when my colleagues from Estonia came over, I took them to a wedding ceremony. We decided to find out why the celebration of love has to be so extravagant.

My friend Alex is an MC, a master of ceremonies. His summers are full of weddings and christenings and all kinds of parties. I asked him to take us with him one evening.

Alex Melnic, a long-time professional MC (a master of ceremonies)
Alex Melnic, a long-time professional MC (a master of ceremonies)
Alex Melnic, a long-time professional MC (a master of ceremonies)

Daniel and Livia were very generous to let us, nosy strangers, witness their big day. Daniel and Livia grew up in the same Moldovan village. Livia moved to Germany with her family as a teenager, and Daniel moved to Italy with his parents, brothers, and sister.

For two years, they kept in touch and visited each other. Until Daniel moved to Germany to be with her. Today, after eight years together, they finally tie the knot.

”It was important to have a wedding before having kids,” Livia told us.

”It was important to have a wedding before having kids,” Livia told us. “We are already thinking of having children. It was important for us.

For Daniel’s mother, a wedding is a big step in life. “We are proud of them,” she said. “It’s a joy for us!”

It was over 30 degrees Celsius on that early evening.

Was it important for you to hold a wedding ceremony in Moldova, I asked her. “Yes, very. They wanted to do it in Germany, but we disagreed. We wanted them to celebrate the important day in their homeland where they were born. They are both Moldovan.”

This, it turns out, is common!

Organizing weddings for couples living abroad is what Alina Ciobanu specializes in. As many as 99% of her clients live abroad!

Recording the special moments.

“Many Moldovan couples live abroad but return home for their weddings,” Ciobanu, a wedding planner, told us. “Our weddings and traditions are special. Brides and grooms want to come home to have such weddings with traditions and their parents.”

The first dinner as a wedded couple.

There are around 25,000 weddings organized in Moldova every year. And Moldovans get married relatively young. Usually in their 20s.

”Not only Moldovans want to throw weddings here, but also many foreigners request it,” Alina said.

Livia and Daniel said that their wedding was more beautiful than they had imagined.

Weddings used to be held at home, but now are becoming bigger and more extravagant. Alina: “I got married 17 years ago. There weren’t many wedding planners back then. There were only three restaurants in Chisinau.”

How could a grandmother miss this party?

The newlyweds each pull on the bread, breaking it into two pieces. In modern days, it is said that whoever has the bigger piece will take the reins in the marriage. Before, the couple would choose godparents, a couple whom they look up to. This year, it’s becoming more rare.

“Masa mare”, or a big table in Romanian, is when the guests put money into an envelope for a gift. They then can give a speech and slip the envelope into the box or a basket.

The breaking of the bread still plays an important part in Moldovan weddings.

Even if the traditions have changed, the essence has stayed the same.

“It’s like a meeting point, but also a way to see your old friends you haven’t seen for many years,” Alex told us. “It’s a chance to meet them and to have fun, to drink all night. To think about what we did in the previous years.”

When I got married, I didn’t have a wedding. But after seeing Daniel and Livia’s celebration, I realized I would also like to bring my friends and family to this beautiful country. Even if it takes a year to plan, it’s worth it. It’s about scheduling time for each other. To break bread together, to dance, to hug. And to listen to each other. Because isn’t this the essence of life? If you don’t stop, reflect, and celebrate, this sprint through life becomes meaningless. Thank you, Daniel and Livia, for reminding me that!

They cut the cake and then danced until late.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *