Published September 03 2012
In Romania, bride stealing is all part of the wedding fun — and the party's getting wilder
It's one of Romania's more colorful customs: bride-napping. And the tradition of snatching the bride from under the nose of groom and guests with the wedding party in full swing is getting bigger, brasher and an increasingly common sight in the Romanian capital, the Balkans’ undisputed party town.
Every Saturday night, brides from Bucharest and beyond are dragged away in a mock abduction by friends and driven to a top tourist spot where they are “held hostage” — all the while pouting, dancing and striking provocative poses for the cameras.
The ransom: a few bottles of whisky or perhaps something more romantic, like a public declaration of love from the abandoned groom. The kidnappers negotiate by phone, working out the details of the payoff. It's all harmless theatrics meant to add a whiff of risque fun to the nuptials.
Mock abductions of brides are part of marriage ceremonies across the former Soviet Union. In some countries, guests lock up a bride or have her hide in a backroom during celebrations, demanding that the bridegroom delivers a “ransom” — like singing a song, dancing or sometimes paying real money.