Lifestyle

Wedding season in Romania combines tradition, modernity


In the tranquil hills of the Oaş region of northern Romania, where many locals have left to work in western Europe, “most of the year you don’t even have anyone to talk to,” says photographer Remus Tiplea. 

But every summer, like clockwork, that changes, and Mr. Tiplea picks up his camera to work as a wedding photographer during the August crunch. For these villages on the border of Ukraine, neither the war next door nor COVID-19 has disrupted the festivities, which are planned years ahead.

Why We Wrote This

Keeping strong ties to family and friends back home ensures community and continuity. Gathering for celebrations such as weddings enhances a shared sense of identity.

Weddings in Oaş are attended by hundreds, sometimes even a thousand people. There’s a remarkable mixture of tradition and wealth. Guests dress in Romanian folk costumes and the latest Paris fashions. Limousines shuttle between villages, flower shops make endless bouquets, and musicians play until dawn. 

“I learned how to prepare brides from my mother and grandmother, and nobody else knows how to do it,” says Maria Cont, as she braids locks of a bride’s hair into something resembling elephant ears. Later, Ms. Cont will sew decorated ribbons into the updo.

Soon, the buzz will die down again, and as the fall chill sets in, the residents here will once again be left with fewer people to talk to – but plenty of warm memories.

Negreşti-Oaş, Romania

In a remote region in northern Romania, the summer heat ushers in the warmth of homecoming. Eleven months of the year residents of the Oaş region work in western Europe, but in mid-August they return to their native villages, on the border with Ukraine and about an hour’s drive from Hungary, to celebrate the wedding season.

Neither COVID-19 nor Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has disrupted the festivities, which are planned years ahead. 

Weddings in Oaş are attended by hundreds, sometimes even a thousand people. There’s a remarkable mixture of tradition and wealth. Guests dress in Romanian folk costumes or the latest Paris fashions, eat delicacies, and dance in dry ice fog. 

Why We Wrote This

Keeping strong ties to family and friends back home ensures community and continuity. Gathering for celebrations such as weddings enhances a shared sense of identity.

Every detail is recorded meticulously by photographers. “Elsewhere in Romania people are happy to have the wedding edited down to a short film, but in Oaş we make roughly five-hour movies,” says Claudia Simon, a videographer. 

A bride and a groom, followed by guests and musicians, leave a church after the ceremony. More than 80% of Romanians belong to the Orthodox Church.

No expense is spared. Limousines shuttle between villages, cosmeticians and hairdressers work to the brink of exhaustion, flower shops make endless bouquets, and musicians play until dawn. 

In some cases, wedding customs are passed down through the generations. 



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