My first trip to Romania was very special. The reason it was so special is because it was for one of my best friends weddings. Everything I knew about Romania before that trip was from what my friend in London had been telling me about her home. I wanted to visit so much but had just never had the chance, that was up until she told me to book flights to her summer wedding in Satu Mare.
I really had no idea what to expect so I began searching a few articles about Romania and Romanian weddings. I knew that Romanians were a very family orientated culture so I was expecting the wedding to be big but that was all I knew! My friend told me that because her husband-to-be was English she wasn’t following the full Romanian traditions and that there would be some differences to a typical wedding. As I had little knowledge of what to expect anyway, I just decided to wait and see.
I was flying from London Luton with the majority of the UK wedding party. We had arranged our flights with Wizz Air to Debrecen in Hungary as they were incredibly cheap when booked in advance (I paid £18 one-way plus £15 for a bag!) By the way, Debrecen airport is probably the smallest and most relaxed airport I’ve seen in Europe! It’s tiny!! Our friends had arranged our transport from Debrecen to Satu Mare so the journey was pretty easy (apart from a delay at the Romanian border). It took us around 3 hours to reach Satu Mare (this was because of the hold up at the border and because everyone wanted to stop for toilet/smoke breaks too). The journey shouldn’t usually be more than 2 hours. See below map.
The landscape along the way from Hungary to Romania was pretty although there wasn’t a lot to see, mostly fields and small villages. As we approached Satu Mare the city seemed to suddenly appear from nowhere! There were buildings as far as the eye could see which was so different to the landscape we’d been looking at during the bus journey.
Everyone was excited and anxious to arrive as we were going straight to the pre-wedding garden party. It was very hot on the bus and the idea of having a few glasses of wine in a beautiful garden was extremely tempting. We finally arrived at our hotel, Hotel Cardinal, which was almost entirely full of wedding guests. It was a very pretty hotel with a small reception area and a central courtyard. We quickly rushed to our rooms to freshen up where we were all welcomed with our Transylvanian wedding survival kit which included garlic and Holy water (to keep the vampires away)! Half an hour later and we were jumping into taxis and heading to our friend’s home nearby for the party.
The house and garden were both beautiful, in fact, everything I saw of Satu Mare was beautiful. It was full of flowers and trees and quiet streets. The party was a lot of fun with A LOT of food (this is typical of Romanian parties) and the night ended with a few more drinks in the hotel courtyard. Breakfast in the morning was continental style with boiled eggs, cold meats and cheeses among other things, all of it was tasty I must add.
I jumped in a taxi at 9am to a local hair salon which my friend had arranged for me and despite the language barrier I managed to get a nice wash and style for less than 10 EURO!
Just before 1pm we were all getting in taxis to take the short drive to the church. When I arrived it took my breathe away. I had never seen this style of church before and every little detail inside was beautiful. The wedding ceremony itself was perfect. It was carried out in half Romanian and half English language so all the guests could enjoy it and it lasted around an hour.
After the ceremony, everyone was taken to a nearby venue for the reception and this was equally perfect! Here the food kept on coming, we must have eaten around 8 courses throughout the evening, including the traditional sarmale (cabbage and minced-meat rolls)! There was a fantastic party which went on until the early hours and then after a little sleep, sadly, we had to leave to catch our 8am bus to the airport!
I can’t wait to return to Satu Mare and hopefully next time my trip will be much longer!