1st October 2014
The morning of wedding 61 was like that of many other wedding mornings…but this time with Rakija!
Bobana arrived at the apartment she had arranged for us in a flurry of clothes, panic, rakija and biscuits and before we knew it the house was full of fake brides, TV crews, make up artists, hairdressers, friends, outfitters and fake brothers…you name it, we had it.
Alex was whisked away with the men to be dressed and prepared (fed Rakija) and I sat bewildered as I had my make up applied and my hair spruced by Dimitri and Alexander. The outfits that we were to wear for the ceremony itself were from the 1930’s and beautifully made, if not entirely flattering. My black tights and pointy flat shoes did make me resemble ET a little bit but never-the-less I was ready to get married for the 61st time.
This blog is picture heavy and I love it! The images tell the story perfectly, they show you how excitable the atmosphere was, how happy everyone was and also the great fun traditions of a wedding in Bosnia! Thanks to FOTO CUK for capturing our memories!
Once dressed Alex was taken outside to await the arrival of his brother and the rest of the crew. 3 motorcycles soon appeared flying both the Bosnian and the English flags, and they were just the head of the 6 car procession that arrived outside the apartment in the middle of residential Prijedor.
I had to remain hidden inside as the men of the crowd gathered around Alex on the street and all of the girls gathered above them on the apartment balcony. There was singing and drinking and cheering and jeering and Alex was presented with 2 fake brides. This was just the beginning of my brother making sure that Alex was good enough for me. He presented the 2 fake brides to see if Alex would be swayed and it was Alex’s brothers task to pay MY brother to bring out the real Bride.
Fists full of fake money was thrust back and forth and the girls on the balcony laughed and danced and cheered and I had to wait behind the curtain wondering what was going on. As I watched from my spot I saw Bobana dangle an apple strung on the end of a broom handle over the crowd of men below.
A raucous cheering began and the sound of a gun firing startled me, Alex had been told to shoot the apple and had actually hit it on his first go! This was all the sign my brother needed that Alex was the man for me, and he came to collect me to present me to him, of course, in exchange for a little more cash from Alex’s brother!
The excitement was mounting and the swigging of the rakija from large round drums strung around our brothers necks made the day all the more entertaining. The police had closed off the street and we were ushered into one of the cars in the procession and we all followed the motorcycles waving their flags to our wedding venue. Everyone beeping their horns as we drove, waving to people from the streets and blasting out music from the radio all the way to our ceremony.
We arrived at Motel le Pont to an array of cameras and microphones. The crews filmed us getting out of the cars and going over to a spot by the river where we were to exchange our vows. Bobana, Goran, Gaga and Ogi had thought of everything. They had arranged for us to speak to all of the press at once after the ceremony and before the wedding party. They had found the perfect spot for us to hold the ceremony and as we all gathered there the sun burst through the clouds and Bobana and Ogi proceeded to marry us.
After all of the excitement of the morning, the ceremony was very legal, noting acts and commandments and eventually sign a document. We exchanged rings and had just one last task to undertake before it was time to celebrate Bosnian style.
Alex had done all of his proving and had been accepted by my family, now it was my turn. My task was to throw and apple over the house to prove how strong a woman I am. Thankfully it wasn’t actually a house but I had to throw the apple over a balcony which had several cars parked beneath it.
Anyone who knows me will definitely know that I have a severe lack of hand eye co-ordination. I just do NOT know when to let go when throwing…I am TERRIBLE at throwing.
The thirty TV cameras surrounding me were not helping with my nerves and the amount of Rakija I had swigged so far WAS oiling my tongue which meant that my panic resulted in me spinning around wild eyed uttering F*CK, F*CK, F*CK, all whilst trying to decide whether to throw it under arm or over arm. Alex could see that this was all going to go terribly wrong and stepped forward bravely to tell me that he would still love me even if the apple didn’t make it over the proverbial house.
I thanked him and with all my might threw the apple…with another F*ck for good measure!
The cameras tried to follow the apple sailing over the house, however, the apple had actually gone straight up. It had gone so far up that everyone lost sight of it…until it hit an innocent bystander BEHIND ME directly in the face!
All of this was captured by the TV crews from all over the land so make sure you watch the video’s below for a laugh!
To my horror someone retrieved the apple and put it back into my hand for me to have another go, luckily Goran stepped in and lobbed it over the house and changed the subject by inviting the press to ask questions and asking me to throw even more things…this time though, it was only the bouquet! Surely I couldn’t kill someone with that!
My nerves were through the roof but luckily we all just laughed about it and my heart had a chance to slow back to its regular beat as we were taken inside the hotel to change for our wedding reception. Gaga and Ogi have a bridal shop where they rent out wedding dresses, such an ingenious idea. I had tried on several dresses but my favourite was actually the dress that Gaga wore for her wedding too.
Alex and I changed and enjoyed a glass of wine and the time to unwind a little after my apple throwing and then joined all of our guests in the banquet hall. Long tables were dressed so beautifully and we were seated under a huge floral arch. Traditional music was being played and we joined in with the local dance, the KOLO. Kolo is danced with arms around the waist of the person next to you in a large circle. There are lots of different versions of the dance according to region and is mainly made up of a series of tricky steps with hardly any movement above the waist…which was good for us as moving our feet correctly was challenging enough!
Everyone was having a great time and the circle danced until it was time to eat. The food was just amazing. Incredible parma ham and cold cuts, followed by the gorgeous traditional Ustipci (like a fried bread donut) and meat wrapped in cabbage leaves. We ate and drank, every now and then song would break out amongst the guests and a toast of rakija went around the tables. Speeches were made by the best men and brothers and when we could eat no more we danced it off for a while. We were having such an amazing time and I just didn’t think it could get any better.
We were sat having a breather when the lights dimmed and the music picked up again and everyone started to cheer. Coming towards us was an enormous cake. But this was no ordinary cake, one, it was HUGE, AND two, it was the WORLD! Not only was the cake a fete of engineering but the cake toppers were also dressed in the same clothes as us! We were genuinely gobsmacked, both at the cake and the fact that the gang had managed to keep it a secret!
We were poured champagne into engraved flutes and told we had to finish the entire glass for good luck…and this is where the party really got started!
As people drifted away after eating their divine cake, our brothers sat, eyes closed, singing traditional songs and a crowd gathered around them. Everyone sang along and swayed in their seats it was such an incredible moment, a memory I will never forget.
We got changed into our party clothes and headed to our ‘after party’…as you can imagine the rest is a total blur but there are snippets of belly dancing, shots, downing large amounts of drink and my shoe being stolen! (another tradition where the brides shoe is stolen and filled with money).
You can probably put together a picture of how the night went by the snaps below…and you can also probably guess how we felt the next day.
Regardless, it was such an incredible day thanks to an incredible group of friends. We felt so at home with them, and in Prijedor. It all felt so natural, from the city, to the banter, to the Irish bar party, it was just RIGHT! We loved every minute of it…even the apple!
Planning and Photography – Cuk Photography |Venue – Motel Le Pont |Support from Tourist Board – Visit Prijedor | Cake – Poslasticarnica “Mocca” Nikic J. D. O.O. | Figures on cake – Zeljka Prlina | Drink – Krajiske Kapi, Zlatara “Lanello P.S. “ATTIKA“, Banja Luka | Joint Planner and Officiate – Bobana Sodic | Cookies – Mira | Donation of funds – Auto Zuti, Prijedor | Live Music at Reception – Nostalgia | National Dance – S.K.U.D. Dr Mladen Stojanovic – Prijedor | Rakija – Café “Central” – Prijedor | Gun – Torzokom – Prijedor | British Flag – Elegant – Prijedor | Wedding Car – Stanic Limuzina | Lunch – McMisko | Advertising – Atelje “Grafit” – Prijedor | Camera crew – Zeljko Milanovic and Zeljko Mitrovic | Make up – Professional Sminker Alexandar | Hairstylist – Dimitrije Vokic | Motorcycle Club – Sveti Georgije – Prijedor | Brothers / Actors – Dean Batoz, Vanja Seva and DJ Vladmir Zoric |