Thursday, September 9, 2010

Albanian Marriage Traditions

Hello there. Enjoy!!

I personally find Albanian weddings very entertaining and fun to go to. However, it takes lots of affords, compromises, arguments, head-aches and stress into creating a perfect Albanian wedding.

Although the times have changed, and Albanian people have become more lenient and modernized, many principles and traditions have remained the same.

First of all, the man has to go and ask the girl’s parents for approval in order to get engaged to their daughter. Although this step doesn’t take place 100% of the time, I would make an educated guess and say it does most likely take place 90% of the time. Once the parents give their approval, the next step is for the couple to date and go ring shopping. Yes, that’s right, they have to buy the engagement right away, but most important everybody that knows them has to be informed about the engagement news.

After the couple breaks the new to all of their relatives and friends, they start to plan their wedding.

Throughout the time the couple is engaged, they also have to plan their future. For example, as to where they will be living, who they will live with, how many children they will have, who will work, who will take care of their children, with the wife work as well, etc. Although, the couple makes millions of plans together, as we all know plans don’t always work out, especially when there are other people that have a saying in their life, such as the husband’s family. If the husband is the youngest boy or the only boy, its tradition that he and his wife have to live with his parents. He is basically responsible of always taking care of his parents. Although in most cases, the wife will not be happy about having to live with her in-laws until they die, in most cases she will have to deal with it. However, if she is lucky enough his parents will be two nice, understand, people, that won’t interfere in her personal life and most importantly in her marriage. In the long run though, if we really think about it living with parent-in-law has its benefits as well. It sure feels good coming from work and finding diner prepared by your mother-in-law, or finding the laundry done. But the greatest advantage of all is having a future free babysitter for whenever the couple has children.

Anyways let’s get back to the Albanian wedding plans. During the engagement period the bride to be worries about having the perfect wedding dress, the perfect make-up, the perfect restaurant, and most importantly the perfect wedding pictures and wedding tape!!! Then we have the groom, which worries about how he is going to pay for everything, LoL, depending on how much money he has.

The husband to be has to pay for the bride’s dress and for all of the other expenses. However, if the bride does have an income, it is perfectly fine for her or her family to help with the wedding expenses as well. Although now a day’s every wedding is expensive, I find Albanian weddings to be way too expensive, probably because Albanian go all the way out when it comes to weddings.

As most of you probably know, Albanian people love to show off ( sometimes I guess it’s good, but then other times they turn to drastic measures in order to show off, even if they don’t have the money in hand).

99% of the times, there have to be more than 300 guests at the wedding, and at least 12-14 couples of bridesmaids. The center pieces are always big and bold, there are about two-three limos, and most importantly the music is amazing.  
( This is the link to the above wedding, it's an amazing Albanian wedding. Check it out)

In other words, when it comes to weddings Albanians go all the way big, in order to impress everybody, even if it means having to work extra hard in order to pay back all the expenses. However, we have the tradition of sending money to every wedding. As guests, each person has to leave an envelope with money to the bride and groom. I guess you can view it as a wedding gift. For example, if its only one person going to the wedding alone, he will most likely leave $100.00, depending on how close he is to the couple. But when there are three people that go together (mom, dad, and a kid), they have to leave around two hundred dollars. I’m sure you get it, around 50-75 dollars per person. We don’t really have wedding gifts brought to the wedding or send to the house.

However, most Albanian brides-to- be especially over here in America do have bridal-showers, in which all of their friends and family members (only females invited) bring wedding gifts and presents. It’s a great chance for the bride-to-be to dance and party as much as she can. Plus she gets great gifts, well that does depend on whether she did have a registry or not. Frankly for most brides it is hard to have a registry, because they fear that other people will start saying, “she invited us for the gifts, all the things she registered for are expensive, this is a rip off etc. However, I personally believe that only close minded individuals thing that way, especially old ladies that only have a few months or years in U.S.A.

So there you have it. That was enough of Albanian wedding huh??

In other words, they finally get married, and hopefully live happily ever after.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to come again.

P.S- If you have any questions about Albanian weddings, please ask :)

 Have a wonderful day and don’t forget to SMILE :)
-Nora xoxo


  1. Saw on a show something about the mother of the bride not attending the wedding due to tradition. Can you elaborate on that? Ever heard of it?

  2. I saw that too on oxygen....

  3. thats my girl florina <3

  4. Love Flo. I just saw the episode tonight and starting websearching and came across your website. Alot of information given here.

    Here is my story: I have been dating an Albanian for about 6 years, and I am an American girl. I only met his parents twice!!--very odd in American tradition... is this normal?

    Also, he is the youngest son!! He has an older brother living in the house with his wife. I know that he is the youngest, but can't the parents live with his older brother and his Albanian wife?

    Are they really going to want to live with an American girl who doesn't understand their traditions? As you can tell, I am not okay with this tradition and neither would my parents be

    Any comments?? Please help

    1. I know this is a really late reply and I doubt you'll ever see it, but I am also an American girl dating an Albanian boy. Granted him and I are still fairly young, the pressure of marriage still comes up often. I have met his mother more times then I can count but only his father about twice considering he is always working. I find it very strange because my mother always interacts comfortably with my boyfriend but his mother is a little guarded and held back. Granted I do not have a father, I'm sure he would get along with him just perfectly. A lot of insecurities come with dating him. We have been together for 3 years and I'm sure marriage is the next step for us but I'm always left wondering if I will be accepted and If his family will accept me. Regardless of all the bridges we have to cross, I love him, and I wouldn't want to spend my life with anyone else. No matter what, if you two truly love each other then family matters will not come in the way of things and they will just have to learn to accept you.
      Good luck to you and all the other American girls who have falling for Albanian boys, god knows we need it!

    2. I would love to have encouraging words for anyone who is in love or in a relationship with an Albanian man.
      But unfortunately I do not have the words because (of course there are exceptions--very rare exceptions) their culture or mentality has changed little from the times (last century I think) in which a man, once married, was given a gun as "present" to use it in case his wife betrayed him. just imagine that.
      and in the case you find a more "modern" or open minded guy, you will always to face the fact that they always put their mother before the wife. you will always be the witch who stole the little boy from dear mummy.
      I know because I have been with an albanian man for years and even when he reassured me that he did not think that way and that never, ever he would share those beliefs, as soon as dear mummy began her plan to manipulate him, everything changed. and he told me that the only vision of future he had, was STAYING at mummy's house with her (although she is still young, healthy and has a partner!) and that I had to accept it.
      sorry if I tell you this, but..... there are so MANY men in the world. why do you have to accept this???

    3. I read this and it has to be years after you ladies wrote about it. I am an Albanian man. I have lived in the US for about 14 years now.
      Those are some great points you make about the close family interdependence and unfortunately true.
      I have not had the mommy issues mainly because my mother still lives in Albania and I visit rather infrequently but still I have not been able to make it work with two long term girlfriends. Loving relationships, might I add.
      I believe the hidden xenophobia is implanted in most Albanian people's personality. Not that relationships between Albanians are great, but the social norm is that one should marry within their ethnic group.
      So American and possibly all western culture ladies that might read this, be aware of this social norm and ask about it. If your gut feeling tells you to get out of the relationship, don't hesitate.

      P.S The chic who wrote this blog post really needs to learn English

    4. I have been dating an Albanian guy for 2 years now. He has been living here in the US for almost 5 years. His parents have given him "control" of his life since he was 18. I can tell you that there are no mommy issues with him. So if you are dating Albanian guy, take heart. There are some out there that have dealt with those issues already and are willing to love you above everything else. Granted it's been hard at times trying to figure out his culture, but he is very willing to teach me. He gets excited when I ask because he sees that I am trying to understand him rather than trying to fit him into my thoughts of what a boyfriend should be. We have worked through some issues and love each other more deeply because of it. No man on earth (Albanian or not) is going to fit into the "perfect man" picture that a lot of girls assume is out there. Each man (and woman) has his faults. The key is to see and understand the faults, but still love them anyways. It's hard, but it is completely worth it!

  5. i absolutley love Albanian weddings

  6. Anonymous said...
    Saw on a show something about the mother of the bride not attending the wedding due to tradition. Can you elaborate on that? Ever heard of it?

    Hi you!
    Yes I have heard of that many times. As a matter of fact I got married in Albania during August of 2009.
    During my Sunday wedding my own parents were not present 
    Crazy right? Yep I know, but it’s true. I had two weddings, the Saturday wedding was my day, and all of my family’s relatives, friends, and others were invited. So I guess you can say it was the brides wedding.
    However, Sunday the groom came with his family in the morning and took me. So during the Sunday wedding the guests at the wedding were the groom’s family members, friends, and others. Although about 25 relatives of mine did come to see me, my parents didn’t come. Its tradition that the parents don’t come, because Sunday and always after the groom is in charge of the bride and their life together, and the bride’s parents have given their rights to the groom. I hope it makes sense to you, hopefully you understand it.
    Thanks for reading my website, if you have more questions feel free to ask =)

  7. Anonymous said...
    Here is my story: I have been dating an Albanian for about 6 years, and I am an American girl. I only met his parents twice!!--very odd in American tradition... is this normal?

    Also, he is the youngest son!! He has an older brother living in the house with his wife. I know that he is the youngest, but can't the parents live with his older brother and his Albanian wife?

    Are they really going to want to live with an American girl who doesn't understand their traditions? As you can tell, I am not okay with this tradition and neither would my parents be

    Any comments?? Please help

    Hi =)

    The fact that you have been dating for 6 years and that your still around means that he truly loves you. However, I wish I knew your age and his age too. I really don’t want to break your heart, but most of the Albanian boys that tend to fall in love with a girl that isn’t Albanian, when it comes to the time that they have to get married they break up with their love and find an Albanian girl to marry. I know it’s crazy and I know it doesn’t make sense, but most of them do it. I know this because I know more than enough men that have done that. So be careful and make sure you talk to him about your future together. The fact that you met his parents is a great thing.
    Ok let’s go to the next part. He is the little one? That sucks. My husband is the youngest child too. Two brothers and one sister, he happens to be the baby. When we got engaged we made many plans that we would live alone, but all of that went out of the window. The truth is we got married and we live with his parents. Don’t ask me why, that is just the way Albanians are. They parents don’t get it, not just my husband’s parents, but all Albanian parents in general, they can’t deal with leaving their son’s enjoy their own life with their wife without interfering and making things harder, like we don’t have enough stress living in NYC.
    The chances are when he gets married, his brother will move out with his family and his new wife will move in with him and his parents. I know you hate it but that’s how it will be, unless something magical happens and you change his mind and frame of thinking. However keep in mind his parents will always hate you for it and they will always make him feel guilty because they will always remind your husband that “you are to blame for not allowing them to live with you”.
    So prepare yourself for two mean, nasty, strong enemies “Parents-in-law”.
    The truth is 99% of people don’t like their parents in law, and 10000% of people hate to live with their parents in law, but some of us don’t have a way out of it, until death does us apart lol. Funny but true.

    I wish you the best of luck =)

  8. This is all 100% true. I definitely agree with Simple_Blogger. When my older sister got married, her husband is the youngest son, she had to move into her in laws house. His older brother decided he wanted to move to Italy to work and his wife of course went with him, which meant that my sister and my brother in law have to live with his parents. We had a seperate party for our family but on the actual wedding day, it was the grooms family who was really celebrating and at the reception, I went with my aunts and uncles and cousins (just the few closest ones) but my mom and dad didn't go. Anonymous, if you marry your Albanian boyfriend, you don't have a choice of living with his parents or not. Hopefully his parents are nice people and you will get a lot of respect from them if you live with them (since you're American). But also talk to him to see how far your relationship is going to go, because what Smart_blogger said is true. They may date you and all that but at the end of the day, even the most Americanized Albanian boys marry Albanian girls. Good Luck, I wish you all the best!

    -Albanian girl

  9. Well put, I enjoyed reading this and I hope you put more about the different aspects of Albanian culture and traditions. Simply because I'm intrested.
    - Ms. Curious

  10. If you think about it, in the perspective of an albanian girl who is getting married, she never has a choice in which direction her life is heading. She starts out living with her parents and then gets engaged only to be living with another set of parents, unless she and her husband live on their own. I knew a girl who finally convinced her husband after two years to move out to their own apt. Her in-laws hate her for it and everyone speaks low of her for "breaking" up the family.

    Furthermore, for an albanian girl she will never get her own time to discover herself because her role is already predetermined to be a housewife first, a mother second, and then have some type of career ( all in balance of course). There is far more encouragement for albanian boys to experience the world, than there is for girls. But both sexes are constantly reminded that they must uphold their reputations and their parents expectations.

    Finally, growing up I always thought of albanian weddings as special and I always dreamed of having my own one day. But as I get older (early 20's), I dream less an less of the over-glamourized albanian wedding, and I dream of my OWN future as a woman and my OWN dreams and ambitions. Every wedding I go to is nice but I know that if you begin to examine the traditions and the wedding itself its a constant reminder that their is no room for dreams, and your own happiness that you owe to yourself. There is only room for the family's happiness and dreams.


    1. Hi BB,

      I agree with the statements you made, however I believe it also depends a lot on the girl as to if she wants to follow her family’s traditions and rules strictly.
      I as a young Albanian Woman ( Early 20’s ) have tried a lot to make my family happy and follow their wishes, however now that I am more mature and understand life better I have realized it’s up to me to stand up for myself and make myself happy. Besides as long as I am happy my family should be extremely happy too.
      I was willing and did fight for what I wanted such as my education, career, marriage and living arraignments.
      In the end it’s up to us how we decide to live our life!!!

      I wish you a happy life 

  11. Please help me as this situation is driving me mad!!

    I am a well educated English lady that comes from a lovely traditional family background.

    I met and started dating an Albanian man aged 34 that had moved to London at 25 to make a life for himself, to which he has successfully done. He would spend 8 months in London and 4x 1 month holidays back in Albania to see family.

    I asked him to be very honest with me as I got the feeling he was abit of a player where ladies were concerned. He told me he hadn't had a girlfriend for 4 years and enjoyed seeing random women. I told him I would not except that and if he liked me to get rid of the other ladies. His brother and all his friends commented how he had changed where I was concerned and couldn't believe how good he was and that he loved me to do that.

    His behaviour started to get very controlling and he would always want to know where I was and who I was with. He would have a problem if I went out with my friends and he would request that we stayed in alot. He would get stressed if other men looked at me and if I just glanced at someone!

    In the 1 year and two months that we have been going out he would always say to me I like u too much, u have made my life difficult and life was easier when i didn't care about the ladies i just slept with,u can hurt me and I wish I had never met u as u are going to make me crazy! He also took me to Albania as he wanted me to see his country.

    I found out that when he was 30 his parents pushed him to get married to an 16yr old Albanian girl. His parents put pressure on him to return home and live a married life. His wifes father and uncle were killed when she was very young and when Marco told her after 2 yr that he didn't want to be her,she tried to kill herself!

    When I found out I was furious as it goes against everything I believe. We have had so many talks, meetings and I know he loves me and I love him which makes it worse!
    He is putting himself in a difficult position with his family and wife to keep contact with me. He feels he has to stay with his wife as she has warned him if you see her again I will tell your family and kill myself.

    He says he would prefer to be with me properly if he could as he knows im a good person and he misses me so much. I know he would do anything for me and he has asked me to still see him when I can as he can't imagine not seeing me again.

    His wife knew that he had found someone he liked in London as his visits home were shorter and he appeared to have lost interest with her. As of August 2011 she has come over here to be with him.

    Some advice please!! Would you say from his behaviour these are honest feelings from him?


    1. hi im an english girl and i no wat ur going throw . i met an albanian man in 2008 we was together for 3 years but he was very secrative . he lied to metold me we was gonna move in together he proposed to me and we planed to hav a baby witch i did fall pregnant and thats wen things changed he changed told me i had to get rid of the baby witch i said no . after that he left me and i never saw him . in this time i found out he had a albanian wife and 2 kids with her .i carryed on with my pregnancy on my own but in feb my baby boy pastaway he was still born i thought id do the rite thing and sent him a message to tell him wat happend . and i never heard a thing till a weeek ago . now he seems to think he can come bk in to my life like nothing has happend and still making out like he dose not hav a wife ..

    2. Hi EG,

      I strongly believe you should be selfish in this situation and think about what you want.
      Even though you love this guy very much you should think of what you truly want out of this relationship. Although I am not in your situation to know for sure if this guy truly loves you, to me it appears as if he is trying to use his family (family’s disappointment, wife’s family, and her threats to commit suicide) as excuses to try and keep being/seeing you as the other woman.
      I am sure you love him and want to be with him the right way, however being with a guy that is not willing to divorce in order to be with you is wrong. If he truly wanted to be with you the right way he would have separated with his wife long time ago, and he wouldn’t have even considered bringing her to London to live with her.
      I might be wrong but I believe he will never leave his wife and he will even have children with her, however he has strong desires for you and he wants to have both of you at the same time.
      His mind, culture, traditions tell him to be with his wife but his heart, passion and desires belong to you.
      Now the question the decision is for you to make. Do you want to be his lover, while he has a wife and later on even children at home? Are you willing to settle for a sneaky, secretive relationship with a married man?

      I wish you the best.

  12. Dear EG;

    The current situation you are in is not good for your health, or a healthy relationship. Think of it in these terms. You love a man who is married to another women and who is controlling/ jealous within your relationship. I am an Albanian and I can tell you that not all Albanian men are that way, but men who come from the "old country" tend to be because they are raised with a certain mentality. I am telling you that you will not have a future with this man, he leads two different lives and you will be better off if you move on. You said "he would do anything for me" your wrong with this statment. If he would do "anything" for you he would be with you and not cheat on his wife with you.

    Do you really want to be the other woman?


  13. S.I. - Outstanding statement!

    I also just wanted to chime in that I am one of the few, apparently, non-Albanian women married to an "old way" Albanian. We have a full life and children together, so it doesn't always happen that the Albanian men date many and then run back for an Albanian woman. Somehow something about me caught the attention of this incredibly fine Albanian man, and he didn't want to leave. Lol!

    1. i agree !!! i'm also non albanian who is about to marry an tradditional albanian guy who i think is wonderful as he is upfront and honest so i know where i stand ;)))

  14. its really nice , i love it gr8,

  15. Oh MY MY MY Ladies wake up and smell the roses. Get away far away from these men!!!!!! It's not because they are Albanian it's because they are cheats, liars and users. They use you for their own selfish reasons. They don't love you or never will they don't even love themselves. A real Albanian man or any man for that matter would not cheat on his wife. He would never fall in love with anyone else because a real man would not put his self in the position to do so. That character flaw alone should scare you off from the get go!

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  17. Do albanian brides throw their flower bouquets at the reception?

    1. Hi, yes albanian brides throw their flower bouquets at the reception after they cut the cake. Many brides back in Albania they tend to throw their flower bouquets once they walk out of their house. Basically once their groom takes them from their parents house they throw the flowers as seconds before they get in the car and leave their family for good .

  18. why do albanian brides do a dance useing their hands?

    1. Hi,
      Most Albanian dance using their hands. That's the way albanian dance in general.

  19. Well, I happened to come across to that website, cos I just read a book written by an European woman (she's from the same nation I am), who got almost killed by her Albanian husband. She had to escape from Albania with her child. That was schocking.
    When she fell into him, it happened, when the guy lived in London, in the U.K. Then the guy acted quite normal like almost an European. But it all changed and turned into nightmare, after they moved to Albania...

    Of course, it's not possbile to generalize to all Albanian men, but violence at home is not an exception in Albania either. And I don't claim this just like that, but there have been numerous researches, which are made and I've read. Albanians don't know much about human rights.

    Albanian men are controle freeks and basically women are slaves for their husbands. Many wives have to stay at home between the 4 walls, cook and take care of the houshold and have to obey their husband. This is smth, that European women are not got used to.

    Oh and about Albanian marriage traditions. In some regions in Albania a male relative of the bride presents the groom with a bullet wrapped in straw. That basically means that the husband is free to kill his wife with the approval of her family if she proves to be disobedient. I think already this kind of gesture refer to violance.

    So before you get involved with Albanian men, think twice.

    1. Hi,

      I see you have done some research. Although back in the day the brides parents would give the groom as a gift a gun and bullpens in order to use if the bride happened to ever betray her husband that doesn't happen anymore. That gesture was a symbol of honor and respect. Yes kind of scary. But back in the day cheating was unacceptable. However now a day nobody does that anymore. And I must say that there are many amazing Albanian guys out there waiting to marry their best friend, their love of their life. Tini of it this way, if you know how to play it right Albanian men always treat their wives like queens ;)

  20. i am a girl born in london but my perest come from albaina i am the oldist and i have only one borther i think it a bit un fair to live with the in laws if you get marred to a only son but i love albanian marriage its so fun and lively i was ut a the best dacier lol

    p.s albaina perest are very strick what they say go

  21. My Albanian boyfriend and I have been dating for about three years now, and I am American. We are still in our younger 20's but by my family's traditions and his as well, marriage should be just around the corner. I was wondering what information you have about an Albanian man marring an American woman? I'm nervous and its an on going issue that I think about every day! Any advice or comforting words??

  22. I am an American "unofficially'" engaged to an Albanian man. I say unofficially because he is saving money to buy my dream ring, but we already have plans to go to Albania in a few months to sign papers and then have a ceremony in America. I received the link to this blog thread from my mom, who after reading through this was (obviously) concerned for her daughter's future and well-being.
    I would like to say, in the defense of many Albanian men, that they are not all the same and generalizing is unfair. I was lucky enough to find my Albanian when I fist started studying for my master's in Holland - we have been together 17 months and counting. I have had the opportunity to visit my boyfriend's family in Albania 2 times now and every time I can clearly see how my boyfriend defers from other Albanian men. I believe that the fact that he has lived in Western Europe (Holland, to be exact) since he was 16 (so, the last 12 years) has helped in developing his contemporary way of thinking and most of his friends are the same way. He is still very traditional in the way that he prefers I go out when he is around, or likes it when I cook for him, and when I clean my house (it can get messy sometimes), but he also believes in women's rights and teases me that he would make a magnificent and better stay-at-home parent than me because everything would be clean and dinner would be on the table by the time I came home, something I cannot in good conscious say that I will get accomplished every day if it were the other way around. I have had the opportunity to visit Albania and see first hand the separation between the sexes and how each role is expected to act. For example, after 5 or 6 in the afternoon/evening you will not see a woman out and about, much less having a Happy Hour cocktail with her friends. Thankfully, my Albanian always points out, and I have been witness of, his different demeanor - even when we are in Albania.
    I just wanted to let everyone know, that not all Albanians are the same. Just like not all southern guys are gentlemen, or New Yorkers jerks. There are many exceptions out there, and if you are lucky enough to find one, you will see that you have found a best friend for life, a partner in crime, a man that takes his vows seriously and looks forward to starting a family with you. I must add that after showing this blog to my Albanian and roughly interpreting its content, my Albanian looked at me and said, "do you think I'm anything like that? You and me are a team, I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you and our babies." Enough said...

  23. I'm Russian, married to an Albanian. And I got his bitch mother in a corner where she belongs. She tried to put up a fight but she barked on a wrong tree. I made it very clear to her that I don't mind leaving and taking her little boy's happiness with me. Forever.

  24. Okay so my parents are the real deal strict Albanian Muslims. Ever since I could remember At a young age till now they have been telling me they're going to take me to Albania and find me an Albanian guy. When I went to visit they all Beame interested in me once they found out I'm from America. To them they see me as a free ticket! Which I hate. Im almost graduating and I have found a guy who's the most smartest, talented, kind hearted person I have ever met. He understands that when you marry an Albanian girl she's going to be their for you know matter what! He understands my traditions. BUT I know my parents would never in this lifetime approve of him no matter what. They would go crazy If they were to know. I know I'm going to be with this guy for the rest of life despite what my parents think. They may call be anything they want they may disapprove they may tell me I've made a mistake for the rest of my life they may gossip to all of ALBANIA that their daughter has broken traditions and has married a non Albanian but I certainly will not care but I will keep strong. I plan to move away with him and get our own apartment together and live happily ever after and if my parents chose to be in my life again that is up to them they can disapprove all they want about him but they will respect him or let us be alone. Love is love. The heart wants what the heart wants. I plan on becoming a lawyer that will probably the only thing my parents will ever be happy about.

  25. I'm an albanian man who is married to an American girl. My parents didn't attention my sisters wedding, we kept all traditions blah blah blah , but thy accepted her and she's doing just fine with my culture . If you look at history and be honest, some of the greatest living Albanians were of mix origin, including our national hero gjerg kastrioti. Don't make To much of it girls

  26. Hi,
    Are you Albanian or is this just from experience that you wrote this article?