On a small boat on the Danube and Sava rivers, on a warm July evening in front of a small audience of about twenty friends and family, my friends got married. We were docked for the short ceremony, which took place in both Serbian and English (required by law, as my friend suggested, so that foreigners wouldn't get duped into marrying a Serb).
As kuma (Maid of Honour) I should have helped with a bit of the planning, like booking a band. But I was relinquished of those duties immediately after accepting the position, as it was clear I had no idea how I was supposed to do that from Canada. (To be fair, not even the bride was doing much of the planning, and she's been teaching herself Serbian for years. I can say she's pretty good at it because I know she speaks with her in-laws in Serbian on the phone—that's my standard for being able to speak a foreign language.) The groom put together a beautiful ceremony and reception that combined Canadian and Serbian wedding traditions.
My sole contribution to the wedding was not hiring the band, but ensuring that the band played music for the traditional Serbian folk dance, the kolo. My friend's sister-in-law introduced us to this dance the night before the wedding when the girls went out for a night on the town.
The gentleman in the YouTube video below will show you the steps. As you watch, imagine the wedding guests joining hands and dancing in a large circle, doing this fancy footwork for anywhere from five minutes to five hours.
Now you can see why I was so excited to do this super-fun and not-too-complicated wedding dance. We danced like this in a goofy Serbian/Canadian circle for a song, laughing the whole time. We danced until long after the sun went down.
For the reception, the boat left the dock and sailed up and down the Danube and Sava rivers. Like the mother-of-the-bride noted in her wedding speech, we were at the confluence of these two great rivers, just as the ceremony was joining together families and friends from two distinct cultures. I'm so proud I was there to witness this union.