Although Romania has many other things to offer tourists, it is first seen as the land of Dracula, especially since the story of Vlad Ţepeş the Impaler and the vampire invented by Bram Stoker superimposed. So, might as well take advantage of it, says a Romanian monthly. The vampire Dracula and Prince Vlad Ţepeş left people a legacy that they still don’t know how to grow: Dracula! The best label in the field of tourism that Romania can benefit from at the moment. What do foreigners associate Romania with? First to Dracula, and only then to Nicolae Ceauşescu, Nadia Comăneci (gymnast), Gheorghe Hagi (footballer) or Ilie Năstase (tennis player). Foreigners want Dracula, want to know more about Dracula, see the places where Dracula lived, eat garlic while visiting Bran Castle, buy Dracula souvenirs, party in Dracula atmosphere bars. “Dracula” themed tourism began in Romania unofficially during the 1950s-1960s. Of course, Bram Stoker’s novel had not yet been translated into Romanian, so the guides of the national Carpathian tourist office, which had been completely reorganized in the early 1970s, only came into contact with the story imagined by the Irish writer only through what could be said by Western tourists (mainly Americans and British) who asked questions about the “castle of the Bârgău pass” (Pasul Bârgăului) described in the book.
1. Mountain Weddings and the Myth of Dracula
Even though Dracula was still unknown to most Romanians, authorities at the time did not hesitate to use the myth for publicity. In 1983, a hotel in the form of a castle (with towers, an interior courtyard accessible by a single entrance) was built between Bistriţa (city in Transylvania) and Vatra Dornei (city in Bukovina, in northern Romania). Since the two towns are connected by the Bârgău pass, the hotel was supposedly built on the approximate location of the castle described in the novel. Until 1990 it was called Tihuţa (another name for the Bârgău pass), although another hotel invented by Stoker, The Golden Crown, had been built in the town of Bistriţa (in the northwest of the Romania) precisely to serve as a point of reference for foreign tourists. In 2006, the hotel renamed Dracula unveiled a bust of Irish writer Bram Stoker.
Even if in Romania the myth of Dracula is better known through cinema than through literature, the opportunity for cultural tourism is immense. With or without a theme amusement park, places related to Vlad the Impaler and Count Dracula are numerous and interesting. In a world dominated by advertising, Dracula would have helped a crisis-prone economy immensely. There are already tours offered by various agencies, the best blending history with literary and cinematic myth. Thus, following in the footsteps of the favorite literary character, tourists can visit Curtea de Argeş (first capital of Wallachia, which also houses a famous monastery), Suceava )capital of Moldavia from the 14th to the 16th century), Snagov (monastery near Bucharest where Vlad’s body is supposed to be buried) or Târgovişte (capital of Wallachia from the 14th to the 18th century, where the Ceausescu spouses were shot during the Romanian revolution of 1989), in addition to Sighişoara (historic city, birthplace of Ţepeş), Braşov (big city of Transylvania, near Bran Castle, known as “Dracula’s Castle”), all these places being linked to the medieval voivode and the modern vampire. The myth has become so popular that foreigners come to Romania and choose to have a Dracula inspired wedding in the mountains, a celebration that overshadows everything with royalty and fresh air. The theme of the cultural wedding gives spouses the chance to relive the past for a single night, while being the main characters of a fantasy and royal story.
2. How to Organize a Mountain Wedding
Do you dream of a setting full of charm and authenticity? So why not get married in the mountains? Summer or winter, you benefit from a unique and authentic landscape, the perfect setting for your ceremony. Expanse of fir trees or snowy peaks, you commune with nature in a magical environment. Here are some ideas to help you organize your wedding in the mountains in summer and winter.
Getting married in the mountains is choosing a place that will delight you. Summer and winter, you have access to a whole host of places at altitude, each as charming as the next: chalet, hotel, reception hall. Be careful, however, not to choose a date during the winter school holidays. You could see accommodation prices skyrocket and put your guests in endless traffic jams. One of the most popular locations for a mountain wedding is the Bran Castle from Romania. A Bran wedding will overshadow not only with the magnificent landscape, but also with the history and myths related to Count Dracula, one of Romania’s most significant characters.
Think about your different reception venues, their accessibility and the possibility of parking for you, your guests and your service providers (don’t forget that if you only have one or two suitcases to carry, your florist will have a flower truck to manage). It is in your best interest to recommend carpooling to your guests. As for the end of the evening, providing buses, mini buses or shuttles is the ideal solution to avoid trips to the resort for your guests who would not sleep there.
Also, think about the weather. No matter the time of year, it can be capricious. Plan for the worst in logistics and everything will turn out for the best. And then finally, doesn’t a little snow during a winter mountain ceremony make the moment magical?
The particularity of a wedding in the mountains is that your guests will certainly come from afar. It is therefore necessary to anticipate the possible accommodations for, at least, the weekend of the union. They can arrive earlier or leave later in order to take advantage of the exceptional setting you have chosen. The best thing is to select the list of hotels, lodges, bed and breakfasts or short-term rentals in advance in order to do the work for them. Make life easier for your guests, they will thank you. In addition, it will be necessary to think about the management and accommodation of the children during the various moments of the wedding (ceremony, cocktail party, evening).
Often, the reception venue offers/imposes certain service providers such as the caterer and the DJ. It’s a good way to simplify the organization of your wedding in the mountains. Most of the time you are not there. This makes preparation easier for you. For other professionals, select them as close as possible to your site: hairdresser, make-up artist, florist… And then if you want to completely delegate the preparation, including logistics, of your wedding, call on a wedding planner! They will present you with all their wedding services.
A wedding in the mountains opens all the doors of the local terroir. Choose a stone grill or a giant barbecue in summer with good blueberry tarts for dessert. As for a wedding in the mountains in winter, opt for a mulled wine cocktail, a tartiflette, Savoyard fondue or giant raclette for the dish and a chocolate and chestnut dessert. And if you prefer more refined dishes, you will find local fish such as perch or arctic char that will delight the taste buds of your guests.
Taking the time to offer your guests an activity they will never forget will make your wedding unique, original and memorable. For a Dracula’s wedding theme, try to wrap the entire wedding evening around a royal story, where every guest has a special role and everything is surrounded by mysticism and elegance.
3. Important Elements of a Royal Wedding in the Mountains
Between dreamy settings, breathtaking costumes and the 19th century, the universe of Dracula is an inexhaustible source of inspiration for your wedding theme. You could not have missed the novel of Bram Stoker or the myth of Vlad Tepes. Beyond the plots and the narrative interest of the story, what particularly is of interest here is the quality of the artistic direction and the details of the photogenics. These elements are a gold mine to draw inspiration to organize your wedding!
Let’s start with one of the key elements of the ceremony: your costumes…well, your outfits! For gentlemen, the groom or his guests, here are some examples of wedding accessories for men to remember to compose the Victorian costume: tailcoat, velvet, tailored trousers, silk waistcoat encrusted with semi-precious stones, cufflinks, silk scarf, Persian motifs, ascot…
Who has never dreamed of carrying out a photo shoot whose imagination allows you to escape for a few hours? In keeping with your wedding theme, this is the perfect opportunity to think about organizing an engagement session, an official photo shoot before the wedding or after it, on Dracula’s wedding theme. Studio sets, props, lighting, beautiful gardens… present the universe of the myth to your photographer, so that he can design the perfect photo shoot.
As for the decoration part of the wedding, use plenty of fresh flowers, candles and period candlesticks of different sizes. Orient the selection of decorative objects according to a predefined color palette that can inspire you: pastel and cold, warm and sensual. Prefer round tables with white tablecloths and lace napkins. For the service, choose dishes with flowers, golden borders, and crystal to bring this chic and royal side very characteristic. For the reception, offer light hors d’oeuvres, verrines with combinations of fresh products, preferably small so that your guests can help themselves and refill easily. A champagne fountain is also worth remembering. For the wedding cake, it is advisable to bring a touch of lightness, originality and a touch of modernity, by choosing a fruity nude cake with layers and garnished with beautiful flowers! Finally, to stand out, offer a tea corner with English-inspired service.
All in all, just listen to your heart and your desires: if you love the Dracula universe and dream of it for your wedding, don’t hesitate to follow these pieces of advice. All that’s missing is your guests, and all the elements will be in place to make your Dracula wedding a real success!