A Romanian tradition called "bride-napping" has been able to flourish in recent years, because apparently no one in Romania has seen or gives credence to Jawbreaker. It happens like this: a bride is abducted in a fit of ribaldry by her drunkest friends. She is ferried to a secure location (the most popular being Romania's Arch of Triumph), where her abductors negotiate the terms of her release with the groom. Usually, those terms involve handing over a whole shopping cart full of booze or making a public declaration of love. The newlyweds are then happily reunited with a great story to regale their progeny with, over and over, telling and retelling it as if it's a whole new story, prefacing it every single time with a totally rhetorical question: "Have I ever told you about the time your Aunt Andrea and her friends kidnapped me during my wedding?"
According to the AP, mock abductions are part of marriage ceremonies throughout the former Soviet Union, with abductions ranging from the elaborate Saturday treks to the Arch of Triumph in Romania, to more spur-of-the moment hostage negotiations through a locked dressing room door. In Bucharest, it's not strictly legal for people to party under the Arch of Triumph (a historic, World War I-era landmark), but Romanian authorities are apparently pretty laid back (despite what The Historian led me to believe), even when kidnappers dress up as Taliban and tote toy guns that look pretty real in dim lighting.
Who steals a bride? In Romania, bride-napping all the rage [AP via USA Today]