Traditions of the Russian wedding
Slavonic wedding traditions quite differ from the same in Europe and Americas. So, if you love your Russian bride or Ukrainian bride and are planning to organize the wedding in Russia or Ukraine – you need to know a little about it. These traditions are ancient and every Ukrainian woman and Russian woman know them, although some differences in tradition exist in regions. The wedding preparation takes month or more time usually. Instead flower girls, rehearsals and bridesmaids in Slavonic weddings take part the maid of honor and the best man, but in Russian tradition they are called “witnesses”. They are very important persons and during the wedding they have some duties: in the state office of the marriage registration (in Russian this looks as abbreviation ZAGS) they should to put their signatures in the documents;
during the celebration they play roles as helpers – the best man for the groom, the maid of honor for the bride;
at the period of the wedding preparation they are organizers of it.
Celebration lasts for two days.
The first day
In the morning the groom with his friends and the best man comes to the bride's home, where her friends and the maid of honor wait them. These girls don't let groom to come indoors. Russian bride knows her role and will play it. For the right to meet his bride the groom have to struggle solving a lot of different riddles. Every right salvation gives him a step to the bride. If he answers incorrect – he should pay the ransom. Friends can help him. Usual riddles, for example can be:
to find the baby photo of his bride among a lot of baby photoes;
to say a soft words about the bride at every step;
to know the meanings of numbers, written on the sheets of paper. There can be date of birth, phone number, size of shoes of his bride.The money paid by the groom as a ransom can be given back to the just married or taken by girls. It depends of concrete region in which you marry with your Russian or Ukrainian brides. When groom at last achieves the bride – they and all the company of friends and relatives go to the state office of the marriage registration. It takes about the quarter of an hour. The official person asks: “Do you accept to take (name of bride when groom is asked and name of groom when the bride is) as a wife/husband?” And both answer “yes”. At this moment is necessary to put on the rings to each other to the ring-fingers. After this the official person pronounces them as a wife and husband. After the registration, the new spouses go to the place of celebration. It can be a cafe or restaurant or home of bride or her relatives. The guests and relatives meet just married couple and shower them with rice and coins. After that the celebration begins. During all the celebration the best man have to look after the bride – the company of girls necessarily will try to steal the bride. If the bride is stolen – the best man have to buy or find her shoe, stand there the glass of champagne or vodka and drink it. If he doesn't – girls can give back instead the bride somebody else, such as an old man dressed in a white dress.
The second day
Early morning guests and relatives come to wake up just married. The couple wear another festive clothing. If the first wedding day was solemn and responsible, the second one is traditionally the real celebration, full of fun, jokes, competitions.
If the spouses are Сhristians, they also can participate in the sacrament of marriage of the Russian Orthodox Church. Rules of the Orthodox Church regulate the prohibition of this ceremony at the period of fasts. And priests will marry couple only after official state marriage ceremony and getting documents about it. The ceremony in the church or cathedral is very beautiful and solemn. Couple promise to be worthy spouses to the God.