Elvira, an awesome Russian Wedding Photographer, was nice enough to tell me about the traditions in Russia, along with pictures…
Russian weddings are very different as for their traditions and the budget, but it is always very beautiful, touching and happy.
I will try to identify and describe the classic Russian wedding day.
8.00 a.m. Usually the day begins with bride’s getting ready. It is could be at home or at the hotel on request. The bride has always 99.9% white dress and veil. It is considered that the shoes must be closed-toe to happiness is not spilled across the toe shoe.
10.00 a.m. When the bride is ready, the groom arrives and begins “Ransom” (“Vikup”).
This is the series of small contests for groom and groomsmen. For example, to guess the type of print lips bride, say as much as possible compliments to the bride, etc. … The groom with friends must pass these several tests and bribe money or sweets to the bridesmaids.
Having passed all tests groom comes, gives her the bouquet and opens the bride’s veil.
12.00 a.m. After that the couple and the guests go to the registry office for the official registration. Nowadays more and more couples refuse to register in the state place (this is not the church ) and choose registration on nature or at the lake,
which is also the official, but is not at the building where sometimes queue of brides and grooms with their guests are.
13.00 a.m. After registration all congratulate the newlyweds and drink champagne. There is a tradition to release doves as a sign of the peace at home.
14.00 a.m. After that the couple and the guests and sometimes parents go on photo shoot.
17.00 a.m. Reception starts. At the restaurant the parents meet the newlyweds. Mother of the groom holds a loaf – traditional Russian wedding bread on top of which the salt shaker is set. The bride and groom should annoy each other last time (pair salts loaf )
and bite the loaf. It is considered who bite a bigger piece will be boss in the family. Mother of the bride holds two glasses with champagne. The newlyweds should drink it and throw over their left shoulder. How much debris out, that much kids will have the couple.
Guests come to a restaurant where all the tables served with food and the show program starts.
On Russian weddings, the DJ and presenter always are…
amusing guests with small contests.
There are music band, dance groups from Brazilian dances to ballet and ballroom dancing – it all depends on wedding’s budget. Live music is very popular.
Average Russian wedding is 50-80 guests. All guests give the newlyweds gifts, usually it is the money.
There are many versions of why guests shout “Gorko”.
One version is that in the past the bride gave to drink a glass of vodka to every guest to make sure that she is not cheating them. So guest have to say “Gorko”, and kissed her on the cheek !
At weddings, the bridesmaids often steal the bride. A groom and groomsmen have to do some tests again. For example to drink a glass of champagne from the bride’s shoes or to dance funny dances.
Another tradition associated with the parents names “Family hearth”. Mothers of the bride and groom light candle of newlyweds. This moment is considered the transfer of the family hearth. It is very beautiful and touching moment.
22.00 a.m. The bride usually throws the bouquet of all the girls who are not married. The groom throws the garter to unmarried guys. Who will catch the bouquet or garter should find the second half and get married soon.
23.00 The wedding cake appears. The newlyweds give the first pieces of the cake to their parents.
00.00 a.m. Dancing continues. Guests can expect fireworks at the end of the night.
I want to emphasize that now many wedding traditions are and become more westernized, without “Ransom”, doves, biting the loaf, shouting “Gorko” at the reception.
Photographer Elvira Azimova
Thank you, Elvira, for telling us all of this information- some things are similar in the USA, but some things are very different.