Russian weddings have a long and interesting history. Various traditions and customs make a Russian wedding very special event which guests remember many years later.
We must emphasize that a wedding in Russia is an event that can last for two days. So, get ready!
If you are interested in cultural weddings, we will reveal to you what are the customs and traditions that make a wedding in this country truly incredible.
Traditional Russian wedding – Paying the ransom
One of the most anticipated events during a Russian wedding certainly is paying the ransom. What does that mean? Well, it is meant to be entertaining and funny.
When the groom arrives at the bride’s home, he is expected to pay a ransom for the bride. The ransom is called vykup nevesty. It begins with the offering of money or gold jewellry for the bride. Comically, the bride’s parents will introduce a woman or man (not the bride) under a veil, so that the groom cannot see her or his face. When the groom realizes that it is not his chosen one, the parents ask for a larger sum of money to be paid for the real bride. When they agree on the ransom, the actual bride will come out, wearing her dream wedding dress.
Of course, this event is should not be taken too seriously, considering that it is all about entertaintment.
Church and civil ceremonies
Most weddings in Russia include the Betrothal and Crowning ceremonies.
The Betrothal used to be blessed at the engagement, but now it is more common for the young couple to recieve a blessing from the priest during the wedding ceremony. They will stand at the entrance of the church, waiting for the priest to bless them and give them a lit candle.
The bride and the groom will hold the candles during the entire church ceremony. The priest will place blessed wedding rings on the couple’s right hands and say a prayer to bless the Betrothal.
Placing of the crowns represents the most important part of the church ceremony. The marriage is considered a Holy Matrimony when the priest places a crown on the heads of the bride and groom. In old Russia, it was expected for both groom and bride to wear the crowns for eight days. That tradition is now exceeded, and the crowns are taken down right after the ceremony.
Following the church ceremony, the couple must have a civil ceremony. This ceremony usually last about 30 minutes and the young couple is pronounced husband and wife.
Russian wedding reception
While the traditional Russian wedding includes the tour of the city for several hours, following the civil ceremony, most of the modern couples opt out of it.
In most cases in modern Russia, the newlywed couple will arive at their reception soon after the civil ceremony is finished.
We must not forget about the big entrance of the bride and the groom. All eyes will be on the star of the day! The star of the reception, just like in western weddings, is always the bride and her wedding dress. So, the Russian bride and her gown (sometimes two gowns) are always enchanting.
They will have their first toast and their first kiss – which is very, very long. This tradition is still very popular among the young couples in Russia. After the toast it is time for champagne, the first dance of the newlyweds, tossing a bouquet of flowers and dancing. Lots of dancing!
It is not uncommon for the celebration to last late into the night. Sometimes – even the next day!
Russian weddings have a long and rich tradition. It represents a truly incredible event, that will be rembembered for a long time.
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