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What is a Traditional Russian Wedding?

11. November 2009 by Daniel 0 Comments

You may think that a Russian wedding is just the same as any wedding. But when you find your Russian bride, you may find that there are certain traditions she is accustomed to in a traditional wedding. Here is an overview of just some of the things that make Russian weddings unique.


Wedding Prep

Unlike a typical western wedding, Russian wedding ceremonies do not include bridesmaids, a best man, flower girls, etc. There are also no rehearsals. Wedding attendees are referred to as “witnesses,” and a groom is said to be “paying a ransom” to the people on the bride’s side in order to wed her. Two crossed golden rings are a symbol of Russian marriage. The symbol is typically included on all printed material related to the wedding, including invitations.


The Wedding Day

The groom will usually arrive at the bride’s home prior to the ceremony in order to “pay the ransom.” Often this is done in the form of a gift to the bride’s parents, such as vodka. If the couple wishes, a religious ceremony is held in the Russian Orthodox Church. Following the traditional ceremony, the couple travels to a local public services office for a civil ceremony, at which they are greeted with bread and salt – offered as a sign of health, prosperity and long life. Here the couple signs the registry book and become legally proclaimed as man and wife.


After the Wedding

Once the ceremony has concluded, the newlywed couple will travel around the local city in a limousine to visit historical sites and other attractions. They may be accompanied by friends who take pictures of the couple in the various locations. An official wedding reception will follow, at the beginning of which guests will shout “Gorko! Gorko!” (in Russian: bitter – a reference to the taste of vodka), at which time the couple is expected to kiss long enough to remove the taste of wine. A second round of toasts is made followed by a night of dancing, games, food and entertainment. Unlike most western wedding receptions, Russian receptions are expected to last at least two days, if not longer.


Certainly it is up to you to incorporate all the things that will make your wedding unique. A wedding incorporating both Russian and western traditions would be a sight to see. Get started today on making your wedding a reality by finding your Russian bride on