Foreign marriage: Russian wedding Traditions & Customs
Found your sweetheart from Russia? These ladies are good looking, loving, and usually, they make excellent wives. Most men never regret marrying a woman from Russia. But how do you go about the business and follow the traditions of her country in your foreign marriage? Let’s learn more about the Russian marriage culture and traditions.
Russian engagement traditions
Engagement is a big event in the western culture. A woman expects to get an engagement ring from her fiancé. It used to be pretty much the same way in Russia in the past. However, during the Soviet times, things have changed, and engagement has become a bit outdated.
The whole thing mostly comes down to the proposal. So, you need to prepare and think out of a romantic and lovely way to propose to your Russian sweetheart. At this, you may or may not give her an engagement ring.
Of course, it would be a beautiful thing, and she might be expecting it from you since you are a foreigner. But the modern Russian tradition does not suppose it. Just be romantic and allow her to have a very unique and lovely experience she could recall for years.
Russian wedding traditions
Wedding traditions in Russia are more complicated than that. Again, in the past Russian wedding had many traditions to follow and it had some very strict rules. Presently, only some of them are observed. Here is a Russian wedding proverb for you:
“A good wedding lasts a week.”
That is how it used to be. Currently most city weddings would last just one day but in villages or smaller towns they would celebrate at least for three days in a row. So, let’s go through some of the important traditions and customs to follow.
Traditional Russian wedding
- Bride purchasing
It is a sort of favorite wedding game in Russia. Many countries of the world have something similar to that. In the past, it was a serious business, but now it is done just for fun. In many African or Asian countries, men pay money to the bride’s parents. In Russia today, a groom would pay some cash for the bride, but he would also have to cope with some tasks to get her back.
One of them is drinking Champaign out of the bride’s shoe or winning in various fun competitions, etc.
- Round loaf tradition
You should see this particular kind of bread for yourself. It’s a very beautiful thing. In many cases, it is custom baked for the wedding and decorated on the top with various flowers, shapes, animal forms, etc. The bread is round and on the upper part of it, they set a little pan with salt. In the past, such loafs of bread could be baked only by happily married ladies.
The bride and the groom get married and then go for a ride around the city and take pictures. When they return home, her parents meet the young couple with the round loaf of bread with salt. You need to break a small piece of the loaf, dip it into the salt and eat it. The bride does the same thing.
They say that whoever breaks out a larger piece of the bread (a groom or a bride), that person would be the head of the house.
- Rice or wheat sifting
They make a mix of some grain with small coins and drop it over the young couple. At times, they add some rose petals in it. Usually, it is done after the couple goes out of the wedding hall.
When the couple takes a little tour around the city, they may find a nice spot and get some doves. They let them go there. Usually, white doves are used for this ceremony.
- Wedding March
Here is a good quote on it:
“Wedding March always reminds me of the music played when soldiers go into battle.”
They usually play Mendelssohn march, when the bride and the groom enter the civil wedding hall.
Russian Orthodox wedding
Those were some of the secular traditions of marriage in Russia. They are fun and easy to follow, some of them are quite romantic. However, Orthodox religious wedding is much more complicated. If you decide to go for it, or if the bride’s parents insist on it, you should get prepared.
- Wedding rings
They are handed over to the priest right before the ceremony in the church.
- Wedding dress
In some of the Orthodox churches, the brides cannot wear short dresses or those showing too much body. They have to be modest fitting the church environment.
They are the essential part of the religious wedding ceremony. Usually, you would have to purchase two of them: one for yourself and the other one for your bride.
There are unique large candles used for the Orthodox They have to keep burning throughout the ceremony, and that lasts quite a long time.
- White towel
They spread the white towel right in front of the altar for the young couple to step on.
- Wedding crowns
The Orthodox wedding ceremony aimed at the turn the husband and wife the king and queen of their home and new life. That is why their friends have to hold those crowns over their heads throughout the wedding.
A bride has to wear her veil or head cover on her during the entire ceremony.
All the present people including the groom have to have cross necklaces on them in the church.
As you can see, the Orthodox and secular wedding ceremonies differ much. A Russian wedding may include both of them. Or, you may choose to go just with the secular one, done in the city hall. In many cases, Russian women marriage in the church would be done because of the bride’s parents or because the bride and the groom take religion seriously. It is up to you to decide.