Foreign marriage: Ukrainian wedding traditions and customs
Got a bride from Ukraine? Get ready to learn some of the local wedding traditions. Ukrainian women are fantastic and gorgeous, and Ukraine culture is rich. It offers some unique and fancy traditions to follow for your engagement and wedding ceremony.
In most cases, international couples get married in Ukraine, because your new wife would have to complete a process of obtaining all the documents needed for moving over to your country.
While she does that you can study some of the finest Ukrainian wedding traditions. Most likely you won’t be sorry over it, as they are quite romantic and easy to follow. Let’s get a list of top customs to follow, when you marry a Ukrainian lady.
Wedding traditions in Ukraine – 5 top
- Parents’ blessing
In the past, it took a while for the young couple to get married. Mostly the marriage was arranged between two families by the parents. So, the co-parents-in-law would go over to the bride’s house and betroth her. People would bring over gifts, sing folk songs and follow other local traditions.
In our days’ engagement is no longer handled in that fashion. Mostly two people who date and fall in love with each other arrange it between themselves. Parents are not involved at this stage, but once you decide to get married, you may want to ask for their blessing.
If your bride comes from a religious family (Orthodox Church), her parents may bless you, pray over you and give you an icon. In the most traditional version, you may have to kneel down before them (as a couple) and they hold the icon over you and bless you.
If the family is not a religious one, they may lay up a table for you. You come over to their house and bring some gifts. You all sit down at the table, eat and drink much and celebrate the occasion.
- Round loaf tradition
One of the popular Ukrainian wedding customs is the use of a round loaf or korovai. It is a specially baked round loaf of white bread. They lay it on a fancy towel called “rushnyk” and put a small salt pan on the top of it.
When the newlywed couple comes back from the church or city hall, they are to break off a piece of that bread (each in turn), dip it into salt and eat.
The tradition states that the one who breaks off a larger piece would also rule the house and be the head of the house in the married life. So, do your best to get a bigger part of the loaf!
We have already mentioned this word in the previous tip. What is a Ukrainian wedding Rushnyk tradition? Rushnyk is a fine towel. It is white in color and usually, it is hand embroidered with flowers, birds or national symbols.
During the Ukrainian wedding ceremony, the rushnyk is laid down on the floor before the couple. They both need to step on it simultaneously.
Surely someone steps down first and that is another sign. The one who gets first to step on rushnyk would be the head of the house.
- Ukrainian bridal veil
After the ceremony, a bridal veil should be taken off. In the past, they used to replace it with the dressing cloth to signify that the woman is married. Only unmarried girls wore no cloth on their hair. Presently, a bride can wear the veil until the end of the wedding feast.
But taking off the veil is a fun tradition. The first one to try and do it is the new husband. It signifies the loss of virginity of the newly wed bride. She has to say no and try to stop him from doing that. Of course, it is done as a joke.
Next, the mother in law should approach the bride and take off her veil. This tradition signifies the acceptance of the lady to a new family. Once the veil is off, all the unmarried girls can try it on and the bride should wish them luck in finding a good man for marriage.
- Daddy dance
The bride dances with her father and thanks him for being her head and protector in life. From now on this role is passed on to her husband and he is to cherish, protect and provide for her. Unfortunately, now all the Ukrainian brides have the chance to follow this custom, as many of there were brought up by single mothers.As you may see, traditional Ukrainian wedding has some nice parts to it and they are not hard to follow.
There is also the religious custom of the Orthodox Church and that could be a bit more complicated. You do not have to do the church ceremony unless your bride’s family insists on it or both of you want it.
As you may see, traditional Ukrainian wedding has some nice parts to it and they are not hard to follow. There is also the religious custom of the Orthodox Church and that could be a bit more complicated. You do not have to do the church ceremony unless your bride’s family insists on it or both of you want it.
Civil marriage in Ukraine is a bit less poetical (check the Requirements for marriage). Mainly people visit the city hall to get officially married; they exchange the rings, get few drinks and go for a ride around the city to take photos. Then they arrive at their hall and have plenty of food, drinks and fun celebrating their marriage.
As a rule, people invite a great number of guests for the wedding, as Ukrainian families are large. A wedding ceremony in the Ukraine may take up to an hour, but the feast may last for a day. In some regions and villages, it may even last for 3 days. People would go home and then gather up again, wish you well, drink to your health and celebrate to their heart’s content.
Of course, you have a say in how, when or in what fashion to carry out the ceremony. So, study all the customs and traditions first and then make up your mind. It is important to take your bride’s dreams and her family wishes into consideration.