With every different culture, comes different Wedding traditions and customs and Russian Brides can expect some of the most cheeky, jaw-dropping and fun traditions we’ve heard.
From obstacle courses to kidnapping, here are 10 quirky Wedding traditions straight from Russia with love.
1. Maze Runner
On the morning of the Wedding, the Groom can’t simply waltz into his Bride’s house and escort her out. The Bride’s guests create an obstacle course on the bride’s stairwell for the Groom to take part in. It’s common for most Russians to live in high-rise apartments, so the Groom must pay bribes, pass quizzes and answer cheeky questions to win over his Bride-to-be at her doorstep.
2. Separate Cars
Even though the Groom has collected his Bride from her home, they must travel in two separate decorated cars to their first destination.
3. Town Hall Weddings
Despite what one may think about the religious importance involving marital union, a church ceremony does not have official legal status in Russia. If you’re to Wed in Russia, you have to take a trip with your documents to the Registration Office, ZAGS (Zapis Aktov Grazhdanskogo Sostoyaniya).
4. Witness Protection
The Wedded couple must take ‘witnesses’ with them to the civil ceremony. These are usually the Bride and Groom’s best friends!
5. Money Shower
Once the legal formalities are sorted, the Bride and Groom leave the office with their close family and friends outside. They get showered with rice, chocolates, coins, flower petals (and sometimes, butterflies) for good luck, on their walk back to the car.
6. A Mouthful
Before the Bride and Groom leave their family, they are both obliged to take a bite of bread with salt. Superstitiously, whoever munches the bigger bite wears the pants in their relationship and is the head of their future house!
7. Historical Shoots
The new couple spend their next few hours taking photographs in their country’s most historical and iconic sites – some actually pay their respects to the soldiers in World War II during their location shoot!
8. Big Bridal Party Roles
The Wedding reception is hosted by the Bride and Groom’s witnesses and their job is to continuously make enjoyable speeches, announce toasts and provide an uplifting time for the couple and guests.
9. Kiss and Tell
If you’re invited to a Russian wedding, don’t be super confused when guests around you start yelling, ‘Горько: gorka!’ In Russian, this translates to ‘bitter’ alcohol, and it’s usually yelled out when a toast has been made. To sweeten the bitter taste of champagne, the couple is instructed to kiss for as long as they can. Guests participate in the fun by counting how long the couple can remain smooching! 1, 2, 3, 4…
If the groom isn’t keeping a proper lookout on his bride, the groom’s friends may snatch the bride away! (All in good humour, of course) But, the groom must pay his guests a ransom to collect his bride from the cheeky abduction.
Images from Lena Kozhina