Russian Wedding Traditions

Russia is famous for the variety of traditions and rites, especially connected with weddings. Several centuries ago the Russian wedding was a ritual complex. If any of rituals wasn’t abided the marriage was considered as an unsuccessful union. Nowadays in Russia we have got more European way of getting married, but there are a lot of newlyweds who still follow old traditions, although it has become whimsical, sort of.

Old traditions

Back in the day, the principal element of the wedding was matchmaking – the parents of the groom had to find out if the bride is a fit for their son, if she is good-looking and what her trousseau Sometimes parents even hired special people who could find a suitable bride for their son. Then there was a ritual called handshake – the agreement between fathers about the finance question of the upcoming wedding. After they made a decision they shook hands and drunk some alcohol.

Hen-party and stag-party

The most followed old tradition is having a bye-bye party: hen-party and stag-party. It is always up to the bride and groom how to organize it, but usually the last day of single life is celebrated in bars and  clubs. In ancient Russia the bride-to-be had to put on the shawl on her head as a symbol of the juvenility, but now she puts on a veil and all her unmarried friends do the same.

Ransom for the bride

Another tradition which is still kept is the ransom for the bride. Before the wedding a groom is supposed to come to the house where his wife-to-be lives and take her out of there to the registry office. But he meets a lot of obstacles on his way organized by the bride`s friends and family. They meet him and ask some tricky questions about his wife like what is her favorite movie or what kind of perfume she prefers. They also can give him some challenges like singing, dancing or ask for some money to let him reach his beloved.

Karavay cake

The ritual of baking a wedding cake (Karavay) is still followed by the parents – the groom`s mother has to bake a karavay and present it to the newlyweds when a couple comes to their house. The one of newlyweds who bites off the bigger piece of the cake is going to be the head of the family. But now the parents usually meet the young couple at the entrance to the restaurant where the wedding is celebrated. The karavay is usually a culinary masterpiece with some patterns and fugues made with dough.

One more famous ritual is throwing the bride`s bouquet from the bank. All single women are trying to catch it and the one who catches it is going to be the next to get married.

Wedding anniversaries

And of course Russians celebrate the anniversaries. Each year of living together has its own name, for example if you have been married for 1 year – it is The Calico Wedding anniversary, 3 years – The Leather Wedding, 10 years – The Tin Wedding etc. The most significant anniversaries are 20 years together – The Porcelain Wedding, 40 years – The Ruby Wedding and 50 years – The Golden Wedding. In case if it is going to be your Wedding Anniversary during your Russian trip, there are some ideas how to celebrate it in Russian style.

Wedding in Tsaritsyno, Moscow

Russing Wedditg. Photo:

Wedding celebrations in Russia

  • Professional photography in one of the royal or nobles residences will be a unique and distinct experience. Local architecture, authentic flavors and nature nooks all band together for the very special occasion. Kuskovo Park and Estate, Tsaritsyno Park and Museum-Preserve and Kolomenskoe Park and Museum Preserve are all great ideas.
  • Have you ever tried Russian banya? No? You can`t leave this country without such a lifetime experience! It is a sauna where the temperature does not exceed 80C. Russians usually use venik – leafy bundle of birch twigs used to beat fellow bathers.
  • Do you love breathtaking views? In Moscow there are great restaurants on the roofs with panoramic views from where you can the city like on your palm. The most popular of them are The Sixty and 02 Lounge.
  • If you are travelling in June and if you is going to celebrate it in Saint Petersburg – the Neva river Cruise with the dinner and the drawbridges will be one of the most memorable nights in your life.
  • If you want to feel the real Russian spirit, visit one of the towns of the Golden Ring where you can see the oldest wooden architectural monuments and architecture in Russia. Such cities are about 2-4 hours away from Moscow (Sergiev Posad, Vladimir, Yaroslavl, Suzdal). Believe us, it’s worth the time.
  • If you have limited time in Moscow or Saint Petersburg only, you can get a customized itinerary for your very own Moscow tour or St Petersburg tour with personalized service and a private guide.

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