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Russian Wedding

Russian Wedding

Today we’ll talk about the wedding in Russian culture and look at some interesting Russian wedding words in Russian. We can say that Russian wedding is a little different from weddings in other cultures, although many traditions were adopted from foreign cultures. Therefore, do not be surprised if you notice some customs in modern Russian wedding that are familiar to you.

Russian engagement

The engagement has long been considered the most important ceremony, even more important than the wedding itself. Parents from both families sat down and signed the contract which specified the wedding date. After that, they arranged a ball or a party to celebrate the engagement.

Nowadays, people no longer celebrate their engagement in this way. A young man usually gives his girlfriend an engagement ring, and asks her if she agrees to marry him. If the girl says “yes”, they appoint he wedding day. The tradition of giving an engagement ring in an original way is becoming increasingly popular.

Russian Wedding

After the couple decided to marry, they need to apply to the registry office with a request to get their marriage registered. At the registry office, they will be asked to select a date and time for their wedding. There are usually several options available. It doesn’t usually take a lot of time to plan a Russian wedding, normally it takes 1-3 months.

Помолвка [pa-MOL-fka] engagement
Помолвочное кольцо [pa-MOL-vach-na-ye kal’-TSO] engagement ring
Девичник [dee-VEESH-neek] hen party, bachelorette party
Мальчишник [mal’-CHEESH-neek] bachelor party, stag party

Preparation for a Russian wedding

Russian Wedding

Preparation for a Russian wedding includes renting or buying a wedding dress and groom’s suit, renting a car, booking a restaurant or cafe, hiring a photographer, cameraman, musicians, and a toastmaster (тамада [ta-ma-DA]). A couple who wants to get married in Church will have to arrange a meeting with the priest in advance to discuss some details.

Russian wedding

When the day of registration comes, the couple arrives at the registry office at the time of their appointment to have official wedding ceremony.  According to Russian wedding traditions, before the couple goes to the registry office, the groom should pay a ransom for his bride and overcome lots of different obstacles made up by the bride’s family before he can take her. The obstacles might be questions about the bride and her family, as well as the groom might be asked to sing, dance, or tell a joke.

Russian Wedding

After that the groom and bride attend the official wedding ceremony at the registry office. The car of the bride and groom is usually decorated with flowers, ribbons, balloons, and two stylized crossed wedding rings. Two crossed golden rings are a symbol of wedding and marriage in the Russian culture.  After the registration of their marriage at the registry office, they couple go on a tour around the city, where a photographer takes pictures of the newlyweds and their guests.

Then, the newlyweds do to celebrate the event. The toastmaster is in charge of the wedding party and tries to make it interesting and fun. The toastmaster says toasts and tells jokes, as well as runs contests and games. Russians usually dance a lot at wedding parties.

Most likely, you’ll hear quests shouting “Горько!” [GOR’-ka] (bitter). When the quests shout “Горько!”, it means that the newlyweds should start kissing. They kiss each other as long as the quests count “1, 2, 3, 4, 5…”. If a couple don’t kiss long enough, quests may shout: “Горько!” once more. Nowadays, some couples ask their toastmaster and quests in advance not to shout “Горько!” if they don’t feel like kissing in public.

Russian Wedding

Traditionally, a Russian wedding lasts for 2 days or even longer. However, these days some weddings last for one day only, and after that, the newlyweds leave for their honeymoon.

Важные русские свадебные слова:

Бракосочетание [bra-ka-sa-chee-TA-nee-ye] marriage, wedding
Свадьба [SVAD’-ba] wedding
Свадебный [SVA-deeb-niy] wedding (adjective)
Свадебный торт [SVA-deeb-niy TORT] wedding cake
Свадебный букет [SVA-deeb-niy boo-KYET] wedding bouquet
Свадебное платье [SVA-deeb-na-ye PLAT’-ye] wedding dress

You should also remember that in Russian we use the word “жениться” in different ways:

  • Жених на свадьбе – женится[ZHYE-nyat-sya]
  • Невеста на свадьбе – выходит замуж [vi-HO-dyat ZA-moozh]

Жених [zhee-NEEH] fiancé, bridegroom
Невеста [nee-VYES-ta] fiancée, bride
Подружка невесты [pad-ROOSH-ka nee-VYES-ti] bridesmaid
Свидетельница (на свадьбе) [svee-DYE-tyel’-nee-tsa na SVAD’-bye] bridesmaid
Свидетель (на свадьбе) [svee-DYE-tyel’ na SVAD’-bye] best man
Костюм [kas-TYOOM] suit
Фата [fa-TA] veil
Церковь [TSER-kaf’] church
Венчание [vyen-CHA-nee-ye] (church) wedding ceremony
Венчаться в церкви [veen-CHAT’-sya f TSERK-vee] church wedding ceremony
Венчальное кольцо [veen-CHAL’-na-ye kal’-TSO] the wedding ring used at the wedding ceremony in church
ЗАГС аббревиатура от названия Запись Актов Гражданского Состояния [ZAHS] registry office

Russian Wedding
Рaсписаться в загсе [ras-pee-SAT’-sya v ZAG-sye] get married in ZAGS
Свидетельство о браке [svee-DYE-tyel’-stva a BRA-kye] marriage certificate
Свадебный марш [SVA-dyeb-niy MARSH] wedding march
Обручальное кольцо [ab-roo-CHAL’-na-ye kal’-TSO] engagement ring
Свадебное кольцо [SVA-deeb-na-ye kal’-TSO] wedding ring
Обменяться кольцами [ab-mee-NYAT’-sya KOL’-tsa-mee] exchange rings
Целовать [tsee-la-vat’] kiss
Поцелуй [pa-tse-LOOY] kiss
Молодожёны [ma-la-da-ZHO-ni] newlywed
Свидетельство о браке [svee-DYE-teel’-stva a BRA-kye] marriage certificate
Тамада [ta-ma-DA] toastmaster
Тост [TOST] toast
Медовый месяц [mee-DO-viy MYE-syats] honeymoon
Горько! [GOR’-ka] bitter

Russian Wedding

That’s the end of the article. Have you ever been at a Russian wedding? What do you think, what Russian wedding traditions look similar to wedding traditions in your country?

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