Wedding with Ukrainian woman
Unique wedding traditions in Ukraine
One of the most exciting life events of every person is wedding. It is not a “goodbye” to freedom like some bachelors think but it’s a beginning of new life, of new perspectives, of new family. The wedding traditions differ in every country but usually it is a civil ceremony with a white dress and a suite, a banquet hall, overflowing amount of food and drinks, photos and dancing. Every wedding is unique and has to be a memorable day for everybody who attends it.
Ukrainian Wedding is one of the most symbolic and celebrations of Ukraine culture. Traditions and customs for Ukrainian weddings are numerous and have evolved through the ages and that’s why some of them are very old and lost their origin. But the things change over time and the same happens with Ukrainian lifestyle and wedding customs that are still hard to understand especially if you are a foreigner. Choosing a girl from Ukraine as your future wife you have to be familiar with Ukrainian wedding traditions or you may not get your bride on that day for some reasons.
- Meeting. On the wedding morning, the groom has to go to the bride’s parent’s house to buy out his bride. He comes with his best friend and he has to bring some bread as a gift for his bride’s family. When a groom arrives, the bridesmaids meet him and don’t let him to go inside the house before he pays a ransom for a bride. The price increases every minute if the groom doesn’t know the right answers to the questions asked by bride’s girlfriends. Bargaining may last for 15-30 minutes, so you have to know your bride very well to answer all the questions and not to pay too much. This is the modern tradition of “paying the ransom” and last century the groom was met by bride’s parents who could give him a pumpkin as a sign of refusal to marry.
- Blessing. None of Ukrainian girl will agree to have a wedding ceremony without parents’ blessing. This ritual takes place immediately after “bride’s buyout”. Mostly all Ukrainians are Christian Orthodox and that’s why parents bless the couple with the icons in their hands and give them best wishes for happy life in marriage.
- Wedding ceremony. Usually all couples register their marriages in registry office. Every ceremony consists of the moment of stepping on a traditional embroidered cloth (known as rushnyk). A person who steps on rushnyk first, will be the head of the family. To show his respect, a groom has to let his bride to step on it first. Only after stepping on rushnyk, they can take their vows. Some couples arrange a church wedding ceremony in addition to civil wedding in register office. According to Orthodox belief, marriage is a sacrament and wedding is a God’s blessing. The day before the wedding the couple should lent and avoid drinking alcohol, smoking and eating meat.
- Ukrainian wedding bread. Every nation has a tradition of having special bread for the wedding and it is called Korovai in Ukraine. It’s a big round braided bread that can be decorated with different symbols of love and happiness. It is given to the bride and groom as a blessing. The couple has to try Korovai before and during the wedding ceremonies both in register office and in church.
- Where is my wife? Another interesting tradition on every Ukrainian wedding happens when a couple comes to the restaurant after all ceremonies to celebrate “being a husband and a wife” with their guests. From the first moment a groom has to keep an eye on his bride because her bridesmaids will find numerous reasons to distract him and kidnap the bride or steal her shoe. They hide the bride (or the shoe) somewhere and ask the groom to pay money for it or do something for bringing her back. All guests are involved in this process too and help the groom financially to get his bride.
You have to remember that Ukrainian wedding is always full of activities and wedding games and you can never predict what kind of games it might be.
- Sweet or Bitter. Every person on the wedding ceremony has to say a toast and every toast ends with Ukrainian word “Hirko” that means “bitter”. After this word, a bride and a groom have to kiss each other while the guests start counting the duration of their kiss shouting out “one, two, three….”. According to the tradition, if something is “bitter” then kissing will make it sweet. At the end of the party, the couple is really tired of kissing each other every 10 minutes.
Ukrainian wedding may last till the morning. Some couples arrange a two-days wedding celebration and traditions on the second day differ depending on the region.
- Being just two! When the party is over and the groom and the bride can be alone in their bedroom, there are also some traditions. The main one is that the groom has to help his bride with her hair and wedding dress. Taking out the pins and studs from her hair, he calls her with sweet names like “Sweetheart”, “Darling”, “Honey”; one word for one pin at a time.
Differences and similarities of wedding traditions in the USA and Ukraine
Wedding is very important for newlyweds as they will look at the photos and watch video of their ceremony many times in the future. Before you come close to this day with your significant one, you have to discuss and plan the wedding together, including American and Ukrainian traditions. What are the differences and similarities of wedding traditions? Will it be difficult for both a groom and a bride to accept them?
- Ukrainians don’t arrange a rehearsal wedding like they do in America on a day before real wedding ceremony.
- Ukrainian bridesmaids will never agree to wear the same dress as others, though in America, a bride chooses the color and the design of her bridesmaids dresses.
- The tradition of throwing the bride’s bouquet is similar in both countries but American bride can throw her garter as well. It’s not appropriate for Ukrainian bride as a garter is considered to be a part of intimate clothing and is intended only for husband’s eyes.
- You can hardly hear your guests shouting out “Bitter” on American wedding. But if they clink their glasses, this is the sign for kissing.
- Presents are opened publicly at the definite time of the wedding in America and if guests brought money as a wedding present, there is a small bridal money bag on bride’s hand for these needs. Ukrainians get all the presents in the beginning of the wedding party and open them only after bringing them home.
- Americans never spend their first wedding night at home. They book a room in the hotel or travel somewhere on honeymoon. Usually, Ukrainians come back home after wedding party and spend their first night there.
It’s a well-known fact that Americans honored their traditions but they easily accept the new one. If you are ready to have a Ukrainian wedding with a Ukrainian lady, it will be interesting and exciting for you to learn and take part in Ukrainian wedding traditions as a groom.