Today I cordially invite you to travel, so far virtual, along the wedding traditions. As I mainly organize international weddings, I decided to introduce you to the customs, rituals and trends of weddings all over the world. Each time I will ask 5 questions to my interlocutors who come from a given culture. My today’s guest is Natalia from Kiev, who was very eager to tell about the traditions in Ukraine. Without extending it, I invite you to an interview :).

What are the wedding trends in Ukraine? Are more and more couples deciding to get married, or is it quite the opposite?

I wouldn’t say that people started getting married less or more often. There are no significant changes in these directions.

How much earlier is it best to start preparing?

Usually, preparations begin after submitting the application to the Registry Office, i.e. a month or two before the wedding. Interestingly, young couples can get married only at the Registry Office, and then, if necessary, swear before God in a selected Orthodox or Catholic church. Nevertheless, this office wedding is a mandatory step to that, there are no concordat weddings.

How big are traditional Ukrainian weddings? How many guests are invited?

If you take an average ordinary couple, then the closest relatives and friends from both sides are invited to weddings. A small wedding is 20-30 people, normal is 50-80, over 100 is already a large wedding and usually such weddings are made by wealthy people or people living in the countryside. Such large weddings are rare in cities.

What are Ukrainian wedding traditions?

The most common are the traditions related to the buyout of the Bride, when the Groom and his Groomsmen have to figure out a lot of riddles from the Bridesmaids to get to the Bride’s apartment or room, to take her to the Registry Office from here. If the puzzle is unsolvable – the groom pays any amount for his failure. The collected money is left with the bridesmaids or given to the parents of the bride. At the wedding, the guests collect money „for the son”, „for the daughter”, and the guests are also sold each piece of the wedding cake. The collected funds go to the newlyweds. Until recently, it was not customary for the bride and groom to ask for money as a gift, so after the wedding there were a lot of different, not always needed gifts. 5 sets of bed linen, 3 electric kettles and 6 sets of dishes. Therefore, at weddings, people collected money for everything possible.

Another interesting tradition is that parents put a towel („rusznyk”) at the Registry Office. Superstition says that whoever sets foot on it first will dominate the future marriage. Couples, however, quite unanimously try to stand on it at the same time :).

ukrainian wedding, wedding in ukraine, wedding traditions in ukraine, ukraińskie tradycje weselne

At the entrance to the wedding hall, the couple are greeted with a huge loaf of bread, called 'karawaj’, the bride and groom should bite off a piece, and here again whoever bites off more will have the decisive voice in the marriage relationship.

karawaj, zwyczaje ukraińskie, ukrainian bread, ukrainian wedding

What are the typical meals and drinks during a Ukrainian wedding?

There are no traditional wedding meals. The party starts with tons of hot and cold snacks and salads. Then one, two, three hot dishes. Fish, meat, poultry. The cake is always served at the very end, it is the last sweet served. After it, guests can go home. When it comes to drinks, it is most often vodka or wine.

And at the end some footages from a beautiful wedding of Nastja and Jan in Kharkov!
Fot. Sergey Usik