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Learn Russian | Russian wedding traditions.

Weddings in Russia so much more than just getting the bride down the aisle. It can be two-day long event packed with unusual and quirky traditions, from kidnapping to drinking out of shoes to customary party games. The most weird Russian wedding traditions:

 1 ) To pay a ransom fo the bride. Before to get his fiance to the altar, sometimes the groom has to complete a series of challenges or pay a ransom. This is because someone – usually the bride’s own parents – have kidnapped her in a custom that has the dual purpose of representing the groom’s love for his future wife, and to embarrass him too. If a task cannot be completed, a payment of either real cash, chocolates, or flowers must be made to the bridesmaids as compensation.

2) When the couple is announced as newlyweds, their parents offer them a crystal glass each. They then muster all of their strength to shatter them into as many shards as possible, as each piece signifies a year of happy marriage.

3) Back in the days it was once a legal requirement for Russian weddings to include two witnesses at the official registration of the marriage. Now this is no longer necessary, couples will still choose two witnesses for their wedding day, who will get to wear a special sash to identify their position.

4) Photo session. After the ceremony, the newly married couple with their bridal party disappear for a few hours as they traipse around the city or countryside taking photos. It is customary for the bride and groom to take a series of wedding photos in front of well-known landmarks and to pay respects to fallen soldiers at whichever war memorial is nearby. The road trip posse will need transportation to get them around to all of these landmarks, so the couple will arrange for limousines or a series of cars decked out in gold rings and flowers to take everyone around in.

5) Wedding toasts are often wrapped up with a shout of “Gorko!” which means bitter. This is a signal for the newlyweds to kiss. Tradition says the sweetness of their kiss will enhance the ‘bitter’ drinks. Guests will also count aloud how many seconds the kiss lasts for, and this is said to show the strength of their love for one another. Just so that the newlyweds aren’t having all the fun, the guests then have to finish off their drinks straight away.

6) Before the newlyweds head off from their reception, they take a bit of a traditional bread loaf that is heavy on salt. The superstition dictates that the person who takes the biggest bite will become the head of their future household.

Russian weddings can last several days and sometimes a whole week. There are always lots of fun, dancing, competitions, jokes and vodka at Russian weddings

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