May 1, 2022
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Wedding traditions in Russia

The wedding was and remains one of the main events in life, so in Russia many authentic wedding traditions and rituals were associated with this event. Some of them eventually became a thing of the past, some were transformed, and something appeared quite recently. It is these rituals that attract foreign tourists, but it is no less interesting to learn more about this topic for the Russians themselves.

Wedding traditions in Russia

Ancient wedding traditions

The main difference between a wedding in Russia in the past centuries and the modern approach is as follows: earlier, the decision to intermarry between two families was taken by parents on both sides, and now the last word remains with the bride and groom. Therefore, among the disappeared wedding traditions of the peoples of Russia, much is connected with mother and father, with the process of matchmaking, etc. Then the most important celebrations began from the moment of preparation for the wedding, because it was then that the fate of two families was decided.


Matchmakers went to the house of the chosen one. They were relatives or friends of the groom. The ambassadors were supposed to get to know the family, tell about the young man and find out if the girl’s father and mother were against her becoming the wife of this man. Sometimes parents asked the opinion of the most betrothed, but in most cases they made the decision personally after evaluating all the pros and cons of such a proposal.

Matchmaking in Russia


If the cherished “yes” sounded, a rite of hand beating was performed. In Russia, it was something like a contract certified by a notary. This happened in the presence of other people. The parents of the young put on canvas mittens and shook hands firmly. Immediately after they shook hands, they began to discuss important issues: what date would the wedding be scheduled for, how to distribute expenses, what to prepare and other organizational issues.


An important factor was what was prepared for the girl as a dowry. The size was announced right during the matchmaking. They talked not only about the things that the bride would take with her, but also about what she would get after the death of her parents. If a girl had brothers, she got nothing. If only daughters grew up in the family, then the eldest of them was the richest heiress.

As soon as all organizational issues were resolved, the girl and the young man acquired a new status of the bride and groom.


Since the fate of their children was decided by the parents, the bride and groom often did not know each other by the time of the matchmaking, therefore, after the final decision was made, they arranged a bride-to-be. Even if the young people already knew each other before, this was their first meeting in a new capacity. As a rule, the young woman had to set the table and constantly serve the guests. And the guy’s relatives praised how hardworking and economic he is.

Views in Russia


This is a female rite, during which the girl wailed and lamented about parting with the girl’s carefree life. She thanked her mother and father for the fact that she had a good childhood, that she was raised correctly, fed and watered. Now ahead are worries and problems, someone else’s house.

This emotional coloring was more pronounced in the North of Russia, where the wedding was considered almost as tragic an event for the bride’s family as the funeral. After all, their daughter ceased to exist in her family and went to strangers. In the South, this event did not have such a tragic coloring.


Bachelor parties were rarely held, it was not an obligatory tradition, unlike bachelorette parties. And if now these are fun entertainments, then the emotional degree of these events a few centuries ago was completely different. The girl symbolically said goodbye to all her unmarried friends before becoming married. If she cried a little, they invited a special mourner, who with her lamentations could pity everyone. It was necessary to moan even if the betrothed herself was pleased with who the groom was.

Her braids were untwisted to ritual lingering songs, and after that they were taken to a heated bathhouse, where they soared well with a broom. It was believed that such a ceremony would help remove the evil eye or damage, so that in the near future the couple would have a healthy child. After this procedure, the newlywed was clean both literally and figuratively.

Bachelorette party in Russia


Redemption was normal practice. It really made sense, since by giving their daughter to another family, the parents lost their assistant. The ransom was held the day before the wedding. Usually not money was handed over: it could be pets, clothes, fabrics, grain, dishes, furniture.


Wedding traditions in Russia with the advent of Christianity included a wedding ceremony. But for a long period only the upper strata of society got married in the church. Commoners loudly celebrated without a wedding, and the news of the newlyweds became known throughout the district. The very fact of the celebration was considered a confirmation of the legality of marriage. For the entire population, weddings became a widespread practice only in the second half of the 17th century.


Not every family could celebrate the wedding, as it required a lot of money: it was necessary to organize a big feast. For a comfortable life together, on the way from the church, the newlyweds were sprinkled with wheat, and the road in front of them was swept up to sweep away all the problems and difficulties.

Wedding in Russia

The feast usually began in the girl’s house, and the festivities went on for 2-3 days. By the end of this time, the newlyweds moved to the groom, where, in connection with this, they also organized a magnificent feast. To feed all the guests, it was necessary to harvest, slaughter a lot of poultry and cattle, so the wedding period fell in the fall after the harvest was completed.


Now the witness from the side of the bride is called a friend, and this word came from the wedding traditions of Russia, but its meaning has changed a lot. Previously, a man was called a friend, who at the celebration simultaneously performed the functions of a manager and toastmaster. He made sure that all the rituals were observed, entertained the guests, gave the floor to relatives who wished to congratulate the newlyweds. In some regions of Russia, it was believed that celebrating a wedding without a boyfriend threatens an unhappy family life.


Their traditions were in Russia even after the wedding. After the feasts ended in the groom’s house, the young couple was supposed to visit their relatives with their husband. It was an exciting first time when she was no longer hostess, but a guest here. She promised not to forget her mother, to come more often. In fact, after marriage, a woman became a member of another family, so there was no talk of helping her parents: she had almost round-the-clock household duties.

Branches in Russia

How about now

Today, this holiday has a very joyful connotation. It is perceived as a promise of future happiness. Most modern customs and traditions at a wedding in Russia are more or less reminiscent of those of our ancestors. But there are new ones dictated by modern conditions of life.


A couple of decades ago, the engagement was considered the formal decision of the couple to marry. Today this is a separate event for which they are preparing. As a rule, the preparation falls on the one who intends to propose. Traditionally, this is a man, although recently there have been more and more female initiators. If “Yes!” sounded, an engagement ring is put on the finger. In most cases, this is a product with one large stone. You need to choose a ring so that later it looks harmoniously with the engagement ring.

During the engagement, the ring is put on the ring finger of the right hand, but on the day of the marriage they change to the middle one, making room for the engagement ring.

Bachelor and bachelorette party

Now such bachelor parties are stormy and fun. Most often, the venue is nightclubs or strip clubs. The future bride should have a bridal veil on her head, and sometimes her friends wear the same jewelry.

Bachelor and bachelorette party


More and more newlyweds prefer to hold a wedding photo session not on the wedding day, but shortly before it. This really frees up time on the day of the actual holiday and allows you to prepare well for working with a photographer. In recent years, a wedding mini-movie a couple of minutes long, which is shot by a videographer together with a photographer, has become almost mandatory.

shoe theft

This interesting custom, which allows every bride to feel like Cinderella, has not lost its popularity for a very long time. The theft is carried out by children who quietly crawl under the table. To return the shoe, the groom or boyar must pay a ransom or fulfill the conditions of some kind of competition.

The tradition is so loved that at the very beginning of the holiday, the host usually announces that the theft is considered valid only for the first time. Often this kidnapping is followed by the kidnapping of a young woman. Her friends steal and return to her husband after successfully passing test competitions.

Outside registration

A registry office representative can now formalize a legal marriage anywhere, and more and more couples are taking advantage of this opportunity. Someone chooses a beautiful landscape park, someone chooses ancient palaces, river or sea coasts. There are couples who prefer to do it abroad in an exotic country. This approach allows you to realize any fantasies and turn the holiday into an individual one. The only thing that can upset you during the check-in is bad weather. But this option is worked out in advance by the organizer or manager.

Outside registration

shedding petals

Our ancestors showered the newlyweds with grain, a little later they began to do this with copper coins as well. It was a symbolic act for a well-fed and rich life. Even in Soviet times, this tradition was preserved, but now it has changed. This is due to the fact that wheat and other grains got stuck in the bride’s hair, and coppers could hit the forehead quite painfully.

Therefore, the custom was transformed into an oriental style, where the newlyweds are showered with rose petals. It is completely safe and looks very nice on video, so the shedding of petals has established itself as one of the modern wedding traditions in Russia.

First dance

This is a very romantic and beautiful ceremony that all photographers and videographers try to capture. The staging of the dance, the choice of the song – all this is now taken very seriously. And the beginning of this custom was laid back under Peter I, when the ball was an obligatory part of the wedding of the nobles.

Bouquet and garter

Throwing a wedding bouquet is a relatively old tradition, it was very loved in the Soviet Union. It was believed that the girl who caught the flowers thrown by the bride would be the next to marry.

Garter Bride

Throwing a garter is a similar ritual, but for a male audience, so the groom throws it. They adopted the ritual in Europe, and it has taken root with us, moreover, it causes no less excitement than the attempts of the female part of the guests to catch the bouquet.

white doves

One of the most beautiful modern wedding traditions in Russia is the release of white doves. This is due to the fact that these birds have always been associated with purity and devotion, with a happy marriage, because they choose a couple of times for themselves and for life.

The young hold pigeons in their hands and at the same time release them into the sky. If the female and male immediately soared up, then family life will be long and easy.

A wedding cake

There was a whole industry for the release of such cakes. They are always large, multi-layered, and can be placed on multi-tiered stands. Decoration and design are thought out in advance so that it is in harmony with the direction of the whole holiday.

A special item is cutting the cake. The newlyweds should do it at the same time, because now they are one family, and everything will be done together.

A wedding cake

financial question

One of the most important questions is who traditionally pays for a wedding in Russia. Previously, all financial expenses fell on the shoulders of the parents of the newlyweds, but every decade this responsibility is increasingly transferred to the young themselves. Often the finances are invested by the older members of both families and the youth. In order to have a good time off like it’s supposed to, sometimes after the engagement they save up money for several years, especially if you don’t want to involve moms and dads to help. The older the newlyweds, the less often they turn to their parents on this issue.

Ancient wedding traditions and customs in Russia are quite stable. And if a couple of decades ago they were mostly abandoned, now there is a new surge in the return to the cultural heritage of the ancestors, forgotten rituals are played out in a new way, putting other meanings into them. But they always harbor hope that family life will be exactly the way they dreamed.

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