Who knew an episode of Gossip Girl would deliver a fascinating lesson in Russian wedding traditions? The game-playing theme continued on last night's episode, but this game was less manipulative and more like The Newlywed Game.
Before Dorota and Vanya's wedding ceremony, Cyrus explains that "in Russian tradition, before a groom can marry his bride, the wedding party gathers and demands that he answers a series of questions about his beloved. If he's unable to answer these questions to the satisfaction of the crowd, the wedding cannot proceed."
This sounds like a fun tradition, but given that I learned about it on a fictional TV show, I did a little research. Turns out, it's a real tradition, and it's just the beginning. To learn more about Russian wedding traditions and to see a cute clip of Vanya answering one of the questions,
Russian weddings often continue for two days and include family and friends in all sorts of activities and games. Here's how it works.
- As in American wedding tradition, the bride and groom start their days in separate places. But in Russia, it's the groom's job to make his way to his bride, while his friends and family try to block the way.
- Sometimes, there are physical hurdles, like making his way up to a top floor apartment. Along the way, friends will pepper him with questions about his bride. It could be as simple as when her birthday is, or something more involved, like asking him to guess which baby photo is of his bride. If he answers wrong, he might have to fork over cash or another sort of "ransom," like performing a song or dance. Looks like Vanya had it pretty easy:
- Once the groom locates his bride, the couple heads to a civil ceremony, accompanied by close family and friends, such as the wedding attendants, called witnesses. Afterward, the couple will traditionally take a tour of the city, sometimes stopping at historic sites or graves to remember fallen family members, while drinking champagne.
- After the tour, the couple arrives at the reception, which is usually a spirited party, marked by hours of toasts and dancing and sometimes stretching into the next day.
Have you ever attended a Russian wedding? Would you want to steal any of these ideas for your own wedding?
Photos courtesy of The CW