Sep 28, 2007

Russian Wedding Traditions

A traditional Russian Wedding lasts for at least two days and some wedding last as long as a week. Throughout the celebration there is dancing, singing, extended toasts and a great deal of food and beverages. The Best Man and Maid of Honor are called witnesses, "svideteli" in Russian. The ceremony and the ring exchanges take place on the first day of the Wedding and on this special day many other events take place. Throughout the years, Russian Weddings have adopted many western cultures, including Bridesmaids and Flower girls.

Some traditional Russian Wedding Rituals include:

Paying the Ransom-Once the groom arrives at the bride's home, he must pay a ransom for the Bride, a term in Russian known as "vykup nevesty". The entire is played out in a comical fashion and everyone is entertained.
Traditional Ceremony-In the next step, the Bride and Groom have and optional traditional ceremony in a church or a synagogue, depending on the couple's religion. In Russian this is called the "venchanie". Churches or synagogues do not have official government status and a civil ceremony must also be held.

Civil ceremony-Following the traditional ceremony, the couple must have a civil ceremony called "rospis v zagse". This ceremony takes place at the department of public services, formally known as ZAGS. At ZAGS the couple is greeted by family members with bread and salt. It is offered to the newlyweds by both parents as a symbol of health, prosperity and long life. Both bride and groom must take a bite of the bread and the one that takes the largest bite will be the head of the family! The ceremony ranges from 15 to 30 minutes and during this time the rings are exchanged and the couple is pronounced Husband and Wife.

Tour of the city-After the official part, it is customary for the bride and groom, and some of their close friends and relatives to go on a tour of the historic sites of the city, taking pictures and drinking champagne. In Moscow, popular stops include the Red Square, Grave of the Unknown Soldier and Sparrow Hills near Moscow State University. Usually by the end of the tour many guests are already singing and dancing.

Reception-After touring the city for several hours, the couple meets guests for the reception.
-The first toast is made to the newlyweds and after the first shot, the guest begin to shout "Gorko, Gorko, Gorko..." "Gorko" means "bitter" and the guests are referring to the bitter wine. At this point the couple must kiss for a long time to take out the bitter taste of the wine. By Russian tradition everyone throws their champagne glasses on the floor and it is considered a good luck if the glasses break when they hit the ground.
-The second toast is made to the parents.
-The new couple dances the first dance of the night.
-The groom should constantly keep his eyes on the bride. If the bride gets out of the groom’s sight, she could be stolen by his friends and the groom will have to pay the ransom. (again)
-As the night continues the guests dance, sing, play games, and make toasts.
-For the next several days, the family continues to eat, drink, and celebrate.

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Wedding Readings #7

Colossians 3:12-17

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Psalms 128:1-6

"Blessed is every one who fears the LORD, who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be happy, and it shall be well with you. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Lo, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD. The LORD bless you from Zion! May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life! May you see your children's children! Peace be upon Israel!"

John 2:1-11

On the third day there was a marriage at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; Jesus also was invited to the marriage, with his disciples. When the wine failed, the mother of Jesus said to him, "They have no wine." And Jesus said to her, "O woman, what have you to do with me? My hour has not yet come." His mother said to the servants, "Do whatever he tells you." Now six stone jars were standing there, for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, "Fill the jars with water." And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, "Now draw some out, and take it to the steward of the feast." So they took it. When the steward of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward of the feast called the bridegroom and said to him, "Every man serves the good wine first; and when men have drunk freely, then the poor wine; but you have kept the good wine until now." This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

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Sep 27, 2007

Winter Wedding Flowers

Flower styles, availabilities, and costs vary throughout the year. This also varies from region to region. Florists can get almost any type of flowers for you, but it makes sense to have the bulk of your floral arrangements made of flowers that are readily available during the season of your wedding. You have many options for winter wedding flowers. All white, all red, red and white, full color, all are available, with plenty of options for festive fillers. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Narcissus- white or yellow with flowers with an orange center. Like the mythical Narcissus who was in love with his own reflection, these flowers are beautiful

Magnolia Blossoms- The pink tinted flowers offer simple elegance, and offer hints of all the life of spring time to come

Carnations- Classic flowers, always available

Violets- Small and striking flowers

Gardenia- White flowers that are beautiful for a winter wedding, elegant, and have a lovely fragrance

Amaryllis- You can get them in different colors; the petals are multi-shaded and look stunning

Orchids- Many brides love orchids, and even see them as a status symbol. These flowers really are beautiful, but they are also pricey.

Roses- Such a classic, and so many varieties to choose from. A bouquet of nothing but roses can look very elegant all on its on, or roses mixed with other flowers can draw from each other's beauty. Red and white roses are both classic and fitting for a winter wedding. Fire and Ice roses are white with red tips; though some have a more orange than red tint.

Snowball Mums- These look like what their name implies

Freesia- Many different color options, a nice simple flower

Tulips- Another classic that offers your bouquet or centerpiece a nice push of color, with many colors to choose from.

Lilies- Big, bright flowers than can add an elegant "oomph" to your bouquet. Many varieties to choose from. Calla Lilies are especially elegant, and a classic choice for a wedding flower.

Crocus- Several varieties, tending to be purple with an orange center.

Gerbera Daisies- These flowers are bright, fun and innocent, and also pack in a lot of color.

Dahlias- A beautiful burst of a flower, in a variety of colors

Lisianthus- These flowers have a gentle, truly feminine look.

To fill in your bouquet or centerpiece:
Foliage that is sprayed gold is very festive for Christmas weddings especially
Baby's Breath
Dusty Miller- this is silver, and perfect for a winter wedding as it adds an icy elegance to the arrangement

Poinsettias are wonderful as decorations or in centerpieces. You could also give these to guests to take home at the end of the night (provided they go to homes without cats or small children.)

The best way to figure out what flowers will work for your wedding is to do a little research, then sit down with your florist. They'll be able to tell you what has and hasn't worked well in their experience, plus they will be able to give you an idea of the costs of the different flowers. Keep in mind that prices can vary greatly from florist to another. Make sure you find a florist with a good reputation, who you trust to match your vision for your wedding day, and to work with you to make that happen on your budget.


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