Russian Weddings: The Reception(s)


Why take only one day to celebrate a life-long commitment, when you can celebrate for days instead! Are you wondering how? Here are just a few examples of Russian traditions and customs you, too, can incorporate into your special day whether it lasts one day or several.


Upon the end of their wedding ceremony, Russian couples often release white doves into the air as a symbol of the purity of their love. From thereon, the festivities are nonstop.


It is customary in Russia for the bride and groom to take a tour of the city. They will often have their wedding portraits snapped in front three to five landmarks that hold great meaning.


A Tamada, or toastmaster, often plays a pivotal role in the reception. A friend or relative may be given this role, however, many couples are now hiring professional entertainers. Not only do they give the toasts, but they also introduce guests and ensure that the festivities are flowing well.

The first toast is made to the bride and groom, traditionally with vodka shots, which have already been placed at each place setting. Following the first shot, the guests will chant and shout, “Gorko! Gorko! Gorko!” to indicate the vodka is bitter. The newlyweds are then obliged to kiss to sweeten the taste.

The second toast is made to the parents in thanksgiving by the couple. The Tamada then invites the friends and family to give toasts of their own, customarily presenting their gift to the couple at that time. Each toast is spaced out to give guest time to feast and talk. Every toast is followed with a shot of vodka and shouts of “Gorko!”


Russian weddings include several games between the guests and the couple. One example is the “kidnapping” of the bride. In the midst of all the dancing, guests will still the bride away and hold her hostage until the groom pays the ransom. This may be in the form of money, though a Franklin was not enough for the groom pictured above, who break-danced for the return of his bride. However, the dancing certainly does not signify the end of the feast. In fact, it simply makes room for the main course! The reception ends late into the night after much more feasting, toasting, and dancing.

After all the toasting and partying, guests usually need some time to recover. For this reason, day two’s festivities customarily begin in the evening. While everyone from the first reception are invited, only close friends and family usually attend. Here, there is more eating, drinking, playing games, and being merry!

Russian Weddings: the crowning


Set against the lush cultural backdrop of tradition and beauty, it is only fit that Russian wedding ceremonies are equally beautiful, not only outwardly, but in its customs and rituals as well. The “betrothal” and “crowning” of the couple are two such traditions that, while rooted in the Eastern Orthodox church, can be incorporated into your own special day to add a symbolic touch.


The betrothal service begins at the entrance of the ceremony location and ends at the altar. Bride, groom, and attendants alike wait at the door as the priest, or officiant, comes to greet them. The bride and groom must acknowledge that they come of their own free will, followed by the priest inviting the couple and guest to enter and approach the altar. The wedding rings are then blessed and exchanged between the couple as they say their vows.

A popular option in Russian culture is the triple wedding band, which signifies that their lives are entwined forever. Wedding bands are worn on the right ring finger.


While the actual vows are exchanged during the betrothal service, the crowning is the most integral part of the ceremony, and what distinguishes Russian Orthodox weddings from western ceremonies. This ritual begins with the couple lighting candles, which they will hold during the remainder of the service.

The bride and groom are then crowned by the best man and maid of honor as they receive a marriage blessing. They listen to readings from the bible, followed by sharing wine from a common cup, to signify the uniting of their joys and sorrows. Also during the ceremony, they process around the altar in a circle as a symbol of their eternal marriage.


Fun fact- while today, the couple remains crowned until the end of the ceremony, it used to be customary for the bride and groom to wear their crowns for eight days after they are married. Imagine that!

We hope you have found your dose of inspiration for the day!

Mother’s Day Inspiration Board


Trying to beat the restaurant crowds while looking for something extra special to do this Mother’s Day? Take advantage of the lovely weather and enjoy a picnic! Now, while you may be groaning at the thought of sitting on a patch of itchy grass and eating plain ham sandwiches, remember this is Wedding Elegance. Picnic in style, ladies!

Mini Food, Vintage Decor, Orchard Dining, Picnic Basket, Lavender Lemonade, Logo

For your viewing pleasure, we put together this vintage-themed picnic inspiration board. Enjoy!

Love the summery vintage vibe? This look requires just a few choice pieces, such as colorful lanterns, milk glass, and mix-and-match china. Mothers and daughters alike are also sure to enjoy adorable finger food such as tea sandwiches and mini pies, washed down with a glass (or mason jar) of lavender lemonade, or a spot of tea. The possibilities are endless, all you need is a sprinkle of imagination and the company of the people you love. And don’t forget your picnic basket!

Russian weddings: Ransom of the Bride


Russian culture is notorious for its rich traditions and love of rituals, so it only makes sense that weddings are a natural extension of this.


A few trademarks? The couple’s breaking of bread, the crowning of the couple at the ceremony (if it is an Orthodox wedding), the free-flowing alcohol…and the ransom of the bride!


This age-old tradition has its roots in a very theatrical past. As the groom made his way to the bride’s house, family members would present him with several challenges that would demonstrate his strength, intelligence, and talents. For example, they might have him saw a log blocking his way, or solve a riddle. If he failed any of the challenges, he would have to literally pay a ransom, offering up coins or candies. The groom would overcome all these obstacles until he reached his beloved.


Today, the ransom of the bride has become more a contemporary game. The challenges are performed as the groom is on his way to the bride’s home, or even the wedding ceremony itself. The bridesmaids and best man usually set up the obstacles, which are more lighthearted challenges such as answering riddles about the bride, writing a love poem, and other similar actions he has to perform in order to pass.

In the wedding depicted above, the groom even had to walk on his hands, dress up as a knight and fight off a dragon. His last challenge was asking the bride’s father for her hand.

Consider incorporating this Russian custom into your wedding if you are looking for a fun and contemporary tradition!

Cinco de Mayo inspiration board


Logo, Cake, Dancing, Bridesmaids, Custom Papel Picado, Margaritas, Centerpiece,  Invitation 

Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner! This spirited holiday is a celebration of Mexico’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla. While just a regional holiday in Mexico, it has been embraced mostly in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage.

We’ve put together an inspiration board to demonstrate just a few ways you can mix in some of that festive spirit into your own wedding. From custom-made papel picado (intricately cut banners) to Margarita signature drinks to cheerful peasant-style bridesmaids dresses, the possibilities are boundless. All you need is a dash of creativity and a splash of color!

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

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