Today's post doesn't have anything crafty, as many of you know my craft room is temporarily in storage, but today's post should be interesting. Why? Because I had the privilege of attending a really fun Ukrainian wedding as 'an insider.' My daughter Sarah is a peace corps volunteer in Vishkovo Ukraine. While there, she met a wonderful man, Ivan, and they are in love. I had a business trip to Munich Germany recently and booked a flight to Ukraine after my business ended so I could see Sarah. It just so happened that the weekend I was going to be in town, coincided with Ivan's younger brother Pavlo's wedding so I got to attend the wedding and participate like a family member.
It was really fun and I enjoyed witnessing the unique cultural experience of weddings in Ukraine, getting to know Ivan and his family and spending time with Sarah.
I arrived on Thursday night and Friday Sarah and I headed to the beauty salon. Sarah got her hair done and I got a manicure. Sarah had decided to get bangs and after a lengthy conversation with the stylist (in both English and Ukrainian) she got a really nice cut.
Next on the agenda was accessories. Sarah had a nice necklace with little pearls, but no earrings to match. So we headed out to Lviv on Saturday to find earrings. After 4 stores we had an extra necklace and earrings for her to wear. Below is the fun little artsy-crafty store where we found them.
We headed outside to await the arrival of the bride's friends and took the time to get a few photos.
We enjoyed fruit, sandwiches and juice to accompany the alcohol. At that point in time I realized it was going to be a long day of partying. I had about half a shot (to stay friendly) but passed on the next two rounds!
Next up in the festivities was heading to Marianna's house to barter for the bride. Ivan's brother is holding a special wedding sweet bread. It was decorated very beautifully and poor Sarhiy had to carry it all afternoon, to the brides house, to the wedding and finally to the reception hall.
After the negotiation was done, Pavlo was allowed to approach Mariana's door accompanied by two lovely match makers. After this next round of shots, Pavlov was quite happy and was glad to have the arms of the ladies to keep his stride steady.
All throughout the meal and singing, the crowd would periodically call out a Ukrainian word that translates to 'Bitter.' When the crowd yells this, it means the bride and groom must kiss. The logic is that it is 'bitter' and seeing the bride and groom (young love) kiss makes it sweeter.
The couple had the first dance, surrounded by flower petals and candles. Then everyone started dancing. Most of the dances involved a circular motion (not sure how they did it so fast and with all that Vodka flowing AND the girls all had on ubber high heels to boot.) Those Ukrainians are very coordinated.
I guess all the Ukrainians love this. As for me, well I'm not much of a vodka drinker. I'm guessing it's an acquired taste. Once the other gentlemen at the table heard that I had done the Ukrainian shot they all wanted to dance with me. So, I polka'd around the dance floor for most of the evening. It was fun because the men were the ones initiating all the dancing and it was a mix between traditional polka like dances and modern dances. Everyone danced with everyone and it was a lot of fun. Yes, we did the Macarana and yes we did the Chicken Dance. All the other music was Ukrainian pop music.
Below is a fun video of Sarah and Ivan doing a dance game. Here couples were to dance on a newspaper and then fold it and dance again, then fold it again. I think Sarah and Ivan won the game. Most of the other dance games involved dancing in a circle and kissing strangers. I think the Ukrainians are trying to be match makers at the weddings or they want to give the older gentlemen something to look forward to! Most all the kisses were on the cheek, and let's hope everyone was healthy!
It was pretty late, but the sun was still out. Below is a photo that was taken around 9pm and the light is still quite bright.
We all had a lot of fun and I really enjoyed talking to Ivan. Very few people at the wedding spoke English so most of my other conversations were translated by Sarah, but Ivan's brother and aunt spoke a little English so we all did okay.
About midnight I was wiped out so Ivan called a taxi and Sarah, Ivan and I headed back to the city. I got into bed around 1am and was glad I was able to sleep till at least 8:00am the next day.
It was a beautiful day and the Ukrainians really know how to celebrate. Everyone was jovial and happy, everyone danced and sang and it was really fun to be part of the celebration.
It looks like Sarah and Ivan will be soon planning a wedding next summer. We'll have to consider which traditions to include in her celebration. I'm going to encourage her to throw candy at the crowd and while we may have some vodka on hand, I don't think we'll have one bottle for every 4 people! And I don't know that we'll need pickles, brown bread or pork fat, but who knows. It will be their special day to plan.