Your in love and it’s time to plan your wedding but now you have one small problem. Your baker doesn’t make Ukrainian wedding cakes or you can’t find your wedding icons. Here at we are happy to help. Our baker makes the sweetest and most intricate breads while our clothing and icons come directly from Ukraine. Below you will find just a small bit of information on some of the traditions and rituals that will take place at your Ukrainian ceremony.
The Ukrainian marriage ceremony is rich in tradition and rituals. The first part of the Ukrainian wedding ceremony, the Betrothal, takes place in the rear vestibule of the church. During the Betrothal, the bride and groom affirm that they are both entering this union freely and as equals. It is at this point that the priest blesses the wedding bands and places them on the fingers of the bride and groom.
The starosty are two friends or family members (the maid of honour and best man) who preside over the wedding as official witnesses. Back in the days of arranged marriages, the starosty acted as matchmakers and were solely responsible for negotiating the union. Today, the starosty’s responsibilities are far more limited. They lead the wedding procession and carry the icons of Jesus and the Virgin Mary into the church. These icons will eventually hold a prominent place in the home of the married couple, and will serve as the spiritual center of the household.
The front of the church is the scene of the final, most sacred portion of a Ukrainian wedding ceremony-the Crowning. It is during the Crowning that the bride and groom place their right hands on the gospel, exchange their vows and become married in the eyes of God.
A Crowning just isn’t a Crowning without-crowns. These crowns represent a symbol of love, purity and fertility. They are placed over the heads of the bride and groom (by the maid of honour and best man) to signify the dawn of a new kingdom to be ruled by the couple-side by side. They also remind the newlyweds that their marriage is a partnership in Christ, and that they owe it to God and to each other to live a life of honor and love.
The hands of the bride and groom are joined with an embroidered cloth , or rushnyk, by the Priest to signify their newly forged union. Once bound to one another, the couple circles the tetrapod (small altar) three times. This procession is called the “Dance of Isaiah,” which reminds us that marriage is a never-ending journey. These are the first steps the young couple takes as husband and wife, so it is only fitting that they walk around the tetrapod-a symbol of Christ.
The couple drinks wine three times to acknowledge the importance of the Holy Trinity and to remind us of Christ’s first miracle at the wedding at Cana. The wine also symbolizes the sweetness of the love that flows from God.
Following the church ceremony comes a grand reception of which there will be lots of food and dancing. At some point during this evening’s festivities, the band will roll into a few bars of a new song, and a funny thing will happen. Ukrainians will actually leave the bar. They’ll suddenly swarm the dance floor to form a large circle. All this activity is a sure sign that the kolomeyka has begun. The kolomeyka is a traditional Ukrainian dance that features a medley of leaps, kicks, and spins.
- The korovai is a traditional wedding bread that symbolizes community, and it takes the place of wedding cake at a Ukrainian reception. Baked in a 9″ cake pan. The korovai is adorned with periwinkle, flowers and bread doves.
- Wedding Rushnyk
- The wedding rushnyk is an important part of your wedding. During the wedding the couple must kneel on a wedding towel (rushnyk). Kalyna can provide you with an authentic one from Ukraine. Hand-embroidered to perfection with lots of embroidery and the traditional wedding rings, this rushnyky took several hours to embroider and will sure to become an heirloom for generations. You may also use this rushnyk to drape your wedding icons in your new home.
- Embroidered Cloth to Tie the Hands
- Another fabulous rushnyk for the tying of hands during your wedding or a beautiful table cover. A lovely red embroidery would fit into any decor. It measures 91/2″ X 54″ in size.
- Wedding Shawls
- On the day of the wedding the matron of honor (druzhka) will adorn the bestman and groomsmen with shawls (sherenkeh) to be worn over the right shoulder. Corsages were pinned on the left. Kalyna can even make your corsages for you. Here we have a very dashing shawl for the bestman.
- Woven & Embroidered Rushnyk: This beautiful woven rushnyk is also embroidered and like the rest of our rushnyky was made in Western Ukraine. It measures 13″ X 76″.
- Wedding Icons
- A breath-taking Icon of Mother of Kazan’ in a wood and glass frame. Metallic art on these Icons are absolutely is exquisite. A beautiful wedding Icon or perfect for your prayer corner or Church. These Icons will be treasured from generation to generation. Measures a large 10.5″ X 13″ X 1.5″ in size
- After Ceremony Bridal Headpiece
- In a special ceremony, the bride’s wedding headpiece is removed, and a kerchief is placed on her head. This act symbolically incorporates her into the community of married women.
- Matching Going Away Blouse & Shirt
- After the supper, the bride says farewell to her friends and parents. To the accompaniment of songs and music, she departs with the groom’s party for his family’s home. They take her dowry and belongings with her. How beautiful would it be to have your husband’s shirt match your going away blouse. Both of these items are hand-embroidered with satin threads and are truly a beautiful work of art. Please see our ladies blouses and men’s shirts for availability.