Dating and marriage customs in russia
While the betrothal used to be blessed at the beginning of the engagement, it is now commonly done at the same ceremony as the wedding itself.
The bride and groom stand inside the entrance of the church and the priest blesses them and gives them lighted candles which they will hold throughout the ceremony.
The best man and maid of honor are called Witnesses or "svideteli" in Russian.
The ceremony and the ring exchange take place on the first day of the wedding.
Despite their seemingly unique matrimonial ceremonies, Russian weddings have adopted some western traditions, including incorporating bridesmaids into the wedding party.
The service traditionally takes place in the morning after the celebration of the Divine Liturgy, during which the wedding rings were blessed by being placed on the Holy Table (altar).
For this reason, the ceremony of the wedding is referred to as the Crowning.
The priest leads the couple into the center of the church where they come to stand on a piece of new, rose-colored fabric, symbolizing their entry into a new life.
During the civil ceremony, the parents offer the married couple two crystal glasses, which they are asked to break.
The more pieces or shards of glass they create, the greater the number of years of happiness they will spend together.