Brace yourself for a seriously fun wedding! And another epic post! Cos we got a Ukranian-themed wedding to show off! The lovely couple this time were Sonya & James, over Bradford way. Let me start by saying, Ukranians know how to party. Get a load of this…
Sonya’s family are Ukranian, and there was a strong Ukranian theme to this wedding, with loads of fun traditions from the old country.
Their are so many Ukrainian wedding traditions, and it’s not just a party but a whole set of special rituals which symbolized creation of a strong life foundation of a new family and its future well-being. It can be more theatre than a party where the solemnity and merry-making played together.
So, after dropping Clare @ the gents, I set about documenting the bridal preps…
The lovely bride, fixing dad’s tie.
It was semi-organised chaos in the house, with what felt like 5 people in every room, doing something. It was a bit hard to know where to look.
Bridesmaids everywhere, being beautiful and camera shy in equal measure.
In a postcode not far far away
The homies, doing the old ‘how-the-hell-does-this-cravat-thing-work’ thing
There seemed to be a tradition to put a safety pin in your outfit somewhere.
Sonya’s sister helped her don the veil.
The secret pin!
I believe the chap on the right is called the ‘Tamada Ukraine’ who initiates and carries out all the non church-based rituals through the day, and is gaining the blessing of Sonya’s parents while she kneels on a traditional wedding rug.
Booze! This was the start of a LONG days drinkin’! I love the girls expressions on the final shot below! “Mmmmm, vodka”
After the bridesmaids had gone in the ancient Daimler limo, Sonya, her sister & dad, had a few minutes to check themselves.
A fine choice of flora.
What a star!
To the Ukranian Church
See. This ain’t no English Church, that’s for sure.
In Ukranian tradition, the bride & groom meet outside the church, to have the priest check a few things, like if they’re already married or not.
Then after James, Sonya’s walked down the aisle.
My blogs are generally a touch on the L O N G side, so to give your broadband a break you have to click ‘more’ below to see the rest.
Clare was upstairs on the balcony with the choir.
Then came the an important aspect of the wedding, the crowning. A wreath made of vines (called a myrtle), which symbolizes love, purity, and fertility was placed on the couple’s head to represent the dawn of a new kingdom to be ruled by the couple. I like these old traditions.
Bridesmaids chatting while registries were signed
It was a bit of a gloomy day, and after managing to squeeze out a shot of everyone outside the church, it started spitting. But Sonya & James brought my white brolly & we had a stomp around a nearby park and got some lovely stuff. They look like naughty schoolchildren in this one:
The park had a Japanese gardens, with a bridge and loads of fab plants.
I liked James’s flower & cravat combo too.
Not the most exciting photo below, but just as we got back in the car we saw two magpies. Two for joy!
Sonya, James and the cousins, messin’.
I love this natural group shot of the gents having a laugh
The room looked cool.
A cake & a traditional bread. The bread was explained to be a korovai and is traditional wedding bread that is meant to symbolize community.
One of these giant martini glasses took a dive about 20 seconds after folk sat down!
Sweet tables are my bag. Those sweets in the back right of the middle pic are beer flavour! Genius.
There was a little tradition at the entrance to the wedding breakfast, where the bride & groom were welcomed in, and did a shot with their parents. But it’s good luck for the bride & groom to only have a sip & to throw it over their shoulder, with the wedding party on the receiving end!
Also from the old world, if anyone thinks their wine is getting bitter, they can ding their glass and the bride & groom have to have a kiss, to sweeten their drink. The parents ended up getting involved too!
After guests had finished eating, the gift-giving began along the head table. Donations start with the parents meeting the couple in a shot.
Officially, they then proceed to do a shot with EVERY GUEST!
And there were lots.
I’ve a feeling our couple weren’t on the Voddy, cos they’d be guaranteed a stomach pump if they drank a shot with everyone.
There are so many images I want to post from this wedding, so here’s a wee flashy gallery of another random 30 I like from the day:
Then in non-Ukranian tradition, and more a cool idea from Sonya, they had an ice cream van roll in, & bridesmaids gave out vouchers for free 99s!
James was a happy bunny. A Tetleys and a cone. That’s joy right there.
What’s all this?
With the free bar flowing, and a shot or two in everyone, the gang now started to crank it up a notch. This tradition had James sit on a barrel while Sonya & her bridesmaids danced around, spilling their drinks. The veil was passed to a bridesmaid and swapped for a Ukranian gypsy headscarf was put on, to portray daily life and rituals. Then James had to mop up spilt drinks to symbolise he was going to do his bit in the marriage.
Then came my highlight! As dad called it ‘UKEY DANCING’! Everyone knew all the words and all the moves.
And some people had some awesome moves, while the 5 piece band rocked the stage. I suddenly felt like I was in a scene in the Deer Hunter!
Most of these dudes aren’t even touching the ground!
A traditional bride in the Ukraine may be kidnapped from her wedding reception, by friends, to symbolize the invasions their country has suffered over the years. But it seems James had a good hold of Sonya, and she wasn’t going anywhere!
I sometimes leave thinking ‘they were nice’ or ‘what a lovely family’; but this wedding I left thinking ‘I wish I were Ukranian!’ Their way of celebrating struck the perfect balance of fun, respect for ancient tradition and drinking loads of shots! I’m sure everyone else enjoyed it as much as I did!
nb: Sonya & James have a private client area containing their wedding & pre-wedding highlights at www.barnabyaldrick.com. If you were at the wedding and would like to see more of their photos, drop them an email for the password (or email me with their surnames & wedding date and I’ll let you know know the login).