Weddings… Ukrainian Baptist style

Last Saturday, Sveta got married.  I got to know her this past summer as she interpreted for a couple of teams I hosted.  I knew she was bound for marriage the first day she interpreted.  She was constantly on her phone talking to her boyfriend, Zhenya.

Baptist believers have several traditions during the wedding day.  I make this distinction as I have never been to any other kind of wedding in Ukraine.

First, the young man comes to the house (or apartment) to pick up the young bride to take her to the church.  Ukrainian law requires them to have a civil ceremony as well, which is typically done before the church wedding. 

Zhenya picked up Sveta and her attendant, Toni.  Together with his attendant, they drove to Sharkhtorsk (about 1 hour from Donetsk).  Around 11 a.m. the flower girl and boy made their entrance, followed by the attendants and then the bride and groom walk down the aisle.

They had asked Stepan Ivanovich to preside over the service.  He is the regional pastor for Donetsk.  He did a fine job outlining the roles of both the wife and husband.  I enjoyed what he had to say to the couple and the responsibility of the family and church.

One of my favorites Ukrainian traditions is when the pastor lays hands on the couple and prays for them.  The pastor also had the parents of the the couple pray their blessing upon their children.

After the service, several pictures were taken around the church and then the couple headed back to Donetsk where they took pictures around the different cultural sites around the city, which is a Slavic tradition.

Then the parents hosted a very nice dinner at a local restaurant.  I was blessed in receiving an invitation.  After several hours of eating and enjoying the entertainment, they invited everyone to come forward that wanted and share some words with the couple.  Of course, I struggled to express my happiness for the couple since Russian is not my native language and I didn’t want Sveta to have to translate.  My weak attempt at a joke failed, so I guess I will have to call them later to explain what I meant.

Overall, it was a great day with weather to match.  I have two more weddings this month, so I will have a couple more times to expose you to a little Ukrainian culture.

5 thoughts on “Weddings… Ukrainian Baptist style

  1. Hey brother. As part of our culture exchange project we did with college students during the summers “Share” we were able to attend a real State Wedding (secular) and it was “spacy”…seems like something out of an old Star Trek episode. The lady reading well-wishes to the couple really tried to make it meaningful, but it was so empty of any real power or authority as it was obviously void of the Lord Jesus’ presence. I do not doubt the couple’s love but the “service” was almost depressing to me. Of course they placed flowers around the city at monuments and took photos as well.

    Now, before Lena and Vova’s wedding I was there whenever Vova went to pick up Lena at her appartment there was a lot of playful, “you can’t take her” stuff…it was really fun! Of course they had a Baptist wedding. You didn’t mention if there was any of that, “you have to pay something before we’ll let you take her” stuff. I am not really sure though if that was more of a non-christian thing since her relatives were not believers. I’ll have to have you clear that up for me.

  2. Not sure about the “can’t take her” stuff, but the groom did show up at the bride’s house with a gift. I didn’t go into the house with him, so I am uncertain what transpired.
    They took a few pictures around town. They got married in a city near Donetsk and then had the dinner in Donetsk.
    The most recent wedding I went to, I did go with them to one park where they took lots of pictures, but they didn’t go to any monuments and lay flowers.

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