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.