The longest 45 mins…

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My husband is not the most religious man in the word. He does not pray (at least to God), neither does he put the fear of God into himself or other people. He does however wear the cross, since the day we wed. He treasures it as he does his wedding ring, or his bikes. This is his choice. The church wedding was a necessity, the reasonable and the right thing to do. Having not stepped into church for over 10 years, he was right to be nerveous about it. All the wishfull people out there wailed about how long the ceremony is, how tired you get, how dizzy you get and how it never seems to end…. and they were so right.

I do not remember all the details, there was family, and wine, and candles, and icons and wedding bands and vows…doesn’t sound too bad does it? What has ruined the experience however is that another couple was getting blessed at the same time, sucking the uniqueness right out of the experience. Alex was a nerveous wreck, not knowing when to kiss the icon or when to say “I promise, I do, I will” and I was doing my best not to break out into giggles while hearing Cynthia fiddle around behind me. Cynthia and the best man had a very special task. They had to hold crowns ABOVE our heads. We are taller. And I am wearing heels. So the new measure of friendship is the amount of time you can hold a heavy crown on an outstreched arm, 50 cms above your head.

There is also a point in the ceremony, where the couple together with the crowns above their heads are supposed to follow the priest in circles around a basin. I didnt know that. Neither did Cynthia. But at least I speak Russian. She had to supress her exclamations of surprise, untangle my veil from under her shoes and try to keep the crown above my head as I walked ahead. She managed to contain herself througout the experience, but I heard plenty about it the momment we stepped out of the holy house of God…Casualties aside, the ceremony was breath taking, my then 5 year old brother, behaved unbelievebly well, aside from the casual tagging and nagging for me to talk to him. The icons were blessed and instructions were given to keep them nearby wherever we may go.

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Marriage ain’t (a walk in the park)

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Customs aside, it is seen as the respectfull thing to do after you have been registered by the city council to visit monuments and places of importance, as husband and wife. Originally our destionatons were the earthquake monument, the catholic church, and my university. The first location made the list because we both felt the need to pay respect for our city and its citizens, and also because not a single marriage in Tashkent goes by without visiting this site. It also helps that it continues to become a gorgeous park with pines, waterfalls and picturesque landscapes. So there I was tropping on the bright green grass in my sparkling white dress. The girls later helped me pick out leaves and pines cones that got entagled in the massive layers of net and material. It was however totally worth it as the most gorgeous wedding pictures were shot there:

We continued on to the catholic church, its sharp profile against the blurry city has always beckoned me, and although I am not catholic I was drawn to this building. An atypicall location, it has proved to be a great place to shoot the most romantic and yet gothic pictures of the day. A website later quoted that after the pictures we had there, the brides of Tashkent are sure to put the catholic church on their “places-must-go-to” wedding list. And they wouldn’t be wrong…

Church Ceremony Must Have’s

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Tashkent City has a few nice churches, both catholic and orthodox. We were going to have our ceremony in the orthodox church and hence were carefull to book it in advance. The church will only wed those who present a liable wedding certificate issued by the state, hence the city council ceremony always takes place before the church ceremony, even if its just a few hours before.As I’ve mentioned before, September is crazy on weddings-both Christan and Muslim. The ceremony is not complex one, it is however long and heavy on the details. There is a list of specific items that the bride and groom must have during the ceremony, and must cherish throughout life. The list is fairly easy to obtain, and is available on the information board at the entrance. Here is a list of items:

  • Icons (Jesus and St.Mary)
  • 4 big hankerchiefs
  • A big white towel or cloth (2 m)
  • Weddin Rings
  • 2 big church candles
  • Crosses on a chain
  • State wedding certificate
  • Bride and groom should be baptized

The ceremony takes about 30 minutes to complete and cost at that time 50,000 soums which is approximately $30. It is essencial to book a slot at least a week in advance. The items mentioned are held or worn by the wedded during the ceremony. Both husband and wife shouls be wearing crosses, and holding lit candles with a hankerchief as not to burn one self. The ceremony consists of the pope walking around the couple, blessing their union, blessing their rings, the icons and performing other rituals. The best man and the maid of honor (will be called ‘My Cynthia’ from here on) have a vital part in the ceremony. They remain close to the bride and groom at all times and hold crowns over the heads for about 15 mintues. The icons that are then meant to travel through life with the family were brought from a church in Ukrain, as well the hankerchiefs and the cloths we stood on as husband and wife before the church. I will provide more details and the hilarous moments we managed to have during a ‘formal’, ‘tradition’, ‘quiet’ ceremony ūüôā

Church weddings-survival guide

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It was important for us to have a church wedding. And my us I mean my family and me. My husband on the other hand was rather cold to the idea. However we decided to go through with it and to establish ourselves as husband and wife before god. The ceremony needed to be booked in advance at our local church and costs (!) 45 dollars. Much to our amazement two wedding were allowed to go on at the same time. The prerequisite to the¬†ceremony is that you have¬†to¬†be already¬†married by the city¬†council¬†in order for the¬†church to¬†marry you. There is also¬†a long list of must have’s consisting of:¬†candles, icons, towels, hankerchiefs¬†and a special¬†cloak you stand¬†on¬†as¬†husband and wife. The icons you hold¬†as¬†the priest blesses your¬†marriages must¬†remain hangin in your¬†bedroom¬†through¬†out yourlife,¬†reminding you of¬†the promises you¬†have¬†made¬†before god.¬†