A bride at 6 a.m

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Although we moved in together a few weeks before the wedding, we tradionally spend the night before the wedding apart. He was in our new apartment (refer to “the stripper who slept over” post), and I was with my mom and my maid of honor who crashed with us,because she flew in from Oman for the wedding. There I was at 12 a.m franticly trying to organize last minute details, counting my pairs of shoes, checking that my nails didnt fall off, checking on my dress every 15 min. I was obsessive to say the least. Was I nerveous? Or scared?Not even a little bit. At least not about getting married. I was nerveous the photographer will forget additional batteries, that the cake will fall down,that the kids invited will be jumping in the pool…but I was not nerveous about spending the rest of my life with Alex. I didnt have a single doubt.
On the 19th of September, I woke up around 5:45 am, by 6:am my hairdresses was supposed to come over to do my hair an make up. Because we were on such a tight schedule it was impossible to go to a salon (which wouldn’t be open so early in the morning).

Albina, my hairdresses was late. She lived right next door, so actually coming over didnt take that long-waking her up did! But once she was over at our place, everything went smoothly. Myself, my mom and My Cynthia were up for hairstyles and make up. I went first, and after an hour later my hair was done. I considered extensions for my wedding day, but had to shake off the idea. I find brides with glued on nails, hair extensions and fake eyelashes too superficial. I can just see them taking it all off the next morning and giving their husbands the shock of his life, ya this is what I really look like. I hoped to be as natural as possible.

I wouldn’t tolerate any glued on hair, bright red lipstick or eyelashes that created wind currents when battered. I did opt for the glued on nails though, it was a nice change from my usual bit off/injured nails, so I had them painted light pink with white flowers the day before the wedding. My make up stayed neutral too, smokey eyes effect, good foundation, and some lipgloss. I never undrestood it when brides put 2 kilos of make up on their face making them literally unrecognisable to the public! Before I knew it, it was already 9:30 a.m. and it was time to rush off to my grandmothers house, where Alex would “buy me away” from…
P.S I didnt pay a cent for my hair and make up. It was a present from a hair dresser. I ve been a loyal customer for 5 years, and she was more than happy to help me out on my wedding day πŸ™‚ I am surrounded by lovely people this way πŸ™‚ Thank you honey!
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Bride for sale

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There is an absurd Russian tradition to “buy out the bride”. The idea behind it, is to give the groom as much trouble as possible before he reacher his wife-to be. I believe this all originated in some classical ideology of the man demonstrating his strength/wit/masculinity for all to see. In the more modern version-it is just there for laughs. The bridesmaids usually greet the groom, before he enters the house/flat the bride lives in. The “buying out the bride” procedure presents every groom a unique opportunity to show his love for all to see. Whether he will need to scream “Darling I love you” for hundrets to hear, or to say 15 compliments about his bride- this is his opportunity to show that the sky is the limit. The bridesmaids also have a field day, because this one day-they are able to get the groom and his friends to do whatever they please.With all possible tricks and games, they try to get him to pay as much money as possible, in order to get to his bride. Some of the most common dares include:

1) The groom is offered three containers,filled with clear liquid. One of them contains sugar, the other salt and the third something bitter. The one the groom picks and tastes is supposed to signify their marriage-would it be sweet or biter.

2)Every stair has a flower laid on it, as the groom picks up the flower he is supposed to say a kind word about his bride (beautiful, sexy, funny), if he runs out of words he pays up.

3)The groom is supposed to spell out the name of the bride with cash notes on the ground (lucky someone called Veronika, or Aleksandra!)

4) A tub of water is put before the groom, and he is asked to put the that which the bride cherishes the most in it (the groom needs to be smart enough to take his shoes off and step into the tub himself)

5)The groom is required to answer all sorts of rediculous questions, ranging from “what was the colour of the dress that she was wearing when you met” to “what is the star sign of the future mother in law”

6)A poster is prepared,covered in kisses of different colours. The groom must correctly guess which colour lipstick belongs to his bride (or pay money!)

The list of competitions and tricks is endless. They are always fun and make it onboard every Russian wedding. I can assure you my girls had a fielday getting bikers to sing Britney Spears Songs.. πŸ™‚

How we got carried away…

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Wedding preparations are bound to get the best of you. I doubt there is a single couple out there, who had a calm, fight-free,fit-throwing-less wedding preparation. Unless they hired a planner. Or got married spontaneously. In our case, we spend two months getting ready for a wedding, that flew before our eyes in minutes. We were so exhausted from looking at ribbons, choosing baloon colours, tasting cakes, trying on clothes, signing invitations, looking for a place to live… This all sounds like great fun when you read it, and you are probably thinking “Eh, what is she complaining about”, but try joggling wedding preparations, a full time job, and a full time family. It was difficult. And unbearable at times. And that is mostly why we scaled down so much. There were no ice sculptures, no famous singers performing, to wedding album even-we did as much as we could, and we were happy with the result. Some way through Alex concentrated on proving us with a home, and I took care of the wedding preparations, we would meet up daily and discuss what has been achieved. I received a lot of help with the preparations, My Cynthia has organizing the bachelorette party and the wedding in the Bar, My Foosa was responsible for an unforgettable “giving-away” the bride routine, My Lyu was coordinating the above mentioned procedures and made everything as easy as it could possibly be. The moral of the story is; don’t turn away help with wedding preparations, if your grand ma is unsatisfied with the receptions menu and wants to make some of her famous chicken pie-let her, if your in-laws find you a great wedding dress tailor-give her a try, if your parents decide to bring 10 last minute guests in-take it with a smile. They are a part of your wedding to. A wedding is a family affair. It is never about you and your husband alone. That would be too selfish. It is about two families uniting their children and becoming one, and if they want to get lost in the process-so be it. Let them. Enjoy it.

Why it pays off to be demanding

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The wedding should be as close to perfection as humanly possible. If that meant being difficult, demanding, whiny at times- I had no problem being so. When you have a certain vision of the big day, it is much easier to relocate your resources to match up. Next to the hotel, the camera man gave us more trouble than we could handle. I initially had a DVD of our friend’s wedding for 3 months. I would watch it over and over again, to try and notice the little things that i disliked; like the camera man recording people next to unwanted scenery, such as the sound system or a bare wall. The food on the table was also given a lot of emphasis, as were hyper kids who ran around the wedding hall. Often there was footage of the bride chewing large chunks of food, or the guests dancing barefoot (and a zoom into their feet).
Watching that DVD also provided me with a template of what a wedding should consist of, and the chronological order of events. Typically in a Russian wedding the following occurs:

  1. The bride gets her hair and make up done early morning at her house/salon
  2. The groom gets ready with the help of his best man and other pals
  3. The groom’s party decorates the cars/motorbikes with baloons, ribbons and flowers
  4. The bride’s family prepares a light table with drinks and snacks
  5. The bride’s friends prepare traps and tricks for the groom to pass through
  6. The groom picks up the bride’s bouquette and arrives at her house
  7. The groom groes through the traps set up by answering questions, or paying money
  8. The groom successfully enters the house with flowers for the mother/grandmother or the bride
  9. After a few toasts, the party leaves for the city hall
  10. Rings and vows are exchange, marriage certificate acquired, usually parents do not come to this part of the ceremony
  11. The bride and the groom, followed by friends, visit monuments and historical sigths to lay flowers in respect
  12. During lunchtime, the church ceremony takes place, where the rings are blessed and the whole extended family usually attends
  13. There is time to take photographs at breath taking locations after church
  14. The bride and groom arrive at the hotel, while the organizers put the finishing touches to the banquet hall
  15. Make up is touched up, shoes are pollished, and guests begin to arrive
  16. Half an hour after all the guests have gathered, the bride and groom arrive at the hall
  17. Throughout the night, toasts and words of congratulations are exchanged, there is a lot of dancing and ultimately-drinking
  18. The bride and groom cut the cake, say words of thanks to their parents and leave to their suite.

Keeping in mind the casual order of events, the wedding video is typically over three hours long, and if not edited and shot properly can easily turn out to be a disaster. And after looking at the works of a number of cameraman, by sheer luck we stumbled upon one whose work took our breath away. The wedding he did previously was different, fun, loud, energetic, and atypicall. We decided to entrust him to make ours special as well. And considering that we have System of a Down as a soundtrack to our wedding video- I can se he did a great job!

The invitations

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Since the place was decided upon, we could safely choose and print the wedding invitations. We took our sweet time deciding on the place, so we lost of luxury of having custom made invitations, which i would love to have embedded with the Biker theme! We had to settle for what was already on the market. Typically wedding invations in Tashkent cost between $2 and $10 dollars. They do come in all shapes, sizes and colours and there are a few to choose from. Definetly some are outright ugly,and the golden colour is over abused. We decided to settle for something neutral, a white and light golden colour and focused on making the text unforgettable. There are a few custom shops for wedding invitation in Uzbekistan, most can be found in the local bazars or near post offices, and couples always have the luxury of designing at printing their own wedding invitation at the closest design studio. Most invitations are printed in Turkey or Syria and the chosen text is added later on in Tashkent. The text we chose to print came in a rhyme and lousely translated from Russian was something like:

“Having decided to unite our paths forever
We invite you to share our happiness this evening
To say words of congratulations/wisdom
To say “cheers” (and not once)
We would be unmeasurable happy
To see you at our wedding”

(Except in Russian, the above text rhymes beautifully and received a lot of “Awws” from the recipients).

Below the rhyme, there was the usual text of Dear_________ We invite you to our wedding which will take place on the 19th of September, at 19:00 hours, at the Sheraton hotel. We will be glad to see you, Alex and Olga

Another unusuall catch that was unique to our wedding invitation is the little tag, hanging from the envelope. Completely custom made. The idea behind the tag was simple- we did not want to receive pans,glasses, bedsheets,hoovers,plates,and clocks as gifts. We decided it would be a lot more usufull if everybody gave us money istead πŸ™‚ We were planning to move adbroad at some point after the wedding, and having some financial back up made sence to us at the time. So there was the rhyme “Don’t stree, make it easy, put your present in the envelope”. Attached by a golden ribbon, to the invitation it looked absolutely wonderfull. Those 10 words or text, politely conveyed the whole messege. And I am happy to say we only received 1 painting, 1 set of coffee cups and the rest came in bank notes πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

Lords of the rings

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I didnt need a big diamond ring to ensure that my husband loves me, and I made that clear from the very beginning. I could not care less if I wore a rubber band on that finger for the rest of my life. All I wanted was loyalty, a happy home and a soulmate who will stand by me as we grow old together. I am blessed, for I can assure you that I got what I asked for. I also got the ring I asked for. A simple, thin-band, classy, old school wedding ring. It is made of yellow gold with a white golden strap along the middle. Our rings are identical.
Buying rings in Tashkent, is quite a challenge. They are have just been introduced to the trend of matching rings for the bride and the groom, and most styles are heavy and far from European. My mom’s initiative was to have our rings ordered from Dubai, but that was one plan that went horribly wrong. To cut a long story short-we send 2 pairs of rings back. They were redicuously expensive and vertually took up half of our wedding budget! And although our parents encouraged us to splash out on something that would remain with us throughout like, we did not give in. We bough something we both liked, and those rings were special because they have a story-they were so hard to find. Two weeks before the wedding, amidst the panic and the chaos, there they were; simple and perfect. And although they arent designer and dont equal to the state budget of a small European city, they are the rings we are proud to wear as husband and wife.

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