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 🙂 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 🙂

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 🙂

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.

Handmade and unique

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The idea of having a dress sewn and designed especially for you would warm the heart of any bride. However not many go to such troubles, because then like me, they would need to spend their work lunchbreaks, after work and before work hours at the tailor’s. Being hands on with the fabric, length, material, style and beads designs is definetly fun-but boy is it time consuming! Luckily the tailor was a good family friend, and she was very friendly with myself (Bridezilla) and patient. She shared my vision of stearing away from tradional, typical hoolahooped dresses that looked more like a rain tent. A few hours and 10 magazines later, we managed to communicate the vision for THE DRESS. It was to be white, lights, strapless, tight in the waist and flowly from the bottom. Sleek and classical. Comfortable and manageble. I’ve heard stories of brides who fainted because corsets were too tight, threw tantrums because they were unable to go to the toilet without assistance and who generally grew tired under the weight of their dress. I did not wish to remember my wedding day as such. I wanted to be able to walk, and dance, and jump and enjoy my own wedding-hence THE DRESS had to be fitted to those requirements. I found it accidently, in a casual evening dresses shop, it was hanging under a plastic cover, simple, white, strapless and just pefect for me. It fit me perfectly and we got it right away. A few weeks spend on it working the tailors magic, sewing in a coret, fluffing thebotoom part, installing layers and nets, resewing it because I lost weight due to wedding stress-and it was comleted. THE DRESS was ready.

How the dress came to be…

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A typical, classy, modern Uzbek groom. A strict suite, no flowers, no flashy colours. Traditional and modest.

A typical Uzbek styled dresses and a typical “modern” Uzbek bride. Gorgeous.

Photoes by Alisher Irismetov, my wedding photographer.

Every girl dreams about having the perfect wedding dress.
Although the idea of “perfect” is highly indivudal and bound to include the most controversial of choices. Most wedding dresses in Uzbekistan are very traditional: a puffy white dress, often strapless and hoolahooped at the bottom. These dresses are certainly beautiful and are available in a range of fashions; with rose petals scattered at the bottom, with golden glittered stuck all over, with gems and cristals on the corset or another typical design is huge sparkly stones all over.

Over the years a few exceptionally good wedding dress salons have become available where prices range (for rent) from 300 to 1500 dollars. As for purchase, prices range from 1000 dollars to infinity 🙂

I began the wedding dress research 5 weeks before the wedding, a great friend of mine, Lyu has kindly offered to visit a salon with me and patienty nodded or shook her head at each dress. My husband drove us there and waited patiently for 45 minutes as i sneaked in to try them on 🙂

Most available dresses were creamy in colour, which made them look quite dirty in day light, and the white ones looked like someone accidenty dropped a gallon of glittered all over them.

I tried on three dresses and fell in love with one. It was sleek, it was comfortable, and i could even see the ground when i looked down 🙂 It was not poofy, and hence i didnt look like a snowball in it, it didnt have a single gem/cristal/glitter particle on it and that made me ever so happy. The price for the purchase of that dress was 1.200 dollars, way out of our budget, hence I had to find other ways to get the dress of my dreams.

There was also the issue of not wanting to rent the dress, because I consider it to be an item of too much importance which cannot later be passed on to god knows who to be worn on their wedding day. I wanted it to hang in my closet and get dusty instead 🙂

These are some dress styles that I had in mind…

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. 

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