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Author Topic: Inside a ZAGS wedding....complete with videos  (Read 46193 times)

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Offline lindochka

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Re: Inside a ZAGS wedding....complete with videos
« Reply #50 on: February 11, 2008, 05:57:16 PM »
What a fabulous thread, Mendeleyev -- it brought back memories of my cousin's wedding (ZAGS and church) in Moscow. I was very glad I had my camera with me in both places, as the CDs I burned for the newlyweds and the bride's two uncles back home contained over 300 photos of all the festivities. (I shot as fast as my camera allowed and tried to capture as much as possible.)

It turned out that the bride and bridegroom didn't have the money for a professional photographer and they were thrilled to have such a detailed record of the events. The bride's grandmother, whose health didn't permit her to make the trip to Moscow, later viewed the entire disc three times in succession at the home of one of her sons. I'm sure she wasn't the only one who saw the photos, but she was probably the most delighted!
Life is so short we must move very slowly.

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Inside a ZAGS wedding....complete with videos
« Reply #51 on: February 11, 2008, 08:01:54 PM »
Lindochka, I'm happy that you enjoyed it!  Hopefully it will continue to be a helpful for many of our forum.  What a nice gesture of you to take your camera and record this important even for your cousin!  And I know that the grandmother will always cherish the special memories you have provided for her.

Wow, I can certainly relate to the grandmother watching the videos.  For a month after our wedding there was a steady stream of visitors, tea would be set out and the video would start.  My darling wife and her mother and the guests would sit glued to the tv for 2-3 hours.  At first my MIL thought in rude that I would tire quickly of watching the same video over and over and over and over again.  I'd do anything....any excuse.....after the first few viewings.   :)


Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Inside a ZAGS wedding....complete with videos
« Reply #52 on: May 22, 2008, 12:09:55 AM »
With a significant Jewish population in Russia, it's important to also shed some light on Jewish wedding ceremonies.  This popular song serves to show us a Jewish couple in Russia.

Russian Jewish wedding video: 

On the lighter side: 

Dancing at the party: 



Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Inside a ZAGS wedding....complete with videos
« Reply #53 on: October 14, 2008, 09:48:59 PM »
The August 2008 Russian Orthodox wedding of the Mendeleyev's eldest daughter


Our eldest daughter was married in a Russian Orthodox service in Phoenix in mid-August.  Here are some highlights from that ceremony:


An ancient Orthodox Christian wedding has six parts:  
-The Preparation is the period (year or so) leading up to the wedding.  Meetings with the priest, making all the arrangements.

-The Presentation is on the wedding day when the entire family walks the bride to the front doors of the church were the priest, the groom and all the guests are waiting.  The priest asks the couple if they are legally free to marry and if they wish to be married in a Christian sacrament.  As there are no vows, that is the only time the bride and groom speak in the one hour ceremony.

-The Betrothal is at the entrance of the church.  The Priest blessed the rings and then gives one to the groom for placing on the bride's right hand.  Then the second ring is blessed and the bride puts it on the groom's right hand.  Next the priest takes a long, thin wedding towel and ties their arms together.  Finally he hands them lighted candles to hold during the ceremony. After prayers and choir chants he slowly leads the couple toward the front of the church.

-The Crowning is when the priest blessed the crowns, the bride and groom kiss the crowns, and then the two attendants (one male and one female) hold the crowns above the couple's heads, without touching, for the next 45 minutes of the ceremony.  There are no bridesmaids or best men in an Orthodox wedding.  This is the longest part of the ceremony when multiple prayers, Scriptures and songs are chanted and a brief sermon is spoken.

-The Blessing/Procession happens near the end of the ceremony after the couple has been guided around the wedding altar 3 times in a small procession.  The couple kiss the cross the priest has been holding.  He allows them to kiss and then presents them to the congregation.

-The Celebration is the party, and several more traditions take place according to the couple's wishes.


Just like in Russia, you must decorate the car!

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Inside a ZAGS wedding....complete with videos
« Reply #54 on: October 14, 2008, 10:33:06 PM »
Here are some fun and recent Russian and Ukrainian wedding videos.  Enjoy!







Often Russians term the party as the "wedding" and the ceremony is just that...the ceremony:
This looks like one great party! 

This Russian wedding party wasn't cheap!


Would you like to see a more ethnic presentation of a Russian wedding celebration?  Out in Russia's Muslim territories live the Tatar people, and while this wedding is not Muslim in nature, you can see the ethnic features and see the differences in style and for example in the musical rhythms: 

This video, although the sound is poorly produced, is included because it gives such a nice view of some things our members may experience in a ZAGS someday.  Everyone bring flowers, the sitting down to sign the wedding documents during the ceremony, the rings off to the side on a little table, and how the room looks in a typical ZAGS:


For those who have never experienced a Jewish wedding, this is a rare glimpse into a Russian Jewish wedding and party!

Can Russians put on a nice wedding out in a small town?  Well, just watch:

After the ZAGS ceremony it is customary for the wedding party to travel to one or more local popular or historical locations for photos and toasts.  Then, the couple is the last to enter the dining room/restaurant as all guests wait for their entrance at the party! 

Most of our members won't have the kind of budget for a wedding put on by pop singers Natasha Koroleva and 'Tarzan' (yep, that is the name he uses).  They start off at the local ZAGS:

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Inside a ZAGS wedding....complete with videos
« Reply #55 on: November 06, 2008, 11:26:54 PM »
Another instructional video, plus the girl is gorgeous!

In this video notice the toasts.  Make certain you have special bride and groom champagne flutes (or wine glasses) as this is a special part of the after ZAGS experience.  Notice how the car was decorated.  It's tradition!

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Inside a ZAGS wedding....complete with videos
« Reply #56 on: February 17, 2009, 11:00:14 AM »
Another wedding to report:




Dmitry arrives to pick up Svetlana and her friends/family. Outside are several cars which will take everyone. He brings flowers for his bride and must also ransom her from the family before they can leave for the wedding palace.




A few family/friends have already arrived at ZAGS and are waiting in the hall. The girl at the door is a ZAGS attendant.  Her job is to usher in everyone when it's time for the ceremony.  However another ceremony is going on inside now so her job is also to guard the door.





When everyone has gathered, the attendants will be given a signal and they'll open the doors. The young lady attendant will go first leading everyone inside.  The young male attendant will make certain everyone is inside and then he'll secure the door.





The wedding is typically conducted by a female official. She will ask the couple if they came to be married, they'll step to the front table and sign documents, then step back for a very short ceremony (no vows), exchange rings, and then the officiant will introduce the new couple, they kiss and then guests step forward and pile huge amounts of flowers on the groom who is wondering what he's susposed to do with so many flowers.  Photos are quickly taken and then very rapidly the attendants will shoo everyone out and get ready for the next couple and wedding.

Stepping out of the wedding chamber there is usually a small area to the side so that family and friends can continue with more photos.





Once the civil ceremony is complete the wedding party drives to several different places throughout the city to take more photos and video. This can take anywhere from two to four hours. The bride and groom often have favourite or traditional locations where they want photos to be taken.


It is a tradition for the bride and groom to visit the local WWII war memorial to place her bouquet there and have photos taken. It is interesting that this happens in large cities with elaborate memorial parks and in simple villages with only a small stone memorial.





After several hours of photo and video shooting Dmitry and Svetlana celebrated in a small local restaurant to enjoy the wedding with friends and family.





The wedding cake and lots of salads and fish. Depending on the budget there can be other meat cuts, but usually a fish is the centerpiece wedding meal.





Offline Vinnvinny

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Re: Inside a ZAGS wedding....complete with videos
« Reply #57 on: February 17, 2009, 11:55:19 AM »
Another instructional video, plus the girl is gorgeous!

In this video notice the toasts.  Make certain you have special bride and groom champagne flutes (or wine glasses) as this is a special part of the after ZAGS experience.  Notice how the car in Russia was decorated almost alike how Mrs Mendeleyeva decorated our daughter's car in Phoenix in the previous photos.  It's tradition!

Well the above video certainly answers the age old question as to why FSU women seek a WM.  ;D

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Inside a ZAGS wedding....complete with videos
« Reply #58 on: March 02, 2009, 12:40:45 PM »
More Russian wedding photos:


Signing ZAGS documents.



MILs serving the wedding bread.



$$$$ reception $$$$$



The cake.



More photos.



Releasing doves on Beautiful Square (sometimes butterflies).

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Inside a ZAGS wedding....complete with videos
« Reply #59 on: March 02, 2009, 12:54:09 PM »
Caviar at wedding...yummy!






These basketball players are so dedicated that they practice jumping even at weddings!






This couple was so excited that their feet didn't touch the ground!

Offline iheartrw

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Re: Inside a ZAGS wedding....complete with videos
« Reply #60 on: March 02, 2009, 03:24:46 PM »
Great pictures and videos.  Thanks for sharing.

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Inside a ZAGS wedding....complete with videos
« Reply #61 on: March 22, 2009, 11:05:29 PM »
So who thought renting a bus was only for funerals?! As buses are not commonly used for funerals in the West, you might be surprised to know that a rented city bus makes a great combination hearse and limo for family and friends going to the service and gravesite. Load everyone in the seats, shove the casket in the back doors, and you're off to the funeral.

And buses are also great for transporting everyone in a wedding party.

At our wedding in Moscow we rented a limo and 2 smaller Marshrutka (Minibus/маршру́тка) buses to get guests from home to ZAGS and later to the restaurant party.  Watch this fun video for the party aboard a bus in this Ukrainian wedding.

Offline froid

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Re: Inside a ZAGS wedding....complete with videos
« Reply #62 on: March 23, 2009, 06:38:03 AM »
Our reception was at a small resort style Hotel outside of Penza.  The booking for the whole restaurant included a minibus to pick everyone up for one trip.  Since we already had several cars for earlier in the day we used the bus to get everyone back into the city at the end of the night.  Was quite handy and worked out great for everyone. 

My brother liked the idea too and is using a similar plan for his wedding here in July. 
Look, we're gonna spend half the night driving around the Hills looking for this one party and you're going to say it sucks and we're all gonna leave and then we're gonna go look for this other party. But all the parties and all the bars, they all suck. <-Same goes for forums!

Offline solzhenitsynfan

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Re: Inside a ZAGS wedding....complete with videos
« Reply #63 on: April 18, 2009, 04:24:38 PM »
Well sir, you clearly have a gift.  Not everyone takes the time to see and consider what is meant to be seen, and you clearly are an exception.  This is easily the best thread I've ever read (in my rather limited experience).  You should probably put together a book on this whole experience someday...so many spectacular details and such vivid imagery!  I really enjoy how you took the time to cover the subtle nuances as well as the deep meanings that saturate this age-old tradition in the FSU.  I have been to my share of American weddings and have even attended a Greek Orthodox wedding in Greece, but they don't hold a candle to a true Russian wedding from what I can tell.  I also greatly enjoyed your explanation of the journey of the Orthodox church outside of the FSU.  We have a church called St. Tikhon's (OCA) in my hometown and I am seriously considering checking them out as a result of this post.  That name (Tikhon) holds new meaning for me now.
Nations are the wealth of mankind, its collective personalities; the very least of them wears its own special colours and bears within itself a special facet of divine intention.
-A Solzhenitsyn

Offline Boris

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Re: Inside a ZAGS wedding....complete with videos
« Reply #64 on: April 18, 2009, 05:13:09 PM »
Well sir, you clearly have a gift.  Not everyone takes the time to see and consider what is meant to be seen, and you clearly are an exception.  This is easily the best thread I've ever seen (in my rather limited experience).  You should probably put together a book on this whole experience someday...so many spectacular details and such vivid imagery!  I really enjoy how you took the time to cover the subtle nuances as well as the deep meanings that saturate this age-old tradition in the FSU.  I have been to my share of American weddings and have even attended a Greek Orthodox wedding in Greece, but they don't hold a candle to a true Russian wedding from what I can tell.  I also greatly enjoyed your explanation of the journey of the Orthodox church outside of the FSU.  We have a church called St. Tikhon's (OCA) in my hometown and I am seriously considering checking them out as a result of this post.  That name (Tikhon) holds new meaning for me now.

If you like this one read Mendy's thread on "How Russian Women View Courting and dating." Others here might not agree but for me it has been spot on.

http://ruadventures.com/forum/index.php?topic=4286.0

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Inside a ZAGS wedding....complete with videos
« Reply #65 on: April 18, 2009, 06:42:49 PM »
Thanks to you both.  tiphat    Sol, I hope you'll enjoy your visit to the OCA church! If interested there is more on what happens in an Orthodox service here.

Offline solzhenitsynfan

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Re: Inside a ZAGS wedding....complete with videos
« Reply #66 on: April 18, 2009, 08:01:16 PM »
....for me it has been spot on.

It was one of the first things I read when I came to this forum.  "Spot on" is probably an understatement (but still one of my favorite affirmations from the UK).
The line "Can you make her FEEL...like she is on holiday on ordinary days?" really made me stop and think for a moment.  Any man who is able to grasp and put such a perspective into practice will probably be one of the most successful husbands possible.  It is a concept that sounds great on paper but is actually next to impossible to do consistently because it involves a great deal of effort and a significant amount of unselfishness.  For most males, this is not in our nature.  The mystery lies in the rarely mentioned secret to successful leadership...if you want to be a good master, learn how to serve. 

My guess would be that if you are trying to win the heart of any good FSU lady who has a family with strong traditional values...they will be watching every move you make to determine the type of husband you will be for their daughter.  I know I will be.  I have two younger sisters to watch out for, and you can be absolutely certain that any man that is interested in one of them is going to have to impress me and the rest of my brothers before he gets our approval.   
Nations are the wealth of mankind, its collective personalities; the very least of them wears its own special colours and bears within itself a special facet of divine intention.
-A Solzhenitsyn

Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Inside a ZAGS wedding....complete with videos
« Reply #67 on: January 10, 2011, 09:56:30 PM »
Its been a while since we've updated this thread so would you like to see a fresh view of a ЗАГС (ZAGS) wedding?

We'll walk you step by step thru this brief video.

- Arrive at the bride's home to "ransom" her. In some families you must "buy" her with gifts, from chocolate to the kids who guard the door to nicer gifts for her close relatives/parents.

- Provide the transportation for everyone to the ЗАГС wedding palace.

- Sign more papers, pay fees, stand in line, take photos, stand in line some more, and then stand in line with lots of other couples there to do the same thing.

- Lots of flowers (the grooms responsibility at the end of ceremony) will come from everyone.

- From 00 to 1:00 you see everyone standing, waiting.

- At 1:13 a man appears. He is carrying a large traditional loaf of wedding bread which will be part of the wedding party later. Notice that he has towels--one under the bread but also he has matching wedding towels across his shoulders. Those are symbolic and will used in the ceremony to represent two families becoming one, and the first towel to be used when the couple's children are born.

- 1:22 Inside ZAGS but still waiting.

- 1:28 An attendant gathers the party when it's almost time to enter one of the many wedding halls.

- 1:31 The attendant ushers the party inside the room. Depending on how much you paid for the wedding package, you may hear an organ or in some cases a small string orchestra to play the wedding march.

- 2:10 The man who carried the bread is just behind the couple, a girlfriend or female relative is standing next to the couple with the wedding towels.

- 2:12 The female official (it's almost always a lady official) takes over.

- 2:15 You'll notice that everyone stands, not always, but this is very common. Photographers must work fast because this is a marriage mill and in just 15 or so minutes, this room will be reserved for another couple who is already waiting outside the door for this ceremony to finish.

- 2:50 The main wedding towel is laid on the floor by the couple's attendants. This towel represents two families and the couple step out onto it to make a new family that integrates both sets of relatives. (If they have a religious wedding the towels will be used in the Orthodox or Jewish wedding ceremony also.)

- 3:08 Wondering if this symbol means anything in modern times? Take a look at the bride's face when she steps onto the towel.

- 3:20 The official brings the rings to the groom. He dedicated it and places it on her RIGHT hand (exactly opposite of how we wear them in the West). Notice that it is a single ring, engagement rings are not commonly used by FSU couples. She then places a ring on his RIGHT hand.

- 3:50 As soon as the rings go on the party claps--they are not officially married.

- 4:25 Now the couple must finish signing their marriage documents. It's official. In some ZAGS this is done while seated at a table but this ZAGS the couple stands.

- 4:45 The official introduces the couple before giving them a few brief comments of encouragement.

- 5:14 Just a note about wedding towels as the officiant present the towel to the bride. In the church ceremony two of these towels present would be tied about the couples hands, binding them together during most of the ceremony. In a Jewish wedding these towels have very similar meanings.

- 7:00 Notice that the photographers have been busy in the background? That is because this ceremony is over. The next couple is waiting outside and there is no time for lingering to pose for photos.

- Did you notice that although a civil wedding, it feels and seems more like something of a church styled setting? A big mistake WM think is that because it's a "justice of the peace" type ceremony, it must be cheap and casual. Nothing of the sort in most cases.

- The photos following were taken before the ceremony while the couple was waiting for their turn.

- This party is just starting. They will go en masse to at least one, if not several, parks or memorials to place many of their flowers on tombs of unknown soldiers and/or national heros, etc. They will stop at parks and plazas to open up champagne to make toasts and take photos while on the way to a wedding dinner party in most cases.

- 8:30 The assembled party chants "goika" (bitter) meaning that the wine and champagne they're about to drink is bitter, however the more the couple kisses, the drinks become sweeter and sweeter. There is a LOT of kissing at such a wedding...can't have bitter champagne, now can we? 

- 9:12 Still in the parking lot and the celebration begins. The groom pops open the ceremonial first bottle of spirits. In some traditions their hands would be tied with the towels as they give each other a first taste of champagne.

- That big loaf of wedding bread will begin the first part of the wedding dinner ceremonies. As the couple enter the room together a family elder will approach with the bread. They'll each grab for a big of piece as possible because tradition says that whoever breaks off and eats the largest portion gets to be head of the house.
 



This next video is of a young couple with some different twists--more Orthodox in preparation for a ZAGS wedding.



-00:00 The groom has come to her apartment to collect his bride for the trip to ZAGS. Her family first present them with a traditional Orthodox wedding Icon, just like my wife's family did for us and as my wife and I did for our eldest daughter who was married 2 years ago.

- :30 Leaving the apartment.

- 1:30 Arrival at ZAGS.

- 1:40 Waiting, photos, more waiting.

- 3:00 Open the doors and enter to the traditional Mendelssohn's "Wedding March". For a country that fought Germany in a long war, Russians adore this music. For those interested, it was at the wedding of Princess Victoria, daughter of England's Queen Victoria, that Felix Mendelssohn's composition was used in a Royal wedding. She wed the prince of Prussia and Russians have loved that theme ever since.

3:30 Although musicians have been arranged (thru the ZAGS) and photographers, you can tell that this ceremony is more simple than the first.

- 4:30 In this ceremony the couple sits at the wedding table to sign their final documents.

- 6:13 Holey Moley, he gives her quite the kiss! Then the rings are exchanged.

- 8:25 Dang, this film editor is good--they've moved into the outer hall and I didn't even catch it.

- 9:45 A funny scene here and following: The first toast (again in the ZAGS parking lot) is given and the party starts up the "goika" (bitter) chant to which the couple kisses, and kisses, and kisses as the party counts: Raz (1), Dva (2), Tri (3), and counts to 12. Whether they intended or not, there is some signifance in counting to 3 and to 12--both are tied to the number of times a sacred "Lord, have mercy" is said at certain points in a liturgical blessing, including in the wedding sacrament.

- 10:52 The groom throws his glass to the ground to break it, a common custom in many weddings after the first toast.

Did you catch the old Babushka sweeping back at 10:04 to 10:14 on the porch steps? She will come out and sweep up the glass after the couple leaves. This was a smaller town ZAGS, one of the reasons why there was less pressure to leave the room immediately after the ceremony concluded.


Offline mendeleyev

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Re: Inside a ZAGS wedding....complete with videos
« Reply #68 on: January 10, 2011, 10:23:08 PM »
This ceremony in Kyiv adds a few twists.
- 3:30 It is the officiant who offers the first champagne toast near the end of the ceremony!

- 4:00 The wedding bread is incorporated into this ZAGS ceremony.

4:30 First the couple approach and bow three times (representing the Holy Trinity) in submission to the families which brought them into the world and to this point.

- 4:37 The couple kiss the bread as it will be incorporated later in the wedding party ceremony.

- 6:45 In the limo the couple have friends...and you can see the champagne. (The groom was very impressed with the Zal (hall) for some reason.) He was also quite pleased to call her his "Zhe-nah" (wife).



Another wedding in Kyiv:
This is only a 3 minute video with highlights, however it adds a couple of new twists too.

- 00:00 The couple visits a favourite historic landmark before going to the Wedding Palace. Not that unusual.

- 1:25 There are those wedding towels again.

- 1:35 Notice the wedding bread is on the officiants wedding table, first time we've seen this.

- 2:25 Attendants bring candles. (In a church wedding the couple hold tall white wedding candles thru the entire ceremony.)



 

 

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