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Bridge of Kisses, Moscow

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I've already written some general impressions of Moscow and received a beating in the comments. But there is a treasure in the city that I stumbled upon called the Bridge of Kisses. So today we'll talk about heterosexual love, weddings and kisses! How can these topics create controversy? :) Interestingly, I've received personal messages from a handful of male readers accusing me of being some man-hating feminist. In fact, I love men and don't consider myself a feminist. I'm actually quite traditional when it comes to relationships so this romantic location struck my fancy. Now, about the bridge...

1. I've seen these love locks on bridges all over Europe but never hanging on trees. The concept is simple - a lock symbolizes safety, security and eternity. So lovers from all over the world inscribe their names on colorful locks, attach them to some structure on the bridge and then throw the keys into the underlying body of water to symbolize unity and everlasting love. I like it but have never seen these locks on any American bridge.

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2. I don't know much about Russian wedding traditions but someone told me it's customary for the bride and groom to kiss on a bridge on their wedding day. In St. Petersburg where there are bridges at every step this is an easy task. However, in Moscow the bridges are often clogged with traffic and there are fewer options. So this pedestrian walkway with the metal trees was created. On the day we visited there were tons of wedding parties on the bridge.

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3. A beautiful bride waiting for her groom to join. Almost all of the brides were wearing white furs and traditional veils.

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4. The big moment! Look how happy and joyful. In today's dating world everyone is impatient, expecting immediate gratification and instant responses to text messages, emails, etc. But I do not live in this world, and am still of the old school thinking that anything worthwhile takes time, nurturing and a lot patience to grow. That's why I really like the symbolism of the tree for the locks. True and pure love - one of the greatest gifts in life. I really believe it.
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5. The Bridge of Kisses sits on the Moskva River. The river, like most Russian waterways, is covered with ice during the winter. If I ever get married, I'll definitely be a winter bride.

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6. I also heard there's a fun Russian tradition where family and close friends "kidnap" the bride on the wedding day and require the groom to find her and pay a ransom for her return. Is it true? I cannot think of any similar American tradition. For the bride, there's a custom of receiving "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue." It's self-explanatory, people give the bride an item fitting into each category.

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7. I didn't notice any other people except the bride and groom in the Russian wedding party. In the States, the bride will have "bridesmaids" and the groom a "best man." These are always close friends or family which stand at the altar with the bride and groom during the wedding ceremony. A close friend got married in October and my sister was one of the bridesmaids. Her son, Aidan, served as the ring bearer. It's tradition for a young boy to carry the wedding rings down the aisle on a fancy pillow.

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8. The wedding took place on the grounds of a nice hotel and the after party was held at the same place. Religious couples will always have the actual ceremony in a church, but the non-religious usually say their vows at the reception location. Receptions are big parties, filled with lots of alcohol, food, music and dancing. Here's my nephew again. Maybe he found his future bride?

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9. Typical table for wedding guests. This wedding reception was semi-formal, with a sit down dinner. During the reception the wedding guests play a game of clicking their wine glasses together to create a loud noise. This is a signal for the bride and groom to kiss. At some weddings this really gets out of control, leading to X-rated make-out sessions that should be shielded from children's eyes. Or maybe I just have exceptionally perverted friends.

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10. Some American weddings are more simple. One of my cousins got married in the backyard of her home last summer, with the dog running around and everyone bringing home made food for the reception. It was beautiful and cheap. Lots of natural streams running through the area, colorful summer trees and flowers, etc. I can't imagine that I will ever spend a lot of money on a luxurious wedding. I'd rather use the money for a nice honeymoon trip.

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11. Sobaka!

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12. I think American weddings are quite boring compared to other cultures. The whole wedding ordeal usually lasts for four to five hours, not days like other countries. I've been to a real Indian wedding and it was by far the most interesting. Before I left for my trip, one of my friends asked me to bring him back a Russian bride. I sent him this picture and he approved. Looks like a nice, wholesome woman! :)

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Please tell me about other unique or fun wedding traditions in Russia. And feel free to share photos!

Comments

( 74 comments — Leave a comment )
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solikama
Apr. 10th, 2013 04:02 am (UTC)
My friend is a wedding photographer

Bridge of Kisses, Solikamsk


Cinderella's carriage


peacetraveler22
Apr. 10th, 2013 01:42 pm (UTC)
Great, thanks! My sister had an outdoor wedding and rode in on a horse and carriage.
descolorio
Apr. 10th, 2013 04:27 am (UTC)
Kidnap a bride for ransom - that's true, they do that often. Also, I've been to one where somebody "stole" bride's shoe, and the best man then had to fill it up with vodka and drink it all.

Chechen weddings are even more fun: they do actually kidnap a bride, several heavily armed men shooting to the air/ceiling, for real.

Russian weddings usually consist of two days of heavy drinking. On a second day usually few guys pass out, quite often there is a fight or two. Not boring at all:)
peacetraveler22
Apr. 10th, 2013 01:44 pm (UTC)
"On a second day usually few guys pass out, quite often there is a fight or two." Very Russian! :)
(no subject) - descolorio - Apr. 10th, 2013 03:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
alexey_kan
Apr. 10th, 2013 05:09 am (UTC)
"During the reception the wedding guests play a game of clicking their wine glasses together to create a loud noise. This is a signal for the bride and groom to kiss."

In Russia that signal is much simplier. All the guests bawl in chorus "Горько!" that literally means "bitter", then they start to count (all together as well), measuring a kiss time
peacetraveler22
Apr. 10th, 2013 01:45 pm (UTC)
Hmmm, why do they use the word "bitter"? Kisses should be sweet!
(no subject) - alexey_kan - Apr. 10th, 2013 03:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 10th, 2013 03:07 pm (UTC) - Expand
moonrainbow
Apr. 10th, 2013 05:15 am (UTC)
In Russia, we too have "witnesses", a friend of the groom and a friend of the bride.

Well, most Russian wedding traditions today are optional. It is really up to the couple to do the full-scale or to skip something. So we did not do kidnapping, my wife did not appear in a white wedding dress with bridalveil, and there was no big party, but a small celebration with just a few friends and family. But many people remain dedicated to the traditions and rituals. In that case, the couple marries, passes rituals and starts a party on Saturday, and on Sunday the most resistant guests try to "finish" the meals and drinks a plethora of which still remains from the previous day. :)
peacetraveler22
Apr. 10th, 2013 01:46 pm (UTC)
This would be my style also. You know my motto - simple is usually better.
(no subject) - moonrainbow - Apr. 10th, 2013 08:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 11th, 2013 12:42 am (UTC) - Expand
togliatt
Apr. 10th, 2013 05:20 am (UTC)
peacetraveler22
Apr. 10th, 2013 01:49 pm (UTC)
Awesome, fun wedding! :) This song has infected wedding receptions in the States also and is almost always played when everyone is good and drunk. Here's one of my relatives going Gangnam style at a recent wedding. Good times!

(no subject) - togliatt - Apr. 10th, 2013 07:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - togliatt - Apr. 10th, 2013 07:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 10th, 2013 07:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
olafr
Apr. 10th, 2013 05:30 am (UTC)
Well, i'm not a party man, but i personally think, celebrating a wedding for several days with a large amount of people is most terrible way to spend money, time and my patience
peacetraveler22
Apr. 10th, 2013 01:50 pm (UTC)
I agree!
smallbald
Apr. 10th, 2013 05:42 am (UTC)
Russian have "bridesmaids" and the groom a "best man" too!
But we have no "kidnap" the bride. But most the groom may to find her in her own house :) and pay a ransom - various puzzles and joke-contests.
And winter-wedding? I never understand this people! It's cold! And dark after 5 pm! And snow in Moscow is very dirty, not white, like out the city! Do you really mean, that winter-wedding - is romantic?
(sorry for my english ^_^)
peacetraveler22
Apr. 10th, 2013 01:52 pm (UTC)
Your English in good. I love cold, snow and winter! Keeping each other warm, cuddling by the fire. What could be more romantic? :) But I agree the snow in Moscow is ugly. We have very warm spring temperatures in DC this week. Today it's almost 35C. I don't like it at all.
cherez_dorogu
Apr. 10th, 2013 06:48 am (UTC)
A lot of people prefer traditional weddings with veils, locks, singing and so on. But youth love to destroy traditions :) So there are many ways to celebrate. Someone I know had it like this:
peacetraveler22
Apr. 10th, 2013 01:54 pm (UTC)
Это круто! спасибо.
iiiko
Apr. 10th, 2013 08:02 am (UTC)
One interesting point. What percentage of married couples have divorced? And how many locks are hanging on those trees?
peacetraveler22
Apr. 10th, 2013 01:57 pm (UTC)
According to this site, Russia was number one for divorce rates in 2012 and America third.

http://www.tiptoptens.com/2012/01/11/top-10-countries-with-highest-divorce-rates-in-2012/

Edited at 2013-04-10 03:06 pm (UTC)
terwik
Apr. 10th, 2013 08:41 am (UTC)
For locks


peacetraveler22
Apr. 10th, 2013 01:58 pm (UTC)
Где это?
(no subject) - terwik - Apr. 10th, 2013 02:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 10th, 2013 03:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - terwik - Apr. 10th, 2013 09:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 11th, 2013 12:49 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
peacetraveler22
Apr. 10th, 2013 02:00 pm (UTC)
The same in the States. Very, very expensive to have a nice wedding. I like this ransom game. With my crazy family it would be very fun. Maybe I'll bring some Russian tradition into my wedding events if I get married. :)
(Deleted comment)
peacetraveler22
Apr. 10th, 2013 02:01 pm (UTC)
Пожалуйста! Glad you enjoyed and thanks for reading.
maritime_jay
Apr. 10th, 2013 12:06 pm (UTC)
For now a lot of wedding traditions in Russia have been taken from America and Europe. For instance, just about 15-20 years ago a bride`s bouquet was given by a groom and a bride didn`t throw it. The girls try to catch the flowers but the guys try to avoid the flying garter the groom has just taken off from the bride`s leg (but rare couples could do it looking decently looking).
But there are old traditions such as taking a ransom not only for a bride but for her shoe, her flowers, their place at the table, etc (anything what could be stolen). Then couple has arrived to the reception they were met by the parents who hold the "caravay" (a big loaf) and they must bite it (and eat the bite) without using hands. And the one who could bite a bigger piece will be a leader in the family.
peacetraveler22
Apr. 10th, 2013 02:05 pm (UTC)
I've heard about the bread tradition also, one of my friends sent me some pictures of this. The bride's shoe seems to play several roles - from ransom to a substitute vodka glass. :)
(no subject) - maritime_jay - Apr. 11th, 2013 03:22 am (UTC) - Expand
notabler
Apr. 10th, 2013 12:11 pm (UTC)
Russian wedding traditions are too erratic and only remotely resemble real folk traditions. I like Lithuanian weddings, they keep their national traditions much more carefully. But their grooms need to carry bride through 7 bridges.
peacetraveler22
Apr. 10th, 2013 02:07 pm (UTC)
Seven bridges! I love how in all Eastern European countries there are these tiny bridges, some specifically for wedding parties. In Ukraine and in Czech Republic I saw several brides and grooms on such bridges and in beautiful parks taking photos. It's nice.
(no subject) - notabler - Apr. 10th, 2013 02:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - anna_potapov - Apr. 17th, 2013 10:22 am (UTC) - Expand
olgor
Apr. 10th, 2013 12:39 pm (UTC)
Accusations in strong man-hating feminism?
Wow! That's a strong statement.
Did he provide any grounds? :-)


Edited at 2013-04-10 12:44 pm (UTC)
peacetraveler22
Apr. 10th, 2013 02:13 pm (UTC)
Hello Mr. Stratham! :)) Apparently some Russian men cannot accept or comprehend the fact that I'm unmarried with no children at my age. It's "unnatural" and a "selfish, hedonistic" lifestyle. I was directed to see a psychologist by one reader. Oh, the private messages I receive. Very interesting and entertaining! A constant source of amusement.
(no subject) - olgor - Apr. 10th, 2013 10:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - peacetraveler22 - Apr. 11th, 2013 01:10 am (UTC) - Expand
There is a simple reason: - xpo_xpo_xpo - Apr. 20th, 2013 05:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
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