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Wedding Traditions of Ukrainian Women

“I now pronounce you husband and wife.”


Your family and friends are surely waiting for you to march down the aisle to say your “I do’s” with your future life partner.

But before those words are said, there are a lot of important things to prepare.

Marrying a woman from a different country may seem easy for some.

How difficult can it be?

You just need to propose to the woman you love, ask permission from her parents to marry her, fix the date of the wedding, invite a number of guests, and fit the wedding suits and dresses.

However, the preparations don’t end there.

Knowing the social and cultural background of the woman you are marrying needs to be considered.

Otherwise, what would happen if you failed to know about a certain belief or practice and end up making a fool of yourself in front of your bride, not to mention her friends and family?

For instance, if you want to meet beautiful women from the city of Odessa, you need to be ready to embrace their culture. The history of Ukraine is also one factor to keep in mind.

Every relationship starts with getting to know the other person, until such time that both of you are comfortable with each other’s company and feel the same love.

And if the odds are always on your side, getting married is where you end up.

Just so you know, the wedding traditions of Ukrainian women involve a number of preparations, just like most wedding traditions around the world.

A photo of a newly wed couple.
Rich Ukrainian culture is depicted in most significant events like wedding ceremonies. | Photo by Camila Cordeiro on Unsplash

In the past, it was customary to seek parental approval and blessing. Marriages against parents’ wishes were uncommon, and matchmakers acted as intermediaries between the two families.

In modern Ukrainian culture, the parents’ position in marriage has been preserved through their duties to arrange and fund their child’s wedding ceremonies and festivities.

The celebrations represent the family’s social standing. The majority of today’s weddings are both civil and religious in nature.

Ukrainian weddings have numerous symbolisms and traditions that make them unique among other nations. This includes a plethora of folk music, singing, dancing, and visual art, as well as traditions dating back to the pre-Christian period. The ancient pagan rituals and symbols were gradually incorporated into Christian ones.

For these reasons, you need to jot down all of the Ukrainian beliefs that you should be aware of before marrying a Ukrainian woman.

Traditions of Ukrainian Weddings

Paying the ransom

This tradition usually happens on the morning of the wedding day. The groom needs to go to the bride’s parents’ house to pay for the ransom to get his bride.

The groom’s best man, together with his immediate family, can accompany him for moral support.

The groom, sometimes, brings with him two loaves of bread as a gift to the bride’s family.

The bridesmaids welcome the groom and his family. Their responsibility is to protect the bride from being stolen.

The prize? You’ll get your bride.

Blahoslovenja (blessing)

This is a pre-wedding ritual that takes place before the ceremony. This tradition involves the parents and grandparents giving their blessings to the couple.

For others, the blessing happens after paying the ransom.

Both parents of the bride and groom give their wishes for a happy and prosperous marriage.

Stepping on the Rushnyk (embroidered cloth)

In every Ukrainian wedding ceremony, the couple needs to step on the traditional embroidered cloth called Rushnyk.

This is executed by both the bride and groom before taking their vows.

Traditionally, the first person to step on the Rushnyk always has the final say throughout the marriage.

To show respect and endearment, the groom lets the bride step on the cloth before him.

The Ukrainian wedding ring finger

In most countries, the wedding ring is slipped on the left ring finger of the bride. However, Ukrainian culture doesn’t follow the usual practices. Grooms slip the ring on the right hand of the brides.

All throughout the existence of the bride, she will wear the ring on her right hand, unless her husband dies before her. When that happens, she will switch the ring from her right hand to her left hand, to signify that she is a widow.

A photo of a groom putting a ring on the bride’s finger.
One of the many Ukrainian wedding traditions is putting the ring on the bride’s right finger. | Photo by Anton Mislawsky on Unsplash

Korovai (Ukrainian wedding bread)

Korovai is a traditional Ukrainian wedding cake.

Evaporated milk, salt, wheat flour, butter, eggs, and vanilla are all used in a traditional Ukrainian wedding bread recipe. Some, on the other hand, contain rum extract, lemon zest, and other ingredients to add a different flavor to the otherwise simple wedding cake.

This recipe is frequently passed down from generation to generation.

Kidnapping the bride

To add enjoyment during the wedding reception, men in the room, including the groom, are given the chance to do various dares, during which a bridesmaid kidnaps the bride as part of the many other Ukrainian wedding traditions.

The kidnapping doesn’t only happen once, either. It happens several times until the groom can perform several dares.

Each dare given to the groom is a chance for him to reclaim his bride.

When the groom successfully performs a dare and claims the bride, the wedding guests will ask for a toast.

Hirko! (Ukrainian wedding toast)

This part of the wedding reception is where an immediate family member of the bride or groom asks for everyone’s attention.

Quick fact: Ukrainian weddings are known for their toasts.

Each time the parents, grandparents, family relatives, and friends want to say something to the newlyweds, guests need to toast and sip a beverage.

Every toast means a scream of the famous Ukrainian phrase, Hirko!

Appreciating the Beauty of Intercultural Marriage

A photo of newly weds sharing a kiss at their wedding reception.
All Ukrainian women wait for their big day to celebrate their love with their partners. | Photo by Victoria Priessnitz on Unsplash

Most people who are genuinely in love with their partners are hoping that their big day as a couple will come. After spending time and creating memories together, tying the knot will always be the endgame.

If you happen to meet your potential life partner in Ukraine, it requires sincere willingness to embrace their rich culture. Remember that the union of two cultures produces unique offspring.

Marrying a woman of a different culture and set of practices means marrying her culture. It will certainly take a lot of adjusting.

But one thing’s for sure, love is more genuine than anyone can imagine.