We attended our first, and probably only, Ukrainian wedding this week. One of our Institute students married another church member here in Kharkov. A couple has to have a civil marriage first in Ukraine, and then they can be sealed in the Temple. The wedding was held at one of the branch buildings. The bride and groom, Katya and Leony, are both wonderful church members, and we wish them the best. Katya is one of our returned missionaries.

We enjoyed comparing this wedding to our American weddings. Many things are like our celebrations, but we found the differences quite fun and unique.

The decorations were fascinating. The whole building was decorated with just paper and balloons. These paper cut-outs filled one wall of the chapel. It took hours to make them,

Another wall was decorated with hearts.

The hallway where we entered the building was totally filled with snowflakes hanging from the ceiling.

Balloons everywhere. The amazing thing about these decorations is that the whole building was decorated for 250 greven, which is a little over $30. The Ukrainians know how to do a lot with little!

The bride and groom arrived on a horse.

As they walked in the building, they were presented a beautiful bread from which they broke a piece off and gave to each other. The tradition is that they will always have something to eat in their home.

This is the bread made by one of the people at the wedding.

Another tradition is to have a piece of material like a towel which has a Ukrainian design stitched on it, and the bride and groom are to stand on it for good luck. They opted to have it tied around their wrists.

They had a reception line to greet all the guests, and this was the time you presented them with a gift. Many of the guests presented bouquets of flowers to the bride and groom along with a gift. After the greetings and gifts were all extended to the couple, there was a meal provided by the Relief Society.

The Relief Society did a great job with the food.

Katya and her bridesmaid, Victoria - they were missionary companions.

Leony and best man, Kostic, who is one of the branch presidents.

After the dinner there was a program with two of our Institute young adult who served as the MC’s. They had a dance performance, game competitions involving some of the guests, games for the bride and groom, and guitar performances. These activities were entertaining and lots of fun for everyone.

The bride and groom did a beautiful wedding dance.

Two of our young adults performed a beautiful waltz as two of our girls sang Beauty and the Beast.

One game was for the bride put on swim flippers and break the money balloons. Inside each balloon was a coin.

Then the groom had to pick up the coins with boxing gloves on and put them on top of the flippers.

These two had to pantomime different situations.

This skit was a man at the dentist.

The guitar group

To this little guy, playing with the wedding decorations was the best part.

The last event of the celebration was cutting the cake followed by dancing in another room. It was quite the celebration, and we so enjoyed being part of a Ukrainian wedding.

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  1. Wendi Jagerson says:

    That was really interesting to read about. And they really did a great job with the decorations on a budget. :)

  2. kirsten says:

    I think we should do games at weddings! What a fun idea! When do they go to the temple? Do they have to wait a certain amount of time after the civil wedding?

  3. Jana Lenon says:

    Tom and Karen, I am so sorry that I haven’t commented on your site in a long time. Its lovely looking at all the good things you are doing for these wonderful people. How special to be such an important part of these people’s lives. I know you two so well, that I know how much you are loved and appreciated for the good you are doing. Did you ever get our package? Hope our small token will be well received. We had a lovely holiday with almost all the family here. Spirit was strong and sharing it with Adam and Jaida made it even more special. Remember I love you both. Jana

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