Reception Table Centrepieces
The centerpieces at each table at our reception have been lovingly created by Anna's parents, Nataliya and Viktor. The centerpieces feature three flowers: white Daisies, Orchids and Roses. In this arrangement, white Daisies represent innocence, purity and new beginnings, Orchids represent love, beauty and strength, and roses represent spirituality and true love.
Ukrainian weddings are renowned for toasts! In addition, every toast typically ends in the famous Ukrainian phrase 'Hirko!', meaning 'bitter', which indicates that the bride and groom have to kiss. As tradition goes, if something is 'bitter', kissing will sweeten it. So if you hear someone giving a toast and saying "Hirko!", you know why we will be kissing!!
The Wedding Cloth (Rushnyk)
Another Ukrainian tradition that you will see at our wedding will be us standing on the embroidered Wedding Cloth
(Rushnyk) during our ceremony and vows.
The Rushnyk plays an important role in wedding rituals in Ukraine. During a wedding ceremony, the Rushynk symbolizes purity as well as hope that the newlywed couple will never face poverty or hard times. The saying goes "may the couple never stand on a bare dirt floor."
The embroidery on the Rushnyk carries much symbolism. Every Rushnyk is unique and is like a novel about life, nature, people, and traditions. The Rushynk is embroidered with symbols and cryptograms of the ancient world. Each region of Ukraine has its own designs and patterns with hidden meanings, passed down from generation to generation.
The main color of the embroidery on the Wedding Rushnyk is red, which symbolizes life, the sun, and fertility.
Almost every Ukrainian wedding ceremony will see the couple step on the embroidered cloth before they take their vows. Traditionally, the one who steps first will be the leader in the couple. However, it is polite for the groom to let the bride step on the cloth first!
Ukranian Wedding Bread (Korovai)
The Ukrainian Wedding Bread, or Korovai, is something like the North American tradition of the wedding cake, but the
Ukrainian Korovai has an ancient origin and many traditions associated with its' making. At our wedding you will see both, the traditional
North American wedding cake and the Ukrainian Korovai Wedding Bread. Below is a little background on the traditions and symbolism associated
with the Korovai Bread.
In Ukraine, the making of the Korovai comes from the pagan belief in the magical properties of grain. Korovai is a large round braided bread, traditionally baked from wheat flour and decorated with symbolic figurines, such as suns, moons, birds, animals, and pine cones. Wheat stalks, herbs, nuts, flowers and fruit are also commonly used to decorate the Korovai. The most common figurines to include in the bread decoration are two birds to represent the couple, and other birds to represent family and friends. The entire arrangement is surrounded by a wreath of periwinkle, a symbol of love and purity. The bread was traditionally prepared in the home of the bride by women who sang traditional songs to guide them through the making.
The preparing of Korovai is one of the most common wedding rituals amongst Ukrainians, which symbolizes the blessing the community gives to the wedding couple. The process of making Korovai is usually started on the Friday or Saturday before the wedding day at the bride's or groom's house. Members of both families participate in the ritual as a symbol of families connecting. It is common to have women who are married make the Korovai. The necessary condition is - women should be in their first marriage and have a happy family life! There is a superstition that women who make the wedding bread, will give a piece of their fate to the prospective couple.
The bread should come out baked even - without any cracks on top or on the sides. There is a common belief among Ukrainian people that any imperfections in the bread is a sign of bad luck for the prospective couple. Women, who are baking wedding bread believe, that to prevent unwanted results they should work with the bread in a cheerful and happy mood.
The Korovai is present at all wedding events from the beginning to the end. It is given to the bride and groom as a blessing before the wedding ceremony, and is shared by all the wedding guests at the end of the wedding.