Thursday, August 15, 2013

A "Christian" wedding reception

How does one go about planning a wedding celebration among church-goers? Should there be alcohol or not? What about dancing? If dancing is to be included, then what kind of music should be allowed? If there won't be dancing, then how should the guests be entertained? And do they need entertainment?

While pondering this question, Andrei and I thought about some types of weddings that we weren't particularly excited about (though we understand elements of them can be fun for other people).

-Typical Russian: lots of entertainment, with skits (depicting how the couple met, etc.), drinking, dancing, stealing the bride, having a fight, and other merry-making.

-Russian Protestant Christian version: Games are kept g-rated: tug of war, jousting with balloons, Bible trivia, giggles about what the offspring will look like or how they will divide chores.

"I'm looking for a volunteer": words that strike fear in the hearts of many mild-mannered wedding guests. Will they be dragged away to don costumes or ad-lib on stage?

We decided to go with the assumption that people just want to be left in peace to enjoy their meals or (gasp!) actually exchange a few words with tablemates.

And so, we put in a request to our friends for musical contributions. We asked a trusted friend to be the emcee.  My mom created some unique favors, sets of playing cards with our childhood photos on one side. And as a compromise, we burned a CD with a playlist of dance music, just in case the opportunity arose.

As it turned out, Andrei and I were teary-eyed with emotion for much of the reception. Our friends and relatives had prepared a whole concert. They had picked out each song with love. Other friends and relatives made speeches. Our plan to let people eat in "peace" backfired...the food was delicious, but how could we sit there munching while being serenaded by friends? Our plates kept getting cleared before we'd had more than a few bites. When it was time to cut the cake, I got ONE bite before something else happened.

We nixed the dancing and went with the final song. Through some oversight/misunderstanding, the leftovers didn't get sent home. Not even the cake...sigh.

BUT, we arrived home to find everything taken care of. Some friends had taken our millions of bouquets and put many of them in water-in the bathtub, buckets of water, anything they could find. Our gifts had already been delivered to our apartment, too. It was done with such thoughtfulness.

Not a bad start to life together...


  1. I'm glad I went back; I'd missed this post! I do think those skits and so forth REQUIRE alcohol to make them bearable for most people. I must say, I do like dancing, though given a choice, i'd pick line dancing or polkas and waltzes - that sort of thing. The Russian custom of going through the streets really, really appeals to me. It is such fun to see a wedding party. If it could happen with only a BIT of drinking, or non-alcoholic beverages, more to the better...but the whole idea of sharing the joy in the community is lovely.

  2. Also wonder why the captcha can't just test my reading and not my eyesight.

  3. I like the IDEA of the wedding excursion, but it is so exhausting at the same time. I loved my wedding and wished it would last but at the same time I was already falling asleep by the time we got to the reception. The Russian marathon weddings of early morning registration+ excursion+long long reception with multiple courses are just so intense!

    Yeah, I especially have trouble reading the numbers on those. Sorry!

  4. This looks like a very nice and happiness filled celebration. Cheers!

  5. I am really impressed with your wedding reception celebrations. Both of you look fabulous and this music band entertains the all guest gracefully.


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