In Russia they celebrate weddings for more like a week rather than just one day. Tony & Veronika decided to at least have two days of wedding celebrations, so Saturday we got some close friends and family together for a Russian party.
It's traditional for the groom to go through trials before he can pick up his bride for the wedding. The Russian guy (can't remember his name) was telling us about one wedding he went to where they put footsteps all over the stairs up to the apartment and he had to step on all of them to get there but they were on walls and ceilings and everywhere. His friends had to hold him as he stepped on the crazy ones.
Also they say there's never a Russian wedding without a fight. Our fight was previously arranged, but absolutely brilliant. Jake and Pete were the stars of this little drama. During dinner they started an argument about Veronika's hair color. Pete eventually threw his drink in Jake's face and the physical fight ensued. Jake, Veronika's defender, won the fight of course.
It's common for the groom to show up with a group of his friends and there will be a group of family or friends of the bride there as well to push them back. We didn't have that but they did "steal" Veronika at one point and have a series of tasks for Tony.
Task 1: Important Dates
There was a paper with important dates written on it. Tony had to tell why each date was important. He only struggled with a couple of the dates but got them all.
Task 2: Lips
Task 3: Sing a song
Tony and/or his friends had to sing a song. No one could think of a song we all knew so somehow we ended up singing Jingle Bells. We were no MoTab, but they let it pass.
Task 4: Dance
Tony had to do a dance. He did this Irish jig thing that he had learned at a fireside or the institute or something. He mentioned how humiliating it was a couple of times.
Task 5: Payment
In a Russian wedding people may steal the bride away multiple times and the asks for money from his friends to buy her back. Tony had asked all of us to bring lots of ones before the party. We gave him a bunch of cash and it was approved. Then they gave the couple the money back anyhow later.
Task 6: Hands
They brought Veroinka back but blind folded Tony. All the girls stood in a line and he had to touch our hands and figure out which one was Veronika. A couple of the guys got in line too. Tony gave them very definitive "no's".
They also had a couple of other games tasks but Veronika was there for them. They tied a string to a broom, a bottle, and a baby doll. There was a blanket hiding the objects with the strings coming out the other side. Tony had to pick one and pull it out to tell what kind of husband he would be (broom/hard worker, doll/good father, bottle/drinker). Tony picked the doll so he's going to be a good father.
They also sat the couple in chairs with their backs to each other. They each got one of their own shoes and one of the other's. Everyone would ask them questions like who is going to do the dishes, or who is going to make the most money. Then they would raise the shoe of the person for their answer.
It was actually really fun and a good opportunity to not only learn more about the culture Veronika grew up with but hopefully integrate some of that into our family. She's coming from a small family that is in Europe into a big family with strong personalities. It would be easy to just ignore her past and suck her into the family, but it is much more fun to learn and change our "family culture" to accept some of what she brings to us.