27 March 2009

What can You Learn from a Wedding?

Today our friend Julia is getting married!  We are all very excited for her and Constantine.  Well, Isaiah doesn't exactly understand what's going on, but once he realizes that he'll get to be around tons of people all day and outside for a good bit taking pictures, he'll be thrilled.

I had never really thought about this, but attending a wedding is a lesson in cultural etiquette.  I've already learned from my language teacher that women must wear skirts or dresses, there might be women in nice pants, but that's really not cultured.  Men must wear suits with a white shirt.  If it's in the winter, you must have a nice coat, not a jacket, not a blazer, not a normal winter coat, a NICE coat.  Everyone gives flowers to the bride and groom, but NOT yellow flowers!  You can give 3 long-stem roses or a nosegay, as long as it's not yellow!  (I wonder what they would have thought of our wedding with tons of yellow roses!) Oh, and although everyone is wearing boots right now, you can't wear boots to the ceremony; ladies must take shoes to change into when they arrive.

And speaking of ceremonies, there will be 2 today.  Everyone in Russia has a registration ceremony at special locations in the city.  This registration ceremony suffices for a legal ceremony.  Since Julia and her fiance (soon husband!) are Christians, they will also have a church ceremony.  Their church rents a hall from a local Christian university, and Julia explained to me that their unsaved relatives and friends wouldn't understand that this was a church, and would think it very odd; therefore, their church ceremony will be in a large Catholic church in the center of town. (This practice is pretty common as the larger non-orthodox churches regularly rent space to other people for services or concerts.  Our church, for example rents space from a large Lutheran church in the center of town.)  Then they'll have a reception at their church hall, which a friend has been decorating so that it will look less "hall-ish".

So, after today, I'll be able to tell you what else we learned, and if we stuck out like sore thumbs!  Hopefully we'll avoid any major social faux pas.

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